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Author Topic: TSKB: reel to reel qustions  (Read 3313 times)

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Offline spcyrfc

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TSKB: reel to reel qustions
« on: February 19, 2008, 01:28:38 PM »
So i am working in a large archive that consists of among other things, several hundred 1/4'' open reels.  most are 7.5 ips, some are 15 and some are 3.75. 

my question is about sides.  many of the boxes are labeled with a side A and a side B.  we have yet to figure out how to access the side B.
it could be we need a quarter track machine (?) or just a lack of expertise.

any help is greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2008, 02:09:31 PM by spcyrfc »
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Offline harimau

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Re: reel to reel experts step in here please
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 03:40:39 AM »
Are open reel tapes that much outmoded?  Or are you about 10 years old? :D (Meaning, you have never seen open reel tapes.)

You play out one side of the tape.  Now, take the output spool, mount that on the left side and play the tape again.  You will now get to hear Side B.

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Re: reel to reel experts step in here please
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 10:29:22 AM »
How old are the tapes? Do you know what kind of recorder they were made on?

I've seen lots of older reel gear - and it seems like there were a few different ways of using the tracks...

Some you can flip and rewind the tape - some just have switch that selects tracks...

Offline spcyrfc

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Re: reel to reel experts step in here please
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 01:15:07 PM »
Are open reel tapes that much outmoded?  Or are you about 10 years old? :D (Meaning, you have never seen open reel tapes.)

You play out one side of the tape.  Now, take the output spool, mount that on the left side and play the tape again.  You will now get to hear Side B.

lets see, i bought my first CD when i was ten in 1995 so its not that ive never seen/xfered reels, its just that ive never encountered side A/B reels and have only recorded on to 1" open reel tape.
  if i play side one and flip (which is what i thought i should do) but the flip side just plays side one in reverse, do i have the wrong machine or is the tape mislabeled??

How old are the tapes? Do you know what kind of recorder they were made on?

I've seen lots of older reel gear - and it seems like there were a few different ways of using the tracks...

Some you can flip and rewind the tape - some just have switch that selects tracks...

i believe most of the tapes are from the late 60's so they are not paper based.  Most were made on a Nagra Mark III (full track machine).  These tapes would not have the A/B quality.
some however were made on two track machine (i cant figure out which one).

in any case, thanks for the info... we are using an Otari MX-5050 to transfer.

luke
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Offline harimau

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Re: reel to reel experts step in here please
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2008, 08:33:07 AM »
Are open reel tapes that much outmoded?  Or are you about 10 years old? :D (Meaning, you have never seen open reel tapes.)

You play out one side of the tape.  Now, take the output spool, mount that on the left side and play the tape again.  You will now get to hear Side B.

lets see, i bought my first CD when i was ten in 1995 so its not that ive never seen/xfered reels, its just that ive never encountered side A/B reels and have only recorded on to 1" open reel tape.
  if i play side one and flip (which is what i thought i should do) but the flip side just plays side one in reverse, do i have the wrong machine or is the tape mislabeled??

OK, I have taken a look at pictures of both the Otari-5050 you plan to use and the Nagra Mark III on which the original recordings were made.

They look like normal tape recorders from that period in time.  One would need to look at the legends on the face plates to decide whether flipping the tapes is needed or a simple switch setting would do the trick.  For the switch setting to do the trick, the tape deck would have to be reversible... much like Auto-Reverse in cassette players.  But, there is another issue with that.  Generally, there are three heads in a tape deck.  The first is the ERASE head, the next is the READ head and the third is the WRITE head.  You can see the three heads very clearly in the photos (third photo from the top) associated with a Nagra Mark III tape deck in this:

http://cgi.cafr.ebay.ca/NAGRA-III-SWISS-MADE-TAPE-RECORDER_W0QQitemZ250209332204QQihZ015QQcategoryZ48646QQcmdZViewItem

The ERASE head is used to erase any previous recording on the tape.  Auto-Reverse works for reading from the tape but not for writing to it.  So the tapes would normally be created by recording on Side A and then flipping the take-up spool and using it as the supply spool to record on Side B.  But since you are only playing back the tape, check your Otari-5050 to see if it would reverse direction at the flip of a switch.  If you don't see any such switch and the tape doesn't auto-reverse, you need to re-thread the tape through the capstans and the heads after switching the supply and take-up spools.

Two-track is a problem in that: do they mean it records two tracks in each direction or the recorder records a total of two tracks?  Two tracks in each direction is stereo recording as we commonly understand it.  Total of two tracks means either stereo in one direction or mono (one track) in each direction.  Playback the tapes and look at the VU meters to see if both needles deflect when you play the tape in both directions.

1/4" is standard tape width and the backing is usually mylar with an iron-oxide coating to record the magnetics.  If the tapes are not stored properly, you could have fungus on the tapes....I am encountering that problem right now!  You would want to clean the tapes carefully.  You could have other issues too.  If the tapes haven't been played in a long time, you could have print-through where the music is transferred from one location on the tape to another location exactly one rotation away.  You could have tapes falling apart on you and breaking just as you play them.  Or the magnetic coating could be flaking off.  Hopefully, you will be lucky and not encounter such problems.

Offline harimau

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Re: reel to reel experts step in here please
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2008, 09:54:04 AM »
Taking a closer look at the enlargements of the Nagra, it has one VU meter and shows an arrow from left to right meaning the supply spool is always on the left and the take-up spool is on the right.

So it records one track on each side.

The Otari-5050 claims to have 2-track recording and 2-track as well as 4-track playback.

So when you play your Nagra-recorded tapes on the Otari, only one VU meter should show activity.

Please let me know if this is what you find.

Regards.

 

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