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> On Nov 22, 2021, at 9:52 PM, Tim Gillett <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 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