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Tape Expert

Tape lengths and deck running speeds:

 

Our cassette tapes are loaded accurately to length in the shells by automatic programmed Tapematic 2002 loaders. The amount of tape is determided in minutes and seconds per side and is very accurate upto the nearest one second! Tape running speed is 17/8 of an inch per second so the length of tape in minutes can be worked out by the amount of feet and inches of tape inside the shell. Unfortunately cassette decks of all types are not that accurate when it comes to the motor running speed and these can vary wildly from +-3% even on high end gear. This tolerence of course would not be noticed by the listener if a piece of music for example was recorded and played back on the same machine, the problems arise with not only playing back on other systems but also recording on the blank tapes in the first place as a deck running a couple of % fast will appear to shorten our accurately wound cassettes and the longer the tapes and the program to be recorded then higher the risk of them not fitting on. Our C90s for example can quite easily become a short C90 running out of tape a couple of minutes too soon. And to make matters worse a hard worked deck can speed up as it gets warmer and older decks can get very unreliable.

 

The only solution really is to allow a little extra, branded C90 cassettes such as TDK, BASF, Maxell etc are usually C94-C96 in length to combat this whereas ours are loaded to your requests. Also perhaps doing a test run first to see how close the program fits on. And if you want to get really technical and start adjusting the motor then with the aid of a test tape and frequency counter you can take the deck apart and pop a small screwdriver into the back of the motor and adjust it. maybe seek a little more advice first about tweeking the motor but it is possible to change the speed yourself.

 

Dolby B Noise Reduction

Briefly, upon recording dolby b noise reduction will boost low level high frequencies by x amount and upon playback dolby b will reduce the same frequencies by the same amount but also reduce the tapes own hiss which is present at all times. To give you an idea of the amount of noise (hiss) reduction play a blank tape without dolby and then press the dolby button to hear the difference it makes.

please ask when ordering if you wish your cassettes encoded with Dolby b noise reduction, otherwise as standard we would leave it off, alternatively present your masters already processed in Dolby B which would transfer to your copies. Please ask if unsure

 

TABS OUT CASSETTE SHELLS

 

Cassette tapes supplied without recording tabs out upon the top edge of the cassette shell are referred to as ‘pre-recorded’ shells and are intended to prevent accidental erasure of material by the end-user. Professional high speed cassette recorders can record onto either ‘tab in’ or ‘tab out’ cassette shells.

To record onto ‘tab out’ shells on a standard cassette recorder simply cover the holes with a small piece of sticky tape or blu-tac to enable your machine to enter record mode and remove after recording for a professional appearance. Alternatively if you have many tapes to copy you could place a piece of blu-tac inside your cassette recorder upon the plastic arm which falls into the hole in the cassette when you close the door. Sounds tricky but it really isn’t difficult to find it. Place the blu-tac on the arm to stop it moving and the machine will switch into record mode for all types of cassettes.

A ‘pre-recorded’ ‘tab out’ cassette shell has a much more professional appearance for the end user or point of sale than a ‘tab-in’ shell which has either the tab left in place or removed with a small piece of broken plastic visible.

However, should the tapes be intended to be re-recorded or recycled the ‘tab-in’ option would perhaps be more suitable.

 

WELDED SHELLS or SCREWED

 

A welded cassette shell has the two halves of the cassette sonic welded together all the way round making it more rigid and slightly more reliable than a shell with the two halves screwed together at 5 points. A welded cassette shell has a more professional appearance due to most of the welded shells are ‘tab out’ and the majority of the music and publishing industries have used this type of cassette for their major releases.

A screwed together cassette shell does however have the advantage of the ability to repair a broken, twisted or snapped tape by unscrewing the 2 halves and cutting out the damaged part of tape, re-splicing and screwing the shell back together. This makes the shell popular for any important recordings or masters.

We offer a free repair service for any customers who have a welded cassette which they cannot repair the broken tape.

 

For most applications either welded or screwed shells are suitable and much decision is down to personal choice.

 

TAPE LENGTH, THICKNESS and HUMIDITY

 

This combination can cause problems in warm weather. The best recording and reliability situation would be a short length on thick coated tape in cool conditions but that is rarely the mix as longer tape lengths require thinner tape which in turn reacts more to temperature changes. To be brief the best advice would be to try and stay below C100 minutes in tape lengths and avoid storing and recording in any extreme temperatures to reduce the risk of tape jamming, tape twists or breakages. In general though the audio cassette is a very tough and durable product and can equally match and better many modern day media carriers in terms of survival.

 

 

RECORDING CHROME TAPE AND USING CHROME TAPE IN STANDARD SHELLS

 

In order to achieve the best sound improvements from using chrome tape in your cassettes it is important to record at the correct setting. Your recording machine needs to be switched to one of the following  'High', 'High Bias' , 'Chrome', Cr02' , TypeII', or II setting but many machines will do this automatically having 'auto tape sensors' which detect when a chrome notch shell is inserted into the tape recorder. However that only detects the shell and not the tape so if your tapes are chrome but loaded in a ferric shell then an auto sensing deck will switch to standard bias setting incorrectly. A manual tape selector is much preffered for operator control. So most recordists will want their chrome tapes in the correct chrome notch shells which limits which shell can be used, probably just a clear or smokey clear chrome shell or maybe a black chrome shell. Here's the only way really to be able to record onto chrome tape loaded into other coloured (ferro) shells

1. Use a cassette deck with a manual switch and switch it yourself to chrome, this is by far the best way.

2. Break the sensor arm inside your deck so that it always sits in the down position, as if it was sat inside the chrome notch hole. It will now always switch to High Bias setting when both ferric and chrome shells are used,. The little bit of broken plastic could always be superglued back at a later date so keep it safe. Be sure not to break off the record tab in /tab out sensor arm which sits right next to the chrome sensor arm, maybe have a little test first moving them with your fingers to see how it switches. And don't forget although there are two chrome notches on a chrome shell the sensor arm only spots one hole at a time for the A and B sides (except auto reverse decks which can have 2) If you are duping both chrome and ferric tapes and have broken the chrome arm you can tempory switch back to ferro without supergluing the arm, by sticking the broken arm in the up position with a small piece of blu-tac and it will stay in ferro bias until you remove it and it will think your using chrome tapes again.

3. Drill a hole where the chrome notch hole should be on the top edge of the shell, not really ideal but it will work and make sure you drill slowly/carefully and avoid bits of plastic falling inside the shell.

please note Chrome Eq setting when equipped is far less important and only applies to playback and not record.

Submitting Masters for cassette copies:

Keep costs down and quality under tighter control by supplying master CDRs ready to go for your cassette dupes!
please supply your material for duplication on an Audio CDR disc as follows:
For 2 seperate sided cassette copies, either
1. Submit one CD with just 2 tracks. Track one must be the whole of the A side and track 2 must be the whole of the B side. It is that simple. This doesn't mean to say you can only have one song on each side, you can have many but just save them all on the disc as one track, the next track being the B side.
or
2. Submit 2 CDRs, one for each side, each CDR to have just one track for the whole side, as above the track can contain several songs/programs for the side but just have them all showing as one track
or
3. Submit one CDR with all the songs/tracks on, seperately. 3 tracks or more. But our CD master loader will split these tracks as close to even sides as possible, the most logical split. Be sure to check your order and timings as the split may end up different to your expectations. It will not change any running order but split the tracks into 2 as even as possible and always attempt to make the A side longest within reason but that is not always possible. So you can, for example submit a CDR with 15 tracks on all roughly the same duration and it will split something like tracks 1-8 as the A side and 9-15 as the B side. But where track durations vary it will aim to get as even duration per side as possible.
For the same tracks/songs on both sides of the cassette copies, either
1. submit one CDR with 2 tracks, track 1 to be all the program for one side and track 2 is the same track repeated.
2. Submit all the tracks for one side as seperate tracks twice, so repeat them all on the same disc. So if you have for example 6 songs to play both sides of your cassettes submit a CDR with 12 tracks on it, the 6 tracks you want and then repeat the same 6 songs on the same disc.
3. (this way actually takes longer) submit one CDR with one track, the one track can contain one or several songs but just save them all as one track and that can be loaded again seperately for side B.
For just one sided cassette copies
1. Submit just one CDR with one track, one track to contain all the contents for A side
 
DO NOT SUBMIT CDRs WITH 3 OR MORE TRACKS UNLESS YOU REQUIRE THEM AUTOMATICALLY SPLITTING INTO A/B SIDES
CASSETTES WHICH WILL BE OVER C80, 40 MINS PERS SIDE WILL REQUIRE 2 CDRS SUBMITTING, EACH CONTAINING ALL THE SIDE CONTENT AS ONE TRACK (unless the same both sides, just one disc)
Any other formats, including downloads online or discs with multi tracks for each sides on seperate discs will incur some rearranging and take a while longer to process.
OTHER:
3.  Please add at least 1 second of silence at the beginning AND end of each CD track contained within the audio portion of the track. (2-3 seconds if possible) This will reduce the risk of losing a split-second of program material at the beginning and/or end of each side. 
4. Please ensure your program is free of excessive digital distortion, clipping and extreme low-to-low midrange saturation as any distorted masters tend to get exaggerated by our process and too much low end can use up headroom resulting in a quieter cassette
Call us with any further questions.
 
Mastering Fees if not submitted on audio CDRs as above,
£10 up to 40 mins in total
£15 up to 60 mins
£25 up to 90 mins

 

 

 

 

 

 
         
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