I am coming from a collection of experiences, including a small tape of
a well-known deceased Canadian folk icon and the producer (who is also
an excellent engineer) said he didn't think the little tape needed
baking. I was unsure. We rewound it and just before the leader tape, mag
coat started flying off.
Fortunately, the producer is also a guitarist because the intro to the
song was destroyed, but the singer's voice was preserved. That was my
last experience with not baking a tape that is even in the slightest
prone to sticky shed.
Prior to that, I unwound a tape that didn't appear to need baking and
had lots of pullouts. But, the owner fessed up that someone else had
rewound it before me...I didn't sense the pullouts happening but they
were there. That was perhaps why I didn't think the tape needed baking
as it unspooled fine (as opposed to clingy) at the outer edge--it had
recently been wound through. You don't want pieces of your mag coat
adhering to the backing of the layer just inside.
Kevin Bradley did some research on baking an he thinks he found a
quarter decibel anomaly at 20 kHz before and after baking, which I'm not
surprised about. The thing is, it's very difficult to measure a quarter
of a decibel at 20 kHz in any event.
If you go to the link I provided for the Adapt-A-Tray, you will find
that the end result is an empty ring when you remove the tray bottom (a
1/8th turn unlatches it). In that way, you can set your 7-inch reels in
the dehydrator with one end on the center column, but have no centre
column in the next ring in the stack. It really does work.
A word of caution, the mechanical thermostats in the American
Harvest/Nesco products are very reliable and repeatable, but the
calibrations are not as accurate as one might like, so a probe
thermometer from a multimeter such as this for $37.
Or a dedicated digital thermometer with probe like this.
I prefer the wire as I can drop the cover on tighter with no drilling of
One other note about paper leader. I've had Maxell tape's mag coat fuse
to the plastic leader, pulling out the first turn. Fortunately, I had a
safety copy that I made at the time of the original edited master. Hence
paper leader for most things.
The above and the folk icon instance of bad things happening close to
the hub reflects the pressure buildup in the tape pack, which is why if
I'm in doubt I'll do something (and I don't recommend baking Maxell) to
avoid damage to the mag coat/mag record.
If you haven't already done so, I'd suggest reading my paper from the
(the above should be on one line with no space between history/HESS
And...the web page which is an attempt to note new thoughts that are
evolving as the tape aging scenarios play out.
On 2017-10-03 1:50 PM, Eli Bildirici wrote:
> Hmm, thanks. Can anybody else chime in about this magical 'Tape Last' material?
> Also, it appears I'm getting conflicting advice again. You say to try a Tape Last coat, and if that doesn't work to bake, and before having baked to make sure that the leaders have to be replaced with plastic ones. Richard was pretty vehement about not attempting to unspool before having baked. Also I'm still not sure how to modify the tray :/ I don't mean to whine, I'm just unsure how to proceed (though in any case won't do anything before my colleagues return)
> October 2 2017 1:41 AM, "Corey Bailey" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hi Eli,
>> To address your question: The tape would be baked when dry. All contaminants (Mold, moisture, etc.)
>> will have been removed and any leaders replaced that need it. For me, baking an analog (or digital)
>> tape is the last resort. Baking has consequences and not enough research (IMHO) has been done as to
>> what those consequences are. In 2015, Goran Finnberg posted to the ARSC list that he had measured
>> an increase in AM distortion with the first baking of audio tape and the AM distortion increased
>> with subsequent baking. This would possibly explain the changes in overall fidelity that I and
>> others have noticed as the result of baking. However, there has been no follow-up by Groan so, at
>> this point, I would have to consider his comments as anecdotal. What I do for PVC based tapes, that
>> exhibit SSS, is to generously apply Tape Last from The Last Factory. I have found Tape Last to be
>> about 95% effective when it comes to making problem tapes playable. If, after treatment, the tape
>> is still cranky and won't behave, it gets baked. I have been assured by The Last Factory that
>> baking a tape which has been treated will have no consequences and my experience supports that
>> claim. Last Factory has also said that treating an analog tape with Tape Last will enhance the
>> shelf life but I personally have no evidence to support their claim. Tape Last is expensive and the
>> process is time consuming so institutions with large holdings will bake first and ask questions
>> later. It's simply a matter of economics.
>> I have no connection with The Last Factory and receive no compensation, in any form, from them.
>> Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
>> On 10/1/2017 11:40 AM, Eli Bildirici wrote:
>>> Also - to clarify, should I soak, wait for it to dry a bit, and then attempt to bake? I'm also not
>>> quite sure I understood re how 'removing the grille' helps. Isn't the issue that the central hole
>>> is to wide? It looks like we'd have to somehow modify one of the trays in order to get a 7"er on
>>> there, right?
>>> September 28 2017 11:34 AM, "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>> When I do moldy tapes, I use a NIOSH dual-cartridge respirator.
>>>> Don't risk your health.
>>>> On 2017-09-27 11:29 PM, Corey Bailey wrote:
>>> Hi Eli,
>>> Sorry, I didn't see your question about the "Soaking". I had a tape > similar to your problem tape
>>> and here's what I did: I used a round film > can and (literally) submerged the 7" reel of tape in
>>> medical alcoholfor > about an hour. You can submerge the tape for longer if you think it > needs it
>>> because (IMHO) pure alcohol does not harm PVC base audio tape. > Others may differ. After the
>>> "Soaking", I unwound the tape, slowly, by > hand, while wiping with pellon. Much the same as you
>>> describe except I > use a modified 8MM film editor for this task. I had to replace every > leader
>>> on this particular tape and there were lots of them. Mold is > serious business. Much of it is
>>> microscopic and the spores get > everywhere. If you are indoors, you need a "clean room" that is
>>> isolated > from everything else. I set up outside, away from anything that may be > subject to mold
>>> contamination. Only after I was confident that I had > conquered the mold contamination, did I
>>> consider baking the tape. In > this case, the tape did not need to be baked. The tape (Again, IMHO)
>>> was > Scotch 206 and played fine after restoration*. * Restoration included > lubricating the
>>> entire tape...Another topic for another time.
>>> Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
>>> On 9/27/2017 1:27 PM, Eli Bildirici wrote:
>>> Shai wrote:
>>> "The bleed through could also be print through. It actually doesn't >> look as
>>> bad as I thought. I would start with a low temp bake (about 40 >> Celsius) for
>>> 24-48 hours.Next I would try to unspool and clean a short length of >> tape to
>>> see if any flaking occurs. If not I would clean the rest of the tape and
>>> try to play. If it still give trouble I would rebake for antoher 24 hours
>>> at 55 Celsius."
>>> Thanks. What we've had to do however, as nearly all of our content >> left to digitize and
>>> are on 7" reels, is first transfer them onto a 10" one, as that's what >> fits in our dehydrator:
>>> I'm realizing based on these comments though that this is far from >> ideal (and follows logically,
>>> at that), so if anybody has advice as to >> particular models of dehydrators that can accommodate
>>> reels of this >> size, I'm all ears.
>>> Corey - can you elaborate on the 'soaking' process? What we've been >> doing until now is using a
>>> dedicated R2R solely for cleaning, playing >> through a tape while holding a bit of Pellon with
>>> some 99% isopropyl >> alcohol against it as it spools. Soaking it without unspooling is of >>
>>> course very different - how long do you think? How deep? Should it go >> straight from having been
>>> soaked (ideally) into the dehydrator?
>>> Would you guys propose checking the tape whilst it's being baked every >> 24 hours?
>>> Increasingly, many of our reels left to process appear to have a bunch >> of different, unrelated
>>> segments strewn together, sometimes in the >> wrong direction and rarely with any kind of
>>> indication as to what's on >> there. Often if not always, if leader is used to separate the
>>> segments >> at all, it is paper. In case there is no mold, but the tapes are >> shedding, should
>>> I looked at Richard Hess's site yesterday and found this reference: >>
>>> http://richardhess.com/notes/formats/magnetic-media/magnetic-tapes/analog-audio/degrading-tapes >>
>>> I don't think there's a way to identify tape stock by sight though, so >> it looks like this
>>> doesn't help me much. I've been going through the >> Specs site, meanwhile. Among the more
>>> interesting things is the >> implication that this white residue I'm seeing...isn't actually mold?
>>> But instead may "indicate breakdown of various chemical components":
>>> tape.html >>
>>> I'm not sure what, if any, ramifications this could have.
>>> September 27 2017 2:53 PM, "Corey Bailey" <[log in to unmask]> >> wrote:
>>> Hi Eli,
>>> You have a host of problems with this reel of tape (preaching to the >>> choir here): Mold,
>>> which may require some baking, and segments separated by paper >>> leader. Paper leader is not bad
>>> itself but, in this case, it's adding to the problem because of mold >>> and moisture absorption.
>>> 1) Address the mold. Baking a moldy tape will contaminate your oven. >>> Avoid (if you can) any
>>> based mold killing products. Pure alcohol work well as a first or >>> second application. Soaking
>>> tape with alcohol may reduce the sticky layer problem to the point >>> that it can be carefully
>>> to move on to step 2.
>>> 2) Replace the paper leader with plastic leader. I've also used blank >>> Polyester tape (reversed)
>>> leader. Then, continue with mold removal because you want to remove >>> ALL of the mold.
>>> 3) Bake the tape if you think it is safe to do so. Bake looow (Temp) >>> and sloow: Less than 49C
>>> (120F) for as long as it takes. 24 to 48 hours would not be uncommon. >>> I would suggest using a
>>> dehydrator for this particular application or, any unit that you can >>> safely dispose of because
>>> contamination may be unavoidable, rendering the baking device >>> unusable for anything else.
>>> Check with Peter Brothers to see if Specs Bros. may have some advice: >>> http://www.specsbros.com
>>> You may have to decide which is more important: Saving the tape or >>> saving the equipment.
>>> America, in my experience, would decide that the process is too >>> expensive and chuck the tape.
>>> Advise is free so, contact me off-list if you like.
>>> Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
>>> On 9/26/2017 1:56 PM, Eli Bildirici wrote:
>>> We all just double-checked and it looks like polyester rather than >>>> acetate. My guess is the
>>> of my phone and the way the sunlight was hitting the tape made it >>>> look wrong. Do you have any
>>> advice re baking?
>>> September 26 2017 4:27 PM, "John Chester" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> On 9/26/17 4:10 PM, Ted Kendall wrote:
>>> If you are getting what I think you mean by bleedthrough, bits of > >>>> oxide have already lifted
>>> stuck to the back of adjacent turns. If > you have played it, it's >>>> probably too late to do
>>> but you could > start by baking and see what can be salvaged.
>>> The loose end of the tape which I see in the photos is red oxide with >>> no backcoating. Tapes
>>> without backcoating rarely need to be baked. If any of the tape on >>> this reel is acetate base,
>>> should absolutely not be baked. To check for acetate base, hold the >>> reel up to a light -- if
>>> can see light through the tape pack, it's acetate.
>>> The nightmare scenario is a mixed reel that's got sticky-shed tape on >>> the outside, and acetate
>>> further into the reel. In that case, you pretty much have to decide >>> which you will save,
>>> you probably can't save both. Baking will ruin the acetate, and >>> unspooling the sticky-shed tape
>>> without baking may leave large chunks of oxide stuck to the backcoating.
>>> -- John Chester
>>> Eli Bildirici
>>> (347) 837-8337
>>> -- Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
>>>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
>>> Eli Bildirici
>>> (347) 837-8337
> Eli Bildirici
> (347) 837-8337
Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.