Hi, Melodie,

It is hard to say precisely how bad it is. Many tapes if they did not 
have their ends secured (and please don't use clips that go into the 
tape pack inside the flanges, please see  for a safe way to do it) the outer layers become 
loose and the tape becomes, ummm, less flat.

This will usually behave reasonably well. As Lou pointed out, acetate 
and polyester tape will behave differently. This is usually more 
prevalent on acetate tape than polyester--at least that's where I've seen it.

Here are some winding articles from my blog...

It appears that deformed tapes will play better on some machines than 
others. This is an area where I find my A80s excel. However, I don't 
have as many track formats on the A80 as I do on other platforms. 
Also, if the tapes are full-track mono, playing them with a 
full-track head can work wonders -- it's a good rule to always match 
the head to the tape. Here is a really good method of determining how 
the is recorded

Here is a page about azimuth with an audio demo

Also, here is a page discussing matching tracks to heads -- this is 
the specific case of the very popular substitution of a DIN head for 
an NAB head in two-track stereo.

Gettnig back to the effect of the possible damage, while the physical 
damage certainly has a role to play, the "how bad is it" is as much 
-- or more -- a factor of the recording speed and the track width. 
This is crucial. A full-track 15 in/s tape that will play fine with a 
certain amount of damage would be rather unlistenable at 3.75 in/s 
quarter track, for example.



At 07:15 PM 2009-02-09, Frances, Melodie wrote:
>Forgive my newbie-ness but I am looking at a collection of reel-to-reel
>audio tapes that we have and I have noticed that some of them have what
>I would describe as kind of 'pre' cupping - that is, they aren't
>drastically curved and don't look like pictures of real cupping that I
>have seen, but they are a little bit curved, and when I look through the
>clear plastic reel, the outer 1/8 - 1/4 of an inch looks different from
>the rest of the tape - like it is not lying quite as flat.
>SO - how bad is this? Is there a word for this? I have looked around on
>the web but mostly found stuff about true cupping.

Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada       (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information:
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.