In the 80's some tape manufactors made tapes of sonic good quality bud poor physical quality. I have restored a lot of Ampex 456 from this period in my 'oven' which is a hairdryer and a thermometer. 6-7 hours at 50 degrees Celsius will take the water out of the glue and in almost every case the tapes will be OK for harddisk recording. I do not have tape recorders for every size of tape, but ½" with DBX noise redudtion is no problem. Old cassette tapes and vinyl can be restored too. Even 78 RPMs is no problem.
When material is sampled (with RME or Digi converters) it is possible to remove a lot of the tape hiss and after that a normal mastering in 64 bit environment can be applied. Ie. Linear Phase eq. and Linear phase compression, real tube or tube emulation, maximizing and limiter.
Here are some examples of a 4 track amateur recording, mixed down on Chrome cassette and copied to another Chrome cassette and stuffed away in a wet basement for 25 years:
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