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Thread: School me on baking tape?

  1. #11
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    Just to add to this thread, I also have a food dehydrator to bake tapes which works well. However, I had 3 unopened 1/2" Ampex 456 tapes on 14" reels from about 1991. Now I don't have a machine that can play 14" tapes and so couldn't even transfer them onto 10" reels because of SSS and they wouldn't fit in the food dehydrator that I had.

    Anyway, as I said they were sealed tapes and they would be worth about $600AUD if I was to buy today's equivalent of these tapes, so I was pretty keen on using them for recording. Against the suggestions of the internet, I baked them in my kitchen oven at about 50 - 60 degrees Celsius for 6 hours. Then I spooled them onto six 10" reels without a trace of tape residue on the transport. That was around 2 months ago and have been using them for recording as recently as last week without issues.

    The general consensus is not to use this method for baking tapes but in my case these tapes had no important recordings on them so there was nothing really to lose and now that they are on 10" reels, if I need to bake them again in the future (if I ever want to remix the songs for example) I can do it properly with the food dehydrator.

    Just mentioned this to say that using an oven to bake the tapes worked for me and although I wouldn't recommend it (based on the general consensus), if you are desperate it may work for you as well.

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    Unopened sticky tapes can be dissapointing. I had three reels of 'new' unopened and sealed 456. Chucked it all in the trash and just saved the reels. Oh well.......what's the saying? If I only knew then what I know now.

    Glad it worked out for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chilljam View Post
    Just mentioned this to say that using an oven to bake the tapes worked for me and although I wouldn't recommend it (based on the general consensus), if you are desperate it may work for you as well.
    The only real concern with using a regular oven, is that many will not provide equal/consistent heat throughout...like the ones that have the burners/coils at the bottom, and it's basically centered, so the middle of the oven might get hotter...just like the back of the oven often does, more than the front...etc.
    If you had a decent oven that cooked fairly even, and you rotated the reels more often during the process...you could get away it and make it work, as it did for you. If you have a convection oven with the internal fans...they are much better, and will do a nice even bake...but the dehydrators are the best-case.
    The way the hot air rapidly circulates the entire time, in the small space of the dehydrator...it's guaranteed to be a nice even bake.

    Quote Originally Posted by RFR View Post
    Unopened sticky tapes can be dissapointing. I had three reels of 'new' unopened and sealed 456. Chucked it all in the trash and just saved the reels. Oh well.......what's the saying? If I only knew then what I know now.

    Well...most people will tell you that baking is not intended for making the tapes useable for new recording. It's mainly a restoration effort to give you a temporary opportunity to transfer what's on there...or like, if it's an expensive MRL tape, so that you can use it for the moment.
    The general consensus is that SSS tapes are going to only be temporarily "fixed" with baking...so people usually toss them after transferring the audio that's on them. Now you can supposedly bake and re-bake many times to get the binders to "set" again, but I don't know if it's worth it or if it's safe to do that for new material you're recording. If anything...track to them and immediately dump off to a DAW or another tape.
    That said...I have some that I baked that were not the classic SSS mess that very specific brands/vintages of tapes had. Instead these were good tapes that were not stored very well by someone, and they just became a bit tacky. Since baking them a couple of years ago...they haven't turned bad from what I could see.
    Some of the infamous 456 tapes...I had a few 1/4" reels from the late '80's-early '90s...and man they were just total gunk and goo. You couldn't spin them for more than 30 seconds without them screeching to a halt due to the heavy crud buildup on the guides. I tossed mine out too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    The general consensus is that SSS tapes are going to only be temporarily "fixed" with baking...so people usually toss them after transferring the audio that's on them. Now you can supposedly bake and re-bake many times to get the binders to "set" again, but I don't know if it's worth it or if it's safe to do that for new material you're recording. If anything...track to them and immediately dump off to a DAW or another tape.
    Agree 100% Miro. I was fully aware of the risks with using SSS tapes for recording new material and definitely won't be putting those tapes back into the oven with the now recorded material on them if I need to re-bake in the future.

    Yes, my oven was a fairly new Bosch fan forced oven. I just stacked the three 14" reels in the oven and took them out 6 hours later and it seemed to work fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chilljam View Post
    Yes, my oven was a fairly new Bosch fan forced oven.
    Nice.

    That's a convection oven when the fans are on.

    Electric...?

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    I find it interesting that what was the industry standard, Ampex 456, is now the redheaded stepchild of the tape world. Or the rabid dog that needs to be put down.

    I've got some 40 year old Scotch that's still good . The only issues I've ever had was 'flakey shed' on the ends of some reels. I think that has something to do with improper handling though. No problem for me. I leave penty of blank area before printing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    Nice.

    That's a convection oven when the fans are on.

    Electric...?
    Yep, electric.

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    I missed this whole "baking tape thing" but I DO have a 1979 Mr. Coffee NON-ELECTRIC! Basically a plastic tub over a plastic pot. Paper filter and grounds go in, a disc seals then down and you pour the coffee in the tub! Same awful white plastic with the flower design. Makes great coffee.

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    I wouldn't waste time trying to make something sticky work again. I'd just buy newer tape stock. You won't get more then s few passes out of a baked tape and once your cooking your tape stock it's time to transfer your work and move on. Baking isn't even a guarantee of regluing anything. I get it's application for presentation but it's an extremely crude thing to do to a recording and reminds me of guys who try "reballing/reflowing" solder on GPUs for computers by doing the exact same thing. Go ahead if you must but I wouldn't plan on using an oven as apart of your analog setup as it defeats the purpose of the medium and makes the equipment and medium look totally unsustainable to clients. Truth is. All NOS tape is falling apart as we speak. Record as much as you can before it's all sticky junk. Cassettes are next on the deathlist but thankfully I h
    aven't experienced any issue with 90s-2000s sealed cassettes YET. this is my sentiment and my techs sentiment whose been doing this 30+ years and worked at Neil Young's studio in the 90s. Once it's gone sticky. Try to save the data on tape but kiss it goodbye after that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jzoha18 View Post
    Truth is. All NOS tape is falling apart as we speak. Record as much as you can before it's all sticky junk. Cassettes are next on the deathlist
    Sorry but this is just not true. I assume you meant to say all back coated tape as obviously non-backcoated tape would not be susceptible to any SSS issues.

    It is only the tape manufactured with a particular glue that would absorb moisture and become unstable over time that is at risk.

    BASF, Quantegy and a number of other tape brands will not have these issues if stored as per the manufacturer's recommendations.

    Magnetic tape is still is one of the most stable and reliable long term storage mediums available today.

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