Standard cassette tapes do, sometimes, benefit from baking. We also have a standard cassette cleaner that wipes the front and back of the tape but we custom built it so it isn't something available on the market.
Another issue can be that the cassette shell design runs the tape over set plastic posts in the cassette right before the tape hits the guides/rollers in the cassettes (poor design from my point of view). These posts can accumulate a significant amount of debris if the tape is compromised. The debris can be removed by opening the cassette or simply changing the cassette shell.
The debris build-up on the posts usually isn't a big deal unless the tape is hydrolyzed (sticky shed) or has been exposed to significant contamination (we do disaster recovery).
I can understand people's hesitancy to bake audio cassettes if it may not be necessary but we have baked hundreds (thousands?) and have seen no ill effects.
SPECS BROS., LLC
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Audio and video restoration and re-mastering since 1983
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dan Gediman
Sent: Friday, June 1, 2018 12:58 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Question about baking cassette audio tapes
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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