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Author Topic: Full track playback with two track heads  (Read 164 times)

Offline cvandyke

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Full track playback with two track heads
« on: March 20, 2018, 08:45:23 am »
Would there be any negative sonic effects of playing back a 1/4" full track tape with a two track head? Obviously, you don't get the benefits of the whole recorded width of tape. Are there any other downsides?
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Chris Van Dyke

Offline High and Outside

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Re: Full track playback with two track heads
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2018, 10:26:53 am »
Chris,

One other thing happens, which is generally considered a downside but someone might prefer it in some circumstances.

Whenever you play back a wide track recording on a narrower band playback head it is subject to a phenomenon called "fringing." The effect is to raise the low frequency content several dB above the balance that was recorded.

What happens is that the recorded portion that lies outside the track width of the playback head adds its low frequency content to the part that is picked up normally. It's like pushing the Loudness button, except that you can't turn it off if you don't like the effect.
Paul Stubblebine
Managing Director, The TapeProject

Offline cvandyke

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Re: Full track playback with two track heads
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2018, 09:19:05 am »
Thanks! I didn't particularly like the bass on the mono tapes I played and I hope this is the cause. The tapes are production masters which contain transfers from 78 sides so it's just as likely be the recording.

Another question about this general subject: is there a reasonable way to determine if a tape labeled "mono" was recorded as full track or two track mono? The tapes I have so far are labeled so it's clear but it seems likely I'll face this issue in the future.

I do have a mono repro head for my deck (Otari MTR10). I need to mount it and to figure out how I want to handle routing the signal from the head. I really don't want to make any non-reversible changes, have an awkward cable dangling, or put a switch in the signal path. I've already spent some time pondering how to proceed and, so far, I've come up empty.
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Chris Van Dyke