Static solution for 8-track tapes with spring pads
My general question is if the static I hear on some tapes is the result of actual static discharging or not and not just the result of tape not sitting right on the head or a faulty head or something else. I have been collecting quad 8 tracks and players and even a quad recorder over the last year. All for personal enjoyment. Since some tapes exhibit static and other seem near perfect, I blame the tape in my setup(s). I have two quad systems setup. I pulled the trigger on a quad Black Sabbath Paranoid more recently and the static came and went but was way too much overall. Considering the cost in this case, enough was enough. I've replaced pads and the metal strip on about 20+ tapes so far but this tape had the spring pad mech. Before playing it I replaced the pads but did not do a good job covering the entire metal part and after some reading some things concluded I am not helping anything by allowing the tape to be so close to the metal spring because it was not properly covered. After doing my repair a second time I had a much more stable tape. Now I want a pad that does not encourage static in some better way but I can't say what that means. You don't really hear this noise on cassette tapes as much so not sure what to think. Better guide on an 8 track. In any case, I made a couple changes on this Black Sabbath quad 8 track and later wrote down what I did.
1. Clean roller in case 'particles' are encouraging static build-up. (I wondered if that might be enough in my case..)
2. On spring loaded pads check that pad FULLY COVERS and protects the tape from the metallic spring - no direct contact to metal. Separate tape and (what is a highly) conductive (copper?) material as much as possible given your type of pad replacement (mine seemed on the thin side but have little experience here at the moment with spring type pads.)
1. Maybe small improvement by cleaning the roller only and playing with only that change but not much if any with only a few minutes of play. I speculate that this maybe reduces static build up on the tape over time (waiting to be discharged) but may not have immediate effect. Either way - good to clean the roller in all cases.
2. When I made sure pads fully covered metallic spring (especially on top edge but also sides and bottom) it reduced issue at least 90 percent on first play. This was first time I replaced this type of pad. I later noticed the top edge of at least one side was not fully covered and this has to attract static which could be picked up by the head upon discharge.
Initial thoughts after both changes:
On first play, I still can get some (but reduced!) static on this particular tape (Quad Black Sabbath Paranoid) which can be further reduced by moving the tape or doing a quick track change (both of which has to impact how the tape is flowing across things). I am hearing less and less as it plays (not gone). I've listened through a couple songs as I write this with no static which is a first. Definite impact in my case
After an hour thoughts:
Right now, it seems like making sure the spring type pad protected the tape from the metal made a massive difference and I think that makes sense. You might want to consider this. I only had to move one pad to better protect (it was bigger) but also cut a new pad to provide full coverage on the other pad I had cut too small previously (so the over hang was on all sides . I should mention I pulled up on the 'spring' the two times I messed with the pads and maybe pulled up a little harder the second time. Certainly helping the tape stay in a consistent position across the head can only improve consistent results.
After another hour:
Update as I write this - 95 % reduction in static in my case. Paranoid came around again so second listen. I am super happy at the moment. multiple songs with no loud static. Take a hard look at your spring - it should be fully covered by pad where tape comes near.
After a week:
I can still get static on this tape but its not as bad compared to at first. I guess my realistic goal is to preserve the 4 tracks (I have all sorts of multi track recording tech) in case the tape goes bad but mostly I enjoy playing 8 tracks for some reason.. funny cause I buy vinyl or hi res audio all the time and enjoy the extra fidelity I feel I get from it.. I have some quad LPs but not a way to play them. Maybe this change and getting the tape to sit just right to capture it is the best I can hope for in order to play all the quad stuff consistently for others and not have them get annoyed but imperfections.
Peace - Joe
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