As long as a tape was recorded both sides on the same machine with the heads in the same alignment,
I think you can line up azimuth to be acceptable for what you're trying to do. The only thing I
wonder about is if the record head azimuth could be off enough that it's imposslbe to get playback
azimuth right for two opposite-facing tracks? I'm sure others will chime in on that.
In general, there's some debate about ingesting tracks in reverse and then flipping them in the
computer. In some cases, the reverse track can actually sound more crisp than the forward track
because the transients slowly rise in reverse but can be too quick-attack for some tape machines in
forward playback. These are mono 1/2-track tapes, as youv'e described them, so of course there's no
need to remember to reverse channels when you flip directions.
I had a bunch of off-air recordings that were mono 1/2-track and I transferred all of them the way
you are describing. Audio was equally mediocre (reflecting the recordist's skills and the low-grade
1960s consumer tape recorder) in both directions. I checked azimuth on each tape and, as long as the
tape type didn't have terrible "country lane-ing" due to poor slitting or acetate breakdown, the
azimuth was steady and consistent (my assumption is that the recorder was set up correctly at the
factory and never changed, and the heads wore down evenly over several years of frequent use).
All of this is less critical if your tapes are interviews or oral histories as opposed to music. If
they are music recordings, you'll want to experiment and test to find the method to get the highest
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Diamant" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, March 09, 2015 2:56 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Tape dubbing backwards?
>I am going to be dubbing some two track ¼ inch tapes to digital. These were
> recorded with a two track head with one mono track going in each direction.
> I was going to dub both tracks at the same time and then just flip the
> backwards track in the computer. These are not being played back on the same
> tape recorders they were recorded on. In fact they were recorded on all
> sorts of different machines. It seems simple enough, taking half the time,
> but then I thought is there some technical reason that I shouldn't do that?
> Tom Diamant
> Arhoolie Foundation