Making "Endless" Cassete Loop Tapes

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WhiteWarlock
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Making "Endless" Cassete Loop Tapes

Post by WhiteWarlock » Tue May 15, 2018 9:56 am


http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2014/02 ... -loop.html
Step 1: Go Get Stuff
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You will need:

A cassette
A rubber washer
A razor or craft knife
Double-sided tape
Clear packing tape
A screwdriver
Scissors
Mat board
A ruler
A cassette player
Step 2: Open the Case
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Open the cassette tape by removing the screws. Carefully set them aside for later reassembly.
Step 3: Remove the Reels
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Remove the tape reels, but don't disturb any of the other mechanisms.
Step 4: Prepare the Reels
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Cut both reels free from the magnetic tape.

Put your rubber washer around one of them. This will be the wheel which will pull the tape.
Step 5: Cut Some Magnetic Tape
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Cut a section of magnetic tape roughly a foot long.
Step 6: Thread
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Position your wheels back inside the tape and thread the magnetic ribbon around the rubber wheel, under the unmodified wheel, around the pulley opposite the rubber wheel, through the channel at the bottom of the tape, around the other pulley and also to the right of the plastic peg (next to the pulley).

In other words, just look at the pictures.
Step 7: Tape
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Apply a small piece of double-sided tape on the inside of the magnetic ribbon, pull the loop tight and tape it evenly together.

If the magnetic ribbon is attached at an angle or any tape is sticking off the sides, your tape loop almost assuredly will not work.
Step 8: Washer
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Cut a washer out of mat board and stick it on the inside of the case around the opening that lines up with the wheel with the rubber on it.

This provides more pressure on the sides of the wheel and ensures the wheel will spin. I found this to be necessary.
Step 9: Close the Case
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Trim away all excess magnet ribbon and close the cassette back up. When reinserting the screws, only tighten them about 80% on the side with the rubber wheel. Readjust tightness as necessary until it plays correctly in your cassette deck.
Step 10: Now Make It Better
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Perhaps that first loop you made was a little glitchy and you would like for it to work better.

There is an easy way to do this.

First, reopen the case, remove the magnetic ribbon loop and cut it in half anywhere along its length.
Step 11: Make a New Piece
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Carefully measure this piece of magnetic ribbon and then cut yet another piece of that exact length.
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Take a small piece of packing tape and evenly splice together the two ends to form a solid band (without any twists in it... although, if you put one twist in it, it will double the length of the loop, but make it harder to reassemble).

Trim away any excess packing tape with your razor or craft knife.
Putting All Back Together Again
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Install the new band of magnetic tape into the cassette deck.

Reassemble the whole unit once more and enjoy your cleaner sounding tape loop.

The trick:

I always assumed that the tape wheel was the mechanism feeding the tape through the player and because of this, I thought that the magnetic ribbon had to be highly tensioned and the wheel needed to be as loose as possible to spin freely. However, what I discovered is that what is really feeding the magnetic ribbon through the player is a little rubber wheel that comes up from the bottom when you hit play. Because of this, it is beneficial if the ribbon has a little slack (less tensioned) and the wheel is a little compressed with sides of the case. Figuring out the right ratio takes a little trial and error.

Article Mercilessly Hacked from: http://www.instructables.com/id/Audio-Cassette-Loop/
You don't need a washer...

see this example:
Cassette Tape Loops
March 1, 2017
http://www.thesoundspace.co.uk/pete-smith/
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Here's is my first proper attempt at making a 10s tape loop. I have made short 5s loops before, which are fairly easy to make, but I wanted to try making a longer loop. Above is a picture of the loop I made. It is made from a length of tape around 41cm joined together with a tiny piece of scotch tape. I left some tape on the reel on the right (shown below) and stuck it down to allow some space for the tape to move past the reel on the left. The join is made on the underside of the tape which is slightly duller and more matte looking. Make sure you have some scotch tape, some scissors, a tape measure and a small phillips head screw driver if you're giving it a go.
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You can then record whatever you want onto your loop. I the recorded an ambient drone and played it through some delay and reverb (shown in the video below). There is also a bit of fuzz added from izotope trash. What I love about using these loops is that it gives you an endless, constantly evolving sound. Ideally I would be making loops on a proper 1/4 tape reel to reel machine but this will have to do for now!


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one more method example: http://createrevolutionaryart.net/how-t ... ette-loop/
How to make an endless cassette loop tape

Rewind the tape to the beginning
Undo the four or five screws securing the two halves of the cassette
Remove the two spindles and detach the tape from them – cut with a blade after pressing out of the spool of tape
Select a short length of tape – don’t use leader tape unless you want blank, unrecordable parts
Form a loop with this tape passing through the cassette tape path
Make sure the tape is not inside out – only one side of the tape is magnetic and if you put in the inside out you won’t get any recording or playback
Get some nail polish and brush onto the end of the tape – about 5mm.
Loop the other end and press together on a flat surface – you should be able to move the tape slightly to get it lined up if you do it in the first few seconds
Check the tape path is set up correctly – it does not need to be under tension as it is the capstan and roller that pulls the tape through – the spindles do nothing at all
Insert into your walkman/recorder and test it out – you should get about 5-6 seconds of recording time

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This is a simple cassette tape loop method...
Yet my real goal is making something like "TDK ENDLESS EC3"
3 minute "PRO" loop tape
without hacking apart the one eye have...
highly suspect they are wound much like 8Track tapes
using this series of posts whilst conducting R&D


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Obviously the optimal usage of "Endless Cassette Tape Loop" is
using such with a Tape Multrack
aka Tascam 424 or 488 or whatever you have

exploring methods for making longer endless loop tapes than a few seconds.......
BRAINSTORMING
post some feedback if you have any input on this subject
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Zugzwang Productions
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Re: Making "Endless" Cassete Loop Tapes

Post by Zugzwang Productions » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:25 pm

A couple years ago I modified answering machine type tape loops to make them manually crank-able.
Far from perfect but an interesting concept. Let me see if I can dig up a video of it.

Edit : I can ! Really shitty footage but it gives the idea.
https://archive.org/details/video-1472393032
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WhiteWarlock
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Re: Making "Endless" Cassete Loop Tapes

Post by WhiteWarlock » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:41 pm

That hand crank tape is good concept
do something like that with open reels sometimes
you could also add Switch/resistor for lowering play speed "voltage"on Tascam 414
Thanks for digging up the archived example vid

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Fletcher
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Re: Making "Endless" Cassete Loop Tapes

Post by Fletcher » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:14 am

This is a great thread, thanks for writing it all down and sharing your experiences.

Although I have no tape player or tapes, it makes me appreciate what goes into making these :)
www.snarerush.co.uk
An electronic music zine in occasional print format

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jliat
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Re: Making "Endless" Cassete Loop Tapes

Post by jliat » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:05 am

Related to this is the "Time Lag Accumulator" as used by Terry Riley and Fripp

You need two reel to reel tape machines. The "Record" machine has tape which then runs to the take up spool of the second tape.
The second tape's set to play and the output fed back to the record machine. The distance between the two tapes gives the delay.

The 'bonus' is the whole thing is recorded...





Not a good example...


Here is one slightly better....



OMG! One person live!!!!


FireAlarmPoet
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Re: Making "Endless" Cassete Loop Tapes

Post by FireAlarmPoet » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:45 pm

In my... let's say, less than amiable experience with tape loops, I've consistently had the most success with the 372mm method outlined in Tim's link, though I think I might've extended it to 374mm to better success. It's difficult to find the right amount of slack doing it the 'old fashioned' way.

Among my first attempts were those following the guide whitewarlock posted, the one with the washer, and I can say with certainty that it's bunk. I don't doubt something similar can be cobbled together with enough time, patience, research, and patience, but it's not nearly as effective nor efficient as the 372/374mm method.

As for the 8-track style: I tried to do it myself recently, with catastrophic results. I broke the premanufactured endless cassette I had before I started, so I didn't get to look at how THAT one was made. Trying to replicate it as I said ended in failure; there needs to be a certain amount of space close to the take-up reel for the 'inner' part to go back out around the 'outer' portion of the loop, so either there's some other mechanism I'm missing or I'm going about it the wrong way. Premanufactured endless loop tapes are easy to come by and relatively cheap anyways, so it's not like building one from scratch would be a game changer.

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jliat
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Re: Making "Endless" Cassete Loop Tapes

Post by jliat » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:07 am

But given the sampler, both hardware and software versions, making tape loops is nothing to do with success in creating looped sound, but in creating a tape loop.

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timdrage
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Re: Making "Endless" Cassete Loop Tapes

Post by timdrage » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:40 am

An amazing tool for tape looping is an actual 8-track cartridge recorder. Since they are inherently a loop and have thicker tape than a compact cassette it's easy to cut them to any length from seconds to minutes/hours :) and the recorders lend themselves well to cut-ups/punch-ins with additional possibilities when you are also switching between the 4 stereo tracks

need to fix mine up soon :)

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diurnalburdens
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Re: Making "Endless" Cassete Loop Tapes

Post by diurnalburdens » Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:20 pm

timdrage wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:40 am
An amazing tool for tape looping is an actual 8-track cartridge recorder. Since they are inherently a loop and have thicker tape than a compact cassette it's easy to cut them to any length from seconds to minutes/hours :) and the recorders lend themselves well to cut-ups/punch-ins with additional possibilities when you are also switching between the 4 stereo tracks

need to fix mine up soon :)
Fidelity wise they are great too. However, I ran into some problems trying to get a loop without gaps. There's a thread I started on here about it. Basically, when you stop recording, a gap is added, because of the distance between the erase head and the record head. It's really difficult to get at the erase head on an 8 track recorder, unlike a cassette or reel to reel recorder, so you can't just easily cover it and eliminate the problem. Also, switching out the erase head also introduced biasing pops into the audio. So as much as I wanted to love the 8 track, I had to give it up.

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