Moldy audio tape is a common problem that can occur when tapes are stored in humid or damp environments. Mold growth often causes the layers of tape in a tightly packed reel to stick together at each edge. The mold can cause damage to the tape, resulting in loss of audio quality, and in severe cases, the tape may become unplayable. To prevent mold growth, it is important to store tapes in cool, dry environments and to avoid exposing them to humidity.
Mold develops on tapes that have been stored in less-than-optimum conditions. It is important to remember that moldy tape is a hazard, not just for the individual tape. If not handled carefully, it can potentially spread to other parts of your collection, so it must be treated immediately.
What can Creative Audio Works do to help?
Most tapes infested with mold are treatable and can be effectively played back following the appropriate procedures. Occasionally, mold growth is so extensive that it damages the binder irreparably. Mold can also aggravate other problems associated with compromised tape, such as binder hydrolysis, a form of degradation affecting magnetic tape, resulting from the deterioration of the binder and characterized by the deposit of a gummy residue on the tape heads during playback, usually referred to as Sticky Tape Syndrome.
ADAT tapes and digital recordings recorded on the Sony F1 format (VHS tape) can sometimes have a mold appearance due to improper storage. It is a binder issue similar to Sticky Shed Syndrome in an audiotape.
If you do find mold on your tapes, all is not lost. With careful, specialized treatment, the material can be recovered. Action does need to be taken promptly, however, in order to salvage the tape and prevent the spread of further infection.
Feel free to contact us if you want to talk about your audio or videotapes that may need treatment or assessment.