What Is Console Tape, Anyways?

Whether you’re an amateur audio and video tech or a full on mix master, having a few rolls of console tape in you gear is an essential. Also called board tape, or less commonly, artists’ tape, console tape is usually used to mark off different sections on a soundboard to indicate different inputs.

Console tape comes in both white and colored varieties so it’s easy to discern on-sight what’s what. With its paper base, it’s also smooth to write on and remove, making labeling and organizing a breeze. Use a permanent marker, such as a Sharpie, or another bold felt-tip type for best results and readability. Console tape will also not allow bleed through, meaning that you can lay down the tape first and then write on it without damaging what’s underneath.

While the colored varieties of console tape allow for color coding at a glance, some may prefer the white version, as its pH neutral. Having a pH neutral tape is important as it will minimize

Though the tape easy to take off and won’t leave any residue behind, it’s still strong enough to hold on to a surface for months at a time. It can also be repositioned after sticking, ensuring that you’ll get a lot of use out of one roll. This may sound like masking tape, but the residue of masking tape can dry out over time. When it’s time to remove it, there’s a high chance of the adhesive drying out, meaning that you’ll be left with dried on residue, or even little patches of tape stuck to the surface that only scraping can get rid of.

Since the console tape is durable enough to stick for a while, when you’re using the tape to label, make sure that what you’re labeling it with is easily understood. Large acts with a lot of inputs usually have standardized labeling for drum kits, guitars, vocals and the like. If you’re dealing with a performance with a drum kit, for instance, kick would be a K on the board, snare would be an S, high hat would be H, and the like.

While its primary purpose is to act as an indicator, console tape is strong enough to be used as normal tapes. Binding, sealing, masking and other requirements can be easily taken care of. However, because of its paper base, it is not as resistant to elements like water as heavier duty tapes, like rubberized flex tape or duct tape. This does make it easy to rip off the roll, though, which means applying and labeling can be done quickly. If you need narrower strips than the roll, it’s easy to rip down the middle of a cut lengthwise to create thinner strips.

Multipurpose and durable, a few rolls of good console tape is indispensable for any individual working in audio. Make sure that you’re choosing the right one by testing it on a small portion of the surface before going all-out -- a good tape will remove easily and not have any ink bleed through underneath.