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 Post subject: Reel to reel tape question
PostPosted: Oct Mon 15, 2018 10:39 pm 
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Location: Warner Robins, GA
I have a 5" reel to reel tape someone recorded of a radio station in 1963 at 7 1/2 IPS which has seen better days.

At one point in the late 90's I had a cull copy of it on cassette, but I left it in the sun one day so the audio was ruined.

I later made another copy which was minus a little at the beginning of the first side and the end of the second side due to how fragile the tape is. One could look at it funny and it might break and forget playing it on most any reel to reel.

My question is this.

I'd like to replace the missing parts.

I know that I cannot just use the songs as the fidelity will be much better and it won't be right.

Is it possible to for instance record what I need onto a 1/2 track mono AKAI Terecorder to make the audio closely or exactly match the tape then play it back on my 1/4 track stereo AKAI GX-255 since I copied it to cassette using a 1/4 track stereo reel to reel with the audio being fed into my computer where I will use Wavepad Masters Edition to work with the audio?

Would really love to have the tape be complete. Not sure if I will record it to reel to reel tape once complete or just leave it on the computer.

If I do put it back on tape I will use my 1/2 track mono AKAI Terecorder provided it won't make the fidelity worse so that it will be like the original.



EDIT:

Someone on Facebook wanted to hear the tape and I do not have a cassette player so I recorded the original tape to my computer using my AKAI GX-255. This is the best I could do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VulowxTEF0

Video will remain on YouTube until October 22 at which point I will remove it.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to reel tape question
PostPosted: Oct Wed 17, 2018 7:33 pm 
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Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
Tube Radio wrote:
I have this reel of 5-inch acetate I'm trying to transfer properly, but it's so fragile I don't want to break off any more than there already is.
If it's curled and brittle all the way through and too fragile to play, then you need to do the following rehydration procedure without removing it from the reel it's on. If it's only curled and brittle at the beginning, then proceed as discussed below.

Otherwise, the first thing you need to do is splice leader to it with a real editing block and real splicing tape so the splice is clean the tape is clean and the edges are clean.

Then wind it LOOSELY onto a 7-inch reel - non-magnetic metal if you can find one - by setting your machine to PLAY - and running the tape directly from one reel to the other without going through the headstack. Your 5 inch tape will now take up a 7 inch reel if you don't pull it tight. You need to have space between the individual layers so the rehydration technique can work properly.

Then splice the Side 2 leader onto the tail the same way.

Next get an old 8MM metal film can. Plastic or vinyl is not airtight enough.

After that, get a nylon Handi-Wipe - fold it over in half lengthwise and trim if necessary - wet it with DISTILLED water, wring it out as far as possible without surrender, be on good terms when you - oh.

Then lay it in the bottom of the can.

Lay the reel on the top of the Handi-Wipe and put on the lid of the film can.

Put it in a closet for a week maybe a little longer and the missing moisture will be driven back into the tape.

What you will be left with is a fairly wavy tape - but one that will no longer break if you look at it sideways.

Deactivate the supply reel torque motor (or play the tape on a machine that doesn't have one or use an old classroom phonograph as the supply reel table) thread it through the headstack and play it real time at the slowest speed you have (1-7/8 is best) onto a 7-inch NAB hub reel.

Put it in a 7-inch box and set it on the shelf for a month or so. As you probably found out by now - that's a good practice to put all your 6-inch and 5-inch reels onto 7-inch NAB hubs both for ease of tape handling and for lower susceptibility to problems. Reels smaller than 5 inch can all go on 5-inch NAB reels for the same reason.

A month later, most of the waviness of the tape should be gone.

Mount the tape on a player that has head-pads on it since some of the waviness will still be there and do your transfer of JUST the commercials and the announcer's parts - making a track list of the records he played.
Tube Radio wrote:
I'd like to replace the missing parts of this 1963 aircheck but I know that I cannot just use the songs as the fidelity will be much better and it won't sound right.
Now hold on there pilgrim. It's a lot easier to trash good material than it is to improve previously-trashed material.
Tube Radio wrote:
Is it possible to for instance record what I need onto a 1/2 track mono AKAI Terecorder to make the audio closely or exactly match the tape then play it back on my 1/4 track stereo AKAI GX-255
If all the announcements are intact and the only thing missing is the records or pieces of the records then the easiest thing to do is find all the songs and pop them into a digital audio workstation.

Mix them to mono if they are stereo, run them through AM radio frequency limitation and compression emulators, tube sound emulators and so on and so on to match the original sound once it's into e.g. Adobe Audition.

I just got through doing this to my then-future uncle's Living Letters home to my aunt in the early 60s. He was stationed in Japan along with the husband of the daughter of country songwriter Eddie Miller (Release Me [Engelbert Humperdinck] among others).

Everytime Reggie would talk about one of Ed's records hitting the chart, when it came time to transferring the tape into the computer and working with it, I did the same thing - found all the songs online, grunged em up on the computer and then laid them back onto a fresh reel (on a 1:1 2-track mono 82-mil track Telex real time reel to reel duplicator I rescued out of a church - quarter track is 41 mil, Ampex is 75 mil and ReVox etc is 100 mil) for safekeeping as well as making MP3s of everything so everybody could play `em on their phone.

Nobody could tell. Course their ears are a lot less critical than mine, but between cleaning up the announcements and commercials the best I could, grunging up the records in the computer and doing all the de-hiss and de-hum and de-pop and de-crackle on the announcer parts - and then crossfading between the lips of the record (the intro and outro where the announcer wd talk over) and the record itself - it came out pretty good.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to reel tape question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 18, 2018 12:22 am 
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Unfortunately the original is broken several places with small pieces missing.

I do have a cassette I recorded of it in the late 90s that is minus maybe 30 seconds of the first song on the first and second sides plus the same amount on the end of the second side.

So once I get a cassette player I'll copy that to my computer.

I can recreate AM radio sound using a program called stereo tools.

The only other thing I need to closely duplicate is the frequency response of the machine that recorded the original tape.

The replacement stuff has to match the original or I'll hear the difference.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to reel tape question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 18, 2018 3:05 am 
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Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
Tube Radio wrote:
Unfortunately the original is broken several places with small pieces missing.
If you don't have a real splicing kit or you do and you aren't that good at editing, send it to me the way it is, I'll top and tail it, put all the pieces back together, hydrate it, transfer it on my Telex and then you can drop in all the records.

Or send me a track list - I'll just copy the announcer bits and the lips of the record and do the whole thing here in the studio.
Tube Radio wrote:
I can recreate AM radio sound using a program called stereo tools. The replacement stuff has to match the original or I'll hear the difference.
Ugh. I had those type of programs in junior college. They were bad then and they're not much better now. Let me pop it into my Poor Man's Pro Tools (Adobe Audition) and have a go - along w the track list like I said.

If I have to I'll drag around my late father's huge stash of early 60's 45s and re-tape directly from that. I had to do it one other time. A girl sent me her grandmother's beat up middle 60's Christmas LPs to transfer - so I did the normal thing - made a track list sourced all the tracks online and laid it back to both a CD as well as sending her a file of the MP3s.

She threw a fit because the original LPs had skips in certain places and her and her sisters remember the events that surrounded the creation of each skip. So I played it on my normal Thorens or Elac I always use - and - no skips.

Long story short - I told her send me a list of where all the skips were at and I'd put em all back where they belong. Went back to my digital downloads and did em one by one and that was the end of that.

So I have the distilled water the Handi-Wipes the film cans the 7-inch NAB reels and boxes and the whole ball of wax right here.
Tube Radio wrote:
I do have a cassette that is minus maybe 30 seconds of the first song on the first and second sides plus the same amount on the end of the second side.
Or send `em both if the missing middle pieces from the reel are on the cassette and the beginning and end missing on the cassette is still intact on the reel.

Then I can take the middle pieces from the cassette and the beginning and end off the reel - crossfade `em back into each other digitally and create a complete program without having to edit in and out of new material grunged up digitally - and then put it back onto either a new full-track mono or new 4-track stereo reel so you can play it on something a little more modern going forward.

Or like I said - go back to my original plan and crossfade the re-processed bodies of all the songs inbetween the lips from the aircheck and do it that way.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to reel tape question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 18, 2018 11:29 am 
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The cassette was a direct copy of the reel to reel tape in the condition it was in at the time I copied it to cassette which was the late 90's.

I may try a few things first then if I cannot get it I'll make a copy of the cassette and send it to you or I can send the file instead once it is copied to my computer.

If I knew then what I know now I would have copied it after the very first break and not played the reel to reel tape anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to reel tape question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 18, 2018 3:32 pm 
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Tube Radio wrote:
The cassette was a direct copy of the reel to reel tape in the condition it was in at the time I copied it to cassette which was the late 90's.
That still doesn't tell me if the cassette has any pieces that are now missing from the reel and vice versa.
Tube Radio wrote:
If I cannot get it I'll make a copy of the cassette and send it to you.
A copy-of-a-copy? That's defeating the purpose of getting the original reel repaired and restored to the point where it can be played to transfer. If I'm doing that, I take the earliest masters I can get otherwise it's not worth doing.
Tube Radio wrote:
or I can send the file instead once it is copied to my computer.
Same scenario. Transferred to a consumer-grade computer on a consumer-grade tape player is also defeating the purpose.

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2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to reel tape question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 18, 2018 3:44 pm 
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My purpose is juist getting a copy of the complete tape whether it be from the original reel or the cassette.

This isn't a HI-FI recording to begin with (typical Am radio quality of the 60's) and when I made that copy of the reel to my computer it sounded just as good as it did when I was listening to the reel while recording it.

I did use a pro audio sound card as I know internal computer sound cards aren't good.

The cassette is a little more complete as there wasn't as many breaks and when I recorded the reel to reel a few days ago I did it quick and dirty so whenever the tape broke I didn't bother fixing it since the tape would possibly just break again.

I could only imagine how many more tape breakages I would have had if I had used my 1/2 track mono AKAI Terecorder.

I do understand where you're comong from though.


Once I get a cassette player I'll try some stuff. If I cannot get satisfactory results I'll send the original reel and the cassette to you and let you do it for whatever it would cost.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to reel tape question
PostPosted: Oct Tue 23, 2018 2:47 am 
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I have an update.

While listening to part of the video before removing it from youtube I remembered something.

I made a copy of the cassette on a Wollensak solid state reel to reel. Never used the tape on any good machine as the Wollensak didn't run at the exact right speed, but didn't find that out until I played back the tape on an AKAI 4000 DS MKII reel to reel and it sounded slow.

That was before I had access to the internet or any other way to hear how the songs should have sounded and before I knew the names of the songs.

I need to find a cassette player in good condition and listen to the cassette to see if it is indeed fast.

Anyways I decided to look for that reel.

Found it and put it on my AKAI GX-255 and believe it or not the songs are at the correct speed at least they sound that way.

There was a reason why I never re-recorded over that tape, but never knew the reason until now.

The tape is just as complete as the cassette is so far.

There is one mistake in the cassette which unfortunately transferred to this reel I have. During one song I flipped the track selector switch of the 4000DS MKII and it recorded a brief part (1-2 seconds) of the other side.

What I find interesting is this.

Far as I know the Wollensak was mono, but the tape is only recorded in 1/4 track mono as when I set my GX-255 for stereo I only hear sound out of one channel and I do not hear the opposite side like I would with 1/2 track mono.

Could it be that the Wollensak was stereo but required a separate amplifier like some of the early stereo V-M reel to reels did?

I don't remember much about it other than it was solid state and how it looked.

If mine was the T-1500 there was a kit to convert it to stereo but the one website I looked at didn't say 1/2 or 1/4 track stereo so perhaps mine had the kit installed minus the extra amplifier that would have most likely been external.

At least I think I recorded it on the Wollensak as if I had recorded it on my AKAI it would have been recorded in stereo even though the original tape was mono as that's how the cassette was recorded.

Actually the more I think about it I can remember me recording this tape quite vividly.

What's good about the tape is it only has a bit off the beginning of the first side and ending of the second side so that's all I would really need fixed plus that one oops I mentioned.

EDIT: Something else I just found.

While looking up the Wollensak reel to reel in google I checked out the related images for a few photos and saw a picture of a small reel to reel that could only handle 5" reels. I sat there dumbfounded as I realized that I was looking at the very reel to reel I had some time before 1994. Thing is I had not thought anything about that reel to reel period for at least 20 years. I even remember sitting it on a desk many nights listening to that tape while I was playing games on a Tandy 1000 RLX computer. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Am thinking that might be where the tape came from or at least I remember playing the tape on that very machine. It was that machine I believe which made a complete copy of the tape to cassette which was ironically one of the last times the machine would be used as the 30A5 tube's filament went bad and I me and someone at the old TV repair shop thought a 35W4 would work. Ruined a resistor and I proceeded to dismantle it and use it for awhile with a different amp that was from a ceramic cartridge phono not knowing any better at the time until I couldn't tolerate the hum and it went away. Think I took the output from across the speaker or had the speaker disconnected and fed into a Radio Shack AM/FM dual cassette boombox which was gray in color and had detachable speakers.

Now I have to find one of those machines and play this tape on it after a proper restore if only to relive the memories one time.

Looking at the schematic I see that one side of the circuit is directly connected to one side of the line which includes the input jack and external speaker jack so its a wonder that I didn't kill or severely injure myself.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to reel tape question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 25, 2018 3:31 am 
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Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
Tube Radio wrote:
Was the T-1500 Wollensak was stereo but required a separate amplifier like some of the early stereo V-M reel to reels did?
The T-1500 series was A-L-L - - O-V-E-R the basement studio world such as it was - as well as the classroom world of the early 60s.
Tube Radio wrote:
...stereo conversion kit w/ external amp.
All the way back to the 2-track/half-track staggered-conversion-to-inline players were like that.

A lot of Magnavox and V-M portable phonos of the period had the reverse configuration - meaning the phono amp would have an external input to be used with the Wollensak 2-track (at least to play back - the earliest ones never recorded in stereo - only mono).

So yes - it would have been very common to have recorded one channel only on either a quarter-track-from-half-track inline conversion or a 2-track (stereo PB-only - mono PB and record) - or else one of the later ones maybe `63 or `64 that had a dial on the side of the headstack to lower the heads enough to be able to pick up the higher energy on the lower half of a 2-track inline or staggered tape.
Tube Radio wrote:
a small 5"-only tubed reel to reel
Without a picture or video it's a little hard to tell. Wollensak and Advent made a few, Webcor had a couple in the 50s but I'm pretty sure those were all half track mono.

The most well known are the Uher and Marantz 4-speeded versions that reporters used to take out with them - but I don't remember either of them being all-tube.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to reel tape question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 25, 2018 11:36 am 
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So basically the Wollensak would have had to be running slightly fast in order to be the right speed.

Still not sure how that tape was recorded in 1/4 track mono though unless at some point in its past someone installed a 1/4 track stereo head. Perhaps a model which used a similar enoguh transport was 1/4 track stereo and a 1/4 track stereo head was taken from it and used on this one which could have originally had the 1/2 track stereo staggered head kit installed.

The other reel to reel I have the model name at home. I can post it when I get off work.


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 Post subject: Re: Reel to reel tape question
PostPosted: Oct Thu 25, 2018 4:16 pm 
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Tube Radio wrote:
So basically the Wollensak would have had to be running slightly fast in order to be the right speed.
Between being a one-motor-wonder, having gunk on either the motor spindle, flywheel or having a dried-out idler tire, a loose or the wrong type of belt* or (if it sounds like a 33 played at 45) a 50Hz pulley - there's a lot of reasons why a little portable like that would have had speed issues.

*A lot of those one-motor-wonders used a special extremely flexible form of neoprene belt (usually white instead of the black you see nowadays) that you pretty much can't get anymore. It could have stretched or worn itself out and a guy could have tried to make a normal belt work where it wouldn't have - and then tweaked the speed up by one or more of the methods above in order to compensate.

Said guy may have later on located the proper flex belt for it later and forgot to un-tweak the speed variations - altho for a deck to have that configuration for very long is not likely due to the fact that with so much extra pressure from a belt that's too small to thick (or thin) or both - if it would have sat long w/o use the motor shaft wd be bent causing flutter and if not the motor wd have bogged down and burnt out from being hampered all the time.
Tube Radio wrote:
Still not sure how that tape was recorded in 1/4 track mono though.
Remember like I said - the feature of internally cloning a signal onto the other track only came about in the mid-to-late 60's and only on higher-end decks to boot. So many guys were into saving tape by recording 4-track mono i.e. CBS Radio Drama Hour (golden radio broadcasts of the 30s and 40s on AM radio in the 60s and 70s) that having to put a dummy plug into the other channel and keep having to swap it around would have been an aggravation.

So - most if not all of these little three-tube portables would NOT have internally cloned the signal. You plug a line in to only the left - you get only the left and vice versa.
Tube Radio wrote:
Would someone have installed a 1/4 track stereo head?
Not likely. Remember only the extremely serious hobbyist bordering on the semi-pro engineer would have known how to rack wrap height azimuth and zenith a new head for a different track configuration - and most home-audio repair shops wouldn't have been able to go much past azimuth and height/track alignment.

ALTHOUGH especially in the cases of the old classroom Wollensaks being double converted (i.e skipping a conversion) - THAT I HAVE seen more times than I can count. These old half-track-mono-record-only staggered-stereo-only playback decks were notorious for this.

You also have to remember that the earliest staggered stereo tapes were recorded on two 82-mil half-track heads upside down and offset from each other instead of the 75-mil Ampex norms or 100-mil European norms that would come later.

When these were converted to inline stereo - they'd often leave the 82-mil mono head where it was and install a 75-mil inline head where the other 82-mil mono half track head had been mounted upside down for staggered stereo and then wire that via a toggle switch to use the internal amp for left and send the other feed out to e.g. the similarly situated Magnavox portable stereo phono to do the same thing.

This is where the HTSS decks - instead of being converted to half track mono record only/inline stereo playback only - would skip that and be converted directly to 4-track stereo playback only/quarter-track-mono record only because the auxiliary amp never did record.

Which is why on a handful of occasions you may find commercially produced 4-track stereo tapes of the early 60's - especially the 3-3/4 IPS budget versions of things that had a 7-1/2 IPS full price version in 4-track -with the left channel wiped out and a home or school recording made on it. Lots of 3-3/4 or 7-1/2 classical tapes ended up like that too.

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2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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