I got a call from a chap named Wilson. He wanted to transfer an old pre-master reel of tape to a digital format. Upon inspection of the box I immediately noticed and appreciated the engineer had done a neat job of labelling the tape with its speed, tone frequency and level, format and it was spooled tail out too.  …Nice one.

Recently I’d acquired an Akai GX-646 that had never been used with three unopened 10″ spools of Maxell UD 35-180. So this was a chance to hook it up to the studio and put it through its paces.

The tape was of Wilson’s 80’s Garage/Punk band, Bleeding Caterpillar.
The band had recorded nine songs; pretty much live, in a Sydney studio. Because it was never for release the engineer had given them a 7 1/2 ips pre-master mix that could be played on consumer equipment. That never eventuated and the tape was stored in the bassists shed and hadn’t been heard for years.

A bit of a reunion and a couple of gigs later and it’s. “Whatever happened to that tape…?”

I was a bit worried that the tape might shed. It came in a generic white box so we couldn’t identify what type it was. It only seemed to shed a little when fast winding. So avoiding that I calibrated the preamps and let it rip. We recorded a track at a time and checked the tape heads regularly and surprisingly there was very little oxide coming off.

Bleeding Caterpillars sounded as fresh as the day they laid it down. A super-exuberant young band bursting with energy and a keen urge to thrash was revealed. And after a quick top and tail, a 1.5db high shelf at 1.5KHz with a mastering limiter strapped across it. – The boys were back in business.

No noise reduction was needed. No major EQ problems. It was what they recorded that day preserved.

Best track: I Want A New Car.

Call If you need this service.