Magnetic tape can be cut and pasted back together with “splicing tape,” a thin piece of adhesive tape, specifically designed for splicing. When a splice is done carefully, it can be inaudible. However, even a good splice done using proper tape can break down over time. When the glue in the adhesive tape breaks down, the splice can fall off during playback or cause adjacent layers of tape to stick, often causing a brief Wow and Flutter artifact.
Can it be fixed?
Bad splices can often be identified during the preview stage of a transfer, prior to digitization. Any problematic splices should be removed, the area around the splice should be cleaned (techniques vary, but a KimWipe with a little bit of deionized water (DI) is a safe first step), and a new splice should be made. A splicing block sized to your tape width and similarly sized splicing tape will be necessary. Unfortunately, these supplies are becoming harder to acquire.
Listen to Bad Splice on Soundcloud
- Richard Hess, Magnetic Tape Splicing, RichardHess.com, 07 January 2008.