Tape Machine Alignment & Maintenance
In this second of three parts on recording to magnetic tape, we look at why proper machine setup is critically important for good, consistent results. This episode is rather arcane because we are talking about an obsolete technology. It includes details on how and why adjustment is necessary, and a rough outline of how it is done.
Tape machines from different eras and from different manufacturers have variations on these generic procedures, so if you want to learn how to do this, you will have to acquire the manual for your tape machine and follow the alignment instructions the manufacturer recommends.
But this episode will give you a good sense of what is involved and what you have to look forward to if you want to record to tape. I don’t want to discourage anyone from doing this, but I think it is important to learn some of the basics before investing in tape technology.
Some of the topics covered are: reference alignment tapes, setting head azimuth, adjusting record and playback level and equalization, setting tape bias for best performance (with a couple of different methods), mechanical wear and adjustment, parts replacement, and why all these things are necessary.
As always, your comments and suggestions are welcomed. You can send email to [email protected]
And for access to all the episodes of My Take on Music Recording, you can go to www.dougfearn.com