- Brand: Radio Shack / Realistic / Supertape / Concertape
- 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
- 2023 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 and made in house in the former Allied Electronics tape production facilities which were absorbed by Tandy. We learned that they invested heavily in the early 1970s in a high quality tape manufacturing plant to make competitive high performance tapes. We have since upgraded our recommendation of these tapes made in that facility (7/2022). For those with older machines or those with a tape setting, these tapes are cheap to buy used and are reliable. They were made in large volumes through the early 1990s. We have identified three basic generations of this tape. THEY ARE NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE JUNK CONCERTAPE, which was never made by them.
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 high performance formulations type 1271/ 1861 / 2431T, or what was put in the Capitol Sound Tape, with the “Beautiful” boxes. A solid standard tape in the red and white boxes, that Audiotape formulation is virtually indestructible.
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). These tapes are roughly equivalent to the Scotch 211/212/213/214 Series. Our own tests have shown the tape is good, and we are upgrading our recommendation 7/2022 accordingly due to the positive performance. More importantly, it does not suffer 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. Their own formulations were gray.
- 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.