Tape bleed?


New member
Anyone ever hear in the silent part of songs on a tape other music? In this case, I'm hearing parts of the same song before and after the song starts. It's very faint, and can just barely be heard when cranked.

What is that most likely from?

I'm thinking it could be caused from taping over previous material or tails from the effects processors that never die down to -infinity.

It seems unlikely, but could it be caused by the tape player that is reading the tape? (I don't have another one to compare to)

A Reel Person

It's Too Funky in Here!!!
It could be a few things,... but would most likely be "print through".

When analog tape is wound on a spool, especially for a very long time, but any time really,... the magnetic image of the adjacent layers of tape can "print through", or "bleed through", just like you say in your title.

All tape is prone to "print through" phenomena, to one degree or another, and there's a formal "spec" on "print through" that's usually a known, published, quantifiable amount, on every reel or cassette tape in existence,... even though the numbers may be difficult to interpret.

However, thicker tapes usually give stronger resistance to "print through", and thinner tapes would logically be more prone to it. The actual specific tape formulation has a lot to do with it's tendency or resistance to print through.

The one "trick" to help minimize unwieldy "print through" artifacts, is to wind the tape "tails-out" after each session, by slow-winding ALL the tape onto the TAKEUP reel, in PLAY mode, to help give you a smoothly packed pancake of tape.

Smoothly packing AND STORING the tape in "tails-out" fashion will help minimize tape edge-track damage from storage and handling, AND the "print through" phenomenon is never entirely eliminated, but "tails-out" will always assure any "print through" you get will me a more natural sounding "post-echo", rather than the obvious and annoying "pre-echo".

There's the legend of Robert Plant's voice on "Whole Lotta Love" being a "pre-echo" from "print through", which somehow just worked for the song. I don't know quite how true that is, but it sounds good! It's believeable enough :eek: !!


New member
Great Post Reel

I was gonna say "crosstalk" until I read that post which is the first I`ve heard of this. I have several 2" master reels that have been sitting in an archive for several years. Is it preventable? Like giving them a spin once and a while?


New member
Wow. Thanks Reel. That is some great knowledge.

Any ideas why I see your Avatar when I'm not logged in and don't see it when I'm logged in?

A Reel Person

It's Too Funky in Here!!!

Using the tape, winding and unwinding, packing and repacking the tape periodically does help minimize this problem, sure.

Why is my avatar playing hide & seek? I don't know. I CAN see my avatar, whether I'm logged in or not. I'm logged in now, and I can see my own avatar. That's strange, alright!!



Your user preferences might be set not to display member avatars.