Preservation of Magnetic Audio Tape to Archival WAV Files | Oxford UK


Preservation of Magnetic Audio Tape to Digital Files

Whatever the size or scale of your digitisation project we can help. From a few precious tapes to a warehoused archive we have the equipment and expertise to preserve your content and make it accessible to new audiences.We can record analog sources at 44.1, 48, 96, 192 kHz, at 24 or 16 bits.

Our studio specialises in the preservation of magnetic audiotape, supporting our clients with handling, cleaning and storage of magnetic audiotapes to HQ archival WAV or FLAC digital files that comply with The National Archives Specifications. 

Audio samples are from The Sir Walter Hayes Collection we were commissioned to archive.  These can be viewed

  • Preservation Copy:  Our technicians create high quality duplicates of the original record.  Output will have a high sampling rate, high bitrate, no compression and in a open or non-proprietary format. This way, if the original record deteriorates beyond use the preservation copy will be able to take its place. A preservation copy will last for years or decades.

  • Access Copy:  This is a well supported digital MP3 copy that you can play back easily.

Structure of Magnetic Tape: Our studio specialises in converting tape using iron oxide on polyester base film. This base film has been used since the mid-sixties as a replacement for acetate bases film that was prone to chemical instability.

Sticky-shed syndrome:   Unfortunately changes made by manufacturers meant a chemical  instability causing a 'binder' on the tape started breaking down, absorbing water as a result.  This caused the tape coatings to become sticky and shed oxide onto the tape recorders heads, guides, rollers, and capstans. This is commonly called sticky-shed syndrome.  To resolve this, we heat the tapes at a very low temperature in order drive the water out of the binders.

Handling:  Our trained archive specialists handle all orders with a white glove approach. Audio reels are handled by the center hub area or by the outer edges of the reel flanges, ensuring that the actual tape is not touched. Cassettes are handled by the existing outer plastic case and that fingers not be placed anywhere inside the cassette mechanism.

Storage:  Storage is extremely important. The National Archives recommends that any tapes needing preservation should be stored between 65–70 °F (18–21 °C) at 45-50% relative humidity.  Cold weather conditions below 46 °F (8 °C), means the tape lubricant can separate from the base, ruining the recording. The most important thing is to keep conditions consistent once desirable conditions are achieved.

Audio Tape Digital Transfer Services

Corporate, Heritage and Consumer Audio Tape Digitisation

Output to Waveform Audio File Format (WAV, WAVE, Broadcast BWF) AIFF, MP3 or CD
16-bit 44.1 kHz (CD) upto 24-bit 192 kHz.  All prices exclude VAT at 20%
CASSETTE SERVICES PER TAPE 1+ 10+ 25+ 50+ 100+
Cassettes, Dictaphone, Mini and Micro Cassettes
Cassettes - upto 60mins 24.00 22.00 20.00 18.00 16.00
Cassettes - 90mins 26.00 24.00 22.00 20.00 18.00
Cassettes - 120mins 28.00 26.00 24.00 22.00 20.00
1/4" DOMESTIC SERVICES PER REEL1+ 10+ 25+ 50+ 100+
Domestic reel to reel - Charge per reel 40.00 35.00 30.00 25.00 25.00
Tape baking per unit - if required 5.00
Domestic spool diameters are 3.25", 5" and 7" with recording speeds of either 1 7/8 ips, 3 3/4 ips or 7 1/2 ips and usually quarter-track (4 track) mono or stereo.
1/4" HALF/2-TRACK SERVICES PER REEL1+ 10+ 25+ 50+ 100+
2-track studio master professional tape 7" 30.00 28.00 26.00 24.00 22.00
2-track studio master professional tape 10.5" 40.00 38.00 36.00 34.00 32.00
Prices include baking
Spool diameters are 7" and 10.5" half-track (2-track) stereo running at 15 ips or 30 ips.
1/4" MULTI-TRACK SERVICES PER REEL1+ 10+ 25+ 50+ 100+
4-track professional tape 10.5" 50.00 45.00 40.00 35.00 30.00
8-track professional tape 10.5" 60.00 55.00 50.00 45.00 40.00
Prices include baking
1/2" MULTI-TRACK SERVICES PER REEL1+ 10+ 25+ 50+ 100+
1/2 inch 2-track professional tape 60.00 55.00 50.00 45.00 40.00
1/2 inch 4-track professional tape 70.00 65.00 60.00 55.00 50.00
1/2 inch 8-track professional tape 80.00 75.00 70.00 65.00 60.00
1/2 inch 16-track professional tape 100.00 95.00 90.00 85.00 80.00
Prices include baking


HOURLY COSTS 40.00 60.00 100.00 150.00 200.00 45PHR

Our offices are open Monday to Thursday 8am-4pm Friday 8am - 3pm.
29 Banbury Road, Kidlington OX5 1AQ. Parking is available at the front of the building or rear car park.

Contact Us 01865 457000 or email