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Tape looping insanity c. 1970
This fellow sent this nice story to be forwarded to the list. Hope you
>Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2000 09:37:11 -0500
>Subject: Tape looping insanity c. 1970
>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 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!
>1655 N Wells St
>Fort Wayne IN 46808-3281
Kim Flint | Looper's Delight
firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.loopers-delight.com