Units fabrication tape recorders and set-top boxes
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Reel-to-reel audio tape recording , also called open-reel recording , is the form of magnetic tape audio recording in which the recording medium is held on a reel that is not permanently mounted in an enclosed cassette.
In use, the supply reel feed reel containing the tape is placed on a spindle or hub; the end of the tape is manually pulled out of the reel, threaded through mechanical guides and a tape head assembly, and attached by friction to the hub of the second, initially empty takeup reel.
All standard tape speeds are derived as a binary submultiple of 30 inches per second. The tape in a compact cassette is 0. By writing the same audio signal across more tape, reel-to-reel systems give much greater fidelity , at the cost of much larger tapes. In spite of the larger tapes, less convenience, and generally more expensive media, reel-to-reel systems, which first started in the early s, remained popular in audiophile settings into the s, and are filling a widening niche in the new millenium.
Reel-to-reel tape was used in early tape drives for data storage on mainframe computers and in video tape recorders VTRs. Magnetic tape was also used to record data signals for instrumentation purposes, beginning with the hydrogen bomb tests of the early s. Studer , Stellavox and Denon still produced reel to reel tape recorders in the s, but as of [update] , only Mechlabor  continues to manufacture analog reel-to-reel recorders.
The reel-to-reel format was used in the earliest tape recorders , including the pioneering German-British Blattnerphone machines of the late s which used steel tape ,  and the German Magnetophon machines of the s. Originally, this format had no name, since all forms of magnetic tape recorders used it.
The name arose only with the need to distinguish it from the several kinds of tape cartridges or cassettes such as the endless loop cartridge developed for radio station commercials and spot announcements in , the full size cassette , developed by RCA in for home use, as well as the compact cassette developed by Philips in , originally for dictation.
The earliest machines produced distortion during the recording process which German engineers significantly reduced during the Nazi Germany era by applying a " bias " signal to the tape. In , one machine was found to make consistently better recordings than other ostensibly identical models, and when it was taken apart a minor flaw was noticed. Instead of DC, it was introducing an AC bias signal to the tape [ dubious — discuss ] , and this was quickly adapted to new models using a high-frequency AC bias that has remained a part of audio tape recording to this day.
The quality was so greatly improved that recordings surpassed the quality of most radio transmitters, and such recordings were used by Adolf Hitler to make broadcasts that appeared to be live while he was safely away in another city. American audio engineer Jack Mullin was a member of the U. His unit was assigned to investigate German radio and electronics activities, and in the course of his duties, a British Army counterpart mentioned the Magnetophons being used by the allied radio station in Bad Nauheim near Frankfurt.
He acquired two Magnetophon recorders and 50 reels of I. Farben recording tape and shipped them home. Over the next two years, he worked to develop the machines for commercial use, hoping to interest the Hollywood film studios in using magnetic tape for movie soundtrack recording. Mullin gave a demonstration of his recorders at MGM Studios in Hollywood in , which led to a meeting with Bing Crosby , who immediately saw the potential of Mullin's recorders to pre-record his radio shows.
Using Mullin's tape recorders, and with Mullin as his chief engineer, Crosby became the first American performer to master commercial recordings on tape and the first to regularly pre-record his radio programs on the medium. Ampex and Mullin subsequently developed commercial stereo and multitrack audio recorders , based on the system originally invented by Ross Snyder of Ampex Corporation for their high-speed scientific instrument data recorders.
Les Paul had been given one of the first Ampex Model tape decks by Crosby in , and ten years later ordered one of the first Ampex eight track "Sel Sync" machines for multitracking, although when it arrived, it was still set up as an instrument recorder running at 60 inches-per-second and had yet to be converted for audio use.
Ampex engineers, who included Ray Dolby on their staff at the time, went on to develop the first practical videotape recorders in the early s to pre-record Crosby's TV shows. Inexpensive reel-to-reel tape recorders were widely used for voice recording in the home and in schools, along with dedicated models expressly made for business dictation, before the Philips compact cassette , introduced in , gradually took over.
Cassettes eventually displaced reel-to-reel recorders for consumer use. However, the narrow tracks and slow recording speeds used in cassettes compromised fidelity. Ampex produced pre-recorded reel-to-reel tapes for consumers of popular and classical music from the mids to the mid-'70s, as did Columbia House from to Following the example set by Bing Crosby, large reel-to-reel tape recorders rapidly became the main recording format used by audiophiles and professional recording studios until the late s when digital audio recording techniques began to allow the use of other types of media such as Digital Audio Tape DAT cassettes and hard disks.
Even today, some artists of all genres prefer analog tape, claiming it is more "musical" or "natural" sounding than digital processes, despite its fidelity inaccuracies. Due to harmonic distortion , bass can thicken up, creating a fuller-sounding mix. In addition, high end frequencies can be slightly compressed , which some claim is more natural to the human ear, though this claim is difficult to quantify due to the very personal aesthetics as to what is 'natural' sound.
In this century, it is not uncommon for some artists to record directly onto digital equipment and then re-record the tracks to analog reel tape or vice-versa for this effect, which can sound pleasing or "warmer" due to the increase of even harmonics that can often enhance musicality, much in the way vacuum tube amplifiers are preferred over solid-state devices for the same reasons.
In addition to all of these attributes, tape "saturation" is a unique form of distortion that many rock , blues and funk artists find very satisfying, though with modern technology, these forms of distortion can be simulated digitally.
For the first time, audio could be manipulated as a physical entity, and the recording process was greatly economized by eliminating the requirement for a highly-trained disc-cutting engineer to be present at every recording session.
Once a tape machine was installed and calibrated, there was no need for any attendant engineering, other than to spool or replace the tape being used on it.
Daily maintenance only consisted of cleaning and occasionally demagnetizing the heads and guides. Tape editing is performed simply by cutting the tape at the required point, and rejoining it to another section of tape using adhesive tape , or sometimes glue. This is called a splice. The splicing tape has to be very thin to avoid impeding the tape's motion, and the adhesive is carefully formulated to avoid leaving a sticky residue on the tape or deck.
The low-angle splice would also help to glide the tape more smoothly through the machine and push any loose dirt or debris to the side of the tape path, instead of accumulating in the splice joint. The use of reels to supply and collect the tape made it very easy for editors to manually move the tape back and forth across the heads to find the exact point they wished to edit.
Tape to be spliced was clamped in a special splicing block attached to the deck near the heads to hold the tape accurately while the edit was made. A skilled editor could make these edits very rapidly and accurately. A side-effect of cutting the tape at an angle is that on stereo tapes the edit occurs on one channel a split-second before the other.
Long, angled splices can also be used to create a perceptible dissolve from one sound to the next; periodic segments can induce rhythmic or pulsing effects. The performance of tape recording is greatly affected by the width of the tracks used to record a signal, and the speed of the tape. The wider and faster the better, but of course this uses more tape.
These factors lead directly to improved frequency response , signal-to-noise ratio , and high-frequency distortion figures. Tape can accommodate multiple parallel tracks, allowing not just stereo recordings, but multi-track recordings too. This gives the producer of the final edit much greater flexibility, allowing a performance to be remixed long after the performance was originally recorded. This innovation was a great driving force behind the explosion of popular music in the late s and s.
The first multi-tracking recorders had two, three, or four tracks, then eight, sixteen, and twenty-four, and so on. It was discovered early on that new special effects were possible, such as phasing and flanging , delays and echo by re-directing the signal through one or more additional tape machines, while recording the composite result to another.
These innovations appeared on pop recordings shortly after multi-tracking recorders were introduced, although, Les Paul had been using tape echo and speed-manipulation effects on his single-track recordings from the s and '50s. For home use, simpler reel-to-reel recorders were available, and a number of track formats and tape speeds were standardised to permit interoperability and prerecorded music.
Reel-to-reel tape editing also gained cult-status when many used this technique on hit-singles in the s. There has recently been a revival of reel-to-reel, with quite a few companies restoring vintage units and some manufacturing new tape. In , the first new reel-to-reel tape player in over 20 years was released.
The first prerecorded reel-to-reel tapes were introduced in the United States in ; the catalog contained fewer than ten titles with no popular artists.
RCA Victor joined the reel-to-reel business in In , EMI released 2-track "stereosonic" tapes, although the catalog took longer to be published. Then they introduced their Twin Packs, which contained the equivalent of two LP albums but playing at 3.
The heyday of prerecorded reel tapes was the mids, but after the introduction of less complicated cassette tapes and 8-track tapes , the number of albums released on prerecorded reel tape dropped dramatically despite their superior sound quality. By the latter s, their retail prices were considerably higher than competing formats, and musical genres were limited to those most likely to appeal to well-heeled audiophiles willing to contend with the cumbersome threading of open-reel tape.
The introduction of the Dolby noise-reduction system narrowed the performance gap between cassettes and open-reel, and by prerecorded open-reel offerings had almost completely disappeared, even from record stores and audio equipment shops.
Columbia House advertisements in showed that only one-third of new titles were available on reel-to-reel; they continued to offer a select number of new releases in the format until Sales were very low and specialized during the s.
Audiophile reel tapes were made under license by Barclay-Crocker between and Barclay-Crocker tapes were all Dolby encoded and some titles were also available in the dbx format. The majority of the catalog contained classical recordings, with a few jazz and movie soundtrack albums. Barclay-Crocker tapes were duplicated on modified Ampex machines at four times the playing speed, unlike popular reel tapes which were duplicated at 16 times the playback speed.
All of the known pre-recorded reel-to-reels on the market are all documented at the Reel To Reel Index website which focuses on the last reels made during the s and includes photographs of all of them. Pre-recorded reel-to-reel tapes are also available once again, albeit somewhat expensively as a very high-quality audiophile product, through "The Tape Project", as well as several other independent studios and record labels.
Since , The Tape Project has released their own albums, as well as previously-released albums under license from other labels, on open-reel tape.
In general, the faster the speed, the better the reproduction quality. Higher tape speeds spread the signal longitudinally over more tape area, reducing the effects of dropouts that can be audible from the medium, and noticeably improve high frequency response. Slower tape speeds conserve tape and are useful in applications where sound quality is not critical.
The need for a high linear tape speed was made unnecessary with the introduction of the now-obsolete professional Quadruplex system in by Ampex, which segmented the fields of a television image by recording and reproducing several tracks at a high-speed across the width of the tape per field of video by way of a vertically spinning headwheel with 4 separate video heads mounted on its edge a technique called transverse scanning , allowing for the linear tape speed to be much slower.
Eventually, transverse scanning was accompanied by the later and less-expensive technology of helical scanning , which could record one whole field of video per helically-recorded track, recorded at a much lower angle across the width of the tape by the head spinning in the near-horizontal plane, instead of vertically.
Even though a recording on tape may have been made at studio quality, tape speed was the limiting factor, much like bit rate is today. Decreasing the speed of analog audio tape causes a uniform decrease in the linearity of the frequency response, increased background noise hiss , more noticeable dropouts where there are flaws in the magnetic tape, and shifting of the Gaussian background noise spectrum toward lower frequencies where it sounds more "granular", regardless of the audio content.
An MP3 of a noisy rock band at a low bit rate will have many more artifacts than a simple flute solo at the same bit rate, whereas either on low-speed tape will have the same uniform background noise profile and high frequency saturation weakened high end response.
A recording on magnetic audio tape is linear ; unlike today's digital audio, not only was jumping from spot to spot to edit time consuming, editing was destructive—unless the recording was duplicated before edit, normally taking the same amount of time to copy, in order to preserve percent of the quality of the original. Editing was done either with a razor blade—by physically cutting and splicing the tape on a metal splicing block, in a manner similar to motion picture film editing—or electronically by dubbing segments onto an edit tape.
The former method preserved the full quality of the recording but not the intact original; the latter incurred the same quality loss involved in dubbing a complete copy of the source tape, but preserved the original. Tape speed is not the only factor affecting the quality of the recording. Other factors affecting quality include track width, oxide formulation, and backing material and thickness. The design and quality of the recorder are also important factors, in many ways that are not applicable to digital recording systems.
The machine's speed stability wow-and-flutter , head gap size, head quality, and general head design and technology, and the machine's alignment mostly a maintenance issue, but also a matter of design—how well and precisely it can be aligned electro-mechanically affect the quality of the recording.
The regulation of tape tension affects contact between the tape and the heads and has a very significant impact on the recording and reproduction of high frequencies. Tape formulation varies between different tape types ferric oxide [Fe 2 O 3 ], chromium dioxide [CrO 2 ], etc. Studios therefore generally align their machines for one brand and model number of tape and use only that brand and model. Backing material type and thickness affect the tensile strength and elasticity of the tape, which affect wow-and-flutter and tape stretch; stretched tape will have a pitch error, possibly fluctuating.
Backing thickness also affects print-through, the phenomenon of adjacent layers of tape wound on a reel picking up weak copies of the magnetic signal from each other. Print-through on analog tape causes unintended pre- and post-echoes on playback, and is generally not fully reversible once it has occurred. In professional half-track use, post-echo is considered less problematic than pre-echo as the echo is largely masked by the signal itself and therefore tapes stored for long periods are kept "tails-out", where the tape must be first wound "backwards" onto the take-up spool before playback.
Digital video recorder
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Reel-to-reel audio tape recording , also called open-reel recording , is the form of magnetic tape audio recording in which the recording medium is held on a reel that is not permanently mounted in an enclosed cassette. In use, the supply reel feed reel containing the tape is placed on a spindle or hub; the end of the tape is manually pulled out of the reel, threaded through mechanical guides and a tape head assembly, and attached by friction to the hub of the second, initially empty takeup reel. All standard tape speeds are derived as a binary submultiple of 30 inches per second. The tape in a compact cassette is 0. By writing the same audio signal across more tape, reel-to-reel systems give much greater fidelity , at the cost of much larger tapes.
Digital TV Recorder
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Reel-to-reel audio tape recording
Manufacturer Profiles. This is a list of information we have gathered from a variety of sources on some of the major analog reel to reel tape recorder and related equipment manufacturers. While we have strived to provide the best information available to us, there will be corrections and additions. We include personal stories about the companies when they are provided to us. We always invite input on corrections and updates.
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Digital video recorder
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We commenced our operations in with the assembly and export of colour televisions. With changes in technology over the years and introduction of new products in the industry, we also manufactured video cassette recorders, DVD players, set top boxes, LCD televisions, home theatres and LED televisions for various customers including some brands in the consumer electronics industry. Our capabilities in LED TV designing include panel designing, main electronic board designing, mechanical and acoustics. The miniscule market for LCD TVs is largely catered by the older models of the major players and other small players. Our strategy in the consumer electronics vertical is to further strengthen relationships with our existing customers, migrate towards ODM model, focus on enhancement of design capabilities and develop a large range of product portfolio, like smart TVs, ultra-high definition, commercial display and signage display, invest in new tools such as backlight unit, expand our geographical footprint and manufacturing capacity by way of the proposed facility in Tirupati for servicing markets in South India.
Reel-to-reel audio tape recording
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Он бросил взгляд на истончающиеся защитные щиты.
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Они буквально пожирали ее тело. Новая волна паники охватила Сьюзан.
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