I have been systematically working through our earliest 1/4 inch acetate
analogue tape collection for many months on a daily basis and have targeted
them all for high priority preservation.  Ours date from 1953-54 with the
Royal tour and the introduction of analogue tape machines at Radio New
Zealand, then known as the National Broadcasting Service.

They are all Emitape 4 stock and contain splices which bleed old glue on to
several layers in the pack.  On the whole the sound quality is very good to
excellent but the very poor looking tapes I spend time first replacing the
old splices with archival quality before digitising.

Some of these tapes just snap randomly, but cleanly, so a splice can be
applied.  Some suffer from LOL, shrinkage, cupping, etc.  It is the content
that contains the gems and after they have been preserved they go back into

Unfortunately, many of our accessions that we take in from donors have not
been generally subject to good storage and that is when it poses the most
problems.  These being home recordings mostly, have also not been recorded
at any standard speed so that can also present with other issues.  Plus,
most have NO documentation, nothing on the box and/or reel.  Does it
actually then have anything on it and/or what is it?

On the whole, in they are performing remarkably well for there age, some
being 57 years old which great sound.  However, I would have a lot of
difficulty offering this stock to anyone that they may think they might be
able to successfully use it now for recording something.

A bigger issue is space.  I don't know how many times some potential donor
has said we have about 25 tapes and it has turned out to be 400!  We have
fallen into this ourselves when told there were 1000 odd tapes and we took
it in without 'eyeballing' it first.  There are actually 5000 reels all on
Ampex 456.......oh yah!  They are housed at one of our transmitter sites.

Thoughts - we are only human and as we get older can we possibly listen to
all that is offered?


On Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 6:12 PM, Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>  On 8/5/2010 11:11 PM, jack palmer wrote:
>> I just had to dump several hundred 7 inch reels of music and OTR material
>> since
>> I could not generate any interest in it through all my regular sources.  I
>> guess
>> there is no longer a market for reel to reel tapes.      Jack
> Your regular sources probably did not include SPERDVAC or Terry Salmonson,
> both of which would have quickly taken all of your OTR reels unless they
> were all multi-generational tapes from schlock OTR dealers and are commonly
> found.  If you had brought them to the Cincinnati OTR convention, Terry and
> Neal Ellis would have taken them.
> Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]