YES on Memorex. In my experience, those enclosures tend to warp or something else happens where they
squeeze the tape pack too tightly. I often end up replacing them. The tape seems to hold up just
fine over time, though. Also the funky thick paper-ish leader tape.
YES also on azimuth. Luckily, I haven't had to deal with too many high-fidelity music recordings on
cassettes, except those I made myself. Azimuth is usually less of an issue with lo-fi oral history
recordings. In those cases, it's more about trying to tame the hiss down without making the voices
inaudible. I usually end up having to do plenty of digital processing to get maximum audibility.
Luckily, it's all there in the old Bell System research -- make sure certain human-voice frequencies
are OK and you can hi- and lo-pass the heck out of problem tapes. In my experience, the client's
goal with oral histories is as much audibility of the spoken words as possible, not necessarily
fidelity to the voice itself. Of course, optimally, you want both, but some recordings are just
awful and it's pulling the needle (the audible words) out of the haystack of background noise,
surface resonances, and tape hiss.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Lou Judson" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 4:08 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Cassttes - Re: [ARSCLIST] One more sticky-shed data point - Richardson treated
Thanks Tom, pretty well sums it up. Iím Bccing my associate.
I play cassttes in a Nakamichi DR-1 which lifts the pad off the heads and uses the closed loop
method, so even missing pads arenít a problemÖ
Proper azimuth adjustment is a major key to better playback! Wish I could afford a Dragon!
I must say that even brand new, Scotch cassettes were never very good. Same with Memorex, with the
hub as part of the window. Memorex had a good ad line, but a bad product, to me.
On Jan 20, 2016, at 12:01 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Lou:
> I agree, having transferred 1000+ cassettes over the years, that what we call Sticky Shed has
> never cropped up. However, there have been cases of Loss of Lubricant (LOL) or something similar,
> which has rendered the cassette unplayable without baking. Baking has worked for me every time.
> I've encountered this mostly with black-oxide off-brand cassettes, circa 1980s and early 1990s,
> some of which have been mass-duped (ie professionally duped and packaged for mass-market release).
> The other thing I have encountered, mainly with Scotch brand CRO2 tapes circa 1980s and late
> 1970s, is terrible warpage that leads to the tape pack sometimes being too big to fit in the
> shell. My solution to this has been to very carefully hand-wind enough of the tape-pack over to
> one side so both sides move comfortably in the shell, then splice one side into a new cassette
> housing, transfer both tapes and edit together in the proper sequence in the DAW.
> By far the biggest problem I have encountered with cassettes is the pressure pad having come
> unglued. I generally transplant those tapes into a new shell. You can still find screw-together
> C-0 cassette shells out there for sale, but I usually use one of hundreds of old Maxell and TDK
> tapes I've accumulated into a big box, just for that purpose.
> There has been talk out in the video world, some of it on the Ampex List, about certain videotape
> brands that develop Sticky-Shed and/or LOL. There are definitely some DAT types that develop
> something that makes them gooey and non-playable. I've enountered this with TDK brand DAT tapes,
> and baking has made them playable.
> When Telarc Records was reissuing their Soundstream recordings, which were on 1/2" instrumentation
> tapes, standard practice was to bake the tapes in a convection oven. I don't know exactly what
> brand and type tapes they used. I don't know enough about reel to reel digital tape systems to
> know if DASH tapes need baking.
> What is still mysterious to me is why some tapes of a type not known for sticky-shed will go
> sticky. For instance, Shai has reported all kinds of problems with Scotch 206 in Israel. I've
> never had one sticky 206 tape here in the US northeast. And the same with vinegar syndrome. Some
> people report never having problems with Scotch 111, yet my experience is about 50-50 whether a
> tape will go vinegar and start edge-curling or not. Audiotape acetate-backed seems less likely,
> but I've sure encountered my share of those tapes going vinegar. And yet almost all types of 35mm
> acetate-backed audiofilm will go vinegar.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Lou Judson" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 2:36 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] One more sticky-shed data point - Richardson treated tape
> Hereís a slightly offtopic question. I shared the post of Petersí with an associate, with whom I
> am involved in a restoration project involving cassttes tapes from the 70s through the 1990s. We
> are wondering why audio cassettes are so rarely having sticky-shed problems. I know that has been
> discussed occasionally here, but why are cassetes relatively immune?
> Lou Judson
> Intuitive Audio
> On Jan 20, 2016, at 10:33 AM, lists <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hello all:
>> Coming very late to this thread. I don't intend to talk here about Mr.
>> Richardson's process but, in answer to Tom's post, I'll try to address some
>> of the issues with "sticky shed".