Analog Tape, can I reuse it?

James Hardiman Leave a Comment

From: Bill Hobson
Thanks for all the great information.
Your website actually got me started recording on wide track analog tape (16 track 2 inch) after first using ‘bad digital’ for about five years. I’m still running Alesis ADATs and all of my clients are still using that format because they are afraid of the tape costs.
I’m working on schemes to make it more affordable and I’d like to know, from your experience, how many passes is a reel of analog tape good for? Have there been any tests to determine this? What causes the sound quality to deteriorate?
Thank you,
Bill Hobson

Dear Bill:

Thanks for your comments! 16-track 2-inch is a great format.

You’ve asked a good question. I think that you should get a real good bulk eraser for 2″ tape first, because you can’t take chances on incomplete erasure or clients hearing a piece of something previously recorded.

The bulk eraser could set you back thousands of dollars. But even so, I wouldn’t fool around with re-recording on analog tape. It has a finite life and modern formulations seem to lose their brilliance just on multiple playbacks, which is not a function of xide shed, but of magnetic retentively. Which implies that re-recording new material should do all right, but personally I wouldn’t take the chance.

Take care,


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