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Hi Corey,  

I've had similar tapes. I suspect that mixup of formats was  quite
common at least with domestic recordings. It's a reason I'm reluctant
to part with a  1/4"  4 track / 4 channel machine, and another 1/4"
8 track 8 channel machine.  They're really good for quickly
identifying what formats tapes were recorded in, including messy ones
like you had. If I cant quite tell what's going on by listening alone,
the level meters usually clarify it.

Cheers

 Tim.

----- Original Message -----
From: "CBAUDIO" <[log in to unmask]>
To:<[log in to unmask]>
Cc:
Sent:Tue, 23 Nov 2021 00:58:55 +0000
Subject:Re: [ARSCLIST] Brittle Acetate Tapes (was 220V/50Hz 1/4" Open
Reel Audio Playback Decks)

 A few years ago, I transferred a couple of 3" & some 5" reel-to-reel 
 tapes that had me really chasing my tail. The tapes were used as
mailers 
 for communication between a soldier & his parents during the Viet Nam

 era. All of the recording was done consertively at 3-3/4 IPS so, it
was 
 impossible to read with a magnetic viewer. Turns out that the soldier

 bought a deck overseas that was 1/4 track & his parents had a deck
that 
 was half track mono. So, the tapes had both formats recorded on them.

 Whew!
 CB
 Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
 www.baileyzone.net

 ------ Original Message ------
 From: "Tim Gillett" <[log in to unmask]>
 To: [log in to unmask]
 Sent: 11/22/2021 4:20:53 PM
 Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Brittle Acetate Tapes (was 220V/50Hz 1/4"
Open 
 Reel Audio Playback Decks)

 >Hi Abhi and Richard,
 >
 >Abhi, with your Lafayette tape recordings have you tried looking
 >at the recorded magnetic patterns using a suitable magnetic reader
or
 >viewer?
 >
 >Richard, another machine, the Sony 521 had a small lever at the
front
 >labelled "4 track/2 track" which altered (only) the head height to
 >allow a compromise playback of half track stereo tapes. Seemingly
 >like the Wollensak, it places the quarter track stereo head pole
 >pieces in the centre of the half track stereo position. Like the
 >Wollensak it didnt correspondingly alter erase head height so there
 >was potential to accidentally leave the lever in the wrong position
 >when making a recording.
 >
 >Cheers,
 >
 >Tim
 >
 >
 >----- Original Message -----
 >From: "Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List"
 ><[log in to unmask]>
 >To:<[log in to unmask]>
 >Cc:
 >Sent:Mon, 22 Nov 2021 15:42:24 -0500
 >Subject:Re: [ARSCLIST] Brittle Acetate Tapes (was 220V/50Hz 1/4"
Open
 >Reel Audio Playback Decks)
 >
 > Hi, Corey and Abhi,
 >
 > In late 1962 or early 1963 (I recorded hours of JFK's funeral audio
 >on
 > it 58 years ago this week), I bought a Wollensak T-1616-4. It was a
 > really odd duck, but worked reasonably well.
 >
 > It had a quarter track stereo combo record/play head made by Shure.
I
 >
 > don't recall the erase head. It had one complete channel of
 >record/play
 > electronics from mic in to 10 W power amp. There was an add-in
 >one-tube
 > chassis that was the head preamp which needed to feed a separate
 > amp-speaker combination. While there was a small power transformer,
 >the
 > 10 W power amplifier was modeled after the AC/DC table radios and
had
 >
 > the whole power amp run directly off the mains.
 >
 > This shows some pictures of the 1616-4
 >https://www.ebay.com/itm/313588550900 (not my auction)
 > and I've collected a few things that I have here:
 >
<https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7wvowq62e9o5d17/AADOA9TqRJCej268l9wmj1kUa?dl=0>
 >
 > The T-1515-4 manual shows at the end the track alignments, and the
 >eBay
 > photos above show the track wheel. Other manuals in the folder
might
 > provide a better exploded view of the head assembly.
 >
 > While there are differences between the 1500 and the 1600 it is
 >mostly
 > in the transport control. The 1600 was solenoid controlled for more
 > remote control and a lighter touch on the keys The 1600 could also
 >(with
 > the help of 1/8-inch foil tape) do auto repeat.
 > The 1500 was introduced in 1959 and the 1600 in 1960
 >
 > I started to go thru the math of the head height adjustment to see
 >how
 > it worked out. It does work. So if you want to get caught up with
 >mils
 > (thousandths of an inch), have at it. Otherwise look at the
pictures
 >in
 > the manual at the Dropbox link.
 >
 > In the head assembly, there was an "elevator" arrangement (hence I
 >knew
 > that was possible when I had John French make one for my APR-5000
 >with
 > an 8-track four-channel head). The Wollensak elevator was run by a
 > Delrin disk which protruded out of the side of the head assembly
and
 >was
 > marked A 2TR B. In the A position, the quarter track R/P head (and
 > presumably the erase head) was positioned so that the left head
 >channel
 > aligned with track 1 and the right head channel aligned with track
3.
 >In
 > 2TR, the head was lowered slightly, presumably just enough so that
 >the
 > two quarter track head channels were completely on the professional
2
 >
 > track tracks. This would probably have been adjusted for 75 mil
 >tracks,
 > since Ampex sort of ruled the roost in that era.
 >
 > One can check if this was even possible by looking at
 >https://www.richardhess.com/tape/quarterinch_lrg.gif
 >
 > Quarter track has 43 mil tracks and centre-to-centre of the 1/3
 >stereo
 > pair at 134 mils. That implies 24 mil guard bands...
 > Checking that math, 43x4+24x3 = 244 mils out to out.
 >
 > Doing the same with the Ampex format, the two tracks are on 156 mil
 > centres and the track is 75 mils, so the guard band is 81 mils.
This
 > gives an out-to-out dimension of 231 mils.
 >
 > Normally, the top of the quarter track right channel head would be
 >137
 > mils from the top edge of a 250 mil tape, and the bottom of the
left
 > channel would be 46 mils below the top of the tape.
 >
 > The Ampex 2-track tape would have the bottom of the left channel
84.5
 >
 > mils below the top of the tape and the top of the right channel
165.5
 >
 > mils below the top of the tape.
 >
 > So depressing the quarter track head assembly by 28.5 mils would
just
 >
 > put the top of the right head at the top of the Ampex two track
right
 >
 > channel.
 >
 > This would put the bottom of the quarter track left channel at 74.5
 >mils
 > below the top of the tape, which allows a 10 mil window, so the
ideal
 >
 > depression for the 2 TR position would be 33.5 mils.
 >
 > Continuing on, in order to go to the B position, the full 134 mil
 > centre-to-centre spacing of the quarter track stereo pair would
have
 >to
 > be covered, or the distance between 2 TR and B would be 100.5 mil
 >
 > Roughly, the A-2TR is roughly 1/4 of the total depression and the
 >2TR-B
 > depression is 3/4 of the total which is in keeping with what I
 > recall--it was harder to go to B as you were fighting a spring.
 >
 > The actual elevator mechanism was a ramp molded into the bottom
face
 >of
 > the Delrin wheel and a small ball that ran in a cup at the top of a
 >post
 > on the head assembly.
 >
 > Being a fully mechanical assembly, this would not reset on power on
 >so
 > you'd record in the position that it was left in, and I suspect
that
 > this little assembly wasn't stable after many uses.
 >
 > Cheers,
 >
 > Richard
 >
 > On 2021-11-22 2:31 p.m., CBAUDIO wrote:
 > > I have about 90 tapes in the studio that were recorded on a
 >Wollensak
 > > model 1500. That particular model was 1/2 track, mono.
 > >
 > > Best,
 > > CB
 > > Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
 > > www.baileyzone.net
 > >
 > > ------ Original Message ------
 > > From: "Abhimonyu Deb"
 ><[log in to unmask]>
 > > To: [log in to unmask]
 > > Sent: 11/22/2021 2:00:44 AM
 > > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Brittle Acetate Tapes (was 220V/50Hz 1/4"
 >Open
 > > Reel Audio Playback Decks)
 > >
 > >> 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,
 > >> Abhi
 > >> --------------------------------------------
 > >>
 > >>
 > >> Abhimonyu DebAudio Consultant and Digitization
 > >> Specialisthttps://www.linkedin.com/in/abhimonyudeb
 > >>
 > >>
 > >> 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.
 > >>
 > >> Cheers,
 > >>
 > >> Richard
 > >>
 > >>
 > >> 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
 > >> http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
 > >> Track Format - Speed - Equalization - Azimuth - Noise Reduction
 > >> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
 > >>
 >
 > --
 > 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

-------------------------
Email sent using Optus Webmail