¼ Inch Audiotape Workflow

General Format Review

Acetate or polyester?

Reel sizes: 3”, 5”, 7”, 10.5”. Reelscan be cine spindles or metal NABhubs. Slotted cinereelscan be problematic.It’s good practice to add a generous length of leader tape to your audio tape to minimize the effects of deformation from the uneven surface created by these notches.

Speeds: 1.875, 3.75, 7.5, 15, 30 inches per second (IPS).

Track configuration: Most common configurations arefull track mono, ¼ track stereo or ½ track stereo. Many combinations exist. You can use a magnetic viewer to review the recording pattern or listen to the tape to determine.The playback head must match the track configuration.

Tape handling recommendations


Splicing how-to:

  1. Use a razor to trim tape edge and leader tape cleanly at a diagonal.
  2. Placethetape inasplicing block channel, with the magnetic surface facing downward.
  3. Line up leader tape with the audiotape, joining the ends.
  4. Cut a small piece of splicing tape and lay down over the tape and leader joining them. Gently press down to remove any air bubbles.
  5. When removing the tape from the splicing block neverlift tape straight up from theblock channel, but gently at an angleto avoid tearingthe audio tape.

Never use scotch tape to splice.

Contamination or condition issues: If tape shows signs of mold, set aside for cleaning with isopropyl alcohol on a dedicated audio deck.

If tape shows heavy particulate contamination set aside for cleaning with isopropyl alcohol.

If tape squeals during playback, set aside for treatment with D5.

Playback recommendation: Immediately stop playback of tapes with squealing, shedding and blocking

Storage: Tapes should be wound tightly and evenly. An uneven tape pack can allow dirt to come in contact with and abrade the tape’s surface and edges. Unevenly wound tapes can cause the tape to warp and lose its shape, which will affect playback sound quality.

Tape down ends with archival tape when storing