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Tape looping insanity c. 1970

This fellow sent this nice story to be forwarded to the list. Hope you
enjoy it:

>Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2000 09:37:11 -0500
>From: ChasWiller@aol.com
>Subject: Tape looping insanity c. 1970
>To: Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com
>I'm not joining the tape loopers group, just submitting this story for 
>In high school, I managed to get assigned to help in the language lab.
>There were about a half-dozen of us and we had ideas that just wouldn't 
>when it came to utilizing the 38 reel-to-reel decks in the student booths 
>equipment rack. Oh yes, there was a teachers' console with a switching 
>that would not stop.
>Our first experiment was to run tape from deck-to-deck-to-deck  on the 
>vertical equipment rack.  Since the machines ran at slightly different 
>and all we had was Ampex acetate-based tape, we snapped
>a lot of it.  Then an idea hit us.
>We used an empty reel as an idler, spinning vertically along the front of 
>rack with the tape doing a quarter-twist going in and out of the reel.
>When the reel climbed too high, we would stop the takeup deck and
>let the reel descend again.
>This gave us many seconds of delay for 3 decks.  We made a feedback loop 
>deck 3 to deck 1 and set the levels so there was slightly less than unity
>gain in the chain.
>When we plugged in a mic, it interrupted the loop audio, so we could start
>adding and replacing audio ad-lib.
>It was pretty inane at first. "Hi, how ya doin'?" "Feelin' pretty good." 
>this is fun!" "Hee hee hee!", etc."
>The cacaphony of repeating dialogue built up until it was a giant 
>of comments, almost like a giant party scene.
>Then we got another idea.  Why not use the 35 decks in the student booths?
>Of course, 34 empty reels were required to allow the tape to make it 
>around the metal booth dividers in the 5 rows of 7 booths each.
>It was a monster of a setup, requiring most of a single class period to
>Then our lookout saw the Head of the Foreign Language Department coming 
>the hallway.
>The crew scrambled down the rows, taking the decks out of "PLAY" mode and
>then someone put deck #1 in "REWIND".
>You ever watch those giant domino setups falling down?  Imagine that sort 
>"clickety-clickety" sound with the amplitude of thirty-four 7" plastic 
>falling 36 inches to the concrete floor!
>We managed to clean up enough to seem normal when Mr. L walked in.
>But that narrow escape did not cure us. We wanted more.
>The loop had to be longer, but how?
>Lightbulbs went on over our heads one day.  The window next to the 
>rack was opened and an empty reel was sent downward from the 3rd-floor
>language lab, rotating on a long-long loop of tape.
>It was very amusing to the Home Economics students on the first floor.
>Not so amused was Mr. L, who banned us from the language lab for
>quite a while.
>What happened to those language lab tape loopers?
>One is an on-staff inventor at a high-tech electronics company.
>One is a commercial audio producer.
>One is a deejay and producer at a radio station group.
>Two are college professors.
>One is a cell phone network hardware and software engineer.
>North Side High School has never been the same!
>Charlie Willer
>1655 N Wells St
>Fort Wayne IN 46808-3281

Kim Flint                     | Looper's Delight
kflint@loopers-delight.com    | http://www.loopers-delight.com