CAT Automatic Tape Splicer
The editing and splicing of recording tape are skills which rarely receive the credit they deserve because, the higher the standard of work by the man behind the tape and blade, the less obvious his talent is to the listener which, ironically, is how it should be because the only good splice is a silent one. A good splice, it seems is like a good child - seen but not heard.
The necessary requirements to achieve a good splice are the tools (minimal), attention to detail and time. Time in business is money and therefore speed is essential. For the amateur a high workrate is desirable in order to make the most of the time available, but speed is the enemy of attention to detail.
There cannot really be any compromise on the quality of a splice to increase the workrate, so wouldn't it be a fine thing if an accurate clean splice could be completed in the time normally taken to cut a piece of splicing tape to size? Well, that is what the people at Collins Automatic Tape-Joiners Ltd thought, but, unlike many, they did not just think about it, they developed the machine to do it. It is now available and known as the CAT.
The CAT, like its feline namesake, is small, fast and requires virtually no looking after. For a 'machine', it is a fine example of economy of construction, there is nothing which does not have a 100% function, and some design features double up, thus negating the need for extra fittings. One example is the tape channel which is machined in such a way that it not only aligns the tape but grips it without the need for clamps or pressure pads. To make any change to the current design to improve performance would seem almost impossible.
There are some tape editors, who with block and blade, can work at surprising speed, but only after considerable time at the job - buy the CAT and you have bought instant speed and skill. The CAT is also capable of the most delicate tape shaves, its design being such that slivers of tape, impossible to trim with blade or scissors, may be shaved away to accurately eliminate recorded clicks, stammers or unwanted musical notes without cutting into the wanted portion.
Getting the CAT to do its tricks is simplicity itself. The splicer, once loaded with the cassette of pre-cut splicing tape, is ready to work, there being no assembly or adjustments needed. The hinged anti-magnetic steel bases which act both as tape guides and cutters are used individually to cut each section accurately without any need for skill on the part of the operator.
First lift one half and lay the tape in the machined groove of the other so that the point at which the cut is to be made is aligned with the cutting edge. The first plate is now lowered and in so doing it cuts the tape. The second half is now raised with the tape still in position and the portion of tape to be joined to it is laid in the groove of the lower plate. The cutting point is aligned against the cutter's edge and the second plate is then lowered to complete the cutting and simultaneously align the two portions of tape. The handle is now pressed firmly down and the pre-cut portion of splicing tape is pressed across the joint by a foam rubber pressure pad. Once smoothed down with finger pressure the completed splice may be lifted clear of the CAT.
The CAT has met with universal acclaim from the recording and broadcast industry, and its success has inspired the manufacturers to cater for all types of splicing needs: a ½" version for video and audio (including digital) is now available, and a version for cassette tapes, selling at under £10.00 is on the way.
Manufacturer: Collins Automatic Tape-Joiners Ltd. London, England.
Sole UK Supplier: Mike Fraser (Film Services) Ltd., (Contact Details). The reviewed CAT retails at £68.43 including VAT.
Weight - 350 gms.
Width - 120 mm.
Depth - 75 mm.
Height - 78 mm.
Construction - toughened plastic and anti-magnetic steel.
Review by Steve Taylor
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