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  #1  
Old 05-22-2013, 11:39 PM
hfes19hg hfes19hg is offline
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Recording Metal tapes on CrO2 position

Hi guys, I had never used Metal tapes before, and I would like to try them now, but unfortunately, my tape deck (NAD 6220) only has the option of Normal and CrO2 - Metal position is not available. Does the lack of Metal position on this deck mean that it is not useable for recording onto Type IV tapes? Is it also not able to playback Metal tapes optimally? I noticed that both Type II and Type IV have 70s. Does that not make the two types inter-changeable?
Any input from you all will be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 05-22-2013, 11:46 PM
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Unfortunately you need more powerfull heads for biasing metal tapes with much higher current. So its impossible to record a metal tape only with a Typ II setting.
But "Playback only" are simply possible with the 70 setting.
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  #3  
Old 05-23-2013, 12:18 AM
hfes19hg hfes19hg is offline
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Thanks for your reply, Lucky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucky View Post
Unfortunately you need more powerfull heads for biasing metal tapes with much higher current. So its impossible to record a metal tape only with a Typ II setting.
setting.
Now, I am wondering what would be the effect if recording were somehow done on a Type IV tape. Would there be no output, or very low output, or some distorted sound? My knowledge in this area is lacking, so I hope you could enlighten me on that.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:41 AM
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ncguyusa ncguyusa is offline
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Well, based in an experiment I have done in the past, chances are that you would not be able to erase the Metal cassette tape with your non-Metal-compatible cassette deck. If it is a new, never used cassette, it will have the extra hiss from the unused cassette probably. And if you are recording over a previous recording, you will still have traces of sound of that previous recordings, in the background.

Metal cassette tapes require a different type of setting all together. The exterior shell may look the same like a Type I or Type II, but the guts inside, is from a total different 'animal', so to speak.

Then there is even a discussion about the effects on the magnetic heads, when using Metal cassette tapes. It may wear it out (the head) faster, since your tape deck head was not intended for that type of use.

My advise: get a deck that is Metal cassette compatible, I find them all the time at thrifty stores around my area, for about $5, (in working condition).

Basically it all boils down to this: there is a reason why they have put a Metal option switch for the decks meant to also play that Metal emulsion tape, IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE VERY DIFFERENT.

Just my two cents.

PS. Whenever I used the wrong selector for recording tapes type I, II or IV, I consistently got sub-par results. To my hears, the results I got were useless. I tried all of these 'wrong' combinations, just out of curiosity, and the results never pleased me one bit. Although for playback, I do like to play Type II cassettes (recorded as such), as if they were Type I.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hfes19hg View Post
Thanks for your reply, Lucky.


Now, I am wondering what would be the effect if recording were somehow done on a Type IV tape. Would there be no output, or very low output, or some distorted sound? My knowledge in this area is lacking, so I hope you could enlighten me on that.

Last edited by ncguyusa; 05-24-2013 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:44 AM
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Then again, some decks without explicit support for Metal might work -or at least some Metal tapes are "soft" enough to be considered borderline "hard" chromes, in the sense of biasing and current needs...

In practice, I found that erasing metal is easier than it is made to sound: even permanent magnet erase heads seem able to do it (then again I only tried that with a TDK MA-60...see "borderline chrome" case above).

Last edited by Velktron; 05-23-2013 at 12:51 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-23-2013, 01:17 AM
jma94 jma94 is offline
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I have experimented here. If you were to try it in a deck with a DC erase or permanant magnet you have no hope in hell in even 'touching' a previous recording from my experience, this I experimented with. voices and music will sound like wing in type 1 position! If it is in a deck with an AC erase you may have a better chance, recording in Cr02 position on SOME tapes gave me an ALMOST OKAY recording with the levels maxed out, but it sounded like dolby B being used on a non dolby tape in some ways. The AC erase head in a deck capable of recording is either 1: uses the same oscilator as the bias signal (a.k.a a powerful signal in the case of METAL) or 2: has its own oscillator.

The bias needs to be correct for the tape, you can sometimes get away recording a type II tape as type I and vice-versa, but it is pot luck that it will sound good, the differences are not too big between some tapes, but is between others. Without the right bias, the signal is not properly recorded onto the tape, no chance of making it sound that much better afterwards! One of the best family recordings i have was recorded on a type II in a type I deck with a magnet erase, (TDK SA 90) granted it sounded lovely, albeit a bit of hiss that was not noticeable through speakers if volume was not extremely high, i just grabbed the only tape i had, and was glad I did, we just could die laughing whenever we hear it!

I wouldn't waste your time, recording IV as II to be honest!
Another note on erasure: I had a SONY TCM-939 as it was one of the only decks i had at the time that used magnet erase head, this took 5 or so passes to even start to cause really noticeable degradation of the signal, on a 'that's' tape, and Maxell MX. The older boombox (not the one mentioned below) which recorded the family recording mentioned above had a DC erase, this one was a 'block' like magnet, not a tiny magnet in a plastic shell, this did cause degradation after 2 passes, but still the tape was more than listenable.

Now with regards to playback. I have a boombox that is only 'capable' of type I tapes which I have played metal tapes in over the past 2 years quite a bit, while i did not have my other decks to play my hard to get recordings, using the tone control to compensate, i don't think its caused any wear on the heads that is noticeable to me, but this might vary deck by deck, but it is a bog-standard head. Nowhere near as good as my other decks but its fine for casual use.

Hope this is enlightening! I paid 20 for my technics deck which has HX pro and dolby B and C, and 40 for a 3-head teac deck that I am waiting on, so decks that record on metal will not break the bank if you look carefully, but be sure you get them from a good dealer and ask in great detail all crucial stuff and expect that it might need a service.

Jacob

Last edited by jma94; 05-23-2013 at 01:25 AM.
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  #7  
Old 05-23-2013, 01:35 AM
hfes19hg hfes19hg is offline
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Thanks to everyone who have responded. Your inputs have been very helpful. I wanted to experience using metal tapes as it is supposed to be, not to luck out getting an acceptable sound, so I will have to search for another deck now.
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  #8  
Old 05-23-2013, 02:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hfes19hg View Post
Well yes and no. Yes you can PLAY metal tapes on such a machine (playback bias is the same as CrO2/Type II). However, you cannot RECORD on a machine unless it is specifically set up for metal, which requires roughly twice the amount of current through the heads to properly use. I suppose you could give it a try (it won't hurt anything) but don't expect much in the way of a good sounding recording-if anything gets recorded at all.
This will explain all for you people.
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  #9  
Old 05-23-2013, 02:53 AM
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Ghitulescu Ghitulescu is online now
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Any deck can record on any (virgin) tape.
Bias and EQ and sensitivity and REC level are only fine-tuning in order to achieve the best possible quality.

It's as simple as that.
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:12 PM
chan tran chan tran is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghitulescu View Post
Any deck can record on any (virgin) tape.
Bias and EQ and sensitivity and REC level are only fine-tuning in order to achieve the best possible quality.

It's as simple as that.
It would likely works but the result won't be as good as a type II tape. The reason many people don't like type IV (metal) because even with so many decks with metal capability don't really do justice to metal tape.
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  #11  
Old 05-24-2013, 01:55 AM
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Ghitulescu Ghitulescu is online now
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I never said it's good. I just said that is possible. For instance, all recording walkmans I had could record chromes despite not being designed for this. Why? Because even at the low bias the ferro needed, the bandwidth of chrome was enough to cover the speech needs.

Most cheap and old "metal-capable" decks were actually only PLAYBACK-compatible. Surely, they recorded metals too, but like any other High BIAS decks, the quality was not the expected one, in particular considering the premium price a metal tape had. This situation worsened the marketing of metals.

@jma94: That Sony TCM is not even designed for chromes, let alone metals. Erasing metals is a difficult job even for the best decks designed to record on metals.

Anyway, in theory it is possible to record metal with chrome position, but it would be a shame. The OP must pick up a TOTL deck with metal support, in particular when he also needs to erase the previous recording. Playing back a metal is not an issue today.
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:19 AM
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Technically if you have a blank tape or can otherwise erase a recorded metal tape...yes you can record onto it with even a shoebox machine. But you might as well record onto TDK-D. You won't gain any advantage recording onto metal tape. It might even sound worse than D.

I have recorded onto chrome using "type I only" recorders mostly because type II tape forms most of my stash of blanks and this has been the situation since the mid 80's. If I wanted to do a bit of portable recording I'd hit a TDK-SA because I simply didn't have any AR or D to hand.

But you need a decent deck to get much out of metal tape. The first "metal capable" deck I used much was my dad's back in 1981. Sure it could record onto type IV but it sounded *exactly* the same as type II. An improvement over type I but no improvement over II. The deck was clearly compatible with metal, could erase them etc. but wasn't good enough to actually gain any advantage.

Since then every deck I have had in the household has been able to get something out of metals. There's nothing else quite like cranking the levels up to +8dB, engaging Dolby B and unleashing some good music onto a type IV.
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:28 AM
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The answer I would give is this- You can record on metal tape in Cro2 position as long as the tape is called HXS which is made for that purpose.
All the other tapes of the Metal type will not be getting the Bias needed and the erase that is required. So TDK HXS is your only answer.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:27 AM
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Sam beat me to it. You can use metal tape in the type-II position as long as it's a type-II compatible metal. There aren't very many, but there's a thread about them here on Tapeheads somewhere that talks about them pretty extensively.

Types that come to mind are TDK HX-S (HX in Japan), Memorex CDXII, Denon HD-8 and That's CD-II.
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
You can use metal tape in the type-II position as long as it's a type-II compatible metal
I never knew that type even existed, come to think of it isn't it a kind of contradiction.
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:20 AM
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It is a metal tape that was doped to allow the use of Chrome Bias and so some advantages are not there but then some are.
It is not hard to upgrade to a Metal deck just don't buy a cheap dual cassette unit.
The Teac tape was called HDX I think. I don't know who made the other tapes but I was told that only one source was available and it was from TDK. That is what is in the Teac tapes.
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:35 AM
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A list of Type II metal formulation cassettes was compiled some time ago:

http://tapeheads.net/showthread.php?...I+metal&page=1

Personally I like TDK HX-S and Denon HD-8 very much. To get best results use these on a deck with adjustable bias, and preferably with auto or manual tape calibration features. Their optimum bias points are somewhat higher than cobalt-enhanced ferric Type II tapes, and can sound bright and distorted when under-biased.
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