Tape baking issue- is this the right forum? Hrm.

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absent
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Tape baking issue- is this the right forum? Hrm.

Post by absent » Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:57 am

Howdy!

I'm working on digitizing an 8-track 1/2" reel for someone.It was recorded in 1992 ion Ampex 406.

I've baked quite a few tapes now, with quite a bit of success. This time, it just isn't working.

I cannot stop the tape from peeling and shedding, and it's BAD. He knew this could be an issue, and is OK with the risk and aware of the dangers, and has been following and approving each step carefully.

We've only worked on the first song.

I carefully monitored the temperature (Averaging around 130, flipping carefully every 30 minutes). I kept checking with an infra-red laser thermometer.
I made a flange belt out of card stock and taped it around the magnetic tape to prevent heat de-spooling.

I carefully re-spooled it before I dehydrated it, and the physical distortion was minimal at best. Now the binding up tape has caused side-to-side play, which isn't helping.

I did exactly the same thing on his other '406 which made a huge difference. It also did wonders for his 456 spool.

What's going on here? What am I doing wrong?

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Nick Sevilla
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Post by Nick Sevilla » Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:12 pm

It is probably just a really bad tape.

It happens sometimes.

I would do a final bake at 125F for 15 minutes per inch of thickness, and allow it to completely cool to room temperature for a day.

Then when running the tape, constantly drip some 99% alcohol to get rid of the excess shedding on the heads, and do the best you can with one pass.

After that, there is nothing left to do. Whatever got recovered, great. The rest will simply cease to exist except as file 13 material.
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Post by drumsound » Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:44 pm

Possibly the multiple bakings have taken their toll. I'd contact Eddie Celetti and see what he says, he's kind of the tape baking guru.

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Post by Waltz Mastering » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:28 am

Copy on what Tony and Nick said.

I don't think flipping the tape every 30 minutes is necessary. Maybe once in the process would do.

These guys do pro transfers if you need a specialist:
http://www.sonicraft.com/

Here's Eddie's guide to baking:
http://www.tangible-technology.com/tape/baking1.html

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Post by davidollard » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:18 pm

Did I understand it correctly that you respooled the tape before baking it? If so, that is your problem. The damage would have been caused while spooling tape where the sticky backing was pulling oxide off of the next layer.

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Post by absent » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:06 am

Alright.

Well, no point crying now. The damage is done.

I read a few articles, one of which said the flipping was neccesary.

When I did my own a few years ago, I'd flip them every hour or so. It seemed to work then.

I apparently misunderstood Mr. Ciletti's article. I wondered why the heck you'd spool it first with all the damage, but it also seemed logical. With a loose wind, the irregularities could get ironed in, and some would have.It was pretty loose and deformed in spots.
I'd had this happen to one old reel of my stuff, so I read around a bit to make sure that didn't happen again.
That one may have just been an awful reel to begin with. It was missing two screws, as well, which did not help the storage situation. I was still learning how to take care of stuff when I recorded that in the 90's ;).

I used the same process on his other spool of 406, and it worked great. They've been stored together in the conditions since 1992, and were both new tapes at the time.
I let the first one sit overnight. It was awful at first (after a 24 hour cool-down), but then the next *day* it was awesome (roughly 48 hours after the bake).

It was an even worse wind than this one, and shedding just as bad.

So, what do I do with the isopropyl? Drip it right on the tape path before the heads?
I want to be certain there is no other path left to any remaining success. Experience suggests to me that alcohol rolled into the tape is a coup-de-gras.
The first song is the only one *known* to be ruined, so I shouldn't give up yet.
The owner of this deck is getting antsy, however, her tapes have the same issues, so she can wait a bit longer while I ruin this one, I suppose.

Thank goodness my "client" (sic) understood the dangers of letting me be the one to do this.

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Post by absent » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:07 am

Tony- I only baked it once. Sorry about the confusion.
drumsound wrote:Possibly the multiple bakings have taken their toll. I'd contact Eddie Celetti and see what he says, he's kind of the tape baking guru.

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Post by absent » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:17 am

Well, I sent Mr. Ciletti an email.

Thanks for the advice, folks!

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Post by absent » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:10 pm

Alright, last pass got it.
No idea what changed.

I went back and tried it again a few hours ago, and it cleaned up as I was listening to it.

I kept rolling anyway, just in case.
By the time I got to the end of the tape, it was OK. So, I flipped the reels and recorded them all again backwards.

The first song may have lost a little of the bass guitar, but that's probably just the source.


Thanks!

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Post by gregnrom » Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:19 pm

12 hours in a food dehydrator at 130? F should take care of most 1/4" reels (the exception being some really rare, flawed formats or terrible storage. 24 hours for multiple reels, or wider tape widths.
You don't need to worry about flipping it. Every time you open the door, you bring down the temp a bunch (think about the problems with basting a turkey). The reel, if properly heated, will get warmed all around if you have about an inch or so between it and anything else. Longer periods won't have a deleterious effect on the tape, just allow a day or so for it to return to room temperature. I have baked almost 1000 reels of all sizes over the years for archiving. Richard Hess, and his website has lots a good knowledge on this if you're curious.
Needless to say, don't start a new session on tape that has already started going sticky. The $avings are pretty much wiped by the hassle of constantly dealing with the problem. There is good tape available.
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