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Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)

Richard Bridge 15 Jan 11 - 04:50 PM
GUEST, topsie 15 Jan 11 - 05:11 PM
woodyguth3 15 Jan 11 - 05:19 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Jan 11 - 05:22 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Jan 11 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 15 Jan 11 - 08:48 PM
Deckman 16 Jan 11 - 01:14 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Jan 11 - 04:40 AM
The Sandman 16 Jan 11 - 05:17 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Jan 11 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,Ray 16 Jan 11 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,JM 16 Jan 11 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,JM 16 Jan 11 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Intuitive Audio 16 Jan 11 - 07:55 AM
Ross Campbell 16 Jan 11 - 08:12 AM
The Sandman 16 Jan 11 - 08:18 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Jan 11 - 08:27 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jan 11 - 09:08 AM
Bob Bolton 16 Jan 11 - 06:11 PM
GUEST,Gene 16 Jan 11 - 08:30 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 11 - 04:15 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 17 Jan 11 - 06:47 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 11 - 06:52 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Jan 11 - 07:16 AM
Gene 18 Jan 11 - 12:47 AM
Bobert 18 Jan 11 - 07:55 PM
Bob Bolton 18 Jan 11 - 09:18 PM
Bobert 18 Jan 11 - 09:58 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 19 Jan 11 - 03:01 AM
Andy Jackson 19 Jan 11 - 12:32 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 11 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 19 Jan 11 - 01:54 PM
Andy Jackson 19 Jan 11 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 20 Jan 11 - 02:33 AM
Andy Jackson 20 Jan 11 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 20 Jan 11 - 09:43 AM
GUEST,Ray 20 Jan 11 - 11:36 AM
Andy Jackson 20 Jan 11 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 20 Jan 11 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,chas 18 Dec 17 - 08:14 AM
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Subject: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 04:50 PM

We have had several threads about this and I can not find any useful ones. A friend of mine wants to rescue an old tape - but for obscure reasons she cannot take it out of the USA. I suggested Wilbyhillbilly (who I think is in England, possibly Yorkshire) but LA (ish) would I gather be better.

Can anyone produce the threads or make recommendations?


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 05:11 PM

See the thread "CDs from old cassettes" for a link to Wilbyhillbilly.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: woodyguth3
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 05:19 PM

Hi,
Where is she located? I have a contact with a studio in the Boston, MA area who does this. Try Steven Friedman, http://www.melvillepark.com/Welcome/. Email Steve at melpk@tiac.net
-Tom


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 05:22 PM

Thank you topsie - the right search terms!


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 05:26 PM

Friend is mostly New Zealander but lives in UK, was gigging in NY last week and is in LA where the tapes are this week...


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 08:48 PM

I smell...a pickled herring.

ANYONE - that would exchange information - on a public forum - with an acknowledged lawyer/solicitor/legal-begal regarding posible "propertory informatio" deserves every pound they lose.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 01:14 AM

PM me.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 04:40 AM

Wrong garg. It's probably the last remaining copy of her late mother's only album.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 05:17 AM

ok,is this reel to reel tape , if it is, find an engineer, then it may be necessary to run the tapes for a few hours, to free them up.
then find someone who has a digital set up.
there may be editing of sound that may be required as there may be echoing on at the end of tracks.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 05:41 AM

Yes it's reel to reel. Quarter inch.

Simplistic advice can be dangerous, although your intention is doubtless good Dick. Old tape can be so brittle or the oxide layer may be so easily detachable that one pass may destroy the tape entirely - hence some archives' rule that any tape played MUST be recorded on the first run in case that run destroys them.

Any old engineer is NOT the route to go. This needs an expert in old tapes.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 05:49 AM

.... and people are worried about loosing information from digital media! I read somewhere that the process involves baking the tapes at a certain temperature to help preserve the oxide layer. This is really a job for a professional.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,JM
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 06:37 AM

If you were in the UK, the people to contact would have been FX Copyroom. They are the experts in this kind of thing. I really wouldn't trust it to anyone who hasn't performed this operation many many times. You might only get one chance to play the tape before it's gone for good so there is no safety net.

Here is an article about what is involved - http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep05/articles/fxcopyroom.htm


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,JM
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 06:47 AM

...actually, this article is more to the point - http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1996_articles/may96/salvagearchives.html

Aside from baking the tape, the other benefit of a service such as FX is that they have a wide range of tape machines, kept well maintained and the skill to line them up and calibrate everything. I'm sure there will be someone equivalent in LA with the experience to do this, but it is worth going to the experts.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,Intuitive Audio
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 07:55 AM

I am an independent audio enginer in Northern California and restoring and transferring tape to digital is part of my business. I'm independent and have special low prices for musicians. I have extrensive experience in pro studios and radio from the tape days, and know twhen to bake or not to bake and how to care for tapes of all ages and conditions...

PM if you need my help!

Lou


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 08:12 AM

GUEST Lou (Intuitive Audio)
Nobody can PM you until you register as a member on Mudcat. There's a Login option in the Quicklinks box at the top of the page. Just requires your email address.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 08:18 AM

There is nothing better than experience, needless to say I have recently transferred from reel to reel analogue to cd and did not just choose any old engineer, neither did i suggest choosing any old engineer.
my comments were based on the problems that the engineer I chose experienced, Plus his comments to me about the problems he experienced.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 08:27 AM

Yes indeed Dick - I did not question your bona fides, but your suggestion could easily have been read in a way that could have been unfortunate.


I am happy to see the Mudcat coming up with the goods as usual!


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 09:08 AM

Can't really see a problem - whether the tape has deteriorated or not should be obvious at a glance. If the coating has perished or not should be obvious at once; if it has, maybe expert advice could help, but otherwise, a good quality reel-to-reel machine linked into a good sound programme should suffice; I use Adobe Audition - if you can't afford it, you can load down a free trial edition for the period you need it, but it's an excellent domestic programme anyway.
Over the last couple of years I have digitised in the region of five thousand reel-to-tapes, some of them dating back to the mid-1960s. I am astounded at how reliable the reel-to-reel format has proved over that period of time.
"I have recently transferred from reel to reel analogue to cd "
Cap'n; if you have put anything irreplaceable on CD you will be well advised not to leave it there- CDs are proving far less reliable a format as was originally thought - don't risk it - hard disc it!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 06:11 PM

G'day Jim (et al,

The specific "baking" problem relates to a period (~ late '70s / early '80s) in which major tape manufacters used a beaut new, super flexible, coating (developed for video applications) and it worked really well ... then ... Unfortunately, it turned out to slowly hydrolise - and, unless stored in controlled, low humidity, conditions, it began to stick to the next layer of tape.

Even having a 'quick listen' to such a tape could destroy it, which is basically why:

GUEST, Intuitive Audio, on Date: 16 Jan 11 - 07:55 AM wrote:
"I have extrensive experience in pro studios and radio from the tape days, and know twhen to bake or not to bake and how to care for tapes of all ages and conditions..."

I don't know the bloke ... but that IS the story - especially with some very costly, studio master, tapes from the period.

I would not be game to casually play any important tape without consulting my local (Sydney, Australia) expert at "Archival Revival" ... or the experts at the National Film & Sound Archive, Canberra (with whom I have lodged important 1970s / ~80s reel to reel material).

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 08:30 PM

Transferring music from R-T-Reel tapes reminds me of some problems
I had MANY years ago. I had recorded dozens of RTRs off of AFN while
stationed in Germany in the mid 50s...

I thought the RTRs had been stored as reasonably well as could be expected, in the original cartons but not completely sealed to
keep air out... They had been in storage for over 25 years.

They had deterioriated more than I expected.. As the tape passed
between the Pinch Roller and Capstan, the Oxide coating peeled off
in the floor and the Mylar [now clean and clear] continued to wind
up on the take up reel.

Happily tho, I managed to recover much of the treasured programs..

G


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 04:15 AM

Guest Gene:
The saddest story I ever heard was not unsimilar to yours.
A publican/singer/traditional music fanatic had a bar in a southern Irish town which was frequented by one of Ireland's legendary source fiddle players.
Every time the old man came into town, the publican made a point of asking him to play, and recorded each session, carefully putting the tapes in a box, which he then locked in a cupboard in the bar; realising their importance, the publican refused to play them for anybody.
This went on for several years until the fiddle player died, and after the funeral a session was held in the bar in his memory. The tapes were carefully taken out to be played to the assembled company, who watched in horror as the "oxide coating peeled off".
The publican hadn't noticed the hot water pipe running through the cupboard where the tapes had been stored.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 06:47 AM

There was certainly a period (Mid 70's-Early 80's) when tape manufacturers, experimented with new backings and coatings. I'm thinking in particular of BASF LR56...(It had a yellowish backing with BASF printed on it IIRC).
It was quickly abandoned by the BBC as unfit for use....Mainly by the maintenance team who had to clean the shed oxide from the capstans and the pinch rollers.
So, If anyone has BASF tapes from that era. Treat them with extreme care, particularly if the recordings are of value, and seek the advice of professional restorers....Don't play them at home...!!
Even with "baking"..quite a lengthy process I believe, You might only get one chance to retrieve the audio. If you think about it, the tape passes the playback head with minimal friction, and immediately encounters the capstan/pinch wheel. That is where the damage is done. Like a previous poster has said, I've watched oxide shedding leaving an almost completely clear film on the take-up side.
So, my advice would be.
1. Check a small portion of the tape with nothing of significance on it first to see what happens.
2. If you really have to play the tape, make sure that your record equipment, (Digits, Hard Drives whatever) is running...!
It might be the last time you get any audio out..
Remember, All technology only lasts as long as it's been in existence. Who knows about the future?
So, paradoxically, 78's are the best medium for audio storage!!! (or maybe cylinders!)


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 06:52 AM

"78's are the best medium for audio storage!!! (or maybe cylinders!)"
Only as long as you don't play them!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 07:16 AM

Oh shit I think I have some stuff on LR56 (certainly a lot of BASF).


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Gene
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 12:47 AM

All this reminds me of similar problems that also existed during the age of 8-Tracks & cassettes.

The glue used for the pressure pads [both 8T & CAS] and splicing the endless loop [8-Track] often caused problems.

And on 8-track player/recorders, the [rubber? drive belt] often stretched out of shape.

Gene


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Bobert
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 07:55 PM

The hardest part is finding an old reel-to-reel that ain't gummed up... My old TEAK sync-sound is gummed up... Yeah, it plays but drags...

Sony makes a CD burner that will accept analogue "IN"... I got one... It's also gummed up???

The main thing with old tapes is that ya' need to run 'um back and forth on fast forward about a half a dozen times before they will sound *okay*...

I learned this by findin' an old tape from the 60's with about 15 songs I recorded (didn't remember any of them, but that's a different issue...)... That tape hadn't been played in 40 years but -- hark -- not only played but sounded okay...

B~


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 09:18 PM

G'day Bobert,

If you look at my posts above ... and those of:

GUEST, Intuitive Audio, on Date: 16 Jan 11 - 07:55 AM

and those of:

GUEST,JM - PM
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 06:37 AM (et al)

you see there is a specific problem with "high-grade studio (master) tapes" of the late '70s and early '80s. the tape coating can have hydrolised ... stuck together ... and if you " run 'um back and forth on fast forward" ... even once (without having an expert technician bake / or clear them - you may destroy them!

Mine were studio masters for an older 'tape set' that I re-formatted and released in CD form. had I followed the advice you give, above, they would have been destroyed.

BUT: Only those expensive, top-grade "Studio Master Grade" tapes!

Regard(les)s,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Bobert
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 09:58 PM

WOW!!!

My tapes are from the 60's... NO problem...

B~


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 03:01 AM

I would really advise against high speed spooling of any tapes that haven't been played in decades. If there has been any degradation due to humidity/temperature concerns whilst being stored, You could strip the oxide off in one go. Bobert...you got lucky!
A few years ago, I had to reclaim quite an important Master tape. Luckily I had acces to a Studer tape machine that had Vari-speed spooling.
So, I set it going (very gingerly) at it's lowest speed, and kept a very close eye and ear! on the procedure...For a half hour recording (one side of an LP) It took about 2 hours in each direction, but at least the capstan/pinch roller was not engaged.
The oxide shedding was negligible, thankfully. And a successful transfer to digits then took place. Stupid boy! I just got lucky. I wouldn't dream of attempting such a process again. If a recording needs preserving. Pay an expert...Thats my advice.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 12:32 PM

It seems the higher the quality of the tape then the more problems we could encounter. I have several cheap L.P.type tapes which seem to have survived unchanged. (If you want hours of TV sound recorded via the accompanying crystal mic and noisy budgerigar!)
Later recordings on LR56 and similar professional tapes, in all shades from yellow thro' pink to various browns, all suffer in some degree to oxide flaking.
Perhaps the manufacturers applied more oxide in the manufacturing process.
No-one has mentioned the dreaded print through, lessened by storing tapes reverse wound. The theory being that any echo caused by adjacent modulation would be present as a pre-echo and has more chance of being hidden in the modulation. Think about it, it makes sense.

Between us all there must be a wealth of material still to be found: oh for the time.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 01:30 PM

"No-one has mentioned the dreaded print through, lessened by storing tapes reverse wound"
I was once told by someone from Topic that if print-through was going to happen it would take place within twenty minutes of the tape being recorded and the only way to avoid it was to spool the tape off the reel and let it hang free - presuming you could find a room high enough to store it!!! Obviously impractical, but it's never been a major problem with me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 01:54 PM

Ah yes. Print through...Storing Tail Out is always the way to go.
Except when John Peel was offered the first radio play of a new Brian Eno LP...was provided with a tape copy of a lengthy track of about 20 minutes duration. Excitedly played, and it wasn't until Brian Eno himself phoned in that John realised he was playing it backwards.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 07:14 PM

This ones for Ralphie really.
One of my first editing jobs was a rush vox pops compilation. Cut out a few seconds of audio hang it over the fader knob (TR90) then re-assemble on a jointing block in a different order. Of course sod's law deemed that there were a couple in reverse. By the joys of live radio, they had passed by the time I could do anything about it of course. Generated a few memos tho'.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 02:33 AM

First editing excersise (Wood Norton 1973)
All students issued with a piece of tape which had a BBC announcer saying "This is the British Broadcasting Corporation"
Our mission was to transpose "Corp" and Cast"....Surprisingly difficult to do!
But the result being "This is the British Broadcorping Casteration" was worth it!
(took me bloody ages!)


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 08:50 AM

My course TA29, 1968.
Somewhere along the line it became
"This is the Broadish Britcorping Castoration"
I just did this by cut and past, quicker than a razor blade!

Oh by the way, your CD was well received at Christmas and I was a patient boy and didn't listen to it until herself had opened it.
Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 09:43 AM

Thanks for that...!
I really wish I had my original edit...but it was LR56! Bugger!
Pleased that you like my CD....(Just about to start on that difficult 2nd CD!!)
Regards


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 11:36 AM

British Broadcorping Castration? That reminds me of the announcer referring to the Royal Arse Hortillary parading down the Mall. The strangest edit I ever found was at the old BBC studios in Manchester when I noticed a distinct gap whilst playing back the piece we had just recorded on a brand new reel of tape. On closer inspection, we found a length of leader tape neatly spliced in the middle. .......take 2!


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 01:08 PM

An interesting bit of inside info....
Any reasonable lengths of tape were joined up and sent back to reclamation unit. There they checked the tape and joined the lengths together with some sort of welding technique. These were then re-issued as "Rehearsal Quality". Occasionally the testing procedure failed and the odd length of leader in the middle was not unknown.

Suggest a new thread on "memories while we still have them"???


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 02:56 PM

Yes indeed...Used to send boxes of old tapes to Brookmans Park for reclamation...Happy days!


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Subject: RE: Rescuing old analogue tapes (1/4 inch)
From: GUEST,chas
Date: 18 Dec 17 - 08:14 AM

Yes , the commentator was Peter West on BBC in the early fifties.
There was a long paause after this faux pas!


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