One of the reasons that Shurtape 724 is prized as a console labeling tape is because indelible markers like Sharpies don’t smear when they are used to make labels.
Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple.
While Sharpie Marker won’t smear if you let it dry, touching it too soon can create a real mess.
This tape is a “coated” product, which means that it has a top coat that is designed to provide a small level of waterproofing and stain rejection.
That means that the marker ink won’t dry instantly, like it will on a more absorbent surface.
Fortunately, ink will dry to an indelible label in just a few seconds. It is worth the wait.
We’ve wriiten about console tape specs before, explaining why terms like “adhesion to steel” and “flatback” matter when evaluating a console tape.
Another specification that deserves attention is the term “elongation”.
Elongation is a fancy word to describe, in quantifiable terms, how “stretchy” a tape is. Does it stay the same length and width when force is applied to the ends or the sides.
This is particularly important in a festival or other multi-act performance where the sound person will create a separate strip of console tape for each act during sound checks and then put the appropriate tape back on the console when that act is set to perform. Not only will the tape have the name of what each console channel is used for, but it may well have lots of other information like levels, eq and limiter settings and notes that are relevant only to that performer.
Tape that stretches may well not line up correctly below the console faders, leading the sound person who is quite often working in semi-darkness to apply the information on the tape to the wrong console input.
Shurtape 724 has an elongation spec of 2.5%, meaining that, at maximum, before tearing it will only stretch (elongate) 2.5 %, making it easy to line up on the console without confusion.
I came across a discussion recently about mixer labeling on a pro sound forum. A forum member had asked how other members labeled consoles when there were multiple acts with quick changeover times.
One interesting response came from someone who had applied a piece of dry erase marker board to the label section of his mixer. At first this seemed like a useful idea, but, on further reading, the person who posted this idea talked about how he had to “train” himself to not rub his hands across the board after it was labeled. Clearly, this could be a big problem, particularly if you wiped your labels 30 seconds before the set started.
We have a better idea.
Permacel 724 paper label tape has something called “repositionable” adhesive. It can be removed without leaving residue or tearing and then re-applied to the mixer when the act specific to that label takes the stage.
There are lots ways to secure coiled cable, including tape, but Shurtape 724 paper label tape is not one of them.
The adhesive on this tape can interact with the natural rubber jacket on some cables, leaving a residue when the tape is removed.
This residue is not a problem on surfaces like sound consoles and patch bays, but it can cause a sticky problem on some audio cables.
Instead of tape, we recommend Velcro One Wrap Straps for cable bundling and coiling. Those are adhesive free.
One of the descriptive phrases used for console tape is “flatback”. There are a number of different types of paper tape that are described as flatback, and that phrase can mean different things, based on how the tape is to be used.
When it comes to consolet tape, flatback lets the user know that the tape provides a smooth surface which can easily be written on. For other users, flatback might mean that the tape can be printed on with a special type of printing press or can be used with specific kinds of ink.
For the sound or lighting tech with a Sharpie Marker in his or her pocket, it just means that writing on flatback tape is like writing on paper. That’s because it is paper.
No adhesive residue and no damage to equipment surfaces are the hallmarks of a good console labeling product.
Petroleum-based synthetic rubber adhesives are what gives good paper tape the ability to adhere firmly to console surfaces, yet be able to be removed cleanly with no adhesive residue and no equipment damage.
Avoid any product that uses an organic rubber (latex) adhesive, as it is more likely to leave residue and its aggressive holding ability is more likely to damage painted surfaces.
Flipping a few guitar picks into the crowd is a time honored way for a concert performer to honor a few audience members with a prized souvenir.
After attending a recent concert, i happened to notice a couple of kids begging the sound man for the console tape used to label the mixer for that night’s set.
To each his own.
The term “console” (as a noun) is used in lots of different ways, but the most common seems to refer to some sort of control surface. Whether operating computers, playing video games or mixing audio sources (microphones, tape playback, etc.), the area that these applications refer to have a common beginning.
The first use of the term “console” when relating to some sort of “remote” control was the pipe organ.
The housing for all the keyboards, stops and pedals for a large organ is called a “console” and this appears to be where the term got its start.
Multi-act shows mean that multiple sound people will be using the same mixer and will need to make set changes as quickly as possible.
Not having to completely re-label the mixer between acts can save lots of time and avoid confusion.
Use of standard abbreviations for inputs both lets the next sound person know what is where and also addresses the problem of limited space for labeling each input.
Here are some abbreviations known to all:
Vox Voices or vocals
Kik Bass Drum
Sn Snare Drum
Tom Rack Tom
Fl Floor Tom
OH Overhead Drum Mic
Personal monitor mixers, the ones that allow each performer to do their own monitor mix are popular, in part, because they are small.
Both in terms of how they appear on stage and their portability, the small size makes them a great solution for getting a personal mix just for you.
Because of their small format, they may not have enough space for a strip of regular label tape.
Shurtape 724 is now available in a half inch width, just right for a small format mixer.