Tuesday, 23 July 2013

We have it taped!

How we stored music certainly has changed over the decades and this came back to me a few days ago
When I was little to store music you used a machine using magnetic tape and back then it was on reels of different sizes as well as lengths and the very first machine I had was a small portable recorder that took up to 3 and a quarter inch reels which were popular for taking out in the summer or sending voice recordings thru the mail with. Radio Shack did the tapes with mailers too.
It wasn't long though that I wanted something capable of better sound using a faster speed and necessitating larger reels so I acquired this:
Made by Tandberg of Norway, it was a part tube, part solid-state stereo recorder with a built in speaker for portable use that took the larger 7 inch reels.
For music I generally used the 19.1 cms (7 1/2 inches per second) speed setting for quality and as was my want this was a 'twin track' machine using just two tracks to record in stereo meaning you only could record on one side of the tape just like professional machines in studios do.
For the technically minded it gave you less noise, less bleedover between the tracks and critically made editing using a splicing block complete with splicing tape easy as you'd cut at 90 degrees without affecting anything else on the tape.
You set the record level using the ganged control of the  far left toward the front checking with the 'magic eye' indicators above the 'Stereo' logo they were not distorting.
I recorded radio concerts getting otherwise not on album performances as well as putting my favourite lps on tape to help preserve them from wear and damage by either two or four pawed life forms. I was using this until February 1997 when because of my severe disabilities, I was no longer able to use it and bought a digital MiniDisc recorder. 
Back then it was fairly easy to get tape and typically I paid around £5.99 for a 2,400 ft reel of Maxell UD that gave me an hours recording time at 7 1/2 I.P.S. in stereo where as today Maxell no longer make reels of tape and the limited numbers of people that do only supply the professional users such as studios charging over £20 per reel.

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