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Author Topic: Baking Analog Tape  (Read 2420 times)

Rebecca Robinson

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Baking Analog Tape
« on: April 20, 2005, 07:16:31 AM »

I have a couple of quick questions before i embark on archiving some old tapes.  Can you bake a tape more than once?  and how soon after baking do you have to transfer?  
and other insight or advice would be greatly appreciated as i've never dealt with tapes this old before
Thanks
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Rebecca Robinson

"Tackle difficulties when they are easy.
Accomplish great things when they are small."

Barry Hufker

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2005, 07:20:30 AM »

Rebecca,

Here's a great resource about this, leading to additional great resources about this!

Barry

www.tangible-technology.com/tape/baking1.html
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vernier

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2005, 09:31:24 AM »

You only want to bake 'em if they're wet 'n sticky. Normal rule is, bake then transfer, but under desperate conditions I've baked multitracks, recorded more tracks, baked again, then mixed. After that, they're dust. You can use an oven (if it happens to go as low as 100 degrees), or an electric fruit dehydrator.
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WhyKooper

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2005, 11:35:47 AM »

I always use the american harvest fd50...with one middle part of a tray cut out (as suggested in lots of articles) to allow for the tape height.  Works perfectly every time and I also now get lots of dried fruit as a bonus.

Most of my 100+ reels were coming up sticky when I started archiving to the computer a few years ago, so my practice is to simply bake them first, ask questions later.  The norm for me is to bake for 6 hours, turning the reels over hourly, then let cool for six hours.  Then transfer within a day or so.  Sometimes a week later.  

I've done this process a couple of times on some reels because I dragged some of them out to do a second archive at 96k.  The first time had been at 48.  Everything played fine.

I've even baked some reels a third time after a year or two.  I did this when re-using some expendable reels for analog sessions.  Baked, erased the tapes, re-recorded.  Transferred to daw.  No problems.

I figure I'll probably pull a bunch of these out again in ten years when I want to archive them to the  128bit/1000ghz, 3d, holistic mindprint wafer chip on a q-tip recording media we'll all have then.  My hope is that baking is a permanent solution for the reels.  If not, at least I have the digital archives now in pretty much the best shape I can find.
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Level

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2005, 11:40:45 AM »

Capitol does it excellent. The resource is on their site.
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Mark Donahue

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2005, 03:27:21 PM »

Rebecca Robinson wrote on Wed, 20 April 2005 07:16

I have a couple of quick questions before i embark on archiving some old tapes.  Can you bake a tape more than once?  and how soon after baking do you have to transfer?  
and other insight or advice would be greatly appreciated as i've never dealt with tapes this old before
Thanks

Dear Rebecca,
There are a couple of things to be aware of before you start baking tapes. There are different problems with different tapes from different time periods. The "Sticky Shed Syndrome"(SSS) is particular to a group of elevated output tapes from the seventies and eighties. Most notably, 3M 206/207 series and Ampex 406/456 and its variants. Tapes without backcoating are virtually immune to SSS, so if one of these tapes squeals, it is due to failure of the tapes lubricant. Baking one of these tapes will not only fail to solve the problem, but will actually severely damage the tape.
Tapes should be wound onto pancakes and placed in the Nesco food dehydrator or similar on a flange. We have found taking the flanges off speeds the process by a small margin. Also, some of the cheap clear 7.5" reels warp during baking and will not go back on the machine, so either wind onto NAB hubs with a machine without fixed guides or try to keep the temperature within the known safe range of 135F +/-3degrees. While people have had good luck with shorter baking times, I find that 12 hours works 100% of the time and that the tapes play better and the splices seem to stay together better if you let it cool over night at room temperature. As always YMMV.
Best of luck,
Mark
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Mark Donahue
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JDSStudios

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2005, 08:18:26 PM »

So am I to conclude that, if you have old Ampex 456 that squeals,
you cannot bake it, and there is nothing else you can do about it?

I do have some ol 456 s that squeal, are they all hopeless?
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John Ferreira
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John Klett

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2005, 08:33:38 PM »

406, 456, 226, 250, and other back coated tapes respond well to baking in my experience
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Brian Roth

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2005, 12:21:15 AM »

JDSStudios wrote on Tue, 26 April 2005 19:18

So am I to conclude that, if you have old Ampex 456 that squeals,
you cannot bake it, and there is nothing else you can do about it?

I do have some ol 456 s that squeal, are they all hopeless?


Mark was referring to non-backcoated tapes that squeal, not 456.  Odds are that baking will fix your 456 problems.

Bri

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Brian Roth Technical Services
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JDSStudios

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2005, 01:09:33 AM »

John and Brian

Thank you kindly for your fast responses.

The residual that the old 456 is leaving on the tape deck's heads seems to look quite brittle dry already, and that is why it made sense to presume that drier or baked would not be better.

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John Ferreira
The travesty is not that men die, but what dies in men- Albert Einstein.

Brian Roth

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2005, 01:31:54 AM »

so called "sticky shed" doesn't exactly leave "peanut butter" behind on the guides.  However, if it's shedding, the odds are that baking will fix it.

Now, Scotch 250 is another story.  Even when new some batches would leave a "desert cloud" of dust flying when rewinding.

Bri

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Brian Roth Technical Services
Oklahoma City, OK
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vernier

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2005, 09:34:33 PM »

You don't want to bake automatically, some old tapes are fine. Most of mine have stayed dry but all the 3M-226 turned to molases.
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JDSStudios

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2005, 12:40:06 AM »

I had my Teac 2340SX biased specially for Ampex 456 tape around 19 years ago.

All my 456 tape is quite stuck and slow to playback.

The only tape that is working fine from the same time [1986],
is a Radio Shack Realistic Supertape 1800. It has some live recordings with guitar bass and drums, [Rush, and U2 material] and they sound great.  Radio Shack.. go figure.
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John Ferreira
The travesty is not that men die, but what dies in men- Albert Einstein.

Brian Roth

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2005, 01:45:56 AM »

Perhaps Radio Shack hadn't modified their formula by that time?  Not that it helps the problem...

Bri

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Brian Roth Technical Services
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vernier

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Re: Baking Analog Tape
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2005, 01:06:38 PM »

If your tape sticks and runs slow, get it off the machine quick and clean heads and guides like a mad man.
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