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The perils of buying used tape on Ebay

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.

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Topic - The perils of buying used tape on Ebay - Dave Pogue 05:33:21 09/23/16 (6)


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