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On Mon, Nov 22, 2021 at 12:02 PM Abhimonyu Deb <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Tim and Richard,
> Tim, the Lafayette tapes were recorded on a Wollensak recorder. I'm afraid
> I don't know much more than that. However, I suspect that the tracks 2 and
> 3 vs. tracks 1 and 4 issue is due to lack of maintenance of the recorder
> during the 4 or 5 years that the recordings were made rather than any
> compatibility issue between different formats.
> That's because the tracks issue isn't consistent across all of the tapes.
> There's another factor that might be significant. Like I said, I am of
> Indian origin. My uncle (father's brother) went to the U.S. as a graduate
> student in 1958 and came back to India in 1960, bringing the Wollensak and
> 12 Lafayette blank tapes with him. At the time, it was almost as if he
> brought a spaceship from Mars!
> My father says that they never demagnetized the heads. They did clean the
> heads regularly but sometimes it was with aftershave lotion (gasp!) or
> something similar.
> The tapes are numbered 1 to 12 and were recorded mostly in that sequence.
> If I had to find a pattern, it would be that the earlier recorded tapes
> are generally better on track 1 and later tapes are generally better on
> track 2.
> Richard, I had read about your experience with the carbonyl iron tape in
> one of your papers a year or two ago (or maybe on your blog?). I tried your
> solution myself more than once, also with varying degrees of success.
> From my experience, I can't find any pattern to the cupping problem. Could
> it be a maintenance issue? There was no cupping problem at all with the EMI
> acetates in Gramophone Company of India's archive.
> On the other hand, I have seen this problem consistently on tapes from
> other sources and of varying brands that were not well maintained. My
> Lafayette tapes have no cupping problem at all. They were just kept on a
> bookshelf (in their boxes) for the past 50 years.
> The whole subject is really mysterious and so much fun!
> Best wishes,
> Abhimonyu DebAudio Consultant and Digitization Specialisthttps://
> On Sunday, 21 November, 2021, 11:48:43 pm IST, Richard L. Hess <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi, Abhi and Tim,
> Great discussion. The cupping is a real issue, but so is edge waviness.
> On the suggestion of Friedrich Engel (retired BASF Historian), I once
> reviewed the only carbonyl iron tape I've ever seen. This was one of the
> first Magnetophon experimental tapes from circa 1935. It was so badly
> cupped that it was like a carpenter's steel tape and could support
> itself extending from the reel.
> Hydration was Herr Engel's suggestion, I tried about 24 hours with the
> tape in a pancake form on a support over about an inch of water in a
> sealed container. It ran beautifully and was more like a satin ribbon
> than a tape measure.
> HOWEVER, I have repeated that once or twice since with far less success.
> The hydration probably reduces the strength of the tape.
> The worst over-hydration I've ever seen was a damp 1-inch Scotch 201
> acetate tape. The acetate had swollen so much that the first half inch
> at the hub had been deformed and the closest layers had been forced
> through the slot of the hub, causing a bump. Of course it was worse on
> the track one side (which was recorded while only about five tracks had
> been used) and the tape had been wound tails out so the pack was tight
> and the first song of the album was most damaged!
> I put a pressure pad hard against the head (while adding extra pressure
> to the pinch roller to keep the tape on speed). My hands were very
> cramped a half hour later. Then Paul MacDonald from Cape Breton Island,
> Nova Scotia who is a musician and excellent recording/mastering
> engineer, spent days with it picking out a similar piece of music to
> cover the bumps using Sound Blade software. It turned out beautifully.
> If the edges are wavy, then certainly tracks 2 and 3 would be a better
> choice, if the cupping is tamable.
> It is such a difficult line to draw between doing no harm to the
> original and capturing the best possible transfer which will likely be
> the last transfer made (unless you really miss the mark). If you are
> doing risky procedures, it is important to inform the clients about the
> problems and risks before proceeding.
> On 2021-11-21 4:55 a.m., Tim Gillett wrote:
> > Hi Abhi,
> > I suspect your experience with the old acetates is common. When
> > brittle they can break easily but at least they break cleanly and
> > can be spliced back together again. The other issue which is common
> > is "cupping" on the oxide side. The top and bottom edges of the tape
> > are OK on the tape head but the centre section doesnt want to sit flat
> > so the sound is often muffled or weak. We can increase the tape
> > tension across the head but it risks breaking the tape. Sometimes
> > a temporary felt pressure pad, or small artist's brush, or even a
> > fingertip as you did can be used to press the centre section against
> > the head.
> > The problem you mentioned with the Lafayette acetates could be that
> > they were recorded on a Brush Soundmirror machine which only recorded
> > in the centre of the tape, leaving the top and bottom edges
> > unrecorded. A "cupped" acetate tape is the worst for this as it keeps
> > that most important part of the tape off the head. The reason the
> > Studer machine didnt play them well is probably that it was an NAB
> > half track machine which would have missed the centre part of the
> > tape. You're right that tracks 2 and 3 of a quarter track machine
> > would read it much better. Actually a very good playback can be
> > obtained from a Soundmirror tape with a four track (four channel) 1/4"
> > head using tracks 2 and 3.
> > Best wishes,
> > Tim Gillett
> > Perth, Western Australia
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List"
> > <[log in to unmask]>
> > To:<[log in to unmask]>
> > Cc:
> > Sent:Sun, 21 Nov 2021 04:58:17 +0000
> > Subject:Re: [ARSCLIST] 220V/50Hz 1/4" Open Reel Audio Playback Decks
> > Hi Richard,
> > Wow! You have no idea what it means for a little guy like me to
> > contribute to this forum!
> > First, just a very quick background. Although I was born and brought
> > up in the U.S., I spent all of my adult and professional life in India
> > (I am of Indian origin).
> > I used to work in the recording studio of the Gramophone Company of
> > India. It used to be a wholly owned subsidiary of the GC of UK. Later
> > it became independent.
> > GC of India has a tape archive with acetates starting from around
> > 1955. They are almost entirely EMI tapes and are in excellent
> > condition. There’s no problem of brittleness and they play fine on
> > A80’s and 807’s.
> > Now I work independently, usually with smaller archives or individual
> > collections. The name brand tapes that I get, e.g. Scotch 111 or
> > 141, usually play fine on my A807. However, given the tropical
> > climate in India and the lack of maintenance of the tapes, warping is
> > a frequent problem.
> > A few years ago, I inherited a dozen Lafayette brand tapes from my
> > uncle. The tapes were purchased in 1960 and recorded between 1961 to
> > 1965.
> > These tapes are mostly brittle. Instead of A807, for most of these
> > tapes I had to use an Akai GX-4000D quarter track deck to play half
> > track recordings. Yes, I know I broke every rule in the book but I
> > couldn't think of any other way.
> > Interestingly, for some of these tapes played on the Akai, I got a
> > better playback from tracks 2 and 3 compared to tracks 1 and 4. Of
> > course, I had to reverse them on my DAW.
> > A few years ago I got an acetate similar to your Vermont tape. I
> > actually had to unwind several hundred feet of tape from the reel,
> > somehow thread the tape onto my Akai without any reels on either side,
> > and hold my index finger softly against the playback head while
> > playing.
> > So, basically, the brittle acetates that I've encountered are due to
> > lack of maintenance or a cheap brand of tape.
> > Coming back to Dave's original post, I was thinking to myself when I
> > first read it that it might be nearly impossible to find a machine
> > that can satisfy all of his conditions. But, then, I don't have any
> > experience with the ATR 100 or APR-5000.
> > Best wishes,
> > Abhi (short for Abhimonyu)
> > ------------------------------------------
> > Abhimonyu DebAudio Consultant and Digitization
> > Specialisthttps://www.linkedin.com/in/abhimonyudeb
> > On Saturday, 20 November, 2021, 09:53:59 pm IST, Richard L. Hess
> > <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Hi, Abbimonyu,
> > This issue comes up in regard to many different machines. When I had
> > my
> > A80s, I used them for acetate tapes on a regular basis. I haven't
> > used
> > an A807 for a long time (as I preferred the A810 over the A807 for
> > many
> > reasons, and the A80 over the A810).
> > In many respects, I think that the Sony APR-5000 is the gentlest of
> > the
> > list I posted. On the other hand, I had no bad feedback from the
> > two
> > A807s (refurbished by Roger Ginsley) that were sold into an archiving
> > project in Pakistan to use alongside their Tascam BR-20s (which I did
> > not suggest for the current project because many versions were not
> > made
> > with power supply voltage selection).
> > However, to answer Tim Gillette's rephrasing of the question, we
> > might
> > consider machines that start the capstan motor when going into play
> > so
> > you are not banging the stopped tape into the full-speed capstan. The
> > Sony APR-5000 works that way and mutes the audio for a short period
> > of
> > time at startup.
> > You weren't missing something and it is good that you posted. Perhaps
> > I
> > didn't provide enough weight to that criteria.
> > I'd be interested in hearing more about the fragile acetate tapes
> > that
> > you encounter as I've been surprised at how well the Scotch 111 and
> > Audio Devices acetate tapes have held up. I've even been pleased with
> > the paper tapes I've transferred as well. The only really fragile
> > acetate tape I've come across was one that sat behind a wood stove
> > through several Vermont winters. One face was welded together and
> > broke
> > on ever rotation of the supply reel.
> > The one thing that seems to fail for me are splices onto paper
> > leader. I
> > have to remake all those splices after baking in many instances, but
> > that's with back-coated polyester tapes.
> > Cheers,
> > Richard
> > On 2021-11-19 8:41 p.m., Abhimonyu Deb wrote:
> > > Given the notable list of people who have replied so far, normally
> > I would keep my mouth shut.
> > > However, I do think everyone is missing an important point.
> > >
> > > Dave mentions that the machine should be able to play fragile
> > acetate tapes. The A80’s, 807’s and Otari 5050’s that I’ve
> > worked with would fail miserably here unless I’m missing something.
> > > Abhimonyu Debhttp://linkedin.com/in/abhimonyudeb
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On Saturday, November 20, 2021, 6:42 AM, James Perrett
> > <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > >
> > > On Sat, 20 Nov 2021 at 00:55, Richard L. Hess
> > <[log in to unmask]>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > >>
> > >> Long ago, a company I think called
> > >> "DarkLab" in Germany made EIA to DIN adapters out of plastic.
> > >>
> > >>
> > > They still make them and sell them on Ebay. I bought some a few
> > months ago
> > > but haven't used them yet.
> > >
> > > James.
> > >
> > --
> > Richard L. Hess email:
> > [log in to unmask]
> > Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647
> > 479 2800
> > http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
> > Track Format - Speed - Equalization - Azimuth - Noise Reduction
> > Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
> > -------------------------
> > Email sent using Optus Webmail
> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
> Track Format - Speed - Equalization - Azimuth - Noise Reduction
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.