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Author Topic: Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!  (Read 9813 times)

Offline Lance Lawson

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Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!
« on: December 15, 2010, 12:14:07 AM »
Tapeheads.net has started a petition for Maxell to reintroduce reel to reel tape.  Please support this effort!

http://www.tapeheads.net/petition.htm

Thanks
Lance
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 12:39:11 AM by High and Outside »

Offline docb

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Re: Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2010, 11:26:25 AM »
From what I see on that petition you guys seem to think that Maxell could charge less than the current manufacturers. How did you come to that conclusion?
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 12:39:33 AM by High and Outside »
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Offline Lance Lawson

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Re: Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2010, 09:18:57 PM »
From what I see on that petition you guys seem to think that Maxell could charge less than the current manufacturers. How did you come to that conclusion?

I won't speak for other forum members there but whether or not Maxell can cost less is not the issue with me.  I simply realized that one of the two reel to reel tape manufacturers makes tape that is slit too wide for my deck.  The other manufacturer has come under recent scrutiny with shedding issues. 

It was suggested to me after I contacted the tape manufacturer of the tape I bought that I re-lap my entire transport to accommodate their "exacting slitting standards".  What got me thinking is that the exacting slitting standard employed by that company is supposedly the same as another famous former maker.  However I used the tape of the famous brand many times and it ran though my deck without issue and still does.  Seems to me the advice they gave me was the tail wagging the dog.  My deck is in great shape and has low time on it, and will run everything except the modern tape offered by that company.  The other current maker suggests that users run the tape through the deck a few times to dislodge any loose oxide or manufacturing debris.  To that I say why should the consumer have to put added time on this already old equipment just to get a tape to hopefully work.  We never had to resort to this kind of operating when 3M, Ampex, Maxell and BASF were still in the game.

In short I feel I shouldn't have to relap an entire tape path in order to utilize a certain brands tape.  And I certainly don't want to put added wear on my deck to clear manufacturing debris.  Nobody should have to either as  reel to reel tape is expensive!

If Maxell costs less great.  If it costs the same not bad.  If it's more expensive and runs without issue then its worth the upcharge. 
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 12:39:57 AM by High and Outside »

Offline High and Outside

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Re: Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2010, 05:38:01 PM »
Lance,
I was somewhat dubious when the petition was announced on the reel-to-reel list, mostly because the majority of the people on that list are bargain-hunters and won't buy the existing new tapes, complaining about the price. So I shared Doc's skepticism that there was a pent-up demand from people who would actually be willing to pay the price of new tape.

Then today the owner of tapeheads.net posted on the reel-to-reel list that there were actually two reasons for the petition. The first is the obvious one: the long shot possibility that Maxell would return to the production of analog tape. The second is:

"To send a load and clear message to ATR and RMGI that we are not all that thrilled with their offerings and if they wish to tap further into the already constrained tape market, they really need to offer up something that we want. If they are anything but fools, they should take the initial response and outpouring of support to this petition very seriously. For them to assume that we'll take 'whatever they feel like offering just because they are the only ones offering it' will ultimately prove disasterous. That kind of corporate hubris is never a strategy for long term survival. Remember how Ford and GM operated with that mindset in the 70's and were they eventually wound up? Unlike with them, there won't be a Federal bailout waiting to save their sorry asses."

Apparently he shares your dissatisfaction with the two existing manufacturers of new tape.

I want to make two points. First, if you really want to affect the behavior of ATR Magnetics or RMGI, I think this is a bass-ackwards approach. And the attitude shown in the above quote has never proven effective at moving companies in the direction you'd like them to go.

And the second point: I strongly disagree with your impression of the two existing manufacturers. We have used immense amounts of the new tape from both manufacturers, vastly more than any home user is likely to use in a lifetime, and find both the RMGI 468 and the ATR Master tapes to be superb. The machines we use, the Ampex ATR-100's, are sensitive to tape that is slit too wide, and we haven't had any problem along those lines with these two tapes. Overall I find them to be some of the best I've seen in my 40+ years in the recording business.

Not that I'd mind seeing Maxell tape back in the market, it was good too. Personally I have chosen not to sign the petition because I don't agree with the other attitude behind it, as I tried to make clear above.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 12:40:18 AM by High and Outside »
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Offline steveidosound

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Re: Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2010, 06:17:22 PM »
I will say that all of the Japanese "name brand" (Maxell and TDK) tape I have from the olden days is still just fine.
Can't quite say that for all of the American tape - though the old 3M is fine too.
Who is to say if any new stuff would be OK or competitive with current manufacturers ?
I guess there was a reason why pro studios in the US never used Japanese tape back then.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 12:40:37 AM by High and Outside »
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Offline docb

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Re: Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2010, 07:07:19 PM »
I'll just add to what Paul has said that I am more or less the destructive tester of our bunch, as I run and run and run the demo reels we use at shows and at the shop all the time. Both the RMGI and the ATR tape are clean, run nicely through the guides of the machines we use and leave very little residue. I've run both formulas through ATRs, Studer A80s and A810s, a Nagra T (for 8 hours a day at shows), various Technics and Otari 5050s with clean results and a flat pack.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 12:40:58 AM by High and Outside »
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Offline ironbut

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Re: Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2010, 07:51:32 PM »
There were some shedding issues with some early batches of RMGI tape. RMGI seems to have done their best to recall those early batches and restock their distributors.
Aside from those early growing pains, I've never had problems with the 468, 911 or LPR-35 that I've used.
That's not to say, that I've never had curling or oxide shed. But when I did, I've always found it to be an issue with my machine and my own darn fault.

I've also been in contact with Mike at ATR and he feels that his tape is manufactured to a higher standard than any other tape currently available. My motivation for contacting him was to educate myself about the process of magnetic tape production and was long before this petition was made. He stated that the slitting blades are dedicated to each tape width and type. " The slitting blades must be lapped and stacked to a .00005".  "
In other words, there are no adjustments other than having new blades made.

There could very well be an issue with playing ATR tape on some consumer grade machines. I know that I probably have 10s of hours (if not over 100) of making sure that the tape travels flat, down the center of each guide on my machine. This is an attempt to keep it from touching either edge too much. This means that every guide and roller is as close to 90 degrees from the face of the machine and at the correct height. All it takes is one head to be slightly tilted and all that goes to naught.

You might wonder, "Why the heck should I have to go through all that trouble just to use one brand of tape?"
And of course, you don't have to. For something like an ATR 100 or a Studer A80/820, this is a good starting point. Those heavy ass deck plates aren't just for looks. And the $$$ that it costs to replace something like a tensioner is probably much more than our machines cost. They are the result of a lot of sweat and blood so they'll stay in perfect alignment until they need to be replaced. On a consumer machine, the tensioners are probably riding on screws you can pick up at the local hardware store (or the same tolerances).
So, if you want to get the performance of a consumer grade machine as close to one of these studio machines as possible, it takes lots of time and experimenting around. Luckily, I love doing that kinda stuff but most folks would probably have me locked up if they had any idea.

So, would I have ATR produce a product that can be used in these "higher tolerance" machines? Absolutely not! After all, this is a product with the best studio machines in mind. It will be recording the live performances that the world of music lovers will be listening to forever.
RMGI tape if perfectly fine for all of us home recordists. So, please don't ask Mike to "dumb down" such a perfectionist product. There are far too few of them left in the world.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 12:41:17 AM by High and Outside »
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Offline Lance Lawson

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Re: Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2010, 12:35:24 AM »
Once again I'll say that I'm not looking for cheaper tape.  That said I'm reminded of something my engineer told me in 1980.  We were discussing tape during a break and I asked him what the best tape of the day was for my TEAC.  He replied Maxell UD XL.  Unfortunately I lived just a couple of hundred yards from a nice audio story that had great prices on Ampex.  So most of the time I went to that store in support of local business and because the Ampex was great tape while it lasted.  However I managed to buy a fair share of Maxell and my Maxell's, BASF and 3M are all that have survived.  30+ reels of Ampex got tossed before the treatment for sticky tape shed was discovered.

Clearly ATR is interested in the pro market and that's great for the pro market.  RMGI is mostly for the pro market.  If Maxell was not considered a pro market brand well that's OK because they made excellent tape of all types anyway.  BTW the studio I mentioned used Ampex and Maxell Cassettes for cassette use.  Mostly Maxell.  But the 3 Ampex cassettes I have from from that period are all unplayable from you guessed it STS.  Maxells are fine still. 

It has been brought up before that consumer tapes may actually  see more use per reel than pro reels.  For instance I have 8- 2" 16 & 24 track masters.  They were perhaps run 5 times each and once mixed to 1/4" haven't been run in almost 30 years.  The 1/4" mixed masters have been run about a dozen times but haven't been run in almost 30 years either.  However my "consumer tapes" were run dozens of times and recorded over many times also.  Many more times than would have been deemed prudent in the studio setting too.   So in many ways consumer tape needs to be more robust.   

I'm glad RMGI is making LPR 35 as it seems like its a possible  choice for me.  But the slitting bothers me and if there's a chance Maxell will agree to produce tape and its sized well and made well than we have 3 makers to choose from.  And what's wrong with choice?

Offline docb

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Re: Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2010, 11:23:08 AM »
Re multitrack tapes and the number of times they may have been run - when overdubbing and stacking tracks they can get run to death! I heard a story recently by Brian May about stacking tracks for Bohemian Rhapsody for so many passes that in the end he joked that he could see light through the oxide that was left.
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Offline High and Outside

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Re: Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2010, 07:08:01 PM »
if there's a chance Maxell will agree to produce tape and its sized well and made well than we have 3 makers to choose from.  And what's wrong with choice?

I'm with you there, Lance.

I guess there was a reason why pro studios in the US never used Japanese tape back then.

I think there were two reasons. The first is plain inertia. The pro studio business was conservative, in the sense that no one wanted to try something new if their current way of doing things was working. And second, most of the Japanese tape stock was optimized for slow speeds. Even if they were packaging it on 10" reels, the formulas were really aimed at 7-1/2 ips rather than at 15 or 30.
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Offline tandyman

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Re: Petition For MAXELL To Reintroduce Reel To Reel Tape!
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2011, 05:36:37 AM »
Once the production has come to an end, the chances of starting again are nil with big companies like Hitachi who branded the tape maxell,for domestic use the lpr35 is a good replacement.
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