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In designing a digital magnetic recording system, it is necessary to consider a large number of parameters to produce optimum performance. Because of parameter interdependence, and the nonlinear nature of the recording process, experimental evaluation of a real system is cumbersome, time-consuming, and costly. To circumvent the usual trial and error techniques, a model has been developed based on earlier work of the author; it enables a rapid quantitative evaluation to be made of the performance of a system employing saturation magnetic recording. The analysis is separated into two parts: the first is designed to characterize the recording system, and the second, the encoding system. For the former, the signal amplitude and the harmonic content of a reference pattern are of interest; for the latter, the calculated signal traces of complex bit patterns are of interest.