Let's see a state-of-the-art chrome tape: the magnificent UX-Pro from the '96. This tape is almost the same as the UX-ES (which is excellent too) with a small additions like the ceramic tape guide. This tape represents the best technology that was available for type II tapes, so I think it's pretty interesting to see how it performs in this Top-Of-The-Line deck.
As anyone can expect, from the best chrome tape ever, the UX Pro performs even better than the SA, almost reaching perfection. This result confirms -once more- its unbeatable quality, as well as the impressive performance of the F1250.
However, the result using the embedded calibration system is not as good, because it starts to roll off at 8kHz, and it's a bit down at 15kHz. Here's the reason why a good system for real time sound analysis is the key if you want to truly get full profit of any tape in almost any deck. The curves shown for 0, -10 and -20dB are obtained with this system of mine, obviously with other calibration settings.
Although not widely known -at least in my country- there were high perfomance type I tapes, beside the famous TDK D and the SONY HF. Yes, they existed. One of them was the AR, and the AR-X which was the top ferric tape. This one I'm testing is a special version of the AR, which probably has the same performance but a different case. I never got the point of limited editions of a particular tape but nowadays it's a cool thing to collect.
With this high performance ferric tape the performance is again up to the expectations: excellent. The frequency response from left-to-right is almost a straight line both at three levels. all have been obtained using my RTA system. With the F1250 own assisted calibration, the result is...
Also, given the higher background hiss of these ferrics, a noise reduction system is warmly welcomed. Dolby S -or even better, dbx- would be perfect for this matter.
Now let's jump to BASF. This tape was one of the best ones in the brand's type II range of that year. Regarding the design I find it quite different although IMHO it is a bit ugly design.
The more I test this BASF tape, the more I realize that these european tapes don't fit on japanese decks very well. As many fans know, at some point in time, the IEC standard was released but japanese manufacturers did take their own path, that was slightly different from the rest... causing this fact.
Note that although the curves look not very flat, I like to use a somewhat amplified vertical scale to help showing differences. Anyway, this animation will show you the same measurement with two different scales: this one and another more common one:
As you can see, though the response of this BASF is not totally flat, I wouldn't call it bad. These BASF tapes have a reputation of extremely good definition (remember those MFSL tapes). Combined with an EQ to make the response more flat, it will perform admirably well. But it requires a good EQ and some expertise to make that happen.
So, you see: this BASF would need some EQ curve to get a flat response on the F1250 which is a consequence of these different standards.