Maxell reel tapes were awesome, that's why they go for decent $$$ NOS or slightly used on eBay. I
wish I had spent more after school job earnings on Maxell reel tape than on early 80s rock records!
Maxell UDXL90 cassettes were equally outstanding in that era. Always reliable and stand up well over
time. The cassette housing is among the best ever made, which is why I kept most of my tapes to
re-shell basket cases I get from clients. I've been able to play dreaded Scotch black-oxide C-120
tapes when they were transplanted to Maxell shells.
It's too bad Maxell never made a push for the pro market. They sold much more 1-mil reel stock to
home recordists than 1.5-mil to pros. Their pricing for 7" reels in boxes was competitive to Scotch
and Ampex for the home market, so I assume they could have been competitive at least with 10"
pancakes for the pro market. I could see how shipping metal reels in boxes from Japan would crimp
the margins, but bulk-shipping pancakes could be competitive.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2015 3:50 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Interesting sticky-shed data point
> Back in the day, I was a real fan of Maxell tapes. All my masters at St. Thomas were done on it
> except the last one where I couldn't get the tape in Canada and I didn't want to buy it in the
> states as I needed it in Canada to calibrate the machines before the trip down. I used 407, I
> think, but it might have been 456 or 457. I think I bought two boxes of 10 bulk-packed pancakes. I
> recalibrated the machines.
> On 12/17/2015 7:04 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> The Maxell reel also completely surrounds the tape, except for a small
>> slit from the reel center insert point to the outside. Perhaps that, the
>> bag and the cardboard box with a laminated outer coating all combined as
>> a moisture barrier?
>> Anyway, interesting. The other interesting thing was, I know it's
>> totally un-Kosher to splice together 1-mil and 1.5 mil tapes, but there
>> was no damage or level drop at the splice-point, and, given that I'm
>> sure I didn't go in and re-calibrate anything when I grabbed that
>> remnant of 456 to fill out the reel, it's interesting that the Maxell
>> tape operated close enough to the 456 parameters to not sound different
>> at all, to my ears. Keep in mind that this tape is a dub, so it's not an
>> un-colored clone of a pristine source. I was also impressed that Maxell
>> came up with a back-coat formula that is first of all stable but also
>> resulted in very low print-through despite 30+ years of tight-wound
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard L. Hess"
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 10:09 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Interesting sticky-shed data point
>>> Hi, Tom,
>>> The sticky shed faeries were with you? Like one tape that exploded on
>>> me but only the guitar intro was lost...the deceased singer's vocal
>>> was intact.
>>> Anyway...seriously, perhaps being under high-pressure at the hub
>>> helped, but I generally find that the most vulnerable section.
>>> As you know, plastic bags (I think generally polyethylene) are not
>>> excellent vapor barriers, so your guess is as good as mine.
>>> Very interesting.
>>> Thanks for sharing.
>>> On 12/16/2015 7:47 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>>>> I just transferred a reel of tape I made back in 1982 at a major NYC
>>>> recording studio. It was a dub of something. I thought the reel was all
>>>> Maxell UDXL 35-90, 1-mil back-coated and I've heard few if any reports
>>>> of it going sticky. The tape played just fine, absolutely no residue
>>>> from rewinding or playback (it's a 2-track 7.5IPS tape, transfer was
>>>> done on a Technics 1520). Now here's where it gets interesting. I didn't
>>>> remember this, but the end of the reel was spliced-in Ampex 456, and it
>>>> wasn't sticky. I didn't know this before rewinding because I had kept
>>>> the Maxell end of reel leader tape and just spliced in the Ampex tape
>>>> because I needed 5 minutes more time at the end of the reel. The reason
>>>> I noticed this was I was monitoring the end of the tape, heard a splice
>>>> go through the transport and noticed that the tape oxide color was
>>>> suddenly brown instead of gray-black like Maxell UDXL. When the tape
>>>> finished, I wound out the leader tape and examined the end of the
>>>> spliced-on section. It was definitely 1.5-mil Ampex 456 (that was the
>>>> only tape available at the studio to splice into my Maxell reel, they
>>>> were an all-Ampex shop). I felt the tape front and back with my fingers,
>>>> and didn't feel the tell-tale gummy-sticky-greasy texture of
>>>> sticky-shed. And, there was no evidence of any layers sticking together.
>>>> Plus, as I said, no residue on any moving or fixed guides or the tape
>>>> I have no idea why this piece of tape didn't go sticky. I'm wondering if
>>>> the non-sticky Maxell tape, making up most of the reel, can somehow
>>>> absorb or mitigate whatever causes the sticky-shed? It's also worth
>>>> noting that this tape has always been stored in the plastic bag within
>>>> the cardboard box.
>>>> If I had known the section of Ampex 456 was spliced in to the reel, I
>>>> would have baked the whole thing before playing it. I'm glad it turned
>>>> out I didn't need to.
>>>> I'm interested in any theories as to why that piece of 456 wasn't
>>>> sticky. Other reels of 456 that I recorded at that studio at that time
>>>> have all been sticky and required baking.
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
>>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
>>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.