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Question for tape experts

 
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Grief



Joined: 06 Feb 2007
Posts: 440
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:25 am    Post subject: Question for tape experts Reply with quote

I'm listening today to a couple of tapes from the late 1960's, both of which sound pretty good still. However, they both lack the bit that's at each end of the spool - you know the bit that's sometimes red or white or clear and has nothing recorded on it. These are just entirely the brown tape from start to finish. There's a gap on each side before the music starts just like normal.

So I wonder -

Given that you can start the recording a few seconds into the brown tape, what's the point of the red/white/clear etc. lead in/out bits of the tape?
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Black_Fire



Joined: 20 Jan 2008
Posts: 3688
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing you talked about is "starter" usually it goes not longer than 5 seconds, but you can't record on it. It can comes in various colors, but clean or red might be most popular. Some tapes comes without starter, so music can be recorded instant (this is perfect for Dictaphone with auto-reverse), but usually recording start after few seconds anyway. The normal tape (magnetic part where you can record something) is always brown.
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Valgrinder



Joined: 27 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always though that clear/whatever is there to strenghten the tape. When rewinding it stops so suddenly and most of the power goes to end/start of the tape. So it prevents tape itself (brown part) to snap too easily. But thats just my theory
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glwdrk



Joined: 03 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always thought it had some head cleaning effect? Not sure though...
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S_Slaughter



Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Posts: 390
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has some information - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_Cassette#Tape_leaders

For cleaning you used to be able to buy these special blank tapes which cleaned the heads of the tape player.
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S_Slaughter



Joined: 25 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This one brings back memories as well - http://vintagecassettes.com/_history/history.htm
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Valgrinder



Joined: 27 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

S_Slaughter wrote:
This has some information - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_Cassette#Tape_leaders


I was right... for once!
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Grief



Joined: 06 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Valgrinder wrote:
S_Slaughter wrote:
This has some information - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_Cassette#Tape_leaders


I was right... for once!


Thanks for the answers and well done that man!
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re-animator



Joined: 15 Dec 2012
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When i learned studio recording it was on reel to reel tape. In those contexts the those pieces of tape are used to separate sections of the tape and are not recordable since they have no oxide on it. Which is why it's white or whatever.

It's also so that you can see where the next mix is on the tape or whatever it is. So you'd be fast forwarding and know where the next thing is by looking at it.

It's also there in the beginning (if it's spliced in) so as to not waste any of the recordable parts of the tape. Today, reel to reel tape is very expensive.
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