Author Topic: Library music on reel to reel tape?  (Read 328 times)

crestwood23

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Library music on reel to reel tape?
« on: October 27, 2019, 03:58:20 PM »
Hi, first of all I am so happy to have found this site!

I recently got into reel to reel tape and was wondering if anyone knows if any library music was ever commercially available in this format? I would imagine some TV or radio stations would have preferred using tape over vinyl back in the day?

Upgrade

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Re: Library music on reel to reel tape?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2019, 05:31:38 PM »
KPM allegedly had reel to reel, at least according to the back of the album sleeves. I was looking at some Canadian Sound Ideas reel to reel boxes the other day. Capitol Hi-Q refers to their LPs as “reels” and I’ve seen one or two tape boxes.

Though comparatively speaking, reel to reel tapes take up a lot of space compared to their vinyl equivalents, especially if a 7 inch reel only holds one side of an LP.

Did stations prefer tape? Quickly cuing up tracks must have been a hassle. Though a lot of library catalogs I've noticed did jump ship from providing stacks of CDs to a single hard drive if not outright digital for the space convenience.

Tape would be superior to vinyl for sirens or telephone sound effects or anything with a consistent waveform. If the record is pressed even slightly off center the resultant wow effect would cause the telephone ringing to “wobble” and change in pitch slightly which is why a lot of old TV shows have really weird sounding telephones.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2019, 05:34:20 PM by Upgrade »

crestwood23

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Re: Library music on reel to reel tape?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2019, 08:10:46 PM »
KPM allegedly had reel to reel, at least according to the back of the album sleeves. I was looking at some Canadian Sound Ideas reel to reel boxes the other day. Capitol Hi-Q refers to their LPs as “reels” and I’ve seen one or two tape boxes.

Though comparatively speaking, reel to reel tapes take up a lot of space compared to their vinyl equivalents, especially if a 7 inch reel only holds one side of an LP.

Did stations prefer tape? Quickly cuing up tracks must have been a hassle. Though a lot of library catalogs I've noticed did jump ship from providing stacks of CDs to a single hard drive if not outright digital for the space convenience.

Tape would be superior to vinyl for sirens or telephone sound effects or anything with a consistent waveform. If the record is pressed even slightly off center the resultant wow effect would cause the telephone ringing to “wobble” and change in pitch slightly which is why a lot of old TV shows have really weird sounding telephones.

Great info, thanks. When recording to tape at 7.5ips (a higher quality setting), I can usually fit :45 on one side. So, lets say you can fit an album on each side (and perhaps they were even recorded at 3.75ips which would fit even more. Then you could fit 2 albums per tape - a tape is about double/triple the width (with box) but about half the height of an LP. So size wise- I think it could be a wash.

I guess I was thinking more about television editing, less about radio. I agree quick cueing would be tougher on a tape. But for TV editing quick cueing wouldnt be a priority, and I would think you would want a guaranteed no snap crackle pop sample of the music - something only tape could provide.

One final thought was the difference in cost. I imagine reel tapes would have been much more expensive to reproduce than LP's. As library music was very much about economy, I could see labels not bothering with a more expensive format to pass the savings on the consumer.

stackjackson

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Re: Library music on reel to reel tape?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2019, 03:05:10 AM »

...was wondering if anyone knows if any library music was ever commercially available...


Well, technically speaking, library music was never commercially available

At least with KPM, De Wolfe, and most of the major UK libraries, as I understand it, LPs were distributed to clients mostly for sample purposes, literally a sound catalogue. The commissioned tracks would then be formally provided to clients in tape format for production editing. But sometimes the LPs were such high quality (like the later KPM 1000 series) that clients might cut directly from the vinyl. You can read all about this in Lomax's The Mood Modern.
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