I tested all of the distortion styles at the default setting. Some of these, especially the ones FabFilter calls “FX”, are going to go real crazy real quick when you push up the Drive knob. Foldback, for instance, looks pretty calm when the Drive is at 0%. It’s anything but calm above that.
The Joys of Analog Tape Calibrate it every day. Keep the tapes in a controlled environment. Push the signal so you get less noise, but not so hard that it distorts. Clean the heads and capstan. Be careful you don’t stretch the tape rewinding. Keep a log of how many punch-ins and re-records you have done. Test the motor and transports.