Ted Kendall's advice earlier to transfer upon first play is good
advice. Sometimes you only get one chance.
If you have a machine with adjustable tensions, I would lower the
playback and wind tensions as acetate with VS is very brittle and
You will want to slow down as you're winding near the end - just
in case the tape is stuck to the hub or itself. Maybe hand wind
the last few wraps.
Lower playback tensions are not a perfect solution - they create a
new set of problems with cupped tape. If the tensions are too
low (and if the tape is severely cupped), you will sporadically
lose contact with the playback head resulting in brief partial
drop outs. If your machine allows you to adjust tension while
playing back (the Studer A820 can do this, I don't know if other
machines do as well), you can find the lowest tension that still
retains good head contact. The beauty of the Studer A820 is that
you can do this by hitting a program switch and then spin a dial
to adjust the tension while watching the tape and tension sensors.
If the cupping is significant, I would:
1. Make one transfer with the tape as-is, adjusting tensions as
needed (if you can), and
2. Rehydrate the tape (a simple DIY humidity chamber can do the
job) to soften the tape and relax the cupping. Then
retransfer. I'm doing this right now with a badly cupped
Ampex 414 tape.
I've not encountered cupping AND VS simultaneously. Has anyone
on the ARSCList rehydrated a cupped VS tape? If so, did you
consider changing the pH of the water to minimize the VS?
The Audio Archive, Inc.
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Disc and Tape Audio Transfer Services and Preservation Consulting
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Frances, Melodie
Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 1:13 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ARSCLIST] vinegar reel to reel - is it safe to play?
I could not find the exact answer to my question so thought I would try
here as you all are so helpful.
We have some reel to reel, probably early 60s with a strong vinegar
smell and some very visible cupping. My question is can I make a digital
copy now or do I need to do some 'stuff' before I even do that? I can
get the information regarding storage etc but could not find info about
if it is safe / wise / unwise to make a digital copy NOW.
Melodie Morgan Frances
Head of Cataloging
Graduate Theological Union
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