What I do is easy to say. First, my ONLY use of audio tape is to transfer to digital and put back in storage, never in daily or even occasional use otherwise.
Nearly all tapes I get to work on have holddown tape of some sort, and almost always it has deteriorated, sometimes letting go entirely and sometimes bonding with the reels, depending on the type of tape. Specific sticky tapes made for studios are actually maybe the worst, ten, 20 or 30 years down the road. Some just fall off, some need to be scraped off. Thus I have no faith in such tapes for present or future use. Equally bad is clear, shiny, transperent “scotch” tape of the ordinary household variety. It just crumbles eventually.
I have no faith in mechanical clamps or clever devices to hold the tape on the reel, they never seem to be in place on old tapes I see, and if they squeeze the tepe pack together, usually malform the tape after years in place, if they stay in place at all.
But leaving the tape loose can also cause harm in long term storage, letting the tension relax and perhaps letting the audio tape unwind.
What I do is right after taking the tape off the playback machine I keep some tnesion on the tape, fold the very last inch over the edge of the reel, and fasten it down with “magic mending” tape, the kind that is burnished, not smooth and clear. That seeems to hold its purpose the longest, and how I return the tapes to the owners.
I’ll be interested to hear what other professionals have to say!
In the case of cassettes, I feel it is important to play them all the way smoothly to the end, and put it into a proper cassette box that has little splines to keep them from unwinding. Many “amateur’s” cassettes are left out of boxes, or in the middel of a side, or roughly rewound so the tape pack is loose and edges uneven. That is bad for them! Sometinmes the tape can warp at the opening, and I’ve seen various kinds of damage from improper storage, expecially if not put in cassette boxes meant to hold them.
Nobody has asked me this before, so it is nice to be able to expound on an topic I think it very important, expecially for long term storage!
> On Nov 8, 2020, at 11:59 AM, Marcia K. Segal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Over the years I've heard various opinions about hold-down tape, retainers (either plastic or metal), and protective collars. Personally, I'm not a big fan of retainers -- too many ways this could go wrong without a flat wind in place, and if the retainers are removed incautiously. What is the current wisdom on this list (or variety of opinions)? I can see why you may want to use something while shipping reels but does it matter while they're in storage? Would you use retainers or collars for shipments, and remove them before storage?
> Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
> Marcia K. Segal
> American Folklife Center
> Library of Congress
> + * + * + * +
> My opinions are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer.