Discussion in 'Tape' started by Waterland, Jan 31, 2010.
Way cool — lucky you!
Hi all. First time poster here (apart from my intro post).
I have a pretty decent Technics tape deck and am just wondering what brands of Hi Bias tapes you guys consider the best. I realise these days that the only place I can source them will be off ebay. Back in the day (late 80s / early 90s) I tended to use TDK and Maxell but what else do you think is worth going after?
Cheers and a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Festivus etc to you all.
That's one of the great things about tape. Best is what your ears say they are in your deck. TDK & Maxell, pre 2000, are considered top tier, but it really depends on what your deck was calibrated to. A "lessor" tape will sound better than a "better" tape if the deck is calibrated for it. But in general, Sony, Denon, UK or post 1980 USA BASF, Thats, and Fuji all made good tapes
Then again, if you have a tape deck you can fine tune to just about any tape, you are really set. :thmbsp:
Thanks for that. I'd forgotten about That's tapes. Had a couple of those back in the day. Guess I'll just keep my eyes open for some good deals. I have a Technics RS-BR465 deck which I've had since new but put very low mileage on so I'll just start fiddling around a bit.
i wasn't aware of that coating system, either, but i do know how to kick off some rapid oxidation...don't do this at home kids, use another person's home (Jus Kidding, seriously, jus don't do it).
Take half a small coffee can of iron oxide (rust), mix with equal amount of powdered aluminum, stick in a lit sparkler, and see what iron is capable of. Sat on the hood of your car, it would go completely through the engine block, right to the ground, and keep going awhile... This exothermic mixture is called Thermite, and produces lotsa molten iron, but most of you knew that. There are several elements that get very sketchy exposed to air, and some especially with water. Then there is Fluorine, which reacts with everything, and cannot be contained in glass, so oxides reacting to air is not far fetched. Sorry, enough chemistry.
The Big question, obviously there has to be a sonic difference between c2o2 and metal, but is it enough that one should kick out 20+ a tape to archive their collection? i still find 10 packs of TDK and Maxell Chrome for 25 and under, if i watch carefully...The lowest i've found metal was a Maxell 60 for 8 bucks...but hey it covers one Album. In most cases on 90min, i can fit an Album per side, but i'm not sure if cramming full should be the aim. All opinions are always welcome...the discussions are fascinating!
PS is probably right about the white paper, but if I'd had tapes catch on fire just because they'd been "snipped" or stretched. I wouldn't be here now. The flammability issue was a (literal) non-starter by the time they were in everybody's hands. No company was interested in sending a lawsuit on a half shell like THAT out the door in boxes of ten........
BTW: I had no intention of poo poo-ing Type I or Type II tapes...
Metal and Type II could (in descending order of headroom) keep parity with input/output on any well set up machine. Type I didn't do as well. So people (OCD guys like me) would get the heebie jeebies when the output level would collapse owing to tape saturation. That having been said, Nak and a few others made strides (I wonder if it wasn't just boosting the bias level or PB level on that setting only,but I shouldn't wonder that aloud....) with regard to increasing the MOL of Type I tapes, just in time for the cassette format to fall from (marketplace) grace. Nothing beats metal tape for quality. It'd be great to see them go back into production. I'd buy a couple of dozen. But I don't use them in quantity like a once did, and that's a problem.....:scratch2:
Maybe I have notes somewhere ... anyway I cannot remember the details: the reason Naks had/have their own, distinctive sound was a patented convention they used in their hardware. It had something to do with the heads — if I recall properly. Anyway, I do not believe the difference was achieved by tweaking, but rather by engineering of significant parts.
Even my budget, two head Nak had a distinctive richness of sound that I can hear straight off on my old tapes. (It died)
Many years ago, a friend once demonstrated his Nak Dragon by first recording on Metal, and then on Type I. He then played them 'A' and 'B' and asked me to blindly identify the tapes. They were astonishingly close. Of course, my friend had to dial in the bias and other stuff to get optimum results. The source was analogue — Chopin or some other like piece of piano performance. I was impressed. I have wanted a Dragon ever since. The best I have managed so far is an A&D/Akai GX-Z9100EX, which makes a pretty darn good Type II tape. (I had it checked out by a pro recently and after a cleaning, it came through an inspection as in perfect condition.)
I get type IIs and IVs from eBay. Some new, some used. Polaroid has a Type II(new) that Im not sure is good. AND Radio Shack has a type II, the RS-110, that they say is the same formula as the Maxell XL-II 90. They sound good.
I also get lots off eBay of old stock, recorded Type II &IVs. Many of them I erase, as Im not interested in German marching band music or 1960s rockabilly mixtapes. Many of them were recorded on machines that couldnt record high bias cassettes so the fidelity is poor anyway.
Yodel Gruelsohn, Organ Meatmaster
Right now I'm dubbing cassettes for Friends to CD. This is the first time my 682z has had a consistent work out in 10 years and it still performs like a champ. Mostly type with Dolby .
I have a DR-1 as well, and it all these "upper end" decks get a lot out of Type I tapes. TAS did some articles years ago about the curious coincidence of technologies hitting their stride just as their peak in consumer market share passes.....
When I saw cassette rapidly phasing out, I went around and bought boxes of Type II. And, I bought out the last stocks of IV that I could find.
Now I worry about how humidity may have affected the tape emulsion. The stuff still left in sealed packets (a lot of Type II) should be OK, but the humid Japanese summers (mushrooms grow in yer shoes) may have compromised some of my older stock that I hoped to record over previously recorded signal.
Some years ago, I came across a large trove of tape in a recycle bin. It obviously was tossed out by a composer of "ambient" music here in Sendai. I assumed at the time that that he/she was seriously engaged in some commercial work. All Type II. I've not yet recorded on it. Time will tell.
During successive earthquakes, cassette cases were ejectd from shelves, and they ended up in piles of broken plastic on the floor. I've see a cassette fly half way across my bedroom! A lot of my cases no longer have hinges. Many were trashed. Back in the days, large electronics stores had barrels of spare cases for just a few yen a piece. You never see that anymore — of course.
My AD/Akai Z series still works brilliantly — recently checked out by a pro'.
I know I am kicking and old thread but I have a question...
Most (if not all) of this discussion of tape types seems geared towards cassette. Type I and Type II seems to be the same weather your are talking about cassettes or reel to reels, but what about the others tape formulations? Were there reel to reel players that could utilize metal tape?
Reel-to-reel equipment runs at much higher speeds than cassette decks, and speed provides significant advantages in terms of audio reproduction: fewer dropout anomalies from tape imperfections, lower wow and flutter, and wider wavelength prints so that it is much easier to record and recover high frequencies at both low and high volumes. The cost is the use of much more tape and the size of the recording medium. In order to slow the speed of the medium and reduce its size, tape manufacturers had to increase the coercivity of the tape so that short wavelengths would not erase each other. That required higher bias Type II tapes and, eventually, metal particle Type IV tapes with the highest coercivity.
Reel-to-reel tapes did not require the higher coercivity, so those new cassette formulations would have cost a lot more and have provided no advantages on open-reel recorders.
Thanks Wilhem. Makes a lot of sense.
Also thanks for your contribution to this thread. I learned a great deal by reading your in-depth history of the media. Much appreciated!
re: Sendai, did the 100 yen stores down there used to have metal tapes? They did here in Sapporo up till about 10 years ago, I used to scour the places religiously but, curiously, they never had C90, only 40 or 50 min tapes
You can still get blank chrome and cobalt tapes from National Audio Company in the US, great people to deal with, wholesale works out at about 76 cents each or so. The cobalt ones I got pack a mean punch
I bought a case of their Type II tapes. They're very good and very (comparatively) reasonable. I've got a ton of all types from their heyday (except for Type III. I have one BASF for setting up machines), and more than a couple of dozen metals still sealed. The psychology of rarity makes me want to buy more now because of what I see on Epay, but the truth is I'll never wear out the ones I have now......I also bought a box of last gen TDK "D"s. They're still killin' it for their bias class.....
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