Shifting some boxes the other day, I came across the manual for my first new tape machine. The pages were well-thumbed, slightly dog-eared, and, on the technical specification pages, there were assorted annotations made by me when setting up the machine to record as hot as possible to keep the signal-to-noise ratio high, tape hiss being the bane of all playback systems in those far-off days. It was a slim volume, concise and to the point, explaining all the main controls, giving some hints ...

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