No, it wasn't the same content on any 2 tracks. I went with about equally loud portions, which would 
be probably vowel sounds, but keep in mind that there were compressors and limiters back in the day, 
so voice modulation could be kept within a pretty narrow range. As long as the scope showed a 
relatively tight line, I went with it being close enough for the purpose at hand. It was just bursts 
of similar-amplitude sound, as opposed to a steady tone. Definitely not something to do on critical 
stereo music. These were "4-track mono" tapes -- different program on all 4 tracks. 1200 feet, 
recorded at 3.75IPS, so four hours of content per tape. I transferred at 7.5IPS, so the client got 4 
hours of content per half hour of studio time. Net-net, he spent a about a grand to get all his OTR 
content into his computer. The quality was way better than trying to replace it on the cheap from 
those 64kbps MP3 sellers. Plus he had some rare stuff.

Another thing I made sure to do was listen carefully to each of the forward tracks, make sure the 
tape hiss and disk surface noise sounded about the same, made sure one didn't sound too lopped off 
on top. Whatever worked for the two forward tracks worked for the two reverse tracks.

I agree with Ellis and others that I don't understand why polarity is reversed on the reverse 
tracks. I do understand about swapping the channels when it's two stereo tracks. Could someone 
verify the polarity reverse and explain it?

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ellis Burman" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 4:16 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Tape dubbing backwards?

> So, the same program was recorded on tracks 1 and 4?
> Ellis
> On Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 12:47 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>> Hi Ellis:
>> No, I was just looking at a scope with spoken-word material on the top and
>> bottom track. They were also recordings from transcription records, so
>> there was quite a bit of record noise. I was surprised how many times there
>> would be a loud sound at the same time for both tracks, often enough to
>> verify that azimuth wasn't way off. This is inexact, to say the least, but
>> everything sounded surprisingly good.
>> The whole 4 tracks at once thing gets into craft vs. science.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Ellis Burman" <
>> [log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 3:18 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Tape dubbing backwards?
>>  Hi Tom.  If is was a 4-track mono tape, how did you check the azimuth?
>>> Was
>>> there phase coherent tones or pink noise on all four tracks?  That seems
>>> highly unlikely to me.
>>> Best,
>>> Ellis Burman
>>> On Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 8:59 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>>> wrote:
>>>  I've never tried doing all four tracks of a quarter-track stereo of
>>>> high-fidelity music all at once using my Tascam 44-OB, but I have had no
>>>> problems doing some OTR (4-track mono) tapes. The quality going in
>>>> sucked,
>>>> so the client was very happy to save money not paying for 4 passes across
>>>> the heads. I was actually surprised at how good it did sound. He told me
>>>> his dubs were second-generation from transfers of transcriptions (so
>>>> either
>>>> 3rd or 4th generation from the transmission line). He had been smart
>>>> enough
>>>> to use a good quality deck (I forgot he told me it was Pioneer or Teac,
>>>> later-generation so with direct drive capstan and decent azimuth
>>>> stability). On my scope, the azimuth looked OK between tracks 1 and 4,
>>>> so I
>>>> figured I was probably getting pretty good fidelity out of all 4 tracks,
>>>> especially considering the relatively lo-fi source. His smartest moves in
>>>> making the tapes were doing them at 7.5IPS and using well-slit Maxell UD
>>>> tape. We also transferred at double speed (7.5IPS of 3.75IPS material),
>>>> and
>>>> again this did not effect the sound quality of OTR source material very
>>>> negatively. The guy got 4 hours of transfer material for every half hour
>>>> of
>>>> tape machine on the clock time. As I said up front, I would never do this
>>>> for high-fidelity musical recordings.
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard L. Hess" <
>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 11:49 AM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Tape dubbing backwards?
>>>>  Some of the four-track in-line heads cheated down a little from the
>>>>> standard 43 mil track width, but I think it was down to 38 mils to allow
>>>>> for better crosstalk. This is not well documented...but then again we
>>>>> have
>>>>> a variation of at least 75-82 mils in "NAB" two track heads. At this
>>>>> point,
>>>>> if one is dealing with more than three tracks on 1/4-inch tapes there
>>>>> are
>>>>> usually larger issues than this.
>>>>> On 2015-03-09 9:09 PM, Dave Radlauer wrote:
>>>>>  Careful there, I don't think there's a one to one relation between
>>>>>> 4-track
>>>>>> and 1/4 track formats, but I'm sure more knowledgeable voices will
>>>>>> chime
>>>>>> in.
>>>>>> Dave R
>>>>>>  --
>>>>> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
>>>>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
>>>>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
>>> --
>>> Ellis
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> 818-846-5525
> -- 
> Ellis
> [log in to unmask]
> 818-846-5525