Interesting posts here.  I think everyone who has messed with tapes made on
old battery powered cassette decks has experienced this problem, when the
batteries start to decline (and didn't they always?).  My comment is that
it isn't very hard to hear small changes in pitch with speaking.  Going up
or down a half step changes it pretty dramatically.  So it should be
possible to get the speed close to right, despite the fact that is was not
changing at a constant rate, just by listening and making the speech match
in tone.  Hopefully the pitch was right at the beginning, and if you can
get the sound of the spoken voices to match throughout the course of the
recording, the intelligibility should be maximum.

On the computer programs, you have to be sure to alter the pitch and speed
at the same time, as if in analog domain.  All the programs I have seen
give you this option.

Jamie's suggestions are good too, if this is something valuable.  There is
usually some kind of hum, and with luck, it might be constant if it was in
the room.  We don't live in very quiet environments, and low bass noises
fill an interior space much more than we are aware.

I had to get the pitch right for a short spoken recording by family
members, on a small, very warped instantaneous recording from the
mid-1940's that would not track at anything like the correct speed.  One of
the group being recorded was a violinist (Henri Temianka) who was going to
perform the Beethoven concerto the next day, and he whistled some of it as
a gag.  Since most violinists have perfect pitch, that gave me an easy clue
to pitch all of it.  That was a lucky break and it worked well.  But this
was not an instance of changing pitch.

A different but related problem is where we are faced with transcribing
transcription discs where the pitch changes across the disc, undoubtedly
because of a problem with the motor on the recording machine not being able
to keep the speed up in light of the heavy recording head advancing across
the disc.  The disc slowed down as it progressed, causing the pitch to rise
gradually on playback (I don't know what happens if the recording starts
from the inside moving out--maybe the opposite?).  From my experience,
which is admittedly limited with this particular problem, the rate of
change was constant, which is an easy fix these days.  Bit where batteries
are wearing out, I don't think we can expect a constant rate of change.

John Haley

On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 12:20 PM, Richard L. Hess <[log in to unmask]>

> Jamie,
> If you can live with up to 8-inch diameter 1/4-inch reels, the Racal Store
> 4DS can do 15/16 in/s with caveats.
> For cassettes, there was a Nakamichi deck that was astounding at 15/16
> in/s.
> I believe that the 680 also operated at that speed.
> Since I receive very few 15/16 in/s tapes, I am content to transfer them
> in a Dragon at 1 7/8 in/s and then slow down by 50 % in the computer.
> Cheers,
> Richard
> On 2/27/2016 1:18 AM, Jamie Howarth wrote:
>> Iā€™d love to find a mechanism that would do 15/16IPS ā€”ā€” anybody know of a
>> decent quality deck that will do that?
> --
> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.