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Old 14th Mar 2018, 12:07 am   #1
dave walsh
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Default Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

BBC4 [not the usual CH4/5 etc started a three parter about Ruth Ellis tonight. My wife is the expert on this deep subject but a number of vintage tape recorder items make an appearance, especially half way through. Overall it illustrates the importance of social history along with the technical side. One reviewer was irritated by the film insert technique but some of these [although a bit earlier than 50's] are quite illustrative of prevailing attitudes and a 1957 BBC film re child protection is a very good match.

The point is well made that small domestic [3"] r to r and cassette recorders were coming in from the mid fifties onwards and a subject of great interest [If you could get hold of them]. A surprising amount of info is still on tape 60 years later. As with the recent thread about recovered video from congealed film [Morecambe and Wise Recovery] this is, IMHO, really gripping forensic archaeology/investigation!

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Old 14th Mar 2018, 1:56 am   #2
dave walsh
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

A Late Edit

To be clear....my comment should have been "a surprising amount of info, related to the case, is still on tape 60 years later"

Not just the well known longevity of magnetic tape overall .
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Old 14th Mar 2018, 11:06 am   #3
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

Agree. I have just been listening to some Panorama and other current affairs stuff taped off live TV in 1961 on a dictaphone! It has all survived well.
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Old 14th Mar 2018, 3:29 pm   #4
John10b
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

I have a great interest in music, opera and musicals mostly but I do also like guitars etc.
I wonder how long Record Companies, like RCA, Sun Records etc will keep the original tapes of some of the greats from yesteryear.
Some Records, I believe are produced using digital copies of the masters and not straight from the master tape itself.
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Old 14th Mar 2018, 3:59 pm   #5
barrymagrec
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

Tape masters will deteriorate even when stored under ideal conditions particularly the acetate tape of the forties-mid fifties. I suspect that in some cases the best quality source would already be a pristine early pressing, if available.
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Old 14th Mar 2018, 5:08 pm   #6
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

It's a paradox that much of the worst tape deterioration over the years seems to have occurred mainly to Professional grades of tape such as Ampex 456 which suffer from the notorious 'sticky shed'.

On the other hand,my old recordings on 'common or garden' polyester tapes from the 1960s seem to replay perfectly well. They're typically a mixture of EMItape, BASF and 'El Cheapo' - tape was expensive stuff back in the day!

I just have to watch for 'dried out' splices which can break and cause catastrophe in fast wind.

Has anyone here actually suffered from serious deterioration in 'consumer grade' tape over the years?

Martin
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Old 14th Mar 2018, 7:30 pm   #7
The Philpott
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

I cannot detect any deterioration in any of my VHS collection dating from roughly 1988-1999, despite less than ideal storage conditions from time to time. Mainly TDK and Maxell.

As I understand it audio tape machines from Germany which were only really good enough for the spoken word, were developed by the US after the war into something quite spectacular in terms of sound quality. I have heard a transmission of music on one of the American machines (via digital TV) and it was very good indeed.
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Old 14th Mar 2018, 7:45 pm   #8
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

Link to the history of Ampex Corp.
http://www.aes.org/aeshc/docs/compan...s-of-ampex.pdf
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Old 14th Mar 2018, 8:37 pm   #9
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave walsh View Post
BBC4 [not the usual CH4/5 etc started a three parter about Ruth Ellis tonight. My wife is the expert on this deep subject but a number of vintage tape recorder items make an appearance, especially half way through. Overall it illustrates the importance of social history along with the technical side. One reviewer was irritated by the film insert technique but some of these [although a bit earlier than 50's] are quite illustrative of prevailing attitudes and a 1957 BBC film re child protection is a very good match.
A bit off topic but hopefully the Mods will allow this once...

...I watched the first episode last night, I too have an interest in the Ruth Ellis story, years ago I was researching my family history and I discovered a link between a person who was a witness and my ancestors, the person was a very very distant relative but you would have to go back to the reign of James the 1st to verify it, which I originally did, the person concerned has not been mentioned yet in the BBC 4 program, I wonder if they will be....That person was injured (not seriously) by one of the bullets fired at the victim......Wrong time to be near that pub!

Lawrence.
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Old 14th Mar 2018, 9:46 pm   #10
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
As i understand it audio tape machines from Germany which were only really good enough for the spoken word, were developed by the US after the war into something quite spectacular in terms of sound quality.
The fundamental development which made magnetic recording work really well was the use of AC bias, which was (re)discovered by German Radio in 1941. This enabled a reduction in speed from 1m/s to 77cm/s at the same time as improving s/n ratio to over 50dB and extending frequency response above 10kHz. It was this machine that the Allies captured - subsequent development was more incremental than revolutionary, fuelled largely by improved tape formulae.

German Radio were even recording stacked stereo in 1944 - they had the heads to hand from experiments in recording two tracks at different levels to improve dynamic range on DC-biased machines, a line of research rendered pointless by AC bias, although 3M revived the idea in the 1960s - just before Dolby A emerged!

As regards durability, I have seldom had trouble with any BASF tape type. EMI are pretty good, too. Acetate tape goes brittle, or dissolves into a vinegary puddle. Both acetate and mylar bases are prone to physical distortion and require careful transfer if this happens.

Any record company should by now have digital safety copies of its masters. General good practice is to preserve the analogue originals against future improvements in playback technology.
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 12:57 am   #11
jamesperrett
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Kendall View Post
Any record company should by now have digital safety copies of its masters.
You would hope so, but my recent experience says that they only have digital copies of the hits. There is still plenty of material from lesser known artists or more obscure material from well known artists that has yet to be digitised. Worse still are all the tapes that have been lost so that the only surviving recordings are on vinyl.
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Old 15th Mar 2018, 5:07 am   #12
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

There is a bit of a reversal nowadays. Due to changes in technology, the early material of any future supergroup is going to be found originated on some computer application.

Digital material can be copied without progressive degradation and so can be stored in multiple locations to give safety against fire, flood, witchcraft and luddites. The physical media will progressively degrade and become obsolete, but the data can be regenerated accurately before degradation becomes too bad for error correction to not work. So a database needs periodic maintenance to fix errors and to keep moving it off of obsolescent formats. There is a non-zero risk of uncorrected errors, but that can be kept down to trivial levels. Remember that multiple copies can be compared.

Vintage tape machines are good fun, and some people would rather saw their own leg off than listen to anything not on 'vinyl', but the digital stuff is mainstream now and has mathematics as a strong supporter. My Revox still impresses the socks off anyone who meets it, But if I thought posterity would have any interest in my musical forays, I'd stick it on the internet to get the widest spread, and it would be preserved on a variety of flash drives, hard drives, DVD-R. In this race you don't know the outcome, but you can bet on all the horses at once ans still expect to win.

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Old 18th Mar 2018, 12:53 pm   #13
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Default Re: Vintage Tape Machines and Attitudes

Some posts moved to a new thread here:-

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=144892
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