Sticky Shed Help Thread

zed32

Re-Attached Member
so how can you tell that the tapes in question are no good? can you tell by the wear on the packaging?

i know nothing about tape :o
 
Last edited:
B

Beck

Guest
zed32 said:
so how can you tell that the tapes in question are no good?

i know nothing about tape :o

Years of working with the afflicted tapes and knowing others in the industry with the same experiences, as well as credible sources on the web. It dawned on me how few people there are that can look at a box or reel style and immediately know to avoid it. I'm trying to pass the ability on so more people can navigate the used tape minefield with success. :)
 
B

Beck

Guest
themaddog said:
Does GP9 suffer from sticky shed syndrome?

I've never had to buy used tape, but from the little I understand, I feel that if I had to I would buy GP9 used (provided I was using a machine calibrated for it).

-MD

Nope... never had it. GP9 is a Quantegy product introduced in 1998.
 
B

Beck

Guest
fred s. said:
I have a question that sort of relates to this...

If a recorder on ebay is listed with these tapes (as in you get these for free),
is it better to not buy the recorder? Since sticky tapes were used with it?

Is there anyway to tell just by looking if the machine may have problems?


The machine will be fine, but it will need a good cleaning. In fact sticky shed has caused many a machine to be retired early because the owner interprets the problems as a breakdown of the deck. As always ask about the condition of the heads… ask for pics. Tell them to keep the free tape and charge less for shipping.
 

cjacek

Analogue Enthusiast
I personally tend to avoid all Ampex branded tapes, save for the 600 series (red oxide / non backcoated tape), which never goes bad. No matter how cheap, I'd stay away from Ampex 406 / 407 / 456 / 457. Some tapes may still be good but I don't like to gamble. My rule of thumb is to only buy Quantegy, RMGI EMTEC and the various Japan Made tapes which never went bad.
 
B

Beck

Guest
fred s. said:

A lot of the 7" don't have date labels on the outside. Check the address on the back. It will either say Opelika Alabama or Redwood City California. If it says Opelika it's good. It might be good even if it says Redwood City, but they changed the box style a little before they changed the formula, so some with that box style are vulnerable to sticky shed.

The ones with the AMPEX logo in the middle of the box are from 1993 and older. They are using the old binder. There’s a good chance the box with the logo across the bottom like you have pictured will be fine. Unfortunately, the date for those is usually on the hold-down tape on the reel, which means you have to break the seal to see when it was made. The catch being the tape is no longer “sealed in box” after you’ve checked. :mad:
 

fred s.

New member
cjacek said:
I personally tend to avoid all Ampex branded tapes, save for the 600 series (red oxide / non backcoated tape), which never goes bad. No matter how cheap, I'd stay away from Ampex 406 / 407 / 456 / 457. Some tapes may still be good but I don't like to gamble. My rule of thumb is to only buy Quantegy, RMGI EMTEC and the various Japan Made tapes which never went bad.

Wait, so is this ok?

https://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g137/fredflinstone23/02-06-07_1434.jpg

It's old Ampex 631 tape, I don't know much about it, other than it's definitely not backcoated. I got a few random free Ampex tapes when I purchased a compressor.
 

cjacek

Analogue Enthusiast
Yes, it's OK!

fred s. said:
Wait, so is this ok?

https://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g137/fredflinstone23/02-06-07_1434.jpg

It's old Ampex 631 tape, I don't know much about it, other than it's definitely not backcoated. I got a few random free Ampex tapes when I purchased a compressor.

It's fine. It's a 1.5 mil non-backcoated red oxide tape introduced in the 50's I believe. It's a voice grade tape, low operating level (185??), good for getting that James Brown type of sound. I have the 1mil version of that tape, the 641. It's all good. It has no shedding issues. Sounds way different than modern tapes. Another way to add plenty of character to your recordings. Try it! :)
 

Me-Uzik

New member
Hi all;
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the good ol' baking trick... ;)

I've used the trick many times in the past and had no problem, except once where I forgot the tape and it 'baked' a little longer... Oops...
The tape was still playable, but not to record.

So here's the trick:

you put the tape in a metal reel (very important) and then put it in the middle of the oven at 100 fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

Let it cool down for a few hours, preferably 24 hours and that's it, it's ready to play/record with no problem.

Like I said I have done this in the past and it worked like a charm.
However I tried it a few times also with non back-coated tapes, generally it worked except for once, the oxyde melted down on the surface of the tape over it, so it had oxyde on both sides of the tape lol!
It was a "Scotch Classic" tape but didn't have anything important on it so...

This trick works for around 1 month up to several years for some tapes.
You may have to re-bake it once again if you don't play it for a while.

The Ampex 456/457 and Scotch 226/227 are typical sticky shed syndrome tapes, however they are very good tapes and this baking trick works great with them.
If you can have a lot of these tapes for cheap then it may be a good deal, depending on what you want to do with them.
If it's multitrack or mastering recording then it's perfect (once baked), as you won't play these tapes often after they have been mixed down.

If it's to record music to listen to with your home reel-to-reel machine then I would go with non back-coated tapes, unless they are the latest brands maybe, I have a Quantegy tape here and had no sticky problem with it and it has a few years.

Hope this helps.

Sincerely,

Me-Uzik
 
B

Beck

Guest
Thanks for the input about baking tape. My opening post has several links to information on the subject. However baking tape should be seen for what it is -- a stopgap method of disaster recovery. It is never a good practice to buy tape that you know will have sticky shed for recording new material.

If you already have tapes that need baking that’s one thing. Buying sticky tape on purpose to record new material is like putting “new wine into old wineskins.” It’s a very bad idea. Much of it is physically damaged, especially near the edges, and it can’t be fully recovered even with baking.

While people are knowingly and unknowingly buying old sticky tape, the future supply of new tape is in peril.

Every sale of old tape (some of it damaged beyond repair) is a sale lost to the few tape manufacturers we have left.

One of the most responsible things we can do in the analog community is to help put sticky-shed tape in the garbage can where it belongs by refusing to buy it.

The main purpose of my effort here is to make people aware of the issue and help them avoid the whole mess in the first place. :)
 
Last edited:

Me-Uzik

New member
Well, I have used it several times with no problem, but I understand what you're saying.
Depends on what you want to do.

Regards,

Me-Uzik
 
B

Beck

Guest
And there are valid reasons to buy tape from bad binder years. If the auction is reasonable the metal reel can be worth the price. Some may also want unopened vintage reels as a collector's item or conversation piece.

I just hope I can help make the analog experience a good one for those that are primarily interested in recording. I’m sure there are many individuals that have prematurely thrown in the towel after experiencing equipment malfunctions and poor performance… all due to sticky-shed. :(

Even seasoned professionals have fallen prey. Many of us learned the sticky-shed lesson the hard way.
 
Top