Just further proof that it's not consistent -- not random, but not consistent -- what tapes will go
sticky. I've got 100+ reels of Scotch 206 and 207, from the early 70s through the early 90s, and not
one has ever shown signs of going sticky-shed. However, there was one reel of Scotch 208 -- one of
dozens that go back to Fine Recording's later era (1968-1970) -- that was sticky. That tape had been
stored for at least 20 years in basement prone to dampness. But other 208 tapes stored in that same
basement are not sticky to this day. Go figure. None of the old 206 tapes were stored under damp
conditions, but some spent 20 or so years in an uninsulated attic, so they got quite cold and quite
hot, with ambient NYC metro area humidity. These tapes are not sticky, but some are quite brittle
and prone to flaking off little bits of oxide or backcoast (can't tell which since both are black)
in a brute-force transport such as an Ampex 350 or 440 or an Otari 5050.
So the patterns that seems to be emerging ...
1. Ampex 406 and 456 is highly likely to be sticky-shed, but we've heard of exceptions.
2. Scotch 226 (and 250?) is almost certain to be sticky-shed (I say that because I've heard of no
3. Scotch 206 seems to go sticky in some cases but more likely than not won't go sticky.
4. I had three reels of 1/2" Agfa PEM468 that went sticky, These were NOS reels that had probably
spent 20+ years in a damp basement on a shelf in the damper part. The boxes were not moldy or warped
and the tape pancakes were in plastic bags. However, others have had no problems with this kind of
All of this tells me that we don't understand what causes sticky-shed. And, per what I've definitely
heard with my own ears and Goran has measured, one should be prudent about how many times they bake
a sticky tape. Meaning one should have a full strategy and means in place to do an excellent
transfer before one starts baking. The best playback may be the one after the first baking, and
every one thereafter may sound worse.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2015 9:23 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Interesting sticky-shed data point
> That is interesting as here I had on one project 114 reels. 113 were 406 and one was 206. I had to
> bake the 3M about 4x what I had to bake the Ampex.
> On 12/18/2015 5:53 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> Hi Jim:
>> Just to be clear, are your sticky 3M tapes exclusively 226/227, or other
>> types? Thanks in advance. This is a very useful discussion!
>> -- Tom Fine
> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.