We too have found that many Scotch 3M AVC Tenzar cassettes often have severe problems.

The inventive use of foam rubber pressure pads glued to rigid metal plates instead of the traditional felt pressure pad glued to a piece of springy metal causes the problem, as Shai describes.  The foam loses its resiliency over time and, at the first modern contact with head or finger, compresses flat, never recovers its foaminess, and often sprinkles bits of its former self throughout the housing and your deck.  So there is no longer any pressure behind behind the tape to push it against the head for satisfactory contact.  A properly back-tensioned deck might provide enough contact, but that's asking a lot of most cassette decks.  We have found rehousing in a new, modern pressure pad shell, with a thorough cleaning to remove residue, to be our only recourse.  Cleverly, these cassettes are not screw-type housings - you must break apart the original shell (generally extremely well-glued), which contributes even more debris to the process.  Dust often.

Not all Scotch 3M AVC series cassettes have the foam/rigid metal pressure pad system - in our experience, the most likely problem candidates have dark, smokey grey cassette shells.  We have other cassettes with the same branding and product number in clear original shells with conventional felt pad/spring metal pressure pad systems that appear to play back with significantly less adventure.

A quick glance at the pressure pad will reveal the potential problem cassettes quickly.  Any cassette with a foam pressure pad will likely be problematic.

Mark Hood
Project Audio Engineer
Sound Directions
IU Archives of Traditional Music

On 5/5/10 5:07 AM, "Shai Drori" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Scotch 3M used foam instead of felt for head contact. Foam disintegrates
and dirties the tape, the transport and your hands. Must be vacuumed off
and tape played on a back tension player such as Nak
Same goes for 70's Ampex with black plastic case.


On 5/5/2010 5:42 AM, Mark Campbell wrote:
> Hi all,
> I am seeking advice on cassette manufacture brands/batches with playback
> issues.

> Thanks all.
> Mark
> Mark Campbell
> Audio Manager
> Phone 61 2  62461141
> Fax 61 2 6261 4282