You’ve got to be in a pretty big city in order to have retail options that deal with the kind of things sound techs need. You’re not going to find a pro sound store on every corner.
Even if you have a high end music store in your community, one that sells sound equipment for working musicians, it may well not have something as simple as rolls of console labeling tape. A lot of music store employees, usually working musicians, not techs, may not even know what it is.
Your town is much more likely to have a store that deals in art supplies or craft supplies. That is where you should start your search.
Console tape is widely known as “artist tape“, and it is used in lots of labeling and other photography management tasks. It uses the same “no residue” repositionable adhesive that is prized for its clean removal.
Don’t bother asking any of the clerks if they stock console tape. They’ll have no idea what you are talking about.
One of Shurtape 724‘s best features when used for console labeling can also be one of its worst. I am talking about the downside of low tack adhesive that makes tape easy to remove.
That easy removal can sometimes mean that the tape decides to start releasing itself from the console before you are ready to remove it. Once the edges begin to peel up, no matter how many times you re-stick it, it will never hold like it did the first time you put it on. That can be irritating.
Try this. Instead of just stretching the tape from one edge of the mixer to the other, tear a strip long enough to also wrap around the top edges of the console. this additional adhesion makes the tape stick better and can also make for a neater looking labeling job.
Labeling your mixer with masking tape is pretty much the same as putting a sign on your back that says “I have no idea what I’m doing“.
You only have to do this important job with masking tape once to understand what I am talking about.
One reason that utility grade masking tape is so inexpensive is that it uses a very low quality adhesive. This rubber resin based adhesive has good holding power when it is fresh, but dries out very quickly. When this happens, the adhesive separates (de-laminates) from the paper backing. The paper can be lifted off, but the dried out adhesive stays behind.
I recently stumbled upon a pro audio blog that was actually recommending the use of white electrical tape for console labeling. That is definitely not a good idea.
The rubber-based adhesive used for electrical tape is much more likely to leave a sticky residue on your console than paper tape or even gaffers tape.
Once that adhesive starts to build up on your console, it can start to migrate into the faders and other controls and start causing a number of problems that you can’t see. Sticky faders can be really hard to clean.
Because electrical tape has a smooth vinyl finish, Sharpie Marker is really easy to smudge, so you can’t touch the label until the marker ink is completely dry. This takes just a second with proper paper tape, but may take a really long time with electrical tape.
Finally, electrical tape is not really hand tearable, so in the process of tearing it, you also stretch it. That makes it narrower and gives it a wrinkly finish, both of which make labeling more difficult.
I grew up in a family of left handers and watched as my brothers struggled to write without smudging their work. It took a lot of effort to learn just how to hold a pen or pencil.
When labeling a sound console with a Sharpie Marker, you really have to be careful to keep the side pad of your palm off of your labels until it has a chance to dry.
Since Permacel 724 paper tape is coated, it does not absorb the ink from the marker. Until the ink actually has a chance to dry (it takes only a few seconds), touching it with the side of your hand will smear the ink across your label, staining your hand in the process.
Either keep your hand off the labeling or learn to write from lert to right!
Several tape manufacturers have recently introduced console mixing tape in lots of colors. It is seductive to think about using a cool newer color that no one else has, but you should consider this before making the switch.
That makes no sense, now does it? Here’s what I’m talking about.
Permchrome is the kind of ink you find in black Sharpie Markers. Flatback is the kind of paper tape that is used for console marking.
Sharpie ink is considered to be permanent, and once it has dried it is almost impossible to get off of the tape (or your clothes). That means that once your console labeling dries, no matter now sweaty your hands get or how much beer you spill on the mixer, your labels won’t smudge or rub off.
Flatback is the type of tape that is used for the best console tape. It has a smooth coating to make it easy to write on and is able to prevent permchrome ink from bleeding through the tape and getting on the surface of the equipment you are labeling.
If you are labeling expensive equipment with a Sharpie, make sure that the tape you are using is flatback.