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A theory is derived to explain the recording properties of thin metal tapes in terms of their magnetic properties and in terms of the losses within the replay head. The tape losses are considered as being due to self-demagnetization and head losses resulting from gap and separation effects. The reproduction of isolated pulses is first considered and then modified to the condition of pulse crowding. A comparison of theory with experiment shows that the theory is sufficient in its prediction of head losses but has some limitations in its prediction of tape losses at high packing densities.