Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

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Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by hooty2 »

Writing as it happens:)... Radio 3 building a library/Liszt piano sonata in b minor.
The reviewer commented on a recording from the 70's.. the unfortunate hiss but ..."the annoying pre-echo as the loudest parts are played"

anyone know what this about?
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by The Elf »

It's another of those vagaries of tape. When tape was wound on a spool the very loud parts of a recording would bleed onto the tape it was wound against - and often to the layer of tape underneath that too. You can hear the effect of this as the loudest sounds often being faintly heard just before they should arrive.

You can hear this effect on many old recordings. The one I recall most is on Genesis's 'Chamber of 32 Doors', where you can hear the song start twice before it actually comes in!

Tape - I'll dance on its grave... :headbang:
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by ef37a »

I am sure The Doc will give us the precise SP but I understand this is why it was BBC practice to store tapes 'tail out'. This meant they had to be rewound before playback and that reduced print through.

Terrible stuff tape, almost as bad as those flat, black things!

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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by hooty2 »

cheers folks... :clap: education education education
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by Sam Spoons »

I assume the print through would be onto the tape either side of the loud signal not just the wrap underneath? If so you would get both a pre and post echo. Storing tail out would not have solved the issue as the 'sandwich' of plastic film base and oxide means that the oxide layer in a wound tape is separated by a base layer on both sides.
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by Wonks »

Sam Spoons wrote: Sat Jul 17, 2021 10:13 am I assume the print through would be onto the tape either side of the loud signal not just the wrap underneath? If so you would get both a pre and post echo. Storing tail out would not have solved the issue as the 'sandwich' of plastic film base and oxide means that the oxide layer in a wound tape is separated by a base layer on both sides.

There are two types of print-through, one is heat-induced and one magnetic.

If the spool is kept wound in the same position as heat print-through occurs, then the print-through remains. Keeping it stored in a different orientation e.g. fully wound, then the print-through areas no longer correspond, and over time the thermal print-through is supposed to fade.

Won’t do anything for magnetic print-through though.
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by forumuser840717 »

Apart from other benefits of winding though the tape before playing, storing tail out means that the heaviest print though occurs as post-echo rather than pre-echo so it's masked by the programme.

For geeky interest, there's a bit of info about it in this AES Tech Bulletin

I once came across a Studer A80 which had been modified to run leader tape along with the recording tape, in an attempt to reduce print through by adding a 'spacer layer' to the tape pack. It did work and reduced the print through but wasn't the most practical idea. Not least because the double thickness tape made for odd handling characteristics which used to freak out the transport on many other machines it was put on and the advantages of the lower print through paled into insignificance as someone had to hand re-spool the tape from the floor after the transport on other machines dumped it all when the tension sensors went nuts in fast wind. Assuming they didn't just shred the tape.
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Sam Spoons wrote: Sat Jul 17, 2021 10:13 amStoring tail out would not have solved the issue as the 'sandwich' of plastic film base and oxide means that the oxide layer in a wound tape is separated by a base layer on both sides.

The AES tech bulletin gives chapter and verse, but storing tail out means the tape must be rewound before playing, and the act of rewinding actually helps to diminish the print through by 3dB or so. Weird but true!
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by Wonks »

Possibly some static electricity effect, or magnetic separation effect, generated by the much higher tape layer parting speed when running in rewind as opposed to normal forward play speed?
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by MOF »

Possibly some static electricity effect, or magnetic separation effect, generated by the much higher tape layer parting speed when running in rewind as opposed to normal forward play speed?

??????? The previous replies are correct Wonks. Apart from ‘static electricity’ nothing else makes sense.
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by Wonks »

I see what you did there.
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by MOF »

I see what you did there

;)
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by Tim Gillett »

A good way to deal with print through was to anticipate it at the record stage. The thickest open reel tape (Standard Play) and somewhat dynamically compressed signal helped. So Dolby A, DBX or a decent soft knee compressor/ limiter helped the recorded signal itself, even studio or venue ambience, to mask print through. Cassettes with their often Quadruple Play tape stock were also very vulnerable to later print through. In our audio book productions we had massive print through problems even with recordings only a year old. Because our recordings were very long we had to use the thinner Long Play tapes with greater print through. It's worst on very dynamic programme including unaccompanied voice. Print through only got worse with time and heat so minimizing the likelihood it would be heard many years later was really a long term strategy.
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by ken long »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Sat Jul 17, 2021 1:02 pm
The AES tech bulletin gives chapter and verse, but storing tail out means the tape must be rewound before playing, and the act of rewinding actually helps to diminish the print through by 3dB or so. Weird but true!

On top of all the reasons already given, it's also good practice to have the original spool be the take up so that you get a tighter and even pack at the end of playback.
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by Exalted Wombat »

Pre-echo can happen on vinyl too, when the grooves are cut too close. (Of course, an LP may also inherit print-through from a preceding tape generation.)

The compulsion to worship vinyl can spawn comments like "I find this to be a charming artifact of lp playback." :lol:

https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/ ... lp.229120/
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by BJG145 »

Liszt's wrists were exceedingly supple
Especially after he'd had a couple

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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by Tim Gillett »

Exalted Wombat wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 3:49 pm Pre-echo can happen on vinyl too, when the grooves are cut too close. (Of course, an LP may also inherit print-through from a preceding tape generation.)

Yes and common practice with disc cutting tape masters was to splice plastic leader tape hard up against the start of the programme, meaning any echo pre that splice point had to originate from the cut disc.
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by James Perrett »

Tim Gillett wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:39 pm Yes and common practice with disc cutting tape masters was to splice plastic leader tape hard up against the start of the programme, meaning any echo pre that splice point had to originate from the cut disc.

That practice is now causing real problems if stripy leader tape was used. The stripes attach themselves to the magnetic coating and peel it off the backing - no matter how carefully you try to pull the layers apart.
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

I didn't know that!

I've always used solid colour and clear leaders, but more through luck and availability than anything else.

The Beeb standard was yellow between items on a tape (eg, separate inserts on a news programme reel), red at the end, and often blue at the front of stereo programmes, and green for mono. I can't remember what we used white for... but most edit rooms only had yellow and red in stock anyway, so it was yellow at the front and between items, and red at the end.

Not all leader tapes were made equal -- they often had radically different coefficients of friction compared to the recording tape itself (usually much higher!), and that sometimes caused problems with the machine's speed changing slightly as the leader ran through, resulting in a slur to the start or end of a recorded piece!

I also remember scraping off the red and yellow colour on leaders sometimes to leave a transparent section about two-inches long to trigger the optical end-of-tape sensor and activate the stop button -- an important function in a busy self-op news programme to prevent the tape running on into the next item!

In the commercial world various manufacturers used different colours to differentiate tape types. One standard was white for standard-play, green for long-play and blue for double-play. Again, red always signified the end.
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Re: Radio 3: pre-echo on Liszt loud piano parts

Post by forumuser840717 »

That's been a problem for years. It's particularly annoying when the stripy leader is used between tracks!

Some tapes and some leader tapes are more prone to it than others and it's really important to check for stripy leaders before baking tapes as that can make adhesion considerably worse (though, in very rare cases, it can also cause it to release).

Similarly, some will release with various solvents ranging from water to different strengths of alcohols or even acetone, while some tapes are destroyed by the solvents so experimentation and note keeping are important.
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