How to Bake a Tape

6/7/12 in the early 1990s ('93) my partners, Mike Butler and Luis Palacio formed a group called Black Dog Spike (BDS). Their music was really good and they were eventually approached by a guy who wanted to produce their first album. The resulting studio work was captured on 24-track Ampex 499 Grand Master Gold 2-inch reel to reel tape. This stuff is ancient history compared to how things are recorded today. Just finding someone with the machine that can play the tapes let alone transfer the data into Pro-Tools Wave Files proves to be an interesting challenge. Anyway I contacted Stephen (not Steve - Stephen) Marsh who explained that this form of recording was very common thoughout the 70s and 80s. In fact, many works from classic artists like Zepplin and Hendrix have been digitally remastered from the original reel to reel. This is a rather touchy process and involves heating up the tape to remove any moisture so the magnetic coating doesn't stick together or pull off. The professional term for this porcess is called "Baking." Every strategy is considered before running this old tape through a machine since often times the sound engineer transfering the data only has one shot. When it comes to the works of Led Zepplin I don't think you want to be the engineer who lost Stairway To Heaven during a transfer process. Oops!

Stephen Marsh passed me off to a Larry Goetz. I have yet to hear back from Mr. Goetz.

Leave a comment

    Add comment