Reusing Tape

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olexey
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Reusing Tape

Post by olexey » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:41 pm

Hi all,

I've just bought a Fostex R8 1/4'' 8 track recorder and the guy that sold it to me also gave me 5 used tapes. Are there any issues with recording on top of them? Also, if there aren't, can I keep reusing them after I've recorded my own tracks or are there any reasons for me to want to keep what I've recorded on tape. I'm thinking of just bouncing the stereo outs to my DAW at the end for mastering. Thanks.

kslight
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Re: Reusing Tape

Post by kslight » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:22 pm

It depends on how old the tapes are, how they were stored, what brand/formula they are, how used they already are...

Reusing tape in good condition is generally fine and normal practice except when you have a band with a massive recording budget...though you can't do it forever, in a home studio situation you probably won't hit this mark. In a commercial analog studio today if you don't buy the tape it is largely assumed you will get a "work tape" for your sessions, which will probably be reused by another band down the line who can't afford their own tape...

I've bought and sold several reel to reels that came with dozens of "used" tapes over the years...and some of it is indeed usable, and a lot of it goes in the trash. If it starts shedding noticeably when it you put it on the machine, trash it. If it breaks when FF or RW, trash it. If it winds slow on the transport, take it off immediately...trash it. If pieces come off in your hands...trash it. If it doesn't seem to have any obvious problems, is the correct spec for the machine, sure use it.


On a 1/4" deck though honestly I would just plan on buying some new tapes (not all that expensive on 1/4") and calibrate the machine to those, and forget about the used tapes unless they really are in good shape...

jimjazzdad
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Re: Reusing Tape

Post by jimjazzdad » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:54 am

The most common fault with older tapes is 'dropout'. This is caused when a bit of the oxide layer is damaged by humidity, abrasion, stretching, or other mechanical damage. It might only last for a second, but it ruins your take. When you are recording 8 tracks on 1/4", as with the Fostex, a very small area of dropout can be really noticeable. You could test the tape by recording a tone to all 8 tracks for the entire length, then play it back, maybe recording the playback to your DAW so that you can inspect the waveforms for any anomalies...but that's pretty tedious. At $50 or so for a new 2400' tape, you are better off buying new tape for any serious project.
Jim Legere
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roscoenyc
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Re: Reusing Tape

Post by roscoenyc » Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:40 am

We routinely print mixes to analog before flying them back to digital to send off for mastering.
This is the prefered method of all of our favorite mastering engineers.
It works really well and the tapes last just fine.

We replace the tapes from time to time.

As others mentioned, starting with some new tape is probably better than starting with some old tape that you don't know how it was stored. Splices can be problematic also.

Printing mixes to analog is my favorite usage of tape.

drumsound
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Re: Reusing Tape

Post by drumsound » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:33 am

roscoenyc wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:40 am
We routinely print mixes to analog before flying them back to digital to send off for mastering.
This is the prefered method of all of our favorite mastering engineers.
It works really well and the tapes last just fine.

We replace the tapes from time to time.

As others mentioned, starting with some new tape is probably better than starting with some old tape that you don't know how it was stored. Splices can be problematic also.

Printing mixes to analog is my favorite usage of tape.
Anymore this is what I do as well. If we want tape sound, it shows up on the mix. Budgets being what they are...

eh91311
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Re: Reusing Tape

Post by eh91311 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:18 pm

Unless you are dead set on mixing direct from the R8, if your audio interface can record 8 ins or more, then consider tracking to the R8 then transfer the tracks all at once to the computer to mix. You can then reuse your tape for another project. You should be able to reuse the analog tape many times, then replace it if you notice deterioration in the sound.

For the Fostex R8, the Recording The Masters LPR-35 7" reels is the best choice. It is the correct 1.0mil thick and easy on the motors and metal/plastic parts. There are no factory replacement parts for the Fostex decks.

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markjazzbassist
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Re: Reusing Tape

Post by markjazzbassist » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:00 am

i prefer 1.5mil tape on my fostex. i'm able to hit the tape harder and i get better bass response. i've read many responses on forums from ex tascam and fostex employees that say the wear difference is negligible and the only reason they recommended 1mil is because they got better head wrap which meant better specs on paper (to try and outdo each other in the press). performance wise it showed no advantage over 1.5mil. i've tested Scotch 207 and 206 a lot ( i own tons of both) and the 206 (1.5mil) is better for me. i record bass heavy music though, if you don't need that deep bass then 1 mil will be fine and get you more recording time.

do some internet searches there is a database on a forum that has all the Sticky Shed tapes to avoid. Scotch 202/203 and 206/207 are fine, new tapes are fine too. 1/4" tape on a 7" reel is cheap, that's why i love the Fostex. The 15 IPS response is lovely too, i like the sound a lot better than my old Tascam 388.

just my .02

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