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1/2" Digital Tape
1/2" Analog Tape
1/4" Analog Tape
1/4" Longitudinal...
1"C Videotape
16mm Film
16mm Magnetic Print
17.5mm Film
2.0 Mono
2.0 Stereo
3-stripe Mag
3/4" Videotape
35/32mm Film
5.1 Multi-channel Audio
6.1 Multi-channel Audio
7.1 Multi-channel Audio
8-track Cartridge

1/2" Analog Tape

From Chace Audio

1/2" analog audiotape is made from magnetic oxide on either acetate stock or polyester stock and uses the same principles as magnetic film recording. Up to eight tracks of audio can be recorded to a 1/2" analog tape, though this will vary depending on the recording method, equipment, and type of sync reference used.

Before time code, sync pulses were used for speed reference. These pulses control the speed of playback through the use of an external resolving device such as a Lynx. Sync pulses can be NTSC (60Hz), PAL (50Hz), or something more specialized such as FM sync or Fairchild™ sync tones. They could be recorded either to an unused audio track, embedded within the audio track (requiring filters to remove the tones during playback), or recorded onto a special track running between the audio tracks (such as Rangertone™ Sync, for example). Eventually, time code was used to resolve speed instead of sync pulses, and this was either striped to an open audio track or to its own TC track.

Audiotape speed is measured in inches per second or "ips.” Speeds will vary depending on how the tapes were recorded, but as a general rule, the faster the speed, the better the sound quality. Standard professional speeds are 7-1/2, 15, and 30ips, but slower speeds are possible with domestic recorders.

In the sixties, seventies, and eighties, many television programs were recorded to 1/2" audiotape to be used as master or safety recordings. These tapes were capable of holding the split-out dialogue, music, and effects tracks (also known as a DME) needed to create composite tracks for each episode. 1/2" analog tape was used in music recording as well as in the film and television industries.

One downside of 1/2" analog audiotape is deterioration. If a tape was made from acetate stock, both vinegar syndrome and warping are potential problems if it is not consistently stored in a cool, dry environment. With polyester stock, sticky shed syndrome can occur, in which case specific preparation methods may be necessary to playback the tape.

As technology progressed, analog audiotape gave way to newer, digital 1/2" audiotape that expanded the possible recorded track count and boasted, debatably, of better quality and longevity.