Performance criteria for magnetic recording systems should include specifications predicting distortion heard after several program regenerations. Specifications usually include frequency response and its linearity, dynamic range for a given midband distortion and tape motion stability. These specifications may not fully describe the subjective performance of the n'th regeneration program. A recording system can be broken into basic component parts, each of which can be analyzed and isolated as a part of an otherwise ideal system. The perceptive distortion of all elements is combined and compared with practical systems. The understanding resulting from this type of system breakdown and study gives greater acuity in hearing distortion from magnetic recording systems and supports specifications more fully describing subjective performance. Specifications should include response and noise amplitude gradients, modulation noise and spectrum, surface related dropouts, presence edge smear, and parametric distortion plots including the natural system frequencies.
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