Thanks Richard and all.
I will compile the results as a table in coming weeks.
The response to this is far better than I expected.
Phone 61 2 62461141
Fax 61 2 6261 4282
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Richard L. Hess
Sent: Thursday, 6 May 2010 11:48 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Cassette brands and known issues
I would be more than happy to host the compiled version of this on my
tape restoration blog at www.richardhess.com/notes/ and credit you as
the author along with input from members of the ARSC list.
I am including below, some of my comments on brands...the other comments
you have received about pressure pad lifters and foam pressure pads are
spot on. Maybe Mike Casey can also use this "crowd sourced" information
in FACET if he's planning on updating it. I've snipped the explanatory
text and have inserted my comments below.
At 11:42 PM 2010-05-04, Mark Campbell wrote:
>I am seeking advice on cassette manufacture brands/batches with
>Major Manufacturers - Analog Cassettes
It is my understanding that duplicator Agfa tape (i.e. sold on pancakes
to people who then loaded it into cassettes) is at least one of the
sources of squealing cassettes that are very difficult to control. Cold
playback and/or D5 lubrication are needed for some of these squealers.
We'll never know for sure, however, as these would all be unbranded as
to raw tape stock.
Despite the overwhelming need to bake Ampex's reel to reel product, my
limited experience with their cassettes did not indicate extensive
hydrolysis as in their reel tapes. The thinner coating may help explain
Generally very good, but one mis-treated tape is discussed here:
This type of damage appears to be limited to possibly abused (note the
stain on the label) FerroChrome cassettes which are the infamous Type 3
Have only had a few, but seem to be holding up well.
I have had tons of these and while some exhibit high-frequency loss, as
many cassettes do, otherwise these are lasting very well. This is mostly
type UD, UDXL, UDXLII, and MX
I think the same comments as Ampex apply. This is the name when Ampex
spun off their tape division and soon thereafter, 3M sold off their tape
I found their early 70s cassettes to be of relatively poor quality, and
some of their dictation grade cassettes suffer from the squeals, but my
understanding is those were 3rd-party manufactured.
I have not run into any problems with Sony cassettes, but late-60s,
early 70s PR-150 is horrid stuff--squeals.
I have not run into any problems with TDK
>Now, at the risk of offending some manufacturers (if they still exist)
>the second premis is that "off-brand" cassettes will be more difficult
>to playback due to myriad reasons.
>Off Brand list.
>Bell & Howell
>Capitol 1 (Same as Capitol?)
>Century Sound (Same as Century?)
>Concertape (Radio Shack)
I have had problems with reel-to-reel tapes of this brand, but much of
this is re-badged Ampex, so the same comments apply.
>International Recotape Corporation (IRC) Jaf
I have also seen a JIL in a Maxell-graphics-looking box that was Jutan
International or something like that. It was sold in Canada in the early
1980s and was NO Maxell.
The few of these I have transferred seemed to be OK. Lafayette was a
major NY City area distributor into the 1970s and perhaps the 1980s but
eventually became more like Radio Shack and then disappeared.
>Maxwell (NOT Maxell)
This is a 3M low-end brand (rejects?) that I've had problems with on
reel to reels.
This is Philips the people who invented the format and under the Norelco
and Philips brands are probably good tapes.
>Passport ((Manufactured by 3M)
>Pilipe (NOT Philips)
These two are the same source, just different brands. Same comments as
Soundcraft was a major and good manufacturer from the early days. I
don't know for sure about their cassettes, but their early acetate reels
have held up very well.
As the U.S. importer of Sony, these are probably Sony tapes.
>Superphonic (Zayre Corporation)
>Super-sound von Focitron
This was another Radio Shack brand as I recall...same caveats.
TEAC made recorders and may have made tape, but it is probably
rebranded. In general, I think it would be trusworth.
I did not flag all the equipment-manufacturer tapes, but, in general, I
think they were pretty good re-labels. Things like Hitachi, Goldstar,
etc. all come to mind.
I looked at the "dreaded when I get around to it" box of squealing tapes
and found the following brands:
No name - 6
Supertape Gold 60 - 2
Maxell shells that appear to be donor shells - 2, therefore: really NO
This is from a collection of about 500 cassettes stored in an air
conditioned home in Key West Florida, USA, or perhaps 2% of the
Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information:
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.