While I can't speak for 1/2" VHS or Beta tapes, we have run across SSS 
problems with 3/4" U-Matic tapes recorded using the Sony F1 system. It's 
a real pain...

The best solution we have found is to swap out the shell and guides, and 
try a commercial videotape cleaning device. There are units made by both 
RTI and Media Matters, (Jim Lindner's new company), as well as some 
older equipment made by Recortec. I am very impressed with the unit that 
Jim has designed for 3/4" U-Matic tapes, but it's not cheap! RTI also 
makes model for 1/2" videotape, but we have not tried these for SSS. In 
any event, the tapes will usually require multiple passes.

Transferring these tapes is another matter entirely. We have done a 
number of modifications on both the decks and the PCM 701 processors we 
own to allow us to manipulate the servo operation of the video recorder 
and adjustment of the lock parameters on the 701 bitstream. I'm sure 
we'll never recoup the man hours that have been invested in this effort...

There are far too many issues than can be addressed here, but I would 
recommend you try and obtain a professional machine, lock it to a house 
sync generator, and make sure that the line error correction is 
disabled! Make sure to set the playback for B & W (although some decks 
will do it by default).

Best of luck!

Scott D. Smith
Chicago Audio Works, Inc.

Richard L. Hess wrote:

> At 01:28 PM 2/3/2006, Jeff Carroll wrote:
>> I am having trouble playing an Ampex 188 Beta tape.  From the sound 
>> in the
>> machine I am guessing it is sticky.  Hand winding the shell leads me to
>> believe that the internal guides might be gummimng up.  I have had no
>> problems with Sony L500 Betas from the same period.  Is baking a 
>> possibility
>> here?  Any help would be much appreciated.
> Hi, Jeff,
> There have been lots of reports about SSS from videotape in 3/4" 
> sizes. I wouldn't be surprised if you had it. After all, it's Ampex! 
> (sigh).
> On the AMIA list, Jim Lindner has cautioned us against baking 
> anything, but especially videotapes. He has good reasons for it, 
> including the possibility of the tape deforming and/or snapping back 
> to an earlier geometry prior to tensilization. I hope I'm quoting him 
> well in this brief summary.
> Jim got his start restoring 1/2" EIAJ videotapes, including Andy 
> Warhol's as I understand it. I have a lot of respect for him. Jim 
> Wheeler, a videotape engineer from Ampex is also on the AMIA List.
> I think joining and asking your question on AMIA-L would be a good 
> source of information.
> I do F1 transfers, but I haven't run across a sticky F1 tape yet (for 
> which I'm thankful).
> The other source of information is Specs Brothers in New Jersey. They 
> are experts in cleaning tapes. Peter Brothers is also on AMIA-L.
> This is an interesting crossover issue from an obviously crossover 
> technology.
> Cheers,
> Richard
> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
> Vignettes Media                   web:
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada       (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
> Detailed contact information: