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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 13th Jan 2021, 4:04 pm   #21
Martin Bush
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Default Re: Unhappy cassette

Good idea.

I promise not to share the results

Going back to the original topic, it does look like a reshell is in order for the tape so I will drop you a line @nickthedentist as per your earlier response.
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 8:39 pm   #22
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Exclamation Re: Unhappy cassette

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Huggins View Post
... If what you have is old, S/H and pre-recorded, then don't expect too much from it...
Actually pre recorded cassettes could be very well recorded especially later ones by the big duplicators. They often used type 2 tape stock, recorded on specially modified open reel slaves, used digital master tapes and believe it or not were recorded at up to 160 times cassette speed. Companies like Gauss and Lyrec knew their stuff and needed to to compete with the CD which of course eventually won out. So long as the gear was maintained and aligned, and the playback deck also , it can sound good.
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 8:47 pm   #23
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Default Re: Unhappy cassette

Hello,

I've had a few tapes go like this. It can be recovered from, but it's a fiddle.

I work with a Talking Newspaper for the Blind, and we used to use cassettes, sending out hundreds each issue. Every now and again, we'd get this happening. The tapes we were used were standard 'bulk' tapes, all were pretty much the same, this happened a handful of times a year.

My understanding is that the tape has been played on a machine where the take-up spool is not taking up with enough tension, so the spool ends up with a diameter that is larger than the space available in the case. Or at least large enough to catch, which makes things worse. Continued playing will risk creasing the tape, which makes things even worse.

The rapping the cassette flat on a table - firm/hard enough to just not damage the cassette - may help a little, but the answer is to fast wind the tape repeatedly back and forth to gradually tighten up the spool. The first few winds will NOT be enough. For our TN, I didn't usually bother as the tapes were not worth enough, but in your case it's probably well worth the trouble. It helps that I've got a NEAL cassette deck here with a powerful Wollensak mechanism, most normal drives may need a LOT of passes to gradually make a difference.

It is often possible to get into a welded cassette, with care. I've done so, and standard polystyrene glue (as per the Airfix kits) will mend up afterwards, but it's risky. Use a heayy duty Stanley knife, look for a weak point in the weld and start there, once you've got a gap starting to open work at it using the knife, and lever from say a small screw driver to gradually open up more. Watch out for bits flying about when it pops open.

But try the repeated winding first.

Geoff
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Old 13th Jan 2021, 10:22 pm   #24
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Default Re: Unhappy cassette

I remember most manufacturers of tape recorders used to not recommend using C120 tapes in their machines.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 10:15 am   #25
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Default Re: Unhappy cassette

Look carefully at the tape. Are the edges 'wavy'? If so, it has been deformed through playback on a deck with excess take up torque, and will never wind evenly.

When re-shelling, do not be tempted to remove the liner sheets inside the cassette as others have suggested. These are made of specially lubricated material play an absolutely fundamental role in preventing the tape layers jamming against the plastic shell and causing flutter.

Winding end to end also is of fairly limited use. All except the best decks have insufficient back tension in thes emodes and winding tends to be uneven. Playing a tape right through in one pass is the only way to pack it properly, as the take up spool is under tension to the pinch roller/capstan.

In this case, apart from the shell problem suggested earlier, I suspect the tape could have deteriorated or the machine's pinch roller may be dirty or slightly hard. Portable equipment especially used very small roller s so even a bit of dirt can cause wow. I would hold off doing anything until you've tried it on other decks.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 10:44 am   #26
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Default Re: Unhappy cassette

Thanks Ben.

Despite being disappointed about the tape I am finding this interesting and I suppose you only learn through experience.

I will have a close look at the tape when I finish work. Depending on what I find I wonder if someone on here may be willing to play the tape for me on their machine and see what happens? I would mail it off and pay costs for return postage of course.

As for my player I think it is in good order. It was given to me by a forum member and I did a basic clean of the heads, rollers etc recently. Between me and the person who gave it to me I think it has been well looked after and maintained. It also plays other shorter tapes well and often sounds good to me.
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Last edited by Martin Bush; 14th Jan 2021 at 10:52 am.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 11:11 am   #27
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Default Re: Unhappy cassette

To clarify, Martin is using a mid market Aiwa walkman from the mid 90s. It had only seen light use before he acquired it, and performs pretty well, though as with most walkman type devices the transport is a bit weedy.

Mechanical playback problems are very dependent on the transport in use. A marginal cassette will play perfectly well on one deck but will jam or bind on another. The only real solution if the tape itself is undamaged is to use a new cassette shell. If the tape itself is chewed up or stretched then the dustbin beckons.

Many prerecorded cassettes had a very hard life, being subjected to really brutal mechanisms and being left on car dashboards for years on end.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 12:41 pm   #28
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Default Re: Unhappy cassette

Quote:
Originally Posted by ben View Post
Winding end to end also is of fairly limited use. All except the best decks have insufficient back tension in thes emodes and winding tends to be uneven.
Our school had loads of these in a language lab in the late 1980s. They could rewind a C60 in about 10s flat, with the most amazingly even wind. It looked like a factory-fresh cassette. Solenoid controlled, student-proof, and amazing sound quality.

All thrown in a giant skip over one summer holiday apparently, and replaced with something newer.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 1:42 pm   #29
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Default Re: Unhappy cassette

I've had a look at the tape and it looks find to me. No evidence of stretching or wavy edges.

So I suspect it's a reshell.
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 1:47 pm   #30
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Default Re: Unhappy cassette

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Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
Our school had loads of these in a language lab in the late 1980s. They could rewind a C60 in about 10s flat, with the most amazingly even wind. It looked like a factory-fresh cassette. Solenoid controlled, student-proof, and amazing sound quality.
Yes, probably Tandberg or ASC systems. I recall us discussing these a few years ago. I have saved a few such installations! 3 or even 4 motor transports. A far cry from yer average walkman or boom box!
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Old 14th Jan 2021, 2:14 pm   #31
TIMTAPE
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Default Re: Unhappy cassette

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben View Post
Winding end to end also is of fairly limited use. All except the best decks have insufficient back tension in thes emodes and winding tends to be uneven.
Our school had loads of these in a language lab in the late 1980s. They could rewind a C60 in about 10s flat, with the most amazingly even wind. It looked like a factory-fresh cassette. Solenoid controlled, student-proof, and amazing sound quality.

All thrown in a giant skip over one summer holiday apparently, and replaced with something newer.
In a way I agree with you both.

If you mean the 4 motor Tandberg Language Lab units, I managed to "rescue" a few many years ago before a large pallet of them went, I assume, to landfill.

They are impressive units, similar apparently to the high end Tandberg stereo cassette decks. Direct drive, tacho controlled reel motors, probably similar to the Revox 215 we were talking about in another thread. I think the wind is good because the tape speed and tension is well controlled. The wind is basically at constant tape speed rather than the take up core rotating at constant RPM. The weakness in the latter which is common on most cassette decks is that with constant RPM, as the pack diameter increases, the tape speed increases and the air cannot escape quickly enough to allow the arriving tape to sit firmly on the core, hence the lousy pack. The Tandberg automatically senses the speeds of both reel drives and regulates the RPM of the cores to prevent tape overspeeding. So it's smooth and fast but not too fast. At least that's been my experience. If ever I have a number of cassettes needing a good, smooth tape repack, done at reasonable speed, the old Tandberg deck works well in fast wind.

I think the main reason a "play wind" or library wind" usually results in such a smooth pack is that the capstan and pinch roller pay out the tape extremely smoothly so that the wind cant help but be smooth. I used to work with high speed cassette duplicators recording at speeds of up to 30 ips. The pack was still good at those reasonably high speeds.
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