My projects with cassettes are mainly radio program interviews, neither high quality music nor funky amateur recordings - just a bunch of programs where the reaal or hard drive originals were lost (don’t ask!). So we are making them as good as possible under the circumstances.
Izotope RX is the rescue for us! Brings a cassette back up to broadcast quality (ie FM radio of the 90s) and for retail sales. It is partly archival and partly commercial. But proper azimuth goes a long way to clear playback.
Can you tell me what you mean by “surface resonances?” I am accustomed to EQing out room resonances, but that is an acoustic phenomenon, not a recording media issue, in my work.
On Jan 20, 2016, at 1:29 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> YES on Memorex. In my experience, those enclosures tend to warp or something else happens where they squeeze the tape pack too tightly. I often end up replacing them. The tape seems to hold up just fine over time, though. Also the funky thick paper-ish leader tape.
> YES also on azimuth. Luckily, I haven't had to deal with too many high-fidelity music recordings on cassettes, except those I made myself. Azimuth is usually less of an issue with lo-fi oral history recordings. In those cases, it's more about trying to tame the hiss down without making the voices inaudible. I usually end up having to do plenty of digital processing to get maximum audibility. Luckily, it's all there in the old Bell System research -- make sure certain human-voice frequencies are OK and you can hi- and lo-pass the heck out of problem tapes. In my experience, the client's goal with oral histories is as much audibility of the spoken words as possible, not necessarily fidelity to the voice itself. Of course, optimally, you want both, but some recordings are just awful and it's pulling the needle (the audible words) out of the haystack of background noise, surface resonances, and tape hiss.
> -- Tom Fine