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My first thought is that the tape suffers from sticky shed syndrome. 
That might explain the irregular speeds, and may be some of the drop out.

Do you know, was it recorded on a battery operated machine? The speed 
issues may have been recorded on the tape that way.

One may wonder why he used a commercial tape to record over? Didn't want 
to waste tape for an artist he did not care for?

joe salerno

Robert Richard wrote:
> Hello ARSD,
>  
> I'm having difficulties in digitizing one specific audio cassette. A historian use this cassette, recorded over, to interview individuals (folklore) and himself. Originally, this cassette contained instrumental music (produced commercially).
>  
> Even after fast forwarding and rewinding the above cassette, the tape speed playback was very problematic (inaudible: dragging, fluctuating speeds, stops). To remedy, I've successfully transferred the tape into another housing, changed spools (Maxell UR).
>  
> Results? Playback speeds fluctuation are almost resolved (some problematic portions), and playback will stops abruptly (one specific portion). The tape doesn't seem to be soiled or dirty.
>  
> Any suggestions? From many others alternatives, I could isolate problematic portions, then splice them into another housing. I've even played this cassette with the unused decks (two double cassette decks).
>  
> The above issue seems to be tape quality related.
>  
> Thanks for your patience and replies.
>  
>  
>  
>  
> Robert Richard
> 
> Centre d'études acadiennes Anselme-Chiasson
> Université de Moncton
> Moncton, Nouveau-Brunswick E1A 3E9
> Canada
> 
> 506-858-4724
>