Dear David,

Experience here suggests that the life of tape depends primarily on the
stock used, secondarily on certain qualities of the recording and recording
machine. The principal problem of recording more than one track on a tape
is that multiple tracks are narrower than full tracks and thus more
susceptible to damage and tracking problems. However, with good stock and
equipment, I've noticed little difference, except in print-through (since
tape is best stored in "played" position, which is only possible of course
for one of two tracks on a 2-track tape, unless one has recorded the same
signal on two parallel half-track channels.

Quarter-track tapes on 1/4-inch tape have such narrow tracks as to be
little better than audiocassettes for longevity and are extremely sensitive
to head alignment and differences between machines. So they are certainly
less reliable than half or full track tapes.

Sincerely, Richard

At 11:57 AM 3/15/2005 -0500, you wrote:
>----- Forwarded message from [log in to unmask] -----
>     Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005 11:47:15 -0500
>     From: [log in to unmask]
>Reply-To: [log in to unmask]
>  Subject: Longevity of half-track reel
>       To: [log in to unmask]
>I am writing from Oral History American Music with another question
>about analog reel.  Many years ago, some of our recorded interviews
>were duplicated onto half-track reel.  To conserve space, the staff
>recorded the first half of the recording in mono in the right channel,
>then flipped the reel over and recorded the second half on the other
>Are these reels less stable than those recorded full track mono or in
>stereo?  Is there a danger of print-through?  How about those recorded
>quarter track?
>One person advised us that half-track recording is generaly not
>advised, but I would appreciate your opinion.  Thanks in advance for
>any information you can provide.
>David Heetderks
>Oral History, American Music
>----- End forwarded message -----