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Subject: Audio tape binder problems

Audio tape binder problems

From: Jim Lindner <vidipax>
Date: Thursday, June 27, 1996
Richard Pearce-Moses <buster [at] indirect__com> writes

>1.  Is treatment of audio tapes any different from treatment of
>    videotapes?

Audio tape treatment can be different from video tape, indeed there
are differences in cleaning procedures for different types of tape,
and even different reels of tape depending on the type of specific
problem exhibited.  You may want to look at an article I wrote
entitled "Confessions of a Videotape Restorer: or How Come These
Tapes All Need To Be Cleaned Differently?" which is available on our
web site ( or at the Electronic
Storage Media page in CoOL.

>2.  I read about two basic treatments: cleaning and baking.  I'd
>    appreciate any guidelines in choosing which is the best
>    treatment.

There are many different types of problems, and choosing the correct
treatment takes a great deal of experience.  Most companies who do
this professionally have developed proprietary techniques, and in
most cases more than one technique is required depending on the
condition of the media.  In general, our company does not recommend
baking because we feel that there are techniques that can get the
same result and not damage the media for future restoration efforts.
It has also been our experience, as well as the experience from
others, that the results from baking can vary from totally
ineffective to effective.  In any case baked media has been
subjected to great thermal stress that makes its long term survival
very questionable--in our opinion this is an unacceptable option
unless absolutely no other alternatives exist which is usually not
the case.  As an aside, the baking process is also patented by Ampex
Corporation and should not be used unless licensed.

>3.  The engineer who I spoke to said the problem was oxide
>    building up on the heads.  This sounded like "stiction" to
>    me, but he said he'd only heard that term used in
>    conjunction with videotape.  Is he right that stiction only
>    occurs with video?

Stiction generally refers to the tendency of the media to want to
electrostatically "cling" to a metal surface, usually a drum in
helical recording (video or data).  In most general conversation the
term is used to indicate the media exhibiting this problem, but is
not normally used to indicate a degenerative binder problem, rather
a characteristic that all tape has.  In any event, it sounds like
you do not have either "shedding" or "stiction" but have what is
referred to as "sticky shed syndrome".  Unless this is a
"sacrificial" tape, I would not suggest that you go any further on
your own... Seek professional help.

Jim Lindner
The Magnetic Media Restoration Company

                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:4
                   Distributed: Friday, June 28, 1996
                        Message Id: cdl-10-4-005
Received on Thursday, 27 June, 1996

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