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The KRAB Archive
KRAB purchased the least costly recording tape from wherever it could be found. Here is a small sample of the kinds of tape used, and reused over and over, and to be found in the KRAB archives. Some years ago it was discovered that some tape manufactured in, and after, the 1970's would develop "sticky shed syndrome". Sounds like a Goon show episode. The binder holding the iron oxide to the mylar or polyester tape absorbs moisture, becomes gummy or sticky and is rubbed off, or sheds, as it passes through the tape deck. Luckily, this seems to have affected mostly higher end Ampex and Scotch brands and, that were out of KRAB's price range. Unfortunately, one can't be sure, since some of the distributors from which KRAB acquired tape may have purchased "seconds" from those same manufacturers. To complicate things, there is also acetate tape, which doesn't catch sticky shed, but over time curls, becomes brittle and breaks under minimal stress. And then, of course, KRAB would reuse the tape, splicing, often indiscriminately, unlike tape types together into the same reel. Shown immediately below is a side view of a 10" reel with about every variety of tape, including 30 seconds of sticky shed suffering mylar in the very middle, that was used for Sunday show number 15. The acetate portions are translucent, and illuminated from behind.
Regardless of sticky shed, the cheap tape often suffered from dropouts and poor frequency response.