Various elements of a magnetic recording system, such as the heads, the tape and the tape transport mechanism, cause departures from the 'ideal' performance of the system, due either to the physical properties of the materials of which they are composed or to the limitations of the accuracy to which they can be made. Some of the effects depend fundamentally only on signal frequency and other only on recorded wavelength. The paper examines the nature and magnitude of the various departures and discusses the improved properties expected in the elements if the ideal performance is to be closely approached.
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