You are here

Tape Splicing Block

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Tape Splicing Block

Postby Dan LB » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:58 am

Anyone know of a source for 1/4” splicing blocks? I’m having difficulty tracking one down at a reasonable price in the UK / Ireland..

Perhaps my understanding of ‘reasonable’ needs to change :headbang:

Dan
User avatar
Dan LB
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1410
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 1:00 am
Location: Wicklow, Ireland

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:16 pm

They come up occasionally on ebay, but prices vary enormously. I'm not aware of anyone still making them or selling new stock.

You could try these people: http://www.taperecorder.co.uk/accessories.htm ... although their website says they don't have any currently in stock.

There are Editall type blocks screwed to the front of most BBC tape recorders, and there's a lot of those for sale still on the auction sites... ;-)

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27011
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby James Perrett » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:51 pm

I was going to say try Tape City as I thought I'd seen one on there but their accessories page at

http://www.tapecity.co.uk/acatalog/Open ... ories.html

shows everything you need apart from the actual splicing block.

Splicit in the USA have them

http://www.splicit.com/1-8-1-4-1-2-Pro- ... s-p/sb.htm

Splicing blocks aren't quite as simple as they may appear at first. Not only do the slots have to be precisely the right width but the channel bottom is often also slightly curved.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 9200
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:07 pm

IIRC the slot is slightly narrower than the tape so when it is placed in the slot the curved bottom conforms to the actual width of the tape and holds it firmly (ish) in the slot while you cut and splice it.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12194
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:41 pm

Yes, that's it -- a very clever design!

There's a lovely pdf of the Editall manual here:

https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Catalogs/Miscellaneous-Manufacturers/Edit-All-Tape-Splicer-Manual.pdf
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27011
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:43 pm

For the record (pun intended) I am glad that I have never had, nor ever will have, to do this! :)
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10172
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby paul tha other » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:50 pm

i watched a guy cut a tape once ..it was a very tense and exciting moment in a studio for me..we had just paid for the tape and this bloke was chopping into it with a razor blade..i must have been 18 or so...i can still see my drummers face as the guy was cutting into it...once he had finished and put it back on to the tape player he got a round of applause from us because it had sorted out what ever the problem was ,and the tape still played...

im glad ive never had to do this
paul tha other
Frequent Poster
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 12:00 am
Location: scotland
http://www.myspace.com/onemanandalaptop

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:00 pm

Physical tape editing is one of those craft skills which has declined immeasurably, and has largely lost any relevance given today's technology. But watching a skilled practitioner at work is/was an awe-inspiring joy, and it's almost impossible to believe how quickly they could work and what could actually be achieved with such an apparently crude technique.

Of course... it would never be allowed today because of the Elf's Safety rules what with all those exposed razor blades lying around and metal reels spinning extremely fast without protective guards? Back in the day, though, injuries were remarkably rare, and I can't remember anyone getting throttled when their tie draped over a machine in fast-wind! ;-)

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27011
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:19 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Physical tape editing is one of those craft skills which has declined immeasurably, and has largely lost any relevance given today's technology. But watching a skilled practitioner at work is/was an awe-inspiring joy, and it's almost impossible to believe how quickly they could work and what could actually be achieved with such an apparently crude technique.

The obsolescence of crafts is something that's always particularly bothered me. In my first ever office job I worked for a newspaper, and found the printing press (and everything to do with it) fascinating. By the time I'd come along they'd moved to electronic pre-press production of the printing plates that wrapped around the rollers (a kind of etching of PDF originals onto thin sheets of metal) but there were plenty of folks there who could still fall back to using metal typographic blocks if needed, and had learned that craft over decades.

Kerning by hand with shims, arranging an entire broadsheet page letter by letter at unbelievable speed (and accuracy) into frames. There was a whole language that went with it as well.

Although modern methods are 'better' in terms of the final product, I think we've lost something along the way. Perhaps it's that we're now that much more reliant on the modern ways, whereas in the past they'd have been able to work around problems that would bring an outfit at a standstill today. Perhaps it's the artistry itself... I have no idea.

I think it's very sad that so much amazing skill, knowledge and experience that was handed down over generations is dissipating so quickly and it applies just as much to the recording and music industry as does anywhere else.

That said, it gives one a warm feeling to see that there are resolute corners of resistance, specifically along the lines of the amazing 50's studio (and the like) featured in a video from a magazine we all know and love ;)
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4011
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works.
Please consider supporting the SOS Forum Album project.
 

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby Folderol » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:02 pm

Oh dear. A couple of months ago, I re-found my splicing block while sorting out some old stuff. Now I know I didn't chuck it out, but have absolutely no clue where it is :(

Hmmm.
{creeeeak} {clump} {clump} {clump} {clump}
{click}{fizzzz} - must fix that light switch.
{rummage}{rummage}
{clunk} Ouch!
{rummage}{rummage}{rummage}{rummage}
{crash} never liked that lampshade anyway.
{rummage}
Not in cellar then.
{clump} {clump} {clump} {clump}
{shuffle}
{climb}{climb}{climb}
{bump} Ow.
{slide} Brrr, cold up here.
{step}{step}
{step} Where's the next joist?
{feel}
{prick} Arg! Splinter... again!
{rummage}
Hmm, the box looks suspiciously dust free.
{shuffle}{lift}{rummage}
Yay! Bib recoding tape splicer!

Wow, I see one simpler than this being advertised for $20+ Tell you what, You can have mine with a $20+ discount, but added post and packing :lol:
PM with addy.
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10540
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:00 am
Location: The Mudway Towns, UK
Yes. I am that Linux nut.
Onwards and... err... sideways!

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby James Perrett » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:40 pm

I used to quite enjoy doing the odd edit - often when a mix became too complicated to do in one pass so I'd take it in sections. However I didn't enjoy one spoken word project where the artist changed their mind so often that I was splicing individual syllables.

Nowadays the only time I have anything to do with splicing is to repair old splices or add some leader tape when the programme material starts too close to the end of the tape.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 9200
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:56 pm

I must confess I had a tape block at the age of 22, but it was purely for messing about with my Akai 4000, I never did anything serious with it. I do remember, though, the first time I did a cross fade in Logic realising that's what the diagonal slots were for ...

CC
User avatar
ConcertinaChap
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8631
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 12:00 am
Location: Bradford on Avon
Making music: Eagle Alley, recording music: Mr Punch's Studio
We are normal and we want our freedom!.

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby Wonks » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:29 pm

Is it similar to writer's block?
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10881
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby James Perrett » Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:53 am

Why does this thread make me think of Creighton Wheeler?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcZn19NfLwM
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 9200
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Tape Splicing Block

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:19 am

James Perrett wrote:I used to quite enjoy doing the odd edit - often when a mix became too complicated to do in one pass so I'd take it in sections. However I didn't enjoy one spoken word project where the artist changed their mind so often that I was splicing individual syllables.

Nowadays the only time I have anything to do with splicing is to repair old splices or add some leader tape when the programme material starts too close to the end of the tape.

Same for me James although at present I'm labouring through a customer's old tape recordings from 1948 to 1974, including early paper and acetate tapes. My Emitape splicing block is getting a workout. Some of these I respliced 15 years ago, and now some of those splices have started to ooze and creep, or just plain fail.

Then there are splices made by somebody with ordinary sticky tape. What a sticking, yellow mess! The adhesive can bleed onto adjacent tape winds which then glue themselves to each other. At one stage I had to wind the tape through at the slowest speed the Nagra would run at so that I could see each instance of a splice coming up so I could stop the machine before the stuck winds tore each other apart.

Today, people speak of "audio restoration" as something you do with a DAW and "audio restoration software". For damaged older formats, a lot of slow, patient, hands on work might be essential just to get the original carrier in a safe and useable condition to get a play out of it.

It's easy to forget too that before tape, how did you edit a spiral groove on a disc? Tape splicing was a revolution in editing convenience, not to mention much longer recording times now possible compared to perhaps 4 minutes for a 12" 78 RPM disc.
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2060
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Next