Electrical Audio How-To: Baking and Transferring Audio Tapes, Pt. 1

  • Published on Jan 11, 2019
  • Electrical Audio Studio Manager and House Engineer Taylor Hales demonstrates how to test an analog audio tape to determine if it needs to be baked prior to digital transfer, and how to properly bake a magnetic tape.

    For further information on topics discussed in this video, visit:

    Richard Hess' Tape Restoration Resources:

    "The Digitization of Audio Tapes" Government of Canada Technical Bulletin:

    "Choosing and Using MRL Calibration Tapes for Audio Tape Recorder Standardization" (including common tape speed and EQ combinations): www.mrltapes.com/choo&u.pdf

    Wikipedia "Sticky-Shed Syndrome":

    Shot by Ed Bornstein;
    Edited by Taylor Hales
    Music by Whaddupp Sonn


Comments • 114

  • Gary Gustin

    Fantastic! I have some 7 “ reels that my dad had recorded himself singing to Uriah Heap, and various other things somewhere around 1969. I haven’t played them for about 25 to 30 years. I am going to try to archive them to digital, so this was perfect!

  • TheVonHelle

    Very nice tutorial, thank you! ...although after baking the Beatles White album original multitrack studio reels I came to realize 130 degrees should have been Fahrenheit.

  • phonatic
    phonatic 2 years ago +2

    Great video, nice shots and good resource links. It was very good to mention to check if it's an acetate tape, which, unlike in Europe, was especially popular in the US. It should be also mentioned how to determine this type by holding the tape wind against some light source. A brownish shine-through will usually indicate an acetate tape, while others will not let light through. The safest way is to bake a (non-acetate) tape on a metal reel as some plastic reels will not hold up to 130 F / 55 C.

  • audiobuff77

    Great video! I have a 7" reel of 996 that started squealing about one minute into the play back, so I carefully turned the reels over and played in reverse. I have a Teac 2300sx and don't have the ability to do a library wind. Hopefully I didn't damage anything.

  • Bob
    Bob Year ago +1

    Hi, this as all of the other videos of yours are very clear and helpful.

  • The Ormewoods

    So glad I found your video! I have hundreds of 2" masters that I can't bring myself to throw away. It is 25 years of studio masters that no one seems to care about much anymore. I plan to get a dehydrator and working through digitizing them. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Sumshee Kirken

    Thank you for sharing this info.

  • P. I.

    Finally! This is a great tutorial!

  • Bunny Rabbit

    So this is how you get your mixes to sound warmer....

  • NuBlackMusic

    Be careful with tape baking. we had some tapes baked at a professional facility and it completely changed the sound infidelity of the audio in fact many large tape libraries already knew this and have turned to other means of tape restoration. we also have tried the ' nu finish' car spray and we think that the results are better than baking tapes be very very careful

  • John Baddeley
    John Baddeley Year ago +1

    Just to be clear, it is the binder (that holds the magnetic particles) that is hydroscopic.

  • 92KTU New York
    92KTU New York Year ago

    Are there any concerns with baking tapes with heavy splice editing?, like a splice every 8 sec for a length of 20-min or longer?

  • Sonni office
    Sonni office 2 years ago

    Really well made video and very useful.

  • Maku2002

    Even though I will probably never need this information this is incredibly interesting to watch.

  • Christopher Lewis

    Do you adjust the baking time for a 5" reel vs 7"? Or is it still pretty much standard to do 24hrs?

  • BJ
    BJ Year ago

    I just bought a machine like yours. I have some tapes from the mid 1960s - they are on a metal reel. I just wanted to confirm that the 130 degrees will not affect the metal to the point of creating a HOT surface that is directly in contact with the tape. Also - I see you demonstrating with a plastic reel - so I am assuming that is safe -- and is placing audio cassettes and video tapes in a housing? What do you do when you have audio tape that on a core - and not mounted on a reel --- do you lay that tape directly down on the wire rack surface -- or do you mount in a reel? Thanks!

  • Florian von Keyserlingk

    How long after baking can I wait before I would need to load the tape on the tape machine? I ask because Im in a situation where I wont have the dehydrator in the same location as the tape machine and Im not sure how quickly moisture could find its way back into the tape. Thanks in advance!

  • fostex fan
    fostex fan 2 years ago +1

    very informative. Can a tape with a lot of sticky shred cause a machine to slow on playback or stop fast forward and rewind?

  • Matt Susskind

    Should there be any concerns about the metal rack in your oven containing any magnetic properties that might negativity affect the very sensitive tapes?

  • Silvio Zeppieri
    Silvio Zeppieri Year ago

    Excellent video, thank you. What is the recommended solvent to clean the rubber rollers?