I transfer/convert reel to reel magnetic audio tapes and phonograph records to digital files and CD.  I perform audio forensics / legal tape, audio clip enhancement.  Clients include record companies, music publishing companies, film companies, recording artist's catalogs, songwriters and private individuals.  Services include analog audio recording, digital audio recording, editing, mixing, transferring, restoration, mastering, and remastering.  Dehydrating or baking tapes is performed should a tape require it and there is a flat fee of $10/reel for the service.  I also prepare DDP and/or CD masters that are error checked and ready for CD replication.

This “side business” of tape transferring started in 1983 after a songwriter friend asked me if I could take some old reel-to-reel tapes and transfer them to CDs.  I told him I could and would.  I have been using analog tape machines since my early recording days and fortunately, I still have my first ones. It made sense to add analog to digital transferring as a studio service.  Transferring is performed on days when the studio is not booked.

There comes a time when a magnetic audio tape recording will be rendered un-playable.  The key is to get the information transferred from the media as soon as possible before any further deterioration can occur. Playing an old tape will most likely cause more damage and high frequency loss.  If you must play your tape to know what's on it, make sure your machine is in good condition and won't damage the tape.  Like restoring paintings or any other type of old art, retrieving audio from reel-to-reel tape or records can be quite challenging.  Some tapes and records arrive in bad condition.  Care must be taken in their handling. Special equipment which requires maintenance and calibration is needed to complete the process.  I receive many reels of 1/4" and 1/2" tape from the 1950's and 60's that have paper leader at the beginning and the end of the reel and at numerous places along the reel.  These splices dry out and let loose when the tape plays or is fast-wound through.  These edits always require being redone with fresh splices and new leader-timing tape before the tape can even be played for transfer.  I have never received a magnetic tape that I could not transfer successfully.  That includes having 100% success transferring paper based magnetic tapes from the 1940's.  Wherever possible, tapes will be transferred with every effort made to match the integrity of the original tape, recording and/or mixes.  All transfers will be made in their original state.  Most other transfer companies transfer at "high speed" which means they run your tape at 2 or 3 times it's recorded speed, then they re-sample or convert the transferred file at 1/2 or 1/3 to save time.  Don't be fooled, as you end up with a transfer that is of lesser quality than one that is tranferred in "real time".  I can't compete with their price, but they can't compete with my quality.  All of my transferring is done in real time to assure the best possible transfer.  If required or requested, noise reduction and/or equalization may be used to enhance the reproduction of the recording.

Click here for transfer price estimates:  Price depends on the length of the recording (running time or playing time) and condition of the media supplied.  If you would like a rough estimate of transfer cost, please supply the following information in your email.  Tape brand and number (i.e., Scotch #111, Ampex #406).  Reel size in inches.  Tape width (i.e., 1/4", 1/2").  Tape length (i.e., 1200', 1800').  Tape speed (usually hand written as a note on the tape box (i.e., 3-3/4, 7-1/2, 15 I.P.S.).  Indicate if the tape is recorded in one or two directions (sometimes, this is not known until the tape is played).  I do not have a flat-rate transfer price beacuse every tape has a different running time.  I do not charge for blank portions of tape.  I personally do all the work myself.  Every job is logged.  When I start and stop your job, I log the time.  If I need to break for some reason, I log out.  This is the fairest way to do such work.  I will never copy, distribute, transmit or reproduce client's audio files in any way without the client's written permission.

Do you have some digital mixes that need some analog warmth?  Get your mixes passed through either my Ampex ATR-102 or Ampex 350 tube machine and back to digital files.  Tranfers made from these machines are absoutely stunning. Email me for more information.

I have been getting quite a few 1/2" 8-track tape projects come in for transfer.  The tapes (transferring some that are 40 years old) are holding up well and transfers sound fabulous!

Analog magnetic audio tape formats I accept for transfer, conversion, restoration and archiving to digital files and CD:

• 1/2" 8-track reel to reel 7-1/2, 15 I.P.S.
• 1/2" 4-track and 2-track reel to reel 7-1/2, 15, 30 I.P.S.
• 1/4" 2-track, half-track, full-track reel to reel 3-3/4, 7-1/2, 15, 30 I.P.S.
• 1/4" 4-track, quarter-track reel to reel 3-3/4, 7-1/2, 15 I.P.S.
• 1/4" 8-track, eigth-track reel to reel 15 I.P.S.

Other formats accepted for transferring and archive:

• Tascam DA-88
• Alesis ADAT
• Audio Cassette
• Phonograph Records, 16, 33, 33-1/3, 45, 78 RPM
• Wire Recordings

Tape machines used for tape to digital or CD transfer:

• Ampex ATR-102 1/4" 2-track reel to reel 3-3/4, 7-1/2, 15, 30 I.P.S.
• Ampex AG-440C 1/2" 2-track, 4-track or 1/4" 4-track reel to reel 3-3/4, 7-1/2, 15 I.P.S. (also variable speed)
• Ampex AG-440B 1/4" 4-track reel to reel 7-1/2, 15 I.P.S.
• Ampex 350-2 1/4" 2-track reel to reel 7-1/2, 15 I.P.S.
• Ampex 300-4 1/2" 4-track reel to reel 7-1/2, 15, 30 I.P.S.
• Fostex 80-8 1/4" 8-track reel to reel 15 I.P.S.
• Teac 3340-S 1/4" 4-track reel to reel 7-1/2, 15 I.P.S.
• Tascam 80-8 1/2" 8-track reel to reel 15 I.P.S.
• Otari MX5050 MK III 1/2" 8-track reel to reel 7-1/2, 15 I.P.S.

Noise reduction units available for transfer:

• dbx 155 type I, 8 channels

This is a sample of a 78 RPM disc I received for transferring to digital files and then to CD.  The disc was recorded on a home-type record cutter in the late 1940’s as told by the client.  The client brought numerous discs to be transferred.  All were in horrible condition, probably from poor storage.  The disc in the worst condition can be seen in the photo below and was the one used in the following sound sample.  What appears to be dust on the surface is actually deterioration of the surface.  This record also had a radial crack.  Most records in this type of condition are usually good for one or two plays.  Playing such records only deteriorates the grooves even more.  The key is to get signal off of the record within one or two passes.

This is a sample of a reel-to-reel magnetic tape I received for transferring to digital files and then to CD.  The tape was Scotch/3M #150 1/4" recorded at 3-3/4 IPS 1/2 track mono.  The tape was recorded in Europe by an amateur in 1970 as told by the client.  The tape was threaded onto an Ampex ATR-102 (with clean heads).  After playing a few feet, it was apparent that the tape was shedding from the Polyester backing.  The tape was removed from the machine and immediately “baked”.   After the baking process, the tape was successfully transferred to digital files.

When a tape is played on a tape machine, "tape shed" is obvious after playing a few feet.  When shed happens, the tape should not be played any further until it can be properly baked.  Trying to play the tape without baking will cause the iron oxide to come off and will clog up the heads, tape path mechanisms and cause a terrible squealing sound that can be heard close to the clogging heads and mechanisms.  The squeal can also be heard in the transfer.  Playing a shedding tape can also destroy precious high frequencies on the tape and render the tape unplayable.

Before the client brought the above tape to me, he had taken it to someone else who was not aware that the tape needed to be baked.  He made a digital transfer for the client.  This is a sample of that transfer.  The sound of “shed squeal” is obvious in this sample.  Luckily, the tape was not ruined and I was able to make a successful transfer.

Greg Youngman Music
Buellton, CA  •  93427  •  USA
Voice:  (805) 688-1136

e-mail:  Click here to email with any questions


2020 Greg Youngman Music