DCC Archive A Question for Steve H.: Tape Restoration

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by pauljones, Jan 6, 2002.

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  1. pauljones

    pauljones Forum Chef Thread Starter

    columbia, sc
    Steve, I have read various articles about tape restoration and methods employed to make master tapes "playable". From tape baking to oiling, to microwaving--engineers will take unusual measures to salvage a master so that it can be transferred intact. What are some measures you have had to resort to, any horror stories, and what may be the most challenging project you have ever had to work on? Also, any members aware of circumstances they have heard of or read about concerning this subject?
  2. RetroSmith

    RetroSmith Forum Hall Of Fame<br>(Formerly Mikey5967)

    East Coast
    I'd sure like to know that as well.

    I have an AGFA 10 inch reel from 1985 of my bands recording session, and its unplayable.
  3. John Oteri

    John Oteri New Member In Memoriam

    Hollywood, CA
    Not to sound like a know-it-all, but I have read every word Steve Hoffman ever wrote (or was asked) about this subject.

    He said that tapes pre 1974 were almost always still in great shape.

    Tapes like Ampex 406, 456 and Scotch 206 and 250 from 1974 to 1990 were made with synthetic oil instead of whale oil (because of the energy crisis).

    Well, this crappy oil dries out in about 5 years, making the tapes unplayable.

    Steve sent these reels up to the Ampex Co. in Redwood City, California for baking in a special oven that restores the lubrication for about a week or two, making the tapes playable for transfer.

    By now, most mastering studios, record companies and recording studios have their own ovens to do this.

    Weird but true. Steve says you have to sign a disclaimer stating that it is ok if they burn your tapes up by mistake. :eek:
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