Different Tape Types


New member
Can anyone tell me if using Type IV Metal cassettes in my 424MkII will give the same quality as using Type II for which is was designed. I'm having real problems finding 60min Type II cassetes in my area - they have plenty of 90min Type II's but I read somewhere, prolly on here or on the main part of Dragon's site not to use them cos the tape they use for the 90min tapes is thinner.
Will Type IV provide better, worse or similar quality to Type II?

Cheers :)
Theroeticly, Metal tape will be better...but if your machine was not designed for them it could cause problems...permanent magnetization of your heads, etc.

Note: Each recording head has adjustable "Bias" resistors that can be calibrated to any number of different tape compositions.

I don't suggest that you attempt to adjust the Bias, but you can and should try several different brands of tape, to find out which one works the best in your unit!


Dom Franco
Thanks Dom, if anybody new the answer I new you would :) I think from memory there is little difference between the bias for Type II and Type IV - but as I don't wanna run the risk of screwing up the heads I think I'd better stick with the Type II. I'll just have to find somewhere that sells 60min Type II tapes.

I use Maxell XL type II exclusively with my TASCAM with great results. I get mine at BlockBuster/Wherehouse music. I have been told by more than one credible source to NEVER use a Metallic type tape in a TASCAM for the exact reason Dom posted above.
Thanks Snowdog,

I did manage to find 60min Type II tape - I only had the choice of TDK. I bought 5 cassettes... the chick at the store said I could have a pack of 5 Type I tapes for half the price... I just looked at her, smiled and said "No it's ok, these will do"
My two cents...

TDK is better than maxell in mutitrack recorders. I've had problems with maxell tapes- I don't know why but it seems like they are inconsistent or something when recording with the noise reduction on. But really why I think TDK is better is that the cassette shell seems better- it's not a question of sturdiness it's somethig else- like it breathes a little better- that probably sounds kinda wierd but it the only way I can think to describe it.

Please if anyone else has an opinion post it! I'd be intrested to hear otherwise.

I've started using TDK PRO SM-60 tapes. more expensive, but I'm getting less tape hiss. I only know of one place to get them and that's MARS. Musicians friend has them too, but they are a better price at MARS.
Although they do seem to be getting harder to find, I also prefer the TDK SA 60's. There is just something about the shell that seems to make them more like a part of my 414's transport mechanism than just a plastic box holding tape. At one point I spent the cost of about ten tapes sitting on hold long distance to ask a Tascam consumer support tech about the advantages (or potential problems)of using the SM60 pro-type tapes, and the guy really didn't even know what I was talking about - he hadn't heard about the more expensive tapes. He basically said 1. don't use anything but type II tape, 2. never use anything over 60 minutes because of the thin tape problem, 3. always use decent brand-name tape like Maxell or TDK to avoid shredding.

I use the type II TDK SA60's for just about everything: when I've got something all arranged and I want to make a "keeper" multi-track and 2-track master, I use the TDK SM 60's. They seem to have better fidelity, less noise, etc.
I also have had a few SA-X 60's. I don't know what the X is for. and I haven't seen them since. Kinda wierd.
In TDK's parlance, the "-X" suffix means "improved version of".

SA-X has a couple dB better SNR than SA, and its saturation characteristics are a little better, IIRC (again, a couple of dB less of the high-frequency drop near 0dB rec. level)
Every tape recorder is slightly different, in alignment, magnetic flux generated by each head, tape speed, pinch roller pressure etc. SO:

The only way to be sure that you are really getting the best signal possible on your unit is to....

1. Record a test tone at a low frequency 100HZ, and then a mid. (1000HZ) and a high frequency 10KHZ. (Record at 0 VU and keep the levels steady)

2. Then play back the tape, and observe the playback level..is the high frequency playing back at -10 db?....etc. make notes.

3. Then pop in another brand of tape, repeat steps 1 and 2.

4. Do this for several tape types, and use the one with the best performance. If they all suck... then your tape heads may be worn and you are beating a dead horse.

5. Clean and demagnetize often, and save your money for a digital recorder.


Dom Franco