Technology: Master tapes come to a sticky end - buy polyester film
The record industry suddenly found that precious tapes recorded ten years ago were self-destructing.
So far, evidence that only one manufacturer Ampex's tapes have been affected suggests that even if only Ampex tapes are deteriorating, the potential problems are enormous.
There are 280 volumes of tape in London's studio of Baidai Abbey Road.
Like most studios, EMI mainly uses Ampex TapesRecording.
Ampex sells more professional tapes than any other manufacturer, occupying 40 of the world's markets.
The effect, Ampex says, is like "accelerating aging ".
The company has developed a recycling technology that allows owners to do their own
Destroy the tapes in a few weeks and copy them to the newer reels.
Ampex warned that tape from other manufacturers was also at risk, but three of Ampex's major competitors countered.
Bill Foster of the association of professional recording studios of trade institutions in the industry is waiting for members to officially represent APRS.
Obviously, if it's justan's isolated problem, we don't want to go down the drain, he said.
But we want members to look at their files and let us know what they found.
David Bennett, a recording engineer and producer specializing in jazz recording, was one of the first to discover the problem.
He found six volumes of Ampex 6 earlier this year. 3 millimetre (. 25 inch)
The main tape makes a harsh sound in his replay machine, making a mechanical harsh sound.
To Bennett's surprise, Ampex UK told him that the company had known about the problem and developed a technique for baking tape in an ambient oven for laboratory testing.
The faulty tape is baked for up to six days at a grading temperature of up to 50 degrees Celsius.
After the tape is cleaned, it runs smoothly again.
But Ampex warned that the treatment was only temporary.
Tape must be copied to the new reel within a few weeks of treatment.
The recording tape is made by bonding magnetic iron oxide pigment particles to one side of the polyester film using an organic adhesive.
Tape chemistsaim for adhesive, which tightly retains the coating while maintaining flexibility, does not release any sticky material.
This seems to be the deteriorated adhesive in the amps tape.
Tony Faulkner, another independent recording engineer, warned that, as Ampex proposed, the risk of baking tapes would be reduced.
Tape is like wine, he said.
Heat causes the recorded signal to be copied from an open volume to the next volume, resulting in a sound echo effect.
"Ironically," notes Faulkner, "there is such a warning in the Ampex tape box: 'Store in a cool, dry place '.
The problem has also affected 50 (2 inch)
Ampex main tape for multiplayerTape recorder. Keith Spencer-
Alan, a recording engineer who is now editing recording industry magazine studio sound, recently tried to play some of the 50mm Ampex tapes he recorded at the end of 1970.
He got the same harsh noise, "like chalk on a board", and the recorder was slower and slower as the tape came off and stuck to the drive mechanism.
Ampex now tells worried callers that other tapes and Ampex are in danger.
Justin andwood, product manager at Ampex UK, said he was surprised by the alert because the matter has been recorded in detail in the industrial seminar since about 1978 and
In the middle of 1970, most tape manufacturers used polyurethane adhesive tape, according to andwood.
Unfortunately, polyurethane absorbs water and releases acid.
You will then find chewing gum residues similar to heaven on the tape.
'We live in a perishable world, 'Mr. andwood said.
A way to keep tapesis cool and dry. . .
People don't realize this, but the humidity in the UK is high, usually up to 85 cents.
Andwood strongly believes that it is not only Ampex tapes that are affected, but also professional tapes.
From the first time polyurethane was used as an adhesive in 1970 to the mid-1980 s to improve the stabilizer, all analog tapes about a decade ago were at risk.
But Ampex's rivals disagree.
Agfa admits to its own problems, but only tapes made three years ago after changing the chemical mixture.
Agfa said it identified this batch of tapes and would clean up and replicate any faulty tapes that occurred at West and US laboratories.
Joe Clerkin, professional recording tape sales and marketing manager for US manufacturer 3 m, said: "We don't know where customers have found such problems.
Western German chemical company BASF, which produced the first magnetic tape in the 1930 s, said some companies began using polyurethane as an adhesive as early as 1962.
William Andreessen, BASF's technical director, admitted that the polyurethane adhesive has made great progress.
But he believed in the early polyurethane.
The bound tape may age.
However, polyurethane is not used for BASF's professional tapes.
Polyurethane for professional audio tapes.