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An analysis of the magnetic tape recording process employing supersonic excitation is presented by considering the effect of the spatial distribution of the magnetic field around the recording head air gap on the magnetic history of an unmagnetized element of tape as it tracks across the recording head. This leads to an effect which is termed "recording demagnetization" and serves to explain certain performance characteristics. An experimental technique developed for the measurement of this recording demagnetization is described, as is the method of measuring the air-gap field distribution. Finally, the correlation of the measurements of the recording demagnetization with normal recording performance characteristics is reported.