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Thread: 'tails', in or out?

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    student8's Avatar
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    'tails', in or out?

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    Quick question:

    - Can someone explain to me (again, in VERY simplistic terms) what the deal is with 'tails in or out' on a reel of tape & what that exactly means?

    * I mean, what exactly is it and/or the difference?

    * Is this just a 'personal preference' some people have, or is it something you 'have' to always do?

    - well, anyways - I think you get the idea - ANY help on this would be great, because it's REALLY confusing the heck out of me!!, (especially with all of this business about 'flipping' the tape over on one side and 'fast-forwarding' it on the other side - etc, etc !!)

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    Tails-out simply means that you store a recorded tape so the tail end of the tape is on the outside of the pancake rather than at the hub. There are a few reasons for the practice.

    The first has to do with print-through. All tape has some print-though where signal from one part of the tape creates a shadow signal on the adjacent layer of tape. If you store the tape heads-out the print-through will cause a pre-echo heard right before the song starts. But if you store tapes tails-out the print-through will present a post echo and thus is masked by the audio.

    Another reason for storing tails-out is to create a nice even tape pack for storage. After a recording session you should use Play or Spooling mode (if the deck has it) to continue spooling to the take-up reel. Rewind is generally sloppy on most decks, which can lead to uneven tape pack and edge damage in storage.

    Finally, itís considered best practice to Fast Forward or Rewind a new tape before a recording session. If you store your tapes tails out all you have to do is mount it on the take-up side and rewind to the supply reel. I mount all my new tapes this way as wellÖ put it on the take-up side and rewind before recording.

    "If you canít make a hit record with a Tascam or a Fostex,
    then youíre not going to able to do it with a Studer or Otari!"
    -David Mellor

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    Thanks for the help Beck.

    Now let me see if I have this correct or not:

    1) You're saying that once I take a new tape (or 'virgin tape') out of the box for the first time - instead of placing the reel on the regular 'supply' reel (on the left side of the deck) - place it on the 'take-up' reel (on the right-side of the deck) instead. (correct?)

    2) After doing that, 'rewind' the tape back onto an empty 'supply' reel. (correct?)

    - After doing all of that - my 'tails' are now officially 'out', and I'm good to go from there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by student8 View Post
    Thanks for the help Beck.

    Now let me see if I have this correct or not:

    1) You're saying that once I take a new tape (or 'virgin tape') out of the box for the first time - instead of placing the reel on the regular 'supply' reel (on the left side of the deck) - place it on the 'take-up' reel (on the right-side of the deck) instead. (correct?)

    2) After doing that, 'rewind' the tape back onto an empty 'supply' reel. (correct?)
    Yeah, you got that part right, but your tape is only tails-out once you've recorded something and have spooled it onto the take-up (right) reel for storage. When storing tails-out you always have to put the tape on the take-up (right) side and rewind before you can play the song or songs.

    Bassically Tails-out means not rewinding the tape to the beginning, but instead continue to let it spool to the take-up reel to store it.

    While we're on the subject, the reel itself is very important. If you have a machine that uses 10.5" metal reels you should get at least one six-screw balanced reel for the supply side. Standard reels generally make for sloppy uneven winds at Rewind speeds. So with a six-screw precision reel on the supply side your rewind will be packed more evenly.

    ATR has nice precision reels (They use the old Sony design)



    But everyone made precision reels at one time... AMPEX, BASF, 3M, etc. So you can find them on eBay fairly often.
    Last edited by Beck; 08-12-2009 at 14:35.
    "If you canít make a hit record with a Tascam or a Fostex,
    then youíre not going to able to do it with a Studer or Otari!"
    -David Mellor

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    student8's Avatar
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    Again, thanks Beck for the help here. (and by the way, so far - every 'reel' I have or own, has the 'six screws' on it like you showed - so hopefully, I'm good to go in that entire area, right?

    However, (and please bear with me here Beck) because sometimes it's just very hard for me to 'visualize' certain things in my head like this, and I may have to ask a few times in order to 'really' understand it - so I hope you don't mind me going over this once more?

    So again, (starting from scratch):

    1) You start off with a brand new, 'fresh' tape that's never been recorded on.

    2) Once you put that reel on the 'supply reel' (left), you 'fast-forward' it all the way to the end, and let it 'play itself out' onto the 'take-up' reel (right-side) & store it again. (now, at this point, the tape is now officially 'tails-out', correct?)

    3) Now whenever you're ready to record on this tape, you actually put it back on the 'take-up' side (right-side) and rewind it all the way back on the 'supply-reel' (left) first (correct?)

    4) Once you've done this, 'now', you're ready to begin recording (correct?)

    5) After you've finally finished recording, you then 'fast-forward' the tape all the way back, onto the 'take-up reel' (left) - and then store it again.

    So am I all 'correct' now with the entire process - or am I still missing something?

    (and again, 'thanks' for the help & your patience)

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    ofajen is offline Daddy-O Daddy-O Baby
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    Quote Originally Posted by student8 View Post
    Again, thanks Beck for the help here. (and by the way, so far - every 'reel' I have or own, has the 'six screws' on it like you showed - so hopefully, I'm good to go in that entire area, right?
    You should be aware that not every reel with metal flanges and screws is a "precision" reel. Look closely at the picture Beck posted and notice that the precision reel has a plastic hub that is exposed in the center and is wider than the metal flanges and that the plastic hub is what sits on the reel table. Some metal flange reels have the metal flange extending all the way to the center and the metal flange sits on the reel table. They aren't the same as "precision" reels. It's a small, but important difference.

    Cheers,

    Otto

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    Quote Originally Posted by student8 View Post
    ... so far - every 'reel' I have or own, has the 'six screws' on it like you showed - so hopefully, I'm good to go in that entire area, right?
    Some brands have only 3 screws (or often the narrower tape sizes do)....but there's nothing wrong with them either. All my EMTEC/BASF reels are precision reels, and they are only 3-screw reels.

    I just bought a bunch of older Scotch reels, I removed the tape from them and cleaned them up, and then filled them with RMGI 911 pancackes.
    They came out nice...look like-new.

    It's cheaper that way if you can find good used/empty reels.
    1/4" 911 pancakes = $26
    1/4" 911 reels & tape = $48

    Used Scotch reels = $6
    911 pancakes + used reels = $32 Total
    That's $16 saved per/reel.

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    I see.

    So basically, more important than the '6' screws, is some type of 'hub reinforcement'? (such as plastic?)

    If that is the case, I still think I'm 'ok' in that area because I checked all of my reels again, and all but one has some type of 'reinforcement' for the hub.

    (but do I have the whole 'tails in/out' thing correct now?)

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