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Multiple-head array systems, which allow reading and writing of data simultaneously on multiple tracks, can potentially provide both high density and high speed, but the readback signal in such systems is corrupted by intertrack interference (ITI) in addition to intersymbol interference (ISI). In this paper, we report on the performance of a multitrack system and propose a low-complexity multitrack soft-error-event decoder (SEED) to counter the effects of ISI and ITI. The multitrack SEED is based on a high-rate Bose-Chaudhuri-Hocquenghem code, and is capable of correcting most frequent error events produced by the channel. Used in conjunction with a joint partial response equalizer followed by an ITI equalizer, the SEED scheme provides a gain of 0.5-2 dB at a bit-error rate of 10-4 relative to an uncoded system.