SH Spotlight How do I fix a damaged analog master tape without digital step? Jethro Tull Aqualung example

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Jul 21, 2022.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Yeah, same bitchy s***. Hate the stuff.

    A band I knew found about 60 new reels of 1972 Scotch 1/4" inch on 10" hubs and has been using the stuff ever since for everything. Still plays fine after 50 years. 1974 stuff, DOA.
     
  2. TonyCzar

    TonyCzar Forum Resident

    Location:
    PhIladelphia, PA
    What a big obituary box you have!
     
  3. WhatDoIKnow

    WhatDoIKnow I never got over it, I got used to it

    Location:
    Italy
    Wow, fascinating! Scary, but fascinating. I had no idea tapes could be baked over and over.
     
    CDFanatic likes this.
  4. tootull

    tootull too many too

    Location:
    Canada
    Used in 2016. Stretch noted, repaired then. I know names, respect for all involved.
     
  5. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    If they couldn’t, might as well be in the dumpster.
     
    CDFanatic, Keith V and WhatDoIKnow like this.
  6. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    One would think once the tapes were baked, a safety copy would be made immediately.
     
    FlorentinePogen and WhatDoIKnow like this.
  7. RelayerNJ

    RelayerNJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Whippany, NJ
    Thanks for sharing Steve <3
     
  8. tootull

    tootull too many too

    Location:
    Canada
    :cool: The body of John Gee, requesting quiet. :shh:
     
  9. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Yes, and?
     
    Deek57 likes this.
  10. WhatDoIKnow

    WhatDoIKnow I never got over it, I got used to it

    Location:
    Italy
    And than void. I'm out of my depths here, so thank you for your insight and your patience.
     
  11. shepherdfan

    shepherdfan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    You were under some incredible stress when you worked on Aqualung. It was under such a short length of time before you had to send the tape back.
     
    elvisizer likes this.
  12. FritzL

    FritzL Adrift & Dumbfounded

    Location:
    Costa Mesa, CA
    So Steve Wilson didn't do the fix? Was he aware of the problem?
     
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    It was OK, we did it in a week. Heck, I'd been practicing for seven years.
     
  14. shepherdfan

    shepherdfan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    You're being too humble. I greatly admire you for that one.
     
    Steve Hoffman likes this.
  15. Unranged

    Unranged Enjoyer of Music

    Location:
    California
    Wilson wasn’t involved in transferring the original mix, as far as I’m aware. He was working from the multitracks, which presumably didn’t have this same issue. They probably had other issues he had to correct though
     
    FritzL likes this.
  16. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    What was the US CD for? Just to find out what that section was meant to sound like?
     
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Let me just explain something. Back in the 1970's, 80's and even the 90's, if a small company licensed a song from a record label, the label would dupe the master usually to a 15 ips 1/4" Dolby A tape for the small company to use. These tapes (if made from the correct masters) always sounded damn good.

    When MFSL started getting entire albums licensed to them from the big companies (something unheard of), things were different. They didn't want copies, they didn't trust that the copies would be well made to their specs so they got the originals.

    When our company cracked the Warner/Elektra/Asylum group hurdle back in 1992, we did the same.

    When a tape copy (or for that matter a DSD copy) is made when one of us audiophile engineers isn't there to observe, we don't know nuthin':

    Was the correct master tape pulled?

    What playback machine did they use?

    Was it calibrated correctly?

    What was the music being copied to?

    Were levels respected?

    Was the "standing order of 1:1" respected

    We had no way of knowing.

    So, until we could dial in a studio with a visual from our studio (ain't modern stuff neat?) we needed the original.

    On our Time-Life SACD that Marsh and I did for AF, we had a closed circuit feed to a studio in the UK that had the ORIGNAL 1967 mix master of The Moody Blues "Nights In White Sheets" and we got to watch 'em do the DSD right there and then boom, it was here in LA and sounded so amazing we just did it flat.

    Back in the 1990's you couldn't do that! Now you can. But, I still wouldn't cut vinyl from digital, I'd get a boss 30 ips 1" 1:1 and glory in that.

    Donald Fagen thought so, when we cut his vinyl album he INSISTED that we use the analog 30 ips version (made from the hi-rez digital). I agreed with him.
     
  18. intv7

    intv7 Senior Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    I'm hard pressed to think of a bigger mindf*** experience than to be awakened by Ian Anderson calling in the middle of the night to tell you he's mailing you the tapes for Aqualung.

    That's gotta be right up there among the coolest rock star mingling stories I've ever heard.
     
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  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Yes. Whichever version of the patch area sounded the most like the original un-EQ'd mix, that's what we would use..
     
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  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    There was a Sony Music engineer that I trusted, I cannot remember his name, he retired around 2012 I guess, I trusted this guy to make a wonderful 30 ips for us. He would always write funny stuff on the tape boxes, like writing: Juan To One instead of 1:1, stuff like that.

    Wish I could remember his name, darn it. A guy who knew what the hell he was doing, real old school. Was it Tom someone?
     
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  21. tootull

    tootull too many too

    Location:
    Canada
    Steven Wilson used the multi-track tapes. To my knowledge he was not involved with the master tape fix.
     
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  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    The scary part was I had to give him my home mailing address over the phone and he copied it down in pencil on probably a scrap of paper. I had to make VERY sure he got that right. Had a nervous few days..
     
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    This was for Donald Fagen "MORPH THE CAT" vinyl for WB.
     
  24. supermd

    supermd Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    So digital -> tape -> vinyl is OK? :confused:
     
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I think one can bake a tape (if done correctly) for an infinite number of times. Maybe 50 times or more. Better than using a dupe.
     
    RubenH, snkcube, Dignan2000 and 6 others like this.

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