We offer a re-mastering service for all of those obsolete reels, cassettes and DAT tapes you may have kicking about. We can transfer them onto a CD or make individual WAV files of those tracks. Have a look at the equipment list on the right. Our vintage recording / mastering machines stand ready to tackle any job. We pop your old masters into ProTools, clean any unwanted hiss, distortion, pops, clips, clicks and anything else that needs attention. The result is a state-of-the-art version of your original.
We have a Tascam 38 ½'' 8-track tape machine in our control room so we're happy to re-mix any of these old beauties you might have laying about for you.
Digital Audio Tapes (DAT) are bounced into ProTools, cleaned-up and remastered.
Always handle open reels by the centre hub area or by the outer edges of the reel flanges, if necessary, so that the actual tape is not touched. Do not squeeze the edges of the reel flanges together, as it will damage the edges of the tape. Similarly, handle cassettes by the existing outer plastic case, and don't touch inside the cassette mechanism.
As is the case with any collection, proper storage is extremely important. The general environment, including temperature and relative humidity is key. Tapes stored for a decade or more should be kept between 65–70 °F (18–21 °C) at 45-50% relative humidity (RH). Tapes requiring preservation should be stored at 46–50 °F (8–10 °C) at 20-30% relative humidity. Magnetic tapes stored below 46 °F (8 °C) can deteriorate, the tape lubricant can separate from the base, ruining the recording. Archivists recommend cutting off one-and-a-half rounds of previously unused tape so as to remove any adhesive at the end that could later be transferred to the tape or machinery. They also recommend not storing any paper labels in the box with reel-to-reel tapes to prevent chemical transfer from the paper and/or ink to the tape.
Store tapes with water repellent plastic containers on edge, not flat, likewise, reel-to-reel boxes should be stored vertically with bookends, so as not to fall. Remember that these collections can be very heavy and should be shelved on strong, non-acidic shelving.
Tapes should only be rewound just before the next play. When rewinding, if possible, use a slower archival wind technique. Super-speed rewinders can warp and damage tapes over time. According to information on Wikipedia, professional media librarians at the National Library of Canada suggest that the best way to achieve an archival wind for reel-to-reel tapes is to remove the heads on the player and play backwards at normal play speed. However, the tape tension may need to be adjusted after removing the heads.
A new problem with chemical stability became notable in the mid-seventies when two significant tape manufacturers changed their dispersion formulations by introducing a polyurethane binder that, in time, turned hygroscopic and broke down as it absorbed water molecules into the long hydrocarbon molecular chains. The tape coatings became sticky and shed oxide onto all tape recorder parts in their path, including heads, guides, rollers, and capstans. This is commonly called sticky-shed syndrome. Although the problem was confined to two of the four major tape manufacturers (neither BASF nor 3M studio tapes suffer from the problem because neither manufacturer used the hygroscopic binder), the reputation of all magnetic tapes has been tainted by the defect.
Information can be recovered from the "stick-shed" tapes by heating them at a very low temperature in order drive the water out of the binders. The baking method is a one-time solution to the problem because the binder remains unstable. Tapes that do not show the breakdown syndrome do not need any special treatment.
Baking is a common practice for temporarily repairing sticky-shed syndrome. There is no standard equipment or practice for baking, so each engineer is left to create his or her own methods and materials. Generally, tapes are baked at low temperatures for relatively long periods of time, such as 130 °F to 140 °F (54 to 60 °C) for 1 to 8 hours. Wider tape formats may take longer. It is commonly thought that baking a tape will temporarily remove the moisture that has accumulated in the binder. A treated tape will reportedly function like new for a few weeks to a few months before it will reabsorb moisture and be unplayable again.
Baking cannot be used with acetate tapes, nor is it needed. Baking is also much less effective with u-matic tapes as the cases for those tapes prevent effective heat dispersion within the tape media.