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Quick question...I recently stumbled upon a company that is offering master tapes (Analogy Records) in many formats. One such is a 7" reel of 1/4" tape at 7.5ips in 1/4 track config for most consumer machines such as my Teac A-4300SX. However, they do not utilize both sides of the tape, they record only on ONE side!
What I was wondering...is there a sonic advantage to recording only on one side of a tape when using a 1/4 track configuration? I would think not having material on the reverse tracks has some benefit...but just wondering if anyone has a technical answer to that?
The 1/4 track config whether you are recording forward or backwards puts one of the stereo tracks at the edge of the tape. The edge is where the tape will be damaged first generally due to fast winding past fixed non rotary or unclean guides. Multi trackers on 2 inch tape always relegate the outside edge tracks for bass because they know that high frequencies if recorded on the edge will drop out first. If you play a 2 track 1/4 track tape on a machine with a 1/2 track head one channel will be lower in volume by several db. Also if the 1/4 track heads are not perfectly aligned then you can get crosstalk from the adjacent tracks if recorded in both directions. If you are recording something precious then I wouldn't record in both directions. Inside the head there is shielding material usually mu-metal between the track pole pieces but we're talking about 60 db of shielding and that's a tall order.
"...the fool doth think he is wise but the wise man knows himself to be nothing but a fool." Will Shakespeare
These are designed for audiophiles who only have 1/4 track (or four-track) playback capability. As mentioned, there should be no audible crosstalk between left and right channels.
I have review copies of Analogy 003 in both the 1/2 track 7.5 ips and 15 ips versions. Playing these with a 1/4 track head compromises the right channel, where the narrow head falls slightly off the track. Analogy's intent is to provide tapes optimized for any playback deck.
Album 003 - at 7.5 ips - sounds very good; the musical program (Erskine Trio Vol. 2) is very satisfying and the reproduction excellent. It's taken from a multi-track high-resolution digital master, mixed directly to two-channel tape. In that regard, it would be interesting to hear an A-B comparison between high-res digital playback and tape playback.
There were a couple of Barclay-Crocker releases back in the 70's that used that same format.
Those were particularly dynamic recordings and the idea was to eliminate any crosstalk between the "sides".
As you probably know the 4 tracks of a 1/4 track recording is;
Side one=track #1 (left channel) track #3 (right channel)
Side two=track #4 (left channel) track #2 (right channel)
Not recording side two provide a much wider "safety gap" between tracks which gets rid of any "ghosting" of the loud passages from side two when side one is playing quiet passages.
Thanks for the info...
I have a few of the Barclay-Crocker tapes, but not the single-sided ones. I ordered a couple of the tapes from Analogy Records so I will report back on the quality.
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