One of the audiophile record labels, I think it was Mobile Fidelity, had or contracted with an 
operation that did real-time dubbing, allegedly off a direct copy (2nd generation) from the master 
tape. These tapes sold for as much or more than the pricey records, so I don't know how many they 

Those Telex duplicators were common for audiobooks because you wouldn't do massive copy runs of more 
obscure books, after all how many libraries or individuals would pay dozens or hundreds of dollars 
for a given non-bestseller. They also became common in studios that made commercials for radio, 
before digital distribution and production.

If I recall correctly, Otari made a self-contained duplication system using a 4-track reel and I 
think four or eight slaves on the main unit. I'm not sure how many extra slave units you could 

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Scott" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 9:32 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DATs DELETED but not LPs (was: 15/16 Recording Speed)

>I had the good fortune (miss fortune?) of having to get factory trained on
> servicing high speed bin-fed cassette duplicators for large facilities. They
> were absolutely built like tanks with very, very good heads, both playback
> and record heads. They were also very, very trying to set up perfectly.
> Controlling azimuth, tape path, and bias among other things took quite
> literally forever to get right, particularly in a room full of cassette tape
> on 14" pancakes in 40 record-only decks. That said, if the tape was good
> quality, and you did everything right (including set up the air-driven bin
> loop platter) the frequency response was quite remarkable. I always ran my
> QC of the adjustments after the test recordings made it to a shell for final
> insurance. Needless to say, I do NOT look fondly back on those experiences.
> Who knows what happened 10 minutes after I left the places..!
> Scott
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
> Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 7:35 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DATs DELETED but not LPs (was: 15/16 Recording
> Speed)
> The biggest problem with the duped cassettes was azimuth and also Dolby
> tracking. You actually could get the frequency response OK up into the high
> octaves. Richard Hess probably knows about this, I'm guessing you have to
> use very precise head gaps. But you can have these wonderful heads and the
> best intentions but then when you use a POS cheapo tape type, run your dupes
> on an Ampex 3200 varient transport and load the result into garbage shells,
> not even the best tape deck can play them back worth a damn.
> I was never that conservative about recording levels on cassettes, I'd let
> my peak levels get over 0 but the average level would be below or just at 0
> depending on how compressed the source was (yes, there was toothpaste
> mastering in the LP era, especially with rock records). Dolby HX was a
> really good idea and it's too bad it didn't catch on more widely. Luckily, I
> didn't adopt Dolby C until the CD era, so very few cassettes that I couldn't
> just get the CD were made with that system. The problem with Dolby C is that
> it gets to terribly mis-tracking as the cassette naturally loses its level
> over time.
> And yes, them young 'uns today have no idea the geeky rituals us gray dudes
> used to go through to hear decent-fidelity music on the go!
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Michael Shoshani" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 7:49 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DATs DELETED but not LPs (was: 15/16 Recording
> Speed)
>> On Thu, 2011-01-13 at 19:21 -0500, Tom Fine wrote:
>>> But, none of this warm and fuzzy nostalgia will make those piece of
> garbage pre-duped tapes sold
>>> to
>>> the Walkman Generation sound any better. They were disposable junk, and
> almost all of them ended
>>> up
>>> in landfills in the 90's, replaced by much better sounding CD's. I never
> fell for the trap since
>>> I
>>> could dub my own tapes.
>> Same here. I never understood how high speed commercial dubbing worked
>> in the first place; it seems that all the high frequencies would be well
>> out of the reproduction and recording range of the equipment involved.
>> I made my own LP to cassette dubs, carefully setting the recording level
>> to kick just below -0 db on the loudest passages so as not to ride gain
>> constantly.
>> My children will never know such geeky joys. :)
>> Michael Shoshani
>> Chicago