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FDP Forum / Home Recording Forum / Tape cake marinade

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
May 11th, 2018 06:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

A follow up on my Otari 8 track post.

I have boxes of tape that I want to transfer to digital. The newest of these tapes is at least 20 years old. I don't want to be a victim of Sticky Shed Syndrome with these old tapes and lose the oxide off the tape. Baking them at a low temperature (120 - 130 degrees F.)for a long period of time will temporarily get the moisture out of the bonding glue on the tape. Thus fixing the problem. My concern is that most, if not all, of these tapes have leaders between the songs throughout the reels. I don't want the gooey stuff to leach from the splicing tape and get onto the medium. Baking would probably do just that. I don't want to spool the tapes in case some of the glue the holds the oxide to the tape has stuck to the back side of the layer after it on the reel.

The commonly agreed to solution is to remove the moisture from the tapes. There are many ways to do this. Another method is to use a tape lubricant on the tape, heads, and guides of the machine to keep the tape from sticking.

So, I came up with an alternative solution to baking them. I bought 5 pounds of blue silica desicant from Amazon. I also bought a Rubbermaid air-tight cake container large enough to hold several reels of tape. Then I went to Dominos Pizza and got a handful of those little plastic stand-offs that they use in their pizza boxes to keep the box from sticking to the cheese on the pizza.

I turned the cake container upside down, put about 1/2 inch of the silica in the bottom, put 3 of the plastic pizza box doohickies to set the tape on so that it has an air space above the silica and below the tape, and put the sealed lid on. Wrote the date on a piece of painter's tape and put it in the closet. Now I'll let it marinate for a month before I remove it from the container.

I bought some of the tape, and tape head, lubricants from The Last Company and I'll treat the tape, heads, and guides, with it before attempting a transfer. I will have to make a few passes because my A/D converter only has 2 channels and I'll need to do all 8 tracks. So, at least 4 passes.

I'll let you know if this works. Seems like a safer alternative to baking them to me. If this doesn't work the a-bakin-I-will-go.

Tape cake

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

May 12th, 2018 09:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

Good luck. I know baking is the standard, but I really know very little about all this.

I do wish you had more A-D channels though! How will you time sync so all the tracks line up on each transfer?



reverendrob
FDP Data Goon
Moderator

We all want

our time in hell
May 12th, 2018 11:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yea, given the amount you need to do, I'd shell out for a 8-in interface - even if you only use it for this and flip it afterwards.

The thing with any of the old tape resurrection methods...is you usually only get ONE shot.

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
May 13th, 2018 07:35 AM   Edit   Profile  

"How will you time sync so all the tracks line up on each transfer?"

Digital workstations are a wonderful thing. I can slide tracks around to line them up. All of the songs have leaders at the beginning. I'll line them up using the tape noise as a start point.

"Yea, given the amount you need to do, I'd shell out for a 8-in interface - even if you only use it for this and flip it afterwards."

I thought about doing that that and I still might.

I also have a lot of 1/4 inch, 2, and 4, track tapes. I know where I can get my hands on an old Tascam 3440 to use as a playback machine. It may need some work and would have to be shipped from Phoenix to Tennessee. I may, or may not, pursue that as well. I'll see how the 8 track stuff goes and proceed from there.

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

May 13th, 2018 01:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Digital workstations are a wonderful thing. I can slide tracks around to line them up. All of the songs have leaders at the beginning. I'll line them up using the tape noise as a start point."

This is true, however I personally wouldn't trust tape hiss for a starting point if you want sample-accurate alignment.

I would either go all channels at once, or have an electronic transient like a click to line them up where you can actually zoom in on a singular point for alignment. If they aren't totally aligned then the crosstalk between the tracks(and any mic bleed) will crate phase issues/comb filtering, potentially.

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
May 13th, 2018 05:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

"This is true, however I personally wouldn't trust tape hiss for a starting point if you want sample-accurate alignment."

I'm not going to take the chance of erasing something that's already on a track by recording a click or some kind of reference marker at the beginning of each track. I'm pretty sure all of the songs have leaders before they start but I would have to see how much tape rolls before the start of the song. Likely there's a count-off but, that in itself is something I wouldn't want to erase. One of the guys I used to record with has passed away and having his voice on the count-off would be a cool thing to have.

Even with noise there is going to be a first sample of the noise at the start of the tape. I can zoom in to it down to where I can count the individual samples if I want to. I don't think getting sample-accurate alignment is going to be a problem. The noise will be 50 to 60 dB below the program material at best. Probably more in the 40 to 50 dB range. I should be able to see a noticeable amplitude difference from where the leader stops and the tape starts. Somewhere in the -40 to -50 dBFS. Then just line up the first samples on all of the tracks. At least that is my logic however flawed it may be. I still may get an 8 channel interface for the transfers. It depends upon what the cost is. My thoughts are that an 8 channel interface in the $500 area is not going to be of stellar quality. I don't really want to spend any more than that. I could be wrong. I was once. :o)

I need to call my sales engineer at Sweetwater and see what is available. He has always been a big help with stuff like this.

(This message was last edited by ninworks at 07:36 PM, May 13th, 2018)

Achase4u

U.S. - Virginia

May 13th, 2018 08:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

I would look into renting an 8 channel ADDA from some place for a weekend. If it's really important to archive these sessions I definitely wouldn't want to be aligning things later on.

Blackbird down your way can rent you converters by the day I would imagine.

reverendrob
FDP Data Goon
Moderator

We all want

our time in hell
May 14th, 2018 12:12 AM   Edit   Profile  

What I can tell you is that I'm happy with my Tascam 16x08 - it does what it says and handles 24/96 just fine.

I could spend more but...honestly, as far as DAC stuff, until you get to the nosebleed seats, anything multi-channel is going to be about the same.

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
May 15th, 2018 04:16 PM   Edit   Profile  

I went to Sweetwater and ordered a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 yesterday. This should do what I need. It's not an RME but it will be good enough for the money.

ECS-3
Contributing Member
**********
***

USA / Virginia

May 28th, 2018 05:05 AM   Edit   Profile  

The baking works fine. That's what I did with my tapes. I put them, one by one, inside a folded heat pad and baked each one for several hours.

I'd say that worked fine on 9 out of 10 tapes.

The bake is not permanent, so immediately afterwards you need to attempt playing it one last time while you transfer to digital.

Good luck with your alternative method.

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Jun 1st, 2018 07:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

"The bake is not permanent, so immediately afterwards you need to attempt playing it one last time while you transfer to digital."

I am aware of this. I bought the liquid tape preservative from the Last company and intend to doctor the tape before I play it. That stuff is supposed to help with the longevity of the tape as well. I have an old friend who has been in the industry for 30 years who has done this with great results. He did tell me that nothing is 100% fool-proof. He did say that he has had about a 90% success rate doing this. He has also baked tapes but says, like you, that it doesn't last very long.

After I do the transfers, if the oxide stays where it's supposed to be when I'm done, I will put the tapes in sealed bags with a sizable desicant pouch in the bag with it for future storage. If they ever need to be played again perhaps this will make a difference. Although, I don't plan on doing that again. I didn't PLAN on doing it this time.

I spent all last weekend disassembling the amp portion of the machine. Everything got 40 years of airborne Phoenix topsoil blown out of it. I also cleaned and lubricated all of the pots and switches. They were very dirty and noisy to the point where I wasn't certain they would pass a signal. After cleaning I fired it up and everything works perfectly. Gotta love DeOxit.

Otari Amps

(This message was last edited by ninworks at 09:51 AM, Jun 1st, 2018)

ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Jun 1st, 2018 12:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

It looks like I am going to have some 1/4" tapes to transfer as well. Both 2 track and 4 track. A friend of mine who lives in Phoenix who is sending me his Teac 3440 4 track machine to do some transfers. He said I could just have it. He hadn't used it in 40-something years and has no intention to do so ever again.

It will probably need some TLC as well. I already bought a new capstan belt for it off eBay. It will probably need a new pinch roller as well so I'll have to do that. I'm sure it needs maintenance since it hasn't been powered up in a lifetime.

Now, what am I going to do with 2 very old multi-track tape machines when I'm done with them? I suppose I could sell them for about what I have into them and break even. I looked on eBay to see what they are selling for. Due to the size and weight the shipping charges would kill you. Although, my buddy who is sending me the 4 track works for a huge electronics company and his fee for shipping a very large 69 pound box from Phoenix to Middle Tennessee is only $39. I couldn't ship it for 3 times that I'm pretty sure.

As for the 8 track.......it is a LOT bigger than the Teac so I'll probably just keep it until I need the floor space it will tie up. Who knows?! I may buy a reel of tape and record something just for old times sake. I have an exponentially better input signal chain than I did back when I was using it for my recordings so it should sound better than it ever did before. We'll see......

FDP Forum / Home Recording Forum / Tape cake marinade




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