1/4" 2 Track and 4 Track Transfers

Quarter inch (1/4") reels are probably the most recognized open reel type in the world. This type of tape has been used in homes and recording studios alike dating back over 60 years. Pre-dating the compact cassette, 1/4" decks were used for recording everything from live studio sessions to dictation. Many record labels released commercial music on this format as well. In a studio environment, stereo 1/4" was often used for multi-track mixdowns, or live recordings (such as a radio broadcast).

Ampex quarter inch tapeIn home recording, many consumers used these decks for recording from LPs or radio broadcasts. Many consumer decks were also capable of recording stereo (2 channels) in both directions as well (like a cassette). In 1972, TEAC released the 2340, a four channel, 1/4" reel-to-reel deck which introduced many to multi-track recording for the first time. 1/4" reels came in a variety of sizes, with the consumer type being smaller, on plastic reels, and varying in size from 2" to 7" in diameter.

Professional reels are nearly always 10.5" in diameter and made of metal. Although the consumer use of the 1/4" format is nearly non-existent nowadays, many studios and musicians around the world still use 1/4" machines. However, when it comes to editing, most engineers now choose to transfer reel to reel tapes to digital (aka digitizing), allowing for safekeeping, and easy editing in Pro Tools or any other DAW. This is also critical to preserve the recordings, since magnetic tape has a finite lifespan. Older 1/2" tapes including AMPEX/Quantegy and 3M/SCOTCH are unfortunately prone to "sticky shed" syndrome, due to the breakdown of the binder (glue) holding the oxide particles on the tape. Fortunately, Deep Signal Studios has mastered the process of treating and rescuing these tapes (even those suffering from severe sticky shed). Let our team of seasoned engineers handle the delicate process of saving your recordings; giving them an infinite lifespan in the digital domain.

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