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ARSCLIST  January 2016

ARSCLIST January 2016

Subject:

Re: playback of disintegrating open reel tape

From:

Eric Jacobs <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 31 Jan 2016 07:58:49 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (84 lines)

Thanks, Richard, for that bit of wisdom.

I prepared the client for the worst. We even talked about framing the disintegrated bits as a kind of art exhibit for the collection.

Your comment elsewhere about hydration not helping on some acetates is my fear. I can see how hydration might help edge curl, but tensile strength seems to be a different matter.

We will soon see, and I will report back.

It's a sad case - these often are - where these are the only pre-1967 field recordings of Bhutanese musicians, recorded by a Japanese ethnomusicologist. When he passed away, his wife turned these over to a nonprofit that preserves Bhutanese music based here in the States...  The Herculean task of backing the reels with splicing tape may be justified in this instance.

If you've been to Japan, you'll know that HVAC is practically nonexistent. I love visiting Japan professionally (factories, design studios, engineering offices), but I always sweat to death.

Also hoping to hear from Nadja W who might have a magic bullet. The tape feels like 1 mil, I have my doubts - even she could be challenged.

Before hydration, I tried to gently pick up a 12 inch strand and it just broke when barely lifting. I had to slide a sheet of paper under it to transport it to the chamber.  Not even sure I will be able to back the tape if it remains this fragile.

~ Eric

On Jan 30, 2016, at 6:49 PM, Richard L. Hess <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

The one tape approximately matching yours that I attempted had been "stored" behind a wood stove over several Vermont winters.

The client decided to cut his losses and just write it off as unrecoverable.

I went through all of the thought processes that you did, though the edge condition was perhaps worse, the edges of the acetate tape were melted together.

There are just some tapes that are essentially unrecoverable. Neither of us give up easily, but sometimes...

I thought that continuous splicing tape would probably be the best bet. It's thin.

Maybe Charlie Richardson's back-coating techniques could apply to this in reverse?

Cheers,

Richard



> On 1/29/2016 7:13 PM, Eric Jacobs wrote:
> We have a 1/4-inch open reel tape (TDK Synchrotape ca 1966 Japanese stock)
> that is quite literally disintegrating and cannot hold any tension.  The
> very slightest amount of tension causes the tape to snap.  The tape cannot
> even hold a leader without snapping.  We¹ve turned the tape tension way down
> on our Studer A820, but it can¹t be pulled through the transport without
> snapping.
> 
> The tape is heavily curled along the edges (only the center 25% is flat) and
> is anything but straight from exposure to presumably high temperatures over
> the past 50 years.  The outer wraps have bonded to each other.  We can deal
> with the edge curl and the age-induced country-laning by using a custom
> mechanism that gently increases the tape wrap around the PB head (forces the
> tape flat) and additional edge guides fore and aft of the PB head that keeps
> the tape centered on the head.  We can even separate the outer wraps, albeit
> in 1-inch segments that would need to be spliced together ­ this seems like
> a bad idea, but I don¹t see any other choice if we want to get past the
> outer wraps.
> 
> But it¹s the fragility of the tape (lack of tensile strength) that is the
> central issue.  If it were possible to ³back² the tape, it might keep it
> from snapping.  But how do you efficiently and reliably ³back² 1200 feet of
> tape that snaps with the slightest bit of handling?  And what do you back
> the tape with?  Splicing tape? It might be easier to apply backing to the
> centerline of the tape rather than the full width because of tape shrinkage
> and edge distortion, but then the resulting tape pack would probably be
> quite poor, especially if the backing doesn¹t stack precisely on top of the
> previous wrap.  Also, a narrow backing (like cassette splicing tape) may or
> may not affect the ability to force the tape flat at the PB head ­ essential
> for a quality transfer.
> 
> Looking for ideas and suggestions.
> 
> ~ Eric
> 
>    Eric Jacobs, Principal
>    The Audio Archive
>    1325 Howard Ave, #906, Burlingame, CA  94010
>    Tel: 408-221-2128 | [log in to unmask]
>    www.theaudioarchive.com <http://www.theaudioarchive.com/>
-- 
Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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