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Re: [ARSCLIST] Effect of vibrations on audio tape

Unless you have a floating bunker, basements are very bad places for tapes and records, as has been clearly stated by James and Richard. I would argue that a room with sprinklers is also non-ideal but then that's not true if fire happens to break out in the storage room. I don't think the vibration of a light rail system would hurt the tapes long-term, per se, but the concern about vibrating off the shelf is real (reel), so make sure the shelves are secure or there's a front strap or panel. I remember my father told me that he made a conscious decision to put the tape library up on the upper floors near the cutting rooms, both because it was an obvious place to keep tapes -- near where they were turned into records -- and also because the kind of catastrophe that would destroy them would make that destruction minor in the overall scale of things. The basement was at first live echo chambers but later was the duplication facility. Dupe masters were made down there but the master tapes were not stored down there overnight. As for tapes stored at my parents' house, those stored in the basement did not live a long life.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard L. Hess" <arclists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 4:53 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Effect of vibrations on audio tape

I worked at ABC-TV on West 66th Street in Manhattan in the 1970s. At one point, ABC's insurance company paid (as I understood it) the City of New York to replace the water main on W66th street. Much of ABC's equipment was in the basement. A few months ago, the stage lighting in an otherwise "dark" studio all came on due to a glitch in the lighting board. The HVAC system was not on and the studio got hot enough for a sprinkler head to open, making the basement much damper than normal...it was a bit of a mess, actually, and they couldn't turn off the sprinkler until the Fire Department said it was OK.

Anyway, I'm not sure Jim was clear enough about getting the archive out of the basement. Was he?

I do have a small concern about the vibrations possibly impacting the quality of optical media written during a vibration session and less concerned about the mechanical stability of the tape playback.

I am further concerned about the magnetic fields from the train. These fields will probably not be strong enough to damage the archive, but may introduce perturbations in the audio during the transfer process, especially if the heads are oriented just right and the hum shields aren't closing just right.

All in all, it's a minor headache, but full analysis is very expensive as it involves vibration specialists as well as soils specialists. I had some analysis undertaken for the KPBS facility in San Diego as there was a potential for a light rail system to be built adjacent to the building that was built about 15 years ago. Charles Salter Associates (David Schwind) was the acoustics consultant and they did some analysis of the vibration issues and the result has totally escaped me as to what was done. Of course, that situation would be very different from your situation.

I think a professional analysis of the problem should be undertaken if you wish real answers, but there are many unknowns.

Good luck!


-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Mohn, Sylvia
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 10:54 AM
To: ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Effect of vibrations on audio tape

Has anyone had the experience of having an audio collection, and studio & equipment, next to a rail line (train, subway, etc)? What problems did you have? What, if anything, were you able to do to minimize them?

There's a proposal for a light-rail line to come down the street in
front of our building.  We have our audio tapes stored in a basement
vault area, and our digitization rooms are on a floor about 10 feet
below street level.


Sylvia Mohn
Minnesota Public Radio

Richard L. Hess email: richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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