Talk:Tape recorder

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Fixed head vs. rotary head recorders[edit]

I can't find anywhere in Wikipedia where there is a distinction between rotating head recorders and fixed head recorders. Am I missing it? -Willmcw 07:38, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

There is a lot more about the rotating head technology at helical scan. Graham 22:28, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Thanks, that's exactaly what I was looking for. Cheers -Willmcw 02:42, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

History of tape recording[edit]

Is there an article about the history of tape recording? When was the first tape recorder patented? When were they first sild commercially? SteveH 12:30, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

The first tape recorder was developed in Germany by AEG around 1935. See articles on Bing Crosby and Magnetophon for material on the history that should be included here. --Blainster 04:54, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Image was removed[edit]

[[Image:Tape recorder kinematics.jpg|thumb|450px|The construction of the 1970s single motor tape recorder.<br> 1 - lever, moving the pressing wheel; <br> 2 - rubber covered wheel, to press the tape to the leading wheel;<br> 3 - flywheel (stabilises the tape traction speed);<br> 4 - lover axis holder;<br> 5 - leading wheel (determines the tape traction speed);<br> 6 - spring;<br> 7 - detail, pressing the tape to the magnetic heads; <br> 8 - intermediate wheel; <br> 9 - electronical motor (one for both playing and tape rewinding); <br> 10 - rewind activation control; <br> 11 - 15 - tape traction speed selector; <br> 16, 34 - cloth - covered surface to create the friction force, preserving the constant tension of the tape (stronger friction is required on the tape accepting side); <br> 17, 30 - bottom side of the tape holder, rotates with the constant speed; <br> 18, 32 - top side of the tape holder, rotation speed depends from the remaining amount of the tape; <br> 19 - 22, 25, 28, 35 - belt gear to rotate the tape holders at reduced speed; <br> 23 - erasing magnetic head; <br> 24 - spring; <br> 26 - brake; <br> 21, 27, 31 - tape directors; <br> 29 - the universal magnetic head, used both for playing and recording;<br> 33 - pusher to apply the brakes; <br> 36, 37 - additional levers; <br> 38 - operating controls.]]

The above image was removed from wikipedia. I'm not sure why. Copying the info here so it's not lost. ---J.S (T/C) 07:17, 4 December 2006 (UTC)


maybe it should be included that the tape recorder is used as an instrument/to create effects in music like Dub —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:17, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Tapedeck speeds[edit]

I have merged some content from Tapedeck speeds into here. Feel free to change it, copyedit, shorten, etc. as needed. --B. Wolterding 17:40, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Head Bump[edit]

This is factually inaccurate: "Higher speeds used in professional recorders are prone to cause "head bumps," which are fluctuations in low-frequency response." (talk) 21:29, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

It's perfectly correct, though with modern equipment it's not an issue. Early tape machines had very large heads, often 2 inches across: at 30 inches/second the wavelength of low frequencies becomes comparable to the head size, with the result that at some frequencies the magnetic field tends to go round the head casing rather than the gap. As this varies with frequency the result is an uneven bass response ('bass woodles'). Modern heads are very much smaller and no-one was using 30 ips for some years even before digital replaced analogue tape, so the situation didn't arise.

RFWilmut (talk) 06:49, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Oscar Bonello[edit]

User:OscarJuan is Oscar Bonello in real life. He is a professor from Argentina who has done research in the field of tape recorders. He has recently been trying to have his work mentioned in Wikipedia. There was some discussion of this at Talk:Magnetic tape sound recording#latin american contribution. I've reverted his edit on this article for the same reasons as before. He has a clear conflict of interest and the edits are not especially relevant to the subject. -- Austin Murphy (talk) 15:49, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Ah, I see. It's unfortunate that those with the most access to images and research notes are the ones which would be in conflict of interest (WP:COI). Binksternet (talk) 16:54, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Missing history[edit]

The article skips from Alexander Graham Bell's paper tape recorder to wire recorders, and that's a huge technological leap. It also could use a bit more detail about the development of the BASF/AEG tape recorder, the first such machine that is comparable to present-day tape recorders. A few bits of information, partly from memory, that need to be researched and referenced:

  • The tape base was cellulose acetate plastic. It was thin and flexible, but also somewhat brittle. The technology was already in use as a base for motion picture film, except in a thicker version. Due to this fragility issue, the material was abandoned by the mid-1960s after DuPont developed Mylar in the 1950s.
  • The tape recorder's immediate predecessor, the wire recorder, had relatively low fidelity reproduction, comparable to telephone. Even the earliest AEG recorders had astoundingly good sound, which, on AM radios of the day, was virtually indistinguishable from a live broadcast.
  • Adolf Hitler made considerable use of the new technology, recording public addresses which were played back later over radio broadcasts. This reportedly confounded the Allies, as they could pick up these broadcasts and, knowing the locations of various broadcast transmitters, got the impression that Hitler was appearing in different locations in Germany such that he would have to travel at extreme speed to do so. The riddle wasn't solved until after the World War II, when the tape recording technology became available to the western Allies.
  • There's no mention of the development of the use of an AC bias signal in recording. Development of high fidelity recording on tape would have been absolutely impossible without it. (AC biasing was discovered by William L. Carson and T. W. Carpenter under the sponsorship of the U.S. Navy, and they received U.S. Patent 1,640,881 for their invention in 1927.) Prior to that, wire recorders used DC biasing and, later, AC biasing, but due to the characteristics of the recording medium, it was not possible to produce high fidelity recordings, and print-through was a big problem.
  • Some of the earliest commercial audio tape recorders were produced by Ampex Corporation in the United States in 1948. The earlier German AEG Magnetophon machines were not made available to the mass market.
  • Entertainer Bing Crosby became an early investor in Ampex when an associate of his at Bing Crosby Enterprises witnessed a demonstration of a Magnetophon tape recorder in 1947. Ampex tape recorders ended up being used by the thousands in the broadcast, audio recording and movie industries, and ownership in Ampex increased Crosby's personal wealth considerably.

One source for historical information is Magnetic Recording, by Charles E. Lowman (McGraw-Hill, 1972. ISBN 0-07-038845-8), although he makes no mention of the BASF/AEG connection, possibly due to embarrassment over the technology having been expropriated from its German inventors as spoils of war. (Lowman was Manager, Instrumentation Technical Writing for the Ampex Corporation and Senior Instructor, Ampex Training Department, at the time he wrote the book.)—QuicksilverT @ 23:41, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Additional citations[edit]

Why, what, where, and how does this article need additional citations for verification? Hyacinth (talk) 08:11, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

Aside from minor mention of video applications, Tape recorder and Magnetic tape sound recording appear to cover the same topic. I have proposed a merge. -—Kvng 15:57, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

A related article is Magnetic tape data storage. Similar principles at work. Binksternet (talk) 16:21, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Support. --Wtshymanski (talk) 18:15, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
I'd support merging MTSR into TR (leave a redirect behind, of course), but not MTDS. Jeh (talk) 19:34, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

 Done -—Kvng 21:34, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Steel tape paragraph was incorrect[edit]

There were serious errors in the paragraph about Steel tape. the Blattnerphone came first. The first one was installed in Broadcasting House in 1930 with a second shortly after, and new and improved versions in 1932. The Marconi-Stille, which addressed many of the technical problems the Blattnerphone suffered from, was first installed at Maida Vale in March 1935; though gradually superceded by disk and optical film the Marconi-Stilles continued in use until the late 1940s.

I have re-written this section using information from 'BBC Engineering 1922-1972' by Edward Pawley, plus some from colleagues who worked in Broadcasting House in the 1930s. RFWilmut (talk) 22:12, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the corrections and contributions. I've trimmed it a little to insure the it is WP:VERIFYABLE. ~KvnG 15:37, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the amendments. I've added a section on recording at the BBC and some photos. Because there are no non-copyright (in the USA) photos of the Blatterphone and other early machines I've included links to external pages which includes photos - I hope this is OK. RFWilmut (talk) 12:02, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

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More info needed (somewhere) on the quarter-track stereo format[edit]

Hans Haase (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) has added to the RCA tape cartridge article an EL to a YouTube video about the RCA TC format. This was a worthy addition. I don't think we could use it as a RS, but it's fine as an EL. It adds much interesting detail. The YT poster, "techmoan", is quite technically competent.

It includes one claim that I had not heard before (and, unlike the YT poster, the RCA TC is not quite before my time; my high school language lab used them, though were a few years out of production by then and as an A/V volunteer it was my job to operate them for the teachers).

We all know that the standard consumer four-track format for stereo on quarter-inch tape interleaved the A-side tracks wit the B-side tracks. Like this:

     A side left --->
<--- B side right 
     A side right --->
<--- B side left

What was, to me, new info from the claim that the RCA TC machines were the first consumer stereo tape machines at all, and that this interleaved track format was invented by RCA for this application! And that only later did reel-to-reel machines come out that used the same scheme.

Wow, really? was my reaction.

I couldn't find any info on this point in other Wikipedia articles, nor in my hardcopy library. Matter of fact I can find darn little mention of the interleaved quarter-track stereo format at all on WP. It's not mentioned much at Reel-to-reel audio tape recording, nor at Tape recorder. afaict it is described most completely in the Compact cassette article, and of course CCs use a different track layout! I can't even find a version of the above crude ASCII diagram.

(The RCA TC machines in high school were of course mono (no need for stereo there). We did have ONE stereo-capable quarter-track r-r machine, a Wollensak 1500 variant that had a knob to let you move the head for stereo or mono use. In "mono" the left-channel head was in a position roughly in the middle of a mono half-track. It was a mechanically sloppy mechanism and naturally the heads were never quite properly aligned for at least one of the positions, and more often were misaligned for both.)

So: Who actually invented the quarter-track stereo format, and on what consumer machine did it first appear? Was it really the RCA TC? What might be useful would be a magazine article describing the introduction of the first r-to-r stereo consumer machine... and see if it references the RCA TC. More generally, there needs to be more info about this format on WP. It is strange that we have an article on Multitrack recording but none on quarter-track stereo.

n.b.: None of the "history of tape recording" ELs here go into any detail about quarter-track stereo. Jeh (talk) 23:09, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

Jeh, googling for pictures titled with tape head, You get lots like such: [1][2]. The reason we are used to know from compact cassette, left and right track are a placed next to each other, to make the former mono track compatible with the stereo tracks. This tape head was to build a little more complicated due bringing the gap where the tape touches the head to the other side of the head. The dual track reel machine was not compatible to the single track reel or still using the first or left channel only with losts due when not hitting the track. This sample shows how the head is built. In production placing a straight built magnetic core straight into the head case, You need space for the copper wire.[3] For this reason it is an idea to place the right track of the first side to the 3rd of 4 tracks as show in the RCA cassette product image film. In reel tape machines, the number of heads was not specified or restricted to the specifations of a cartridge format. Much of the autoreverse compact cassette recorders used a two track flipping head with attached erase head. Play only compact cassette drives used a 4 track head, but recording required not to use the head as a passive device similar to a dynamic microphone, only. This requires stronger wires. Without any success, I was looking for X-Ray pictures of tape heads, which would be important to have a look inside. I was first time taking an closer look to the reel tape machine here and it confirmed the track alignment: 1L 2R 1R 2L, where Side 1 only is active, 2 to be used when the reels were exchanged to use side 2. I never owned a Fidelipac. So I did not try to run the tape on the reel tape machine. Today I know, some modification would be neccessary or even shift the head like Fidelipac or 8-Track drives do. But, 8-Track and stereo compact cassette still use half width tracks. --Hans Haase (有问题吗) 10:05, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
Sigh. I know all that. What I'm getting at is that WP needs to cover this info, with the history, and with reliable sources. If it is true that the RCA TC was first to implement stereo tape this way, and that r-to-r machines followed, that should be documented as that was certainly a surprise to me. I doubt the needed resources are online. Jeh (talk) 11:19, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
You have the RCA cassette product image film, complete avail on YouTube![4][5] You have lots of pictures of tape heads with wear on the web. I will soon restore a reel2reel machine and take sone pictures, but not this week. The only barrier we have, in the 1950s was no internet avail, making only reposted material avail. --Hans Haase (有问题吗) 15:20, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
THe RCA film doesn't claim that it was the first format to use interleaved stereo tracks, and anyway, that would be a primary source. Nor will any amount of pictures of tape heads (and if they didn't come from a RS, they count as OR). Nor will anything we say at each other. It is unquestionable that consumer r-r used the interleaved format as did the RCA TC, but the question I have is: when did the consumer r-r happen? Was it before, after, or simultaneous with the RCA TC? And were there any other attempts at different formats of stereo on tape for consumers before that?
I'm looking here for reliable secondary or tertiary sources for the history of consumer stereo tape formats. (NONE of the ELs here that are titled "history of audio tape recording" or similar even mention the subject.) Not just descriptions of the formats. You're right, a lot of this stuff is not searchable online. Well, I'm overdue for a trip to the main library downtown. Jeh (talk) 15:59, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
The RCA cartridge was also called Magazine Loading Cartridge and Techmaon explained, it was made to bring the reel2reel quality to other customers, which imlicates the non-enthusiasts or just housewifes which the RCA product image film clearly shows. While the Compact Cassette already specifies the size of the tape head, the RCA cartrige still was open and only guides were installed. here is an overview. This manual describes another stereo variant as well, not to be confused with the numbering of the tracks, just follow the pictures. This manual is from earlyer machine, but I see, the German were not leading this technology which means, check for user manuals by reel2reel machine by year. --Hans Haase (有问题吗) 08:59, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

File:RadioShack-ctr-119.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:RadioShack-ctr-119.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on September 17, 2017. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2017-09-17. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 03:15, 2 September 2017 (UTC)

RadioShack cassette recorder
A cassette recorder, produced and sold by RadioShack. Such portable tape recorders used Compact Cassettes to record audio using built-in microphones. This audio could then be played back on any cassette deck.Photograph: Evan Amos