- 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: 3-Low Noise / High Output
- Base Material: Polyester
- 2023 Advice: Good for Daily Use, Good for all speeds
- Where Produced: USA
- Mfg Years: Late 1970s, 1980s, 1990s
- Sale Condition: Refurbished - 90 day warranty
Radio Shack’s premier tape was Realistic’s Supertape, a low noise (type 2) – and later a low noise / high output (type 3) tape 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. Notes:
Type 1 – Low Noise Grey Oxide (1960s – Early 1970s). Because their tape was first sourced from Audio Devices (Audiotape) at the time, and the tape looks identical to their low noise formulations type 1277 or 1867, the assumption is that the performance is similar. The 1277/1867 tapes were of a high quality with a performance similar to Scotch 203 at the time. The box is yellow.
Type 2 – Low Noise Gray Oxide (1970s) – These tapes have the classic 6 window reel and the tacky foil silver packaging, and the performance of these were good. At some point they switched to a better high output formulation with a shinier surface and supplied the tape with their own 3-window reel, even through they used the same silver packaging design.
Type 3 – Low Noise / High Output (type 3) shiny Gray Oxide (1980s to production end) – These tapes, supplied in their newer style plain blue box, have the Realistic unique gray 3-window reel and improved performance. These tapes are roughly equivalent in performance to Scotch 207 and Maxell UD. 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:
- This is a formula that has withstood the test of time – it does not suffer from sticky shed, squealing, or excess oxide shedding, despite its less than best reputation for quality at the time.
- You can identify this tape by its dark gray (almost black) color and very shiny surface. 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 produced a TP version of this tape, and the TP version was one of the best ones ever made – second only to Maxell’s UD – if only because very few manufacturers tried to produce a high quality TP tape with a modern formulation.
- Available Refurbished: Yes, you can buy refurbished reels of Supertape 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 – the tacky silver or plain blue – but the tape is the same. We recommend them!