At 07:58 PM 3/26/2004 -0500, Dave Bradley wrote:

>I feel it's an appropriate discussion for this type of list. After all,
>that's one of the things this list is about!

I agree!

> >Tape width is quarter-inch for open reel and cartridges
> >and 0.150 for cassette.
>Shouldn't that be 0.125 for cassette?  I'd always been of the impression
>that cassette tape was 1/8"....

Sorry, David, I have to agree with Mike here -- it is 0.150 or approx 1/7"

>Regarding cassettes:
> >There is only one tape speed - 1 7/8 ips, one layout of tracks and
> >one configuration of shell.
>Well, mono units don't use the same layout as stereo.  In fact, if you play
>a cassette that was recorded on a mono tape deck on a stereo playback unit,
>the right channel will be softer because the single mono track doesn't
>cover the full area used by the two stereo tracks.  As for speed, there are
>decks that do 3 3/4 ips as well, switchable to 1 7/8 ips obviously.

I believe -- and I think the Tascam document at confirms --  that the stereo head
splits the mono track--unlike reel tapes. The problem described above
happens because alignments are never perfect. I see left-channel high,
right-channel high, and balanced mono tapes playing back on my Dragons.

>You can also have portastudio type units that have more than 4 tracks, some
>as many as 8 tracks.  Those 8 tracks are usually compressed with dbx noise
>reduction to make them usable in a multitrack format and the tape speed on
>such a unit is often 3 3/4 ips.

I believe all of the Tascam "Portastudio" (TM) have dbx but do not force
you to use it--at least the later models.

I do have a Syncaset 238 (8-track) and it only runs at 3.75 in/s --
fortunately when I need it to do something with a standard cassette, I can
record at 88.2 ks/s and halve it. By the way, the 238 records two groups of
4 channels and the two groups are NOT coincident in time...can we say
stagger-head stereo all over again?

As far as I know, cassettes were available at 15/16, 1-7/8, and 3-3/4 in/s.
There was, apparently, one Nakamichi cassette with "long play" that went to
15kHz at 15/16. Don Ososke and I calculated that it probably had a 0.00002
inch gap - 20 micro inches...I hope I got the correct number of zeros in
the first instance.