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Vintage Tape (Audio), Cassette, Wire and Magnetic Disc Recorders and Players Open-reel tape recorders, cassette recorders, 8-track players etc.

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Old 12th Feb 2019, 11:42 pm   #1
Cont3mplation
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Exclamation Can tape erasing with a magnet cause any permanent damage?

Hi all, brand new to the vintage hi-fi hobby, and recently started working more with cassette tapes. I purchased a good condition Alba DR-150 tape recorder and picked up a pack of 5 new type 1 cassettes to have a shot at recording some music from my pc. Despite having some issues with recording audio from my pc to the mic jack on the recorder. (Whenever audio peaked when volume was at certain levels the audio would die out and create an almost heartbeat effect?) I managed to tweak my volume settings enough that I got pretty clear sound onto the tapes. Having then heard that type 2 and 4 cassettes had less tape hiss and were generally of better quality I purchased a used type 4 metal cassette with a couple of albums copied onto it. On receiving it I copied the albums off and attempted to record silence over it as a starting point to recording my own music onto it. However this seemed to have no effect on the music and it still played back fine after being recorded onto. I eventually gave up, assuming perhaps my old recorder wasn't quite up to the job of metal cassettes and tried a trick id seen online of quickly running the tape past a neodymium magnet. I tried this and it worked a treat, the audio was cleared off instantly. On attempting to record though I got some intense crackling and audio fading in and out sounds at the start of the tape. I tried recording off a record turntable rather than my pc, and tried the middle of the tape. After some testing it worked seemingly okay, though I haven't been able to reproduce this successful recording. Is there any chance that running it over a magnet has permanently damaged the tape, or is it simply that this old recorder doesn't have the power required to work on metal tapes? (edit: having tested with type 1 again on the recorder this seems to work fine still)
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 12:52 am   #2
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Default Re: Can tape erasing with a magnet cause any permanent damage?

Most of those little recorders are only meant for recording speech and have automatic level control. The playback is usually reasonable with music.
Music recordings are likely to be disappointing.
Recording is best done on a recorder with manual level controls and VU meters.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 1:02 am   #3
Maarten
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Default Re: Can tape erasing with a magnet cause any permanent damage?

There may be something wrong with the recording function. Also, for best results when recording on metal tape, you need a recorder that supports it.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 2:15 am   #4
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Default Re: Can tape erasing with a magnet cause any permanent damage?

Agree with the above. The problem here is the machine you are using, basically it's a budget/ dictation machine and totally unsuited to music recording. What you need is a tape deck, this connects to an amp and will have far superior performance. Dual well decks from the 1990s are fairly cheap and you can also copy tape to tape, probably a good place to start. Bear in mind any deck that has not been recently serviced will need a new set of drive belts by now. Try before you buy if possible.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 3:45 am   #5
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Default Re: Can tape erasing with a magnet cause any permanent damage?

Type II tapes are harder to erase and record to that Type I. They require more erasing and biasing power. Type IV tapes even more so.

A tape machine capable of recording to Type II or IV tapes will usually state as much somewhere on the front panel. If it doesn't, it probably cant.

A line level signal is too high for a mic level input. It will distort, and possibly damage the recorder's electronics.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 9:04 am   #6
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Default Re: Can tape erasing with a magnet cause any permanent damage?

Okay, had a sneaking suspicion that was maybe the case but thanks for the help, will look into getting an actual deck and hopefully have a better experience, thanks all
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Old 14th Feb 2019, 2:34 pm   #7
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Default Re: Can tape erasing with a magnet cause any permanent damage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TIMTAPE View Post
....A line level signal is too high for a mic level input. It will distort, and possibly damage the recorder's electronics.
Hi, it's unlikely that the recorders electronics would be damged by feeding a line level signal in to a socket intended for a mic level input, you would experience quite a bit of distortion though if the machine only has "Automatic", or fixed, recording level control.

To feed a line level signal in to a Mic input you need to attenuate the signal by inserting a resistor of between 470 K and 1 Meg Ohms in series with the input lead(s)

Regards

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Old 14th Feb 2019, 3:47 pm   #8
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Default Re: Can tape erasing with a magnet cause any permanent damage?

A 47K pot surely.
500mv line signals are normally lowish impedance.
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