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Yes, Richard, I was made aware of the two different types of holdback
and takeup tensions by my brother, John Stephens, who developed the
Stephens Multitrack (from 8 trks on 1" to up to 40 trks on 2") which is
a capstanless deck (or decks) using a servo loop optical readout to
drive the tape via the feed reels and takeups. The decks are still being
used throughout the world for mastering due to their excellent signal to
noise and other qualities (i.e., lack of tape warp, etc.).  Also, analog
still is preferred by many "golden ears".

Rod Stephens



Richard L. Hess wrote:

>>
> Rod,
>
> I'm sure you know, but I'd like to point out that in constant torque (as
> opposed to constant tension) machines, this speed variation was variable
> throughout the tape pack.
>
> Classic Ampex machines were mostly constant torque. There was a constant
> tension option for certain versions of the AG-440.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Richard
>