In a message dated 3/15/2005 12:09:52 PM Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:
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

A half century ago this would have been good advice because half track
recording makes scissors and tape editing impossible and reduces signal-to noise
ratio.  Also, there might be playback incompatibilities on machines with other
head formats. I used to use full track solely so that the tape could be played
back on 2 track and four track players (and even 8-track if you wanted to!).

On the other hand, for long term storage, full track is very sensitive to
azimuth drift as the tape distorts with age. Also 2 or 4 track tapes don't have
to be rewound before or after playing, so you end up with a better tape pack.

All things considered, it is unlikely that track format really relates much
to longevity; more to the quality of the original recording.