A self-consistent magnetic recording modeling method is presented which has proven useful in recording channel design on thin media. Improvements in the magnetic model and in the mathematical treatment stabilize the iterative process and reduce computer storage requirements. Major and minor media loops are fitted to quickly computable bipolynomials. Mathematical improvements include using a strong band diagonal demagnetization matrix, analytic integration with quadratic magnetization fitting, and Newton-Raphson iteration, which gives rapid convergence without underrelaxation. Quantitative predictions of timing errors in 16-bit modified frequency modulation (MFM) data patterns on a 350-bit/mm, 20-track/mm disk memory are presented, as well as playback amplitudes and saturation currents. Predictions can also be compared with experimental read/write data to determine system parameters. Two examples are given: the inference of the head efficiency and of the effective high-frequency medium squareness.