As Lou pointed out, acetate and polyester tape will behave differently. This is usually more prevalent on acetate tape than polyester--at least that's where I've seen it.
Here are some winding articles from my blog...
Also, if the tapes are full-track mono, playing them with a full-track head can work wonders -- it's a good rule to always match the head to the tape.Actually, I interpret your pages to indicate that it is good to compare the tape on several different type heads if you have them available. Damaged full track tape presents certain alignment problems that can often be solved by NOT playing it with a full track head. When the tape has deformed even slightly it can present an uneven or irregular pattern that will cause phasing that can not be cured by any head azimuith adjustments to a head reading the entire width of the tape. A narrow track head might be better able to find a place on the tape where it can be aligned to -- and sometimes this will change during the reel.
Also, here is a page discussing matching tracks to heads -- this is the specific case of the very popular substitution of a DIN head for an NAB head in two-track stereo.
Gettnig back to the effect of the possible damage, while the physical damage certainly has a role to play, the "how bad is it" is as much -- or more -- a factor of the recording speed and the track width. This is crucial. A full-track 15 in/s tape that will play fine with a certain amount of damage would be rather unlistenable at 3.75 in/s quarter track, for example.
At 07:15 PM 2009-02-09, Frances, Melodie wrote:All,
Forgive my newbie-ness but I am looking at a collection of reel-to-reel audio tapes that we have and I have noticed that some of them have what I would describe as kind of 'pre' cupping - that is, they aren't drastically curved and don't look like pictures of real cupping that I have seen, but they are a little bit curved, and when I look through the clear plastic reel, the outer 1/8 - 1/4 of an inch looks different from the rest of the tape - like it is not lying quite as flat.
SO - how bad is this? Is there a word for this? I have looked around on the web but mostly found stuff about true cupping.