When it comes to storing and transporting magnetic tape, there are several formats that are commonly used, including the NAB Hub, the Trident Hub, and Pancake Reels. While they all serve the same general purpose, each format has its unique design and features, which makes it suitable for different applications.

Common hub types

NAB hub

The NAB Hub is the most common format for storing magnetic tape. It is a spool with a diameter of 10.5 inches and is designed to hold a full reel of 1/4 inch tape, typically 10.5 inches in diameter. The hub features a center hole with two flanges that support the reel, ensuring that it stays in place during playback or recording. NAB hubs are widely used in professional audio recording, mastering, and post-production applications.

Trident hub

The Trident Hub is a similar format to the NAB Hub, but with some key differences. Instead of two flanges, the Trident Hub has three arms that extend from the center hole, forming a triangular shape. The three arms are designed to provide additional support to the tape reel, minimizing any lateral movement or wobbling that could lead to signal loss. Trident hubs are commonly used in audio production and mastering applications where stability and precision are crucial.

Pancake reels

Pancake Reels, in contrast, are designed for storing and transporting large amounts of tape. They are a spool with a diameter of 10.5 inches, but instead of flanges or arms, they have a center hole that allows the reel to slide onto a tape machine's hub or spindle. Pancake reels are capable of holding up to 2,500 feet of 1/4 inch tape, making them an ideal choice for film or television production applications, where long runs of tape need to be stored and transported.

Summary of common hub types

The main difference between NAB Hub, Trident Hub, and Pancake Reels is their design and the intended applications. NAB hubs are commonly used for general-purpose storage and recording, while Trident hubs are used in applications that require precision and stability. Pancake reels are suitable for transporting and storing large amounts of tape in a compact and efficient manner.