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A couple months ago I jumped on a "Buy It Now" offer on the Ebay reel to reel site -- 6 Maxell one-mil UDXL (back-coated) 35-90B tapes for 50 bucks plus shipping. The seller obviously found them at an estate sale.
Last night I got around to playing one of them. Actually to dubbing, or attempting to dub, an ancient 3 3/4 4-track onto a 2-track 7 1/2 (I do this by playing the dub-ee at 7 1/2 on one Otari and the dub at 15 ips on a second Otari, then play the dub back at 7 1/2. Voila). Believe it or not, these dubs wind up sounding better than the originals.
In this case, the dub-ee was 35 minutes long, so a 45-minute tape should be plenty long enough. Imagine my surprise when the dub ran out of tape before the dub-ee did.
Come to find that only one of the six was actually a 35-90B tape (you can tell by the leader). The one I used was obviously a 1 1/2 mil tape rather than 1 mil. So are four of the others. The last one isn't even back-coated. Maybe not even Maxell. And the 1 1/2 mil tapes, all with questionable leaders, may not be Maxell either. Maybe even (horrors) sticky-shed-prone Ampex or Scotch.
Let that be a lesson to me. Maybe to others.
forgot to add, that is a cool trick with the speeds you have done. Was wondering if you have ever tried with 7 1/2 ips recorded at 30ips and played back at 15?
That should work equally well. But I've never owned (or seen, actually) a 30 ips tape. Heaven knows that's the only way I could listen to it :-)
That's why I only sell new tape-unless specifically stated otherwise. In the event of the latter I always give an overly detailed description along with copious amounts of pictures. Sellers like that ruin things for the honest ones. I'm one of those idiotic sellers that cares more about long term trust and repeat sales than I do to make a quick buck one time.
thanks for the post. I have had similar events happen to me before on ebay. But have also had the opposite, where the tape was basically brand new and unused for a cheap price.
also to most sellers on ebay who are not into reels, tape is tape, sort of like scotch tape used for holding 2 pieces of paper together. There seems to be very little common knowledge of the different brands or formulations.
Also the tape - original box mix up seems to be more common on 7 inch reels than on 10 inch reels from ebay sellers.
The other thing I do on ebay is check and see what other types of items the seller has. If its mostly tape related or audio related, then he may have a clue.
but if the seller is selling everything from antiques to toys to other collectables, then the odds are pretty good he has no clue on tape differences and applies the rule "tape is tape".
I agree with all you say. In the case of my six "Maxell UDXL" tapes I was going by the leader, with only one of them clearly designated as a "35-80." But i've since found that the leader isn't trustworthy. I do tend to trust the original owner, if only because of his meticulous notes on what the tapes contained -- off-air 3 3/4 4-track stuff, though.
And a couple others have turned out to be what the box says they are. I'm still working my way through this particular batch. For 50 bucks I really can't complain.
Buying from someone who is ignorant and thinks tape is tape-
The upshot: likely to be cheap. The downside is you are truly buying blindly and totally rolling the dice. As noted above-this can be very grating and disappointing.
Buying from someone who knows what they are talking about:
Not likely to be cheap, unless sold as such (i.e. junk tape). You are less likely to 'score' or 'pull one over' on someone who knows tape.
The plus here though is you are all but assured of getting exactly what was offered-meaning you aren't likely to be disappointed.
Choose your battles wisely.
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