- Brand: Maxell
- Type: UD-XL / XL1
- Reel: 7" (18cm), 10.5" (26.5cm)
- Lengths Available: 1200' (360m), 1800' (550m), 2400' (720m), 3600' (1100m)
- Thickness: SP (1.5 mil), LP (1.0 mil)
- Tape Grade / Performance Level: 4-High Ouput / High Bias +3
- Base Material: Polyester Backcoated
- 2020 Advice: Good for Daily Use, Suitable for Master Recording, Suitable for Music Recording, Good for all speeds
- Where Produced: Japan
- Mfg Years: Late 1970s, 1980s, 1990s
- Sale Condition: Refurbished - 90 day warranty
Maxell brought out their UDXL High Output / Extended Range tape with back-coating in the late 1970s. This is a type 4 tape (+3) according to our nomenclature that required a higher bias. Later this tape was renamed “XLI” with the introduction of their XLII “EE” Series tapes in the early 1980s This tape provides a meaningful upgrade over the UD in terms of frequency response and output on more modern machines that can get the benefit the tape offers. The sound quality is excellent. Like the UD, these tapes sound brighter on older equipment, and when used with the older (and cheaper) machines at the time, users felt they sounded better due to their better frequency response, particularly at 3-3/4 ips. Later, machines with a tape selector allowed them to be used at the proper bias, where the full capabilities of the tape could be used.
There were a few UDXL generations, and their quality was similar with each one. The reel design changed through these generations. Maxell made special note of their unique binder designed to provide a long operating life. Today the Maxell tapes have developed a reputation of arguably being the best consumer reel to reel tapes ever made. As a result, the UDXL and XLI tapes still hold their quality and can be used today – and they still sound brighter on the older machines! Although they are back-coated, it is important to note that they do not suffer from sticky shed or oxide shed. They are safe and can be used today.
Maxell put a lot of research and development in their tape line, and they developed both SP and LP thicknesses. The quality stands out even today – it’s only matched by the formulations made by Agfa and BASF. For some reason, the Maxell tapes – as good as they were – were never adopted in the US or Europe for commercial applications.