An analog magnetic tape recorder introduces more types of distortion into music recordings than any other component in the signal chain. An impressive array of instrumentation devices and standards have been developed for measuring electronic circuitry (THD, IM, SID, noise weighting filters, etc.), but meaningful evaluations of the magnetic head to tape interface have not received much attention. A new form of test instrument, a Tape and Transport Diagnostic System, which measures both amplitude irregularities due to tape oxide nonuniformities and frequency deviations due to transport speed perturbations is herein described.
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