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We have investigated recording at densities higher than 4.5 Gb/in2 in tape systems using spin-valve heads. We report the signal-to-noise ratio at areal recording densities of 4.5 Gb/in2 and 11.5 Gb/in2 on low-noise obliquely metal evaporated (ME) tapes. Also, we studied an electrostatic discharge failure of giant magnetoresistive heads on ME tape. The results indicate the feasibility of an areal density of 11.5 Gb/in2 in a helical-scan tape system.