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Success with squealing Shamrock 031 tape

Filed under: project notes,Racal Store 4DS,Tape Aging — 2007-11-08 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2009-11-06 by Richard L. Hess

I spent days trying to get Shamrock 031 to play without much success. Since this is an Ampex factory budget brand (probably non-spec premium tape) I thought that it might be suffering from Sticky Shed Syndrome. I baked it for 12 hours and it still squealed. I then tried my usually successful cold playing technique and it still squealed. Cold playing has worked successfully with 3M 175 and Sony PR-150.

I was getting rather frustrated and since it was a four-track tape and one of the techniques that is supposed to reduce squeal is to play the tape faster, I dragged out my Racal Store 4DS instrumentation recorder which has a 75,000 Hz bandwidth at 15 in/s and played it at 15 in/s and digitized it at 88,200 samples per second. After slowing it down 4x and ending up with a 10 kHz bandwidth (which I subsequently truncated to 5 kHz since there was no useful information above that, but lots of noise–same as the non-squealing portion of the real-time transfers on a Studer A810).

 Racal Store 4DS playing formerly squealing Shamrock tape

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A solution to reduce spoking in old acetate tapes

Filed under: archival practices,Racal Store 4DS,reels,Tape Aging — 2008-04-15 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2008-04-15 by

It appears that many old acetate tapes when played on high-quality audio recorders will suffer spoking when left in a play wind condition. I have discussed this problem here. Since posting that, I have taken one of my Racal Store 4DS recorders and removed the heads to save them from wear and now use that to re-spool any tape that shows spoking when played on a Studer A80, Sony APR-5000, or Studer A810. (more…)


Using the proper tools…and don’t try this at home!

Filed under: archival practices,Racal Store 4DS,recording/mastering — 2008-01-09 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2008-01-09 by

I didn’t think I needed to write this post, but it appears that someone purchased a Racal Store 4DS Instrumentation Recorder at least partially because I mentioned it, hoping that it would work as a four-track recorder for creating music. (more…)


How to play 4-track 1.875 in/s tapes…

Filed under: archival practices,Racal Store 4DS,Sony APR-5000 — 2007-11-21 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2007-11-21 by

I received a query from a gentleman in Europe about 1.875 in/s 4-track tapes. He was frustrated in finding a good machine for transferring them. Apparently, they have many of these tapes. Here are my suggestions.

Perhaps the easiest answer is to find a Studer-Revox C274 with low speed options. They were made.

Two other options. (more…)



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