Hi, Karl,

I have run a few dozen paper based tapes on the APR-5000 and a few on 
the A80 and have been lucky enough to do every one which has been 
presented over the years.

The paper tape that I have seen (from both U.S. and Canadian sources, 
including Brush/Soundmirror boxed tape and Utah tape from Canada, as 
well as 3M and other unknown material) all seems to have held up 
reasonably well. I have not seen any that have been under water, but 
some were not particularly well-cared-for. The recordings generally are 
not great, especially the home-made ones.

The tearing issue is worse than acetate tape. The track configuration 
has been odd. The level is usually low enough that I find it difficult 
to conjure up any sort of developed image of the tracks. I do have a 
200-mil centre-track head for this purpose, but, on the other hand, I've 
also used 43-mil centre-track head (from a stereo NAB cartridge tape 
which is actually a 3-track head with the same track width as 1/4-track 

The 200 mil head seems a bit wide and the 43 mil head is a bit narrow. 
If I had a bunch where the utmost quality was needed, I'd try and 
mis-adjust the height of an NAB stereo head or maybe a DIN head to get 
the 82 or 100 mil track in the centre.

Some of the noise problem (and what drove me to the 43 mil head) seems 
to come from DC erasure which, as you know, is very noisy. So, even with 
the 200 mil head (cutting 40 mils off the tape width, it sounded as if 
too much erased-but-not-re-recorded tape face was being reproduced. It 
was generally quieter in the "rocks" department from the 43 mil head 
than the 200 on the tapes I've done that with, but the tape hiss 
(general Gaussian noise) increased, although that was easier to remove 
with Algorithmix Noise-Free pro than the rocks were, so I opted to go 
that route.

On a couple of odd tapes (and I now forget if they were paper or acetate 
or a mix), I ended up using a full-track head on a Studer A80 because it 
seemed that odd parts of the tape were erased. Grabbing as much of the 
signal as possible seemed like a good idea at the time. The client was 
happy. I wasn't but they got to hear what was on the tape.

As with any old and unknown-source/format tape, experimentation and your 
ears are your friends.



On 2012-09-21 2:03 PM, Karl Miller wrote:
> I wondered if anyone has had experience with paper based tapes and if so, are
> there any special problems associated with them.
> Thanks.
> Karl

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