I am a documentary radio producer working on a project where I need to digitize a half-dozen consumer cassette tapes of interviews conducted in the early 90s. I have not yet seen these tapes, but I’m trying to prepare ahead of time for likely problems I might encounter with trying to play these old tapes, which have been been stored in anything like optimum conditions (they have been in a shoebox in a closet without even plastic boxes to protect them). The main problems I have had in the past with old pro-quality cassettes of my own has been mechanical (the pads dry out/fall out and I have at times needed to transfer the tapes to a new shell). But I have also encountered tapes that are completely jammed and won’t play at all and also high-pitched squealing on playback. I have been following the recent discussion about various kinds of problems that befall RTR tapes, but my question is do the same problems happen with cassette tapes from the post-70s era and are the remedies the same (baking in a dehydrator for a TBD amount of time)? I’m assuming there are some unique problems dealing with archival cassettes, and I’d love to know what what symptoms to look for, and what is the state of the art in terms of how to deal with them. I’m sure this has been discussed in the past. If anyone can direct me to any articles online or previous posts on the subject, I would be greatly appreciative.
All the best,
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