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What Happened to RMGI Analog Tape?

RMGI Tape BoxIf you haven’t ordered RMGI pro audio analog tape recently, you may be surprised to learn that the RMGI branded tapes are no longer available.  Apparently, there have been a lot of changes since 2012 that we were unaware of, partly because there was still some RMGI tape inventory left in the US and we were not exactly ordering analog tape that frequently.  When we recently inquired about purchasing tape at National Recording Supplies, we were told that there was no more RMGI tape available.  At the moment, the only source of new pro audio analog tape is ATR.

There has been two letters issued by RMGI that gives us a brief glimpse into what had transpired. (We had to dig to find these documents).

According to the letter by Jack Blink, CEO of RMGI, dated December 1, 2011, Pyral SA in France took over the manufacturing and sales of RMGI studio and broadcast products from RMGI Holland. The RMGI factory in the Netherlands was purchased by Pyral. Consequently, the critical production equipment was moved to Avranches in Normandy, France where Pyral has been based since 1985. Pyral specializes in perforated magnetic tapes used by the film industry for sound recording as well as other magnetic products, including inks and slurries, for a wide range of solutions for the security industry.

A second letter, this time by Don Morris of RMGI America, was issued as an update recently on March 11, 2015. After investing over $2,000,000 in a new building to house the coating and production lines and numerous cost overruns, including over $250,000 due to the installation of a new solvent recovery system, Pyral was operating under Chapter 11 protection in years 2013-2014. In January 2015, the French court ordered the sale of Pyral assets to Mulann Industries, a manufacturer of production and testing equipment for the credit card, ticketing and smart card industries.

According to the letter, Mulann Industries’ intention is to continue production of analog recording tape and deliver tape under the Pyral Brand, which RMGI America will continue to distribute.

In 2011, there was over a year’s  supply of RMGI tape. This inventory seems to have been exhausted.

In their press release, Mulann indicates resuming tape manufacturing at some level, but it remains to be seen when their audio analog tape may become available.  Here is an excerpt from Mulann press release dated January 26, 2015.

“Mr. Gilles Lepage is appointed as Director of MULANN plant in Avranches (France), which manufactures products sold under the PYRAL brand name: magnetic tape manufacturing for the smart card and magstripe cards and ticket industries. In this newly created position as of February 2nd, 2015, Gilles Lepage is responsible for the structuration (sic), organization and development of the industrial activities in Avranches (France) factory, in order to sustain the anticipated group growth. Gilles Lepage comes with a longstanding background in industrial activities especially in the automotive industry in France and the Czech Republic. In his latest position, Gilles Lepage was Factory Director for Magnetto Automotive for more than 10 years.”

In the past, we had to order oversized reels, which are special order items, for projects that required recording musical works of longer than 30 minutes to analog tape. We ordered these reels from RMGI in the past. Now, the only oversize reels available are aged and are priced prohibitively. Most likely, classical and jazz music will no longer be recorded on analog tape and that is a sad situation to be in.

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(Photo courtesy of Ouest-France)

Sources:

RMGI Letter dated Dec 1, 2011

Ouest France news article (Jan 15, 2015)

Mulann press release dated Jan 26, 2015

RMGI Letter dated Mar 11, 2015

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