Barclay Crocker - USA

Company description

The Barclay Crocker Reel to Reel Tape Company of Poughkeepsie, New York manufacturrd Reel to Reel tapes with a no-holds-barred attitude to quality. Barclay Crocker, (BC), carefully chose recordings to manufacture only after critical evaluation of the Master Tape supplied by the original licensing (record) company.

After passing stringent BC standards, the record company master was recorded 1-to-1 to a running master at 15 inches per second on 1/2 inch mastering tape and not subjected to any external limiting, compression or equalization. These new BC running masters were used to produce the limited edition issues (some less than 100) at tape recording speeds unheard of for the reel to reel tape industry.

Most commercially available Reel to Reel tapes in their day, were duplicated at very high speeds (60 -240 IPS) ranging from 8 to 32 times the tape’s normal playing speed at 7 1/2 IPS or up to 64 times the speed of a 3 3/4 IPS tape! The broad bandwidth required at these high speeds severly taxes the amplifiers and heads of the duplicating equipment and adversely affects both the Frequency Response and noise level of the duplicated tapes. BC’s custom modified Ampex duplicating equipment  was set to operate at a ratio of only 4-to-1 (running master at 60 ips; recorded copies at 30 ips, or only 4 times the normal playing speed of 7 1/2 ips). Because of this Slow Duplication speed, combined with the carefully made B-C running master and the use of the most expensive premium polyester-based, Audiotape Q-15, low noise tape they were able to produce a commercially available tape that captures the full range, brilliance and tonal subtleties of the original master, far surpassing the original reel to reel release by the record company (if one was even released) The Dolby B noise-reduction process was used on all but an select few recordings which were recorded processed to the DBX II standard in very low quanities as well (DBX I was designed for 15 ips tapes, B-C was exclusively 7.5 ips) All BC Dolby tapes used test tones at the end of Side 1 and the beginning of Side 2 to calibrate a Dolby unit.  A unique feature of the tapes is their use of Sonic Sentry, an audible signal that marked the beginning of the content of Side 1 on tapes whose content is significantly shorter on Side 1 than Side 2.

Their releases, mostly classical, were generally accompanied by a nice text insert that described the work, composer, etc. For ten years (1976-1986) the Barclay Crocker Co painstakingly offered a product uniquely qualified to become bonafide exceptions to the limiting conditions which were then offered to the Reel To Reel listening public. To say that BC was the state-of-the-art source of it’s day for reels is an understatement. BC’s very limited releases are extremely rare examples of recorded music perfection. 

WHAT DOES THE QUALITY CONTROL NUMBER ON THE BACK OF A  BC REEL MEAN?

The first number indicates the slave on which the tape was duplicated, the second the year (i.e. 9 for 1979, 0 for 1980, 4 for 1984), the next two numbers would be the month (08 would be August) and the final two numbers the day. The letters following the QC are the operator’s initials. RF= Richard Fill, WC= Wayne Chin, EH = Erich Hissel and a few HBs = Henry Barclay! (Some tapes do not have operator numbers)

More info:

Beware of B-Cs transcribed in 1977 and 1978 (see above) on labels, Vanguard, Musical Heritage Society & Unicorn as there is a chance that they have loss of lubricant problems.

Company Profile

1976 To 1986
1976 To 1986
1/4 Track

General Information

Obituary of John Howe Crocker who died August 9, 2012 at the age of 77

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