I have run a few dozen paper based tapes on the APR-5000 and a few on
the A80 and have been lucky enough to do every one which has been
presented over the years.
The paper tape that I have seen (from both U.S. and Canadian sources,
including Brush/Soundmirror boxed tape and Utah tape from Canada, as
well as 3M and other unknown material) all seems to have held up
reasonably well. I have not seen any that have been under water, but
some were not particularly well-cared-for. The recordings generally are
not great, especially the home-made ones.
The tearing issue is worse than acetate tape. The track configuration
has been odd. The level is usually low enough that I find it difficult
to conjure up any sort of developed image of the tracks. I do have a
200-mil centre-track head for this purpose, but, on the other hand, I've
also used 43-mil centre-track head (from a stereo NAB cartridge tape
which is actually a 3-track head with the same track width as 1/4-track
The 200 mil head seems a bit wide and the 43 mil head is a bit narrow.
If I had a bunch where the utmost quality was needed, I'd try and
mis-adjust the height of an NAB stereo head or maybe a DIN head to get
the 82 or 100 mil track in the centre.
Some of the noise problem (and what drove me to the 43 mil head) seems
to come from DC erasure which, as you know, is very noisy. So, even with
the 200 mil head (cutting 40 mils off the tape width, it sounded as if
too much erased-but-not-re-recorded tape face was being reproduced. It
was generally quieter in the "rocks" department from the 43 mil head
than the 200 on the tapes I've done that with, but the tape hiss
(general Gaussian noise) increased, although that was easier to remove
with Algorithmix Noise-Free pro than the rocks were, so I opted to go
On a couple of odd tapes (and I now forget if they were paper or acetate
or a mix), I ended up using a full-track head on a Studer A80 because it
seemed that odd parts of the tape were erased. Grabbing as much of the
signal as possible seemed like a good idea at the time. The client was
happy. I wasn't but they got to hear what was on the tape.
As with any old and unknown-source/format tape, experimentation and your
ears are your friends.
On 2012-09-21 2:03 PM, Karl Miller wrote:
> I wondered if anyone has had experience with paper based tapes and if so, are
> there any special problems associated with them.
Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.