- Brand: Radio Shack / Realistic
- Type: Supertape
- Reel: 5" (13cm), 7" (18cm)
- Lengths Available: 600' (180m), 900' (275m), 1200' (360m), 1800' (550m), 2400' (720m), 3600' (1100m)
- Thickness: SP (1.5 mil), LP (1.0 mil), DP (0.5 -0.75 mil), TP (0.5 mil)
- Tape Grade / Performance Level: 2-Low Noise
- Base Material: Polyester
- 2020 Advice: Good for Daily Use, Good for all speeds
- Where Produced: USA
- Mfg Years: Late 1960s, Early 1970s, Late 1970s, 1980s
- Sale Condition: Refurbished - 90 day warranty
Radio Shack’s standard tape was simply called Realistic, later boxed as a Low Noise (type 2) tape made in house, probably in the former Allied Electronics tape production facilities which were absorbed by Tandy. We have identified three basic generations of this tape.
Type 1 – Brown Oxide (1960s – Early 1970s). This version performs similar to the many of the standard brown oxide tapes of it’s day. According to our research, much of the tape was sourced from Audio Devices (Audiotape), and the tape was identical to what was put in the Capitol Sound Tape, with the “Beautiful” boxes. A solid standard tape, in the red and white boxes.
Type 2 – Gray Oxide (1970s) – These have the classic 6 window reel, and are a typical (for the time) low noise formulation similar to Scotch 203. At some point they switched to their own production, and supplied the tape with their 3-window reel, even through they used the same red / white box design.
Type 3 – Gray Oxide (1980s to production end) – These tapes, supplied in their newer style red box, have the Realistic unique gray 3-window reel, and improved performance. In catalogs the published performance was shown to be slightly less than the Scotch’s 207 (off just over 1 dB in dynamic range). Our own tests have shown the tape is not altogether bad – more importantly, it does not supper from sticky shed or squealing. Notes:
- All three formulas have withstood the test of time – they do not suffer from sticky shed, squealing, or excess oxide shedding.
- You can identify the later formulations of this tape by its dark gray (almost black) color and shiny surface – although less so than the Supertape. It does not have a back coating.
- This formulation was available in all lengths and thicknesses – SP, LP, DP and TP. Like competitive offerings from Scotch, Ampex and Memorex, the DP oxide coating is identical to the SP and LP versions.
- What might be interesting to Reel to Reel Enthusiasts is that they also produced a TP version of this tape, with a relatively high quality. Early formulations of the DP and TP versions of this tape were most likely sourced from Audio Devices (Audiotape) which you can tell of the tape color is brown.
- Available Refurbished: Yes, you can buy refurbished reels of Realistic Low Noise in our store. At this time we only have the later generation tapes available with the three window reel (as shown in the picture) and they may come with either package style.