Top 44 How To Tell If Tape Heads Are Worn The 127 Top Answers

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How long do tape heads last?

Serious Tapehead

A re-lapped ‘glass head might last for another 2000 hours.

How long do reel to reel heads last?

Most organizations say magnetic tapes, such as reel-to-reel, should last around 20 years. But some people on online forums state they’ve had tapes lasting more than fifty years due to safe storage.

How long does a microcassette last?

The original standard microcassette, the MC60, gives 30 minutes recording per side at its standard speed of 2.4 cm/s, and double that duration at 1.2 cm/s; an MC90, giving 45 minutes per side @ 2.4 cm/s, is also available from a few manufacturers.

What are tape heads made of?

Tape heads are made from rings of ferromagnetic material with a gap where the tape contacts it so the magnetic field can fringe out to magnetize the emulsion on the tape. A coil of wire around the ring carries the current to produce a magnetic field proportional to the signal to be recorded.

How often should tape heads be cleaned?

Toss what you don’t use. Most cassette decks need tape path cleaning after every side when recording, unless you have one of the few exotic decks like the Nak Dragon that had a great transport with lifters to hold the pressure pad away.

Can you clean tape heads with alcohol?

Rubbing alcohol contains too much water per volume (>25%), which does nothing to help clean tape heads and pinch rollers, and in addition it contains additives like scented oils which, again, not only don’t they help, but they may hinder cleaning or even leave everything coated with an invisible film of oil.

Do not clean tape heads before use?

Here is our guide to Reel-to-Reel Head and Tape Path Cleaning. The rule of thumb at a recording studio is to clean the tape path before every recording session – and that is with usually using new tape! Even a new tape can shed a tiny bit of oxide, which can affect tape performance.

What do you clean tape heads with?

Alcohol (usually isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol), effective for cleaning heads and guide rollers. Acetone, an effective solvent although it may damage plastics. Amyl nitrite and other nitrites marketed as video head cleaners.

Can you use surgical spirit to clean tape heads?

So just wanted to know how u all clean the tape head? Hi, I used to use surgical spirit with a soft cloth. Worked well. Also sometimes if you feel you are loosing out on clarity, use a fine Philips screw driver to tune the head.

What is tape azimuth?

Azimuth recording is the use of a variation in angle between two recording heads that are recording data so close together on magnetic tape that crosstalk would otherwise likely occur. Normally, the head is perpendicular to the movement of the tape, and this is considered zero degrees.

How do you adjust tape azimuth?

Azimuth adjustment using a screwdriver: In more primitive tape machines, azimuth is adjusted by turning a screw (I think it’s a bolt, not a screw, but whatever). This bolt probably drives a worm gear, thus allows a quarter turn of the bolt to make a fractional-degree change in the head’s alignment.

How long does audio tape last?

When properly cared for, your audio cassette tapes have a lifespan of 30 years. However, many factors can shorten that lifespan considerably. By this time, you’ve probably done the math. It has been almost 40 years which means your cassette tapes could be at risk!

How long does analog tape last?

Because whether you like it or not, 30 years is the average life of a cassette tape.

Are reel to reels still used?

Because digital audio recording technology advanced over the years, with development of cassette-based tape recording formats (such as DAT) and tapeless recording, digital reel-to-reel audio recording is now obsolete, also because no new metal particle reel tapes for digital audio recording are manufactured today – …

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How do you store reel-to-reel tape?

Store open reel and cassette tapes with the reels or tape packs vertical. Reels should be supported by the hub. [Tapes should be stored like books on a library shelf – on end. They should not be stored laying flat.]


Lapping is a Myth? | More diagnostics for cassette magnetic heads
Lapping is a Myth? | More diagnostics for cassette magnetic heads


How to tell if tape heads are good? | Audiokarma Home Audio Stereo Discussion Forums

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  • Summary of article content: Articles about How to tell if tape heads are good? | Audiokarma Home Audio Stereo Discussion Forums Run your fingernail across the head. If you can feel a rge, the heads are worn. KevinJS, May 14, 2017. …
  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for How to tell if tape heads are good? | Audiokarma Home Audio Stereo Discussion Forums Run your fingernail across the head. If you can feel a rge, the heads are worn. KevinJS, May 14, 2017. I get a lot of tape decks to flip.
    People ask for photos of the heads.
    All heads look OK to me.
    I can understand commercial decks that may have passed…
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How to tell if tape heads are good? | Audiokarma Home Audio Stereo Discussion Forums
How to tell if tape heads are good? | Audiokarma Home Audio Stereo Discussion Forums

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Typically how long do heads last for? | Tapeheads.net

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  • Summary of article content: Articles about Typically how long do heads last for? | Tapeheads.net Updating …
  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for Typically how long do heads last for? | Tapeheads.net Updating I realise that the tape type probably has an effect, but if one were mainly using Type I and II pseudo-chromes, how long are heads expected to last before…
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Typically how long do heads last for? | Tapeheads.net
Typically how long do heads last for? | Tapeheads.net

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Clean and Demagnetize Your Heads!… On Your Cassette Deck – YouTube

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  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for Clean and Demagnetize Your Heads!… On Your Cassette Deck – YouTube Updating The most important maintenance for cassette decks is cleaning and demagnetizing the record and playback tape heads. I discuss different types of head cleane…Cassette, Cassette Deck, Head Cleaner, Head Cleaning, Cassette Head Cleaner, Demagnetize, Demagnetizer, Demagnatize, Technics RS-M7, Technics M7, Sharp RT-31, Nakamichi, Nakamichi BX-100, Nakamichi MR-1, SV808, Cassette Head, Head Cleaning Fluid, Capstan, Playback Head, Record Head, Erase Head, Wooly Willy, Magnet, ThriftyAV, Thrifty AV, Thrifty A/V, Tape Head, Demag, Tape Deck, 3 Head, Cassette Tape, demagnetize tape heads, cassette deck, cassette tape, tape deck, head cleaner
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Clean and Demagnetize Your Heads!...  On Your Cassette Deck - YouTube
Clean and Demagnetize Your Heads!… On Your Cassette Deck – YouTube

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How Long Does Reel-to-Reel Audio Last?
– Kodak Digitizing

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    – Kodak Digitizing Updating …
  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for How Long Does Reel-to-Reel Audio Last?
    – Kodak Digitizing Updating All good things must come to an end, and magnetic tape audio recordings are no exception. Reel-to-reel was the first form of audio magnetic tape recordings and even though they are still considered to have the best sound quality of all audio forms, reel-to-reel tapes do adhere to a limited lifespan.  Just like cassette
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How Long Does Reel-to-Reel Audio Last?
– Kodak Digitizing
How Long Does Reel-to-Reel Audio Last?
– Kodak Digitizing

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INTERFACE Tips Tricks How To: Clean, Align and Demagnetize A Cassette Deck – YouTube

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  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for INTERFACE Tips Tricks How To: Clean, Align and Demagnetize A Cassette Deck – YouTube Updating JC show you hot to properly maintain you tape deck and get the top audio performance from it. live.scottydonline.comAudio, video, recording, music, hi-fi, stereo, pc, professional, records, lp, vinyl, phono, sound, production, pa, mobile, entertainment, archiving, dj, electronics, computer, mp3, CD, studio, software, hardware, interface, webcast, gear, vintage, editing, tape, recorder, mixer, player, media, storage
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INTERFACE Tips Tricks How To: Clean, Align and Demagnetize A Cassette Deck - YouTube
INTERFACE Tips Tricks How To: Clean, Align and Demagnetize A Cassette Deck – YouTube

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Tape machine experts please HELP! How do you know when tape heads are shot? | Steve Hoffman Music Forums

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  • Summary of article content: Articles about Tape machine experts please HELP! How do you know when tape heads are shot? | Steve Hoffman Music Forums To see if your heads are worn, you can simply look at them. They will normaly have a little curve in the center. If they are worn, their faces … …
  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for Tape machine experts please HELP! How do you know when tape heads are shot? | Steve Hoffman Music Forums To see if your heads are worn, you can simply look at them. They will normaly have a little curve in the center. If they are worn, their faces … Hi guys, I’ve had my tape heads on different machines replaced before but it’s been a long time. From what I remember they sounded horrible every…
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Tape machine experts please HELP! How do you know when tape heads are shot? | Steve Hoffman Music Forums
Tape machine experts please HELP! How do you know when tape heads are shot? | Steve Hoffman Music Forums

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Heads. How to determine visual wear? | Tapeheads.net

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  • Summary of article content: Articles about Heads. How to determine visual wear? | Tapeheads.net In the more distant times when open reel was dominant, a simple rule of the thumb (I mean literally) applied: gle your finger nail over the … …
  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for Heads. How to determine visual wear? | Tapeheads.net In the more distant times when open reel was dominant, a simple rule of the thumb (I mean literally) applied: gle your finger nail over the … So i am curious as to how one would determine how much wear your heads have endured over their lifetime. Flat spots?craters? How much magnification would…
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Heads. How to determine visual wear? | Tapeheads.net
Heads. How to determine visual wear? | Tapeheads.net

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Audio Tape Recorder Heads that have gone BAD !!!

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  • Summary of article content: Articles about Audio Tape Recorder Heads that have gone BAD !!! You can see from the wear-pattern that the head has a large flat area where the tape hits the head… … indicates the head gap on that channel is opening up… …
  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for Audio Tape Recorder Heads that have gone BAD !!! You can see from the wear-pattern that the head has a large flat area where the tape hits the head… … indicates the head gap on that channel is opening up… tape recorder heads, bad heads, headstacks, bad headstack, open heads, worn heads, blown heads Tips and Tricks for Analog Tape Recorders…..what BAD HEADS look like
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 Audio Tape Recorder Heads that have gone BAD !!!
Audio Tape Recorder Heads that have gone BAD !!!

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Worn head – FixYourAudio

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  • Summary of article content: Articles about Worn head – FixYourAudio Worn head. Some facts about tape heads. Worn or not worn? That is the question. Poor output sound quality, loss of heights … …
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Worn head - FixYourAudio
Worn head – FixYourAudio

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How to Tell If Tape Heads Are Worn – Who What When Dad

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  • Summary of article content: Articles about How to Tell If Tape Heads Are Worn – Who What When Dad When it comes to inspecting your tape machines, it is important to know how to spot abnormal head wear. You can determine abnormal head wear by observing … …
  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for How to Tell If Tape Heads Are Worn – Who What When Dad When it comes to inspecting your tape machines, it is important to know how to spot abnormal head wear. You can determine abnormal head wear by observing … When it comes to inspecting your tape machines, it is important to know how to spot abnormal head wear. You can determine abnormal head wear by observing how the tape patterns appear. Generally, the tape pattern should be rectangular and centered over the gap. One common sign of worn heads is flaring at the top
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Signs of abnormal head wear

Signs of a bad bias oscillator

Signs of a bad switching circuit or record switch

Using a signal generator or oscillator to align a tape machine

Cleaning a tape head

How to Tell If Tape Heads Are Worn - Who What When Dad
How to Tell If Tape Heads Are Worn – Who What When Dad

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How to check cassette deck head condition? | Headphone Reviews and Discussion – Head-Fi.org

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  • Summary of article content: Articles about How to check cassette deck head condition? | Headphone Reviews and Discussion – Head-Fi.org Remember to bring along a tiny flashlight when you go cassette deck shopping, make sure you look at the tape head at different angles to check … …
  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for How to check cassette deck head condition? | Headphone Reviews and Discussion – Head-Fi.org Remember to bring along a tiny flashlight when you go cassette deck shopping, make sure you look at the tape head at different angles to check … I realize most on this forum would probably not be very interested in this but I know there are a quite a few analog enthusiasts. My question (as a newbie)…
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How to check cassette deck head condition? | Headphone Reviews and Discussion - Head-Fi.org
How to check cassette deck head condition? | Headphone Reviews and Discussion – Head-Fi.org

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Worn tape heads – UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum

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  • Summary of article content: Articles about Worn tape heads – UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum A groove in the heads isn’t a good sign – the heads are getting worn, but there may be some life in them. Also (especially if you’re looking at … …
  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for Worn tape heads – UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum A groove in the heads isn’t a good sign – the heads are getting worn, but there may be some life in them. Also (especially if you’re looking at … Worn tape heads, vintage radio, vintage wireless, antique radio, antique wireless, repair, restore, valve, tube, wireless, radio, classic audio, vintage television, old radio, forum, discuss Worn tape heads Vintage Tape (Audio), Cassette, Wire and Magnetic Disc Recorders and Players
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 Worn tape heads - UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum
Worn tape heads – UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum

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How to visually inspect Reel to Reel Tape Heads? – Gearspace.com

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  • Summary of article content: Articles about How to visually inspect Reel to Reel Tape Heads? – Gearspace.com Once a head is worn a bit you can start to see the “wear pattern” with the naked eye… but that will only tell you whether or not the tape path on the … …
  • Most searched keywords: Whether you are looking for How to visually inspect Reel to Reel Tape Heads? – Gearspace.com Once a head is worn a bit you can start to see the “wear pattern” with the naked eye… but that will only tell you whether or not the tape path on the … How to visually inspect Reel to Reel Tape Heads?, gearspace, gearspace.com, gearslutz, gearslutz.com, recording, studio, microphone, mic pre, compressor, equalizer, pro tools, DAW, Cubase, SSL, Neve, Helios, review, reviewsLooking to buy a tape machine and was wondering if there is anyway to visually tell the condition and life percentage left of a tape head.
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How to visually inspect Reel to Reel Tape Heads? - Gearspace.com
How to visually inspect Reel to Reel Tape Heads? – Gearspace.com

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Typically how long do heads last for?

I’m sure A.N.T. could answer this better but I can offer my observations from what I have seen.

Cassette heads do wear out for sure but not as fast as open reel heads. This is just due to simple physics. Cassette tape speed is 1 7/8 ips (pretty slow), while open reel is normally 3 3/4 to 7 1/2 ips. Serious machines can run at 15 ips or faster for pro studio stuff. Where open reel head wear is a serious problem these days, for most cassette decks, this is just beginning to become a problem. There are no new heads being made anymore. Everything still out there is NOS, if you can find it. If you can’t find it, you have to adapt what you can find, use a lower hours head from another machine or try to lap the head you have.

What I have observed is that genuine Nakamichi heads lifespan is excellent. I think that is because it is a combination of the material used in their heads, Crystalloy, and the fact that all of them that are dual capstan have a pad lifter. The heads used on their Sankyo based two headers aren’t actually Nakamichi heads, they were made by Canon or ALPS. In any case, the single capstan decks don’t use a pad lifter and I have seen some considerable wear on those heads. The three head Sankyo deck heads are genuine Nakamichi heads and I haven’t had any problems with those.

The only genuine Nak heads I did have a problem with were both from auto-reverse machines, one a Dragon and the other an RX-505. Both had significant wear that was noticeable on the test meters but still sounded pretty good. So the moral of that story is don’t let your auto reverse deck play itself to death!

The classic transport machines were all dual capstan, regardless of two head or three, they all used the tape pad lifter.

Classic Pioneer CT-F series heads that I have come across seem to be mostly worn out. The ones I deal with are mostly the three head decks like the CT-F900’s and higher (mostly) which use either a ferrite or sendust sandwich type of head. In most cases the PB head is worn to the point that it is noticeable on the test meter but can still be brought back somewhat with the tuning coils. The record heads however, some have been so bad that they start to lose their ability to print signal as low as 4000 Hz. So 8, 10 or 15K? Fugettaboutit!

So to make a long story short: Nak heads-good. Auto reverse-bad. Tape pad lifter-good. Pioneer CT-F heads-good luck!

How Long Does Reel-to-Reel Audio Last?

All good things must come to an end, and magnetic tape audio recordings are no exception.

Reel-to-reel was the first form of audio magnetic tape recordings and even though they are still considered to have the best sound quality of all audio forms, reel-to-reel tapes do adhere to a limited lifespan.

Just like cassette tapes and VHS tapes, reel-to-reel recordings will slowly degrade over time. But this degradation can be reduced by properly storing your reel-to-reel tapes.

The following tips will ensure a long lifespan:

– Store reel-to-reel tapes away from heat, humidity, and light

– Properly pack away reel-to-reel with the “tails” out in an upright position

– Keep reel-to-reels away from other devices with magnetic fields such as computer hard drives, generators, and electric buzzers

Nonetheless, safe storage isn’t the only factor at play when it comes to reel-to-reel longevity. The amount of times the reel-to-reel tape is played is just as important. After about 50 plays, degradation on a reel-to-reel tape will become slightly noticeable to acute listeners. The average half-life is considered between 200-500 plays. And 1,000 plays of a reel-to-reel will come close to the end of life (EOL) for the tape.

In addition, this play and storage time is dependent on the size of your reel-to-reel. A 1/2 inch tape lasts longer than the 1/4 inch reel-to-reel tapes because the tracks are further apart.

Okay, so let’s say your tapes have been properly stored and still have a good half-life, how long will the reel-to-reel audio last before its magnetic tape deteriorates?

Unfortunately, this answer isn’t very clear. Most organizations say magnetic tapes, such as reel-to-reel, should last around 20 years. But some people on online forums state they’ve had tapes lasting more than fifty years due to safe storage.

Recent research implemented by the US Library of Congress has even discovered that baking reel-to-reel tapes in a convection oven at 130 degrees may be able to reverse tape damage by melting the sticky residues back onto the tape’s polymer layer. But keep in mind this research is still ongoing and is only tested in lab-graded professional ovens.

Even if you’re not a Library of Congress polymer chemist, there are still other tried-and-true ways to protect your reel-to-reel audio tapes. The most foolproof way to keep your audio intake is by digitizing your reel-to-reel tapes with KODAK Digitizing Box. This way you’ll have your audio preserved in digital formats just in case your reel-to-reel tapes start to show degradation.

Tape machine experts please HELP! How do you know when tape heads are shot?

markytheM said:

Thanks Kent. I’ll call them tomorrow. It can’t be a relapping charge though because the tech said my heads were beyond relapping. Why it took him 2 months to tell me this I’ll never know. Shouldn’t any tech worth his salt be able to just look at the heads (the minute I bring the deck in) and tell me? I really don’t want to even deal with him anymore.

I’m exploring my ebay options now too.

Do you guys have a preference between a newer Otari MX-50 or the Revox PR99 Mk II? Steve, what do you think?

Peace Love and tech NO!

Marky

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