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Auto reverse cassette decks are notorious for bad azimuth alignment. Each and every tape needs to be checked for azimuth before transferring! I have a collection of cassettes made on Maratz PMD 510s and often each side has a different azimuth! Autoreverse decks are suiable only for casual recordings that donít have to sound good. But if they donít have to sound good why even bother?

I have moved to using Nakamichi decks with front panel azimuth adjustment, and checking *every* tape with a scope or other visual representation of the sound. Another advantage of the Naks is that they lift the pressure pad away from the head and use dual capstans for proper tension across the heads.

Iíve never had SSS with cassettes, but the cheaper brands do shed some, so clean heads often and thoroughly! It is likely that the azimuth drift is a large part of your problem. A job worth doing is worth doing well, with the besgt equipment you can afford.

<L>
Lou Judson
Intuitive Audio
415-883-2689

On Mar 31, 2018, at 3:15 AM, Tim Gillett <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Sometimes the small felt pressure pad in a cassette is faulty or has gone altogether. This can lead to poor or no sound and even tape chewing. It pays to check the pad is intact before playing. If it's missing the cassette shouldnt be played until the pad is replaced.
> 
> I believe that mostly, cassettes didnt have Sticky Shed issues. A few did deposit onto the heads.
> The only cassettes I've encountered which fouled the head were some Ampex and Denon and some unbranded types but there are probably others as well.
> It might be best to isolate which brands and types are causing the issue and treat them as a separate case, rather than have them  randomly mess things up for subsequent tapes.
> 
> The best way to clean the tape path is manually with cleaning fluid and Q Tips, under a strong light and with good magnification if needed. Unfortunately many later decks could be very difficult for manually cleaning the tape path. Even the well respected  Tascam 122 MkIII is very difficult to clean the tape path without a special cassette tool to fool the machine into operating for cleaning of the capstan and pinch roller.
> 
> Cheers,
> Tim.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "CJB" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2018 3:56 PM
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Sticky shed - clogged heads?
> 
> 
>> I wonder if you guys (generic term) could advise me on the problem I
>> am having. I am digitising hundreds of cassette tapes using a
>> Behringer UCA202. These are from the 1970s and are Ferro, Sony,
>> Scotch, Boots (own brand), BASF. Most are C120, some are C60.
>> 
>> I'm using a brand new Pioneer dual cassette deck with auto reverse -
>> in the hope of leaving it working unattended for a few hours at a
>> time. .
>> 
>> But the quality goes down, the level goes down, and the sound become
>> muffled after about a few have gone though. I think that they are
>> suffering from sticky-shed and clogging the heads.. Can I bake the
>> cassettes to make them more playable. I've tried tape head cleaners
>> but these do not really work.
>> 
>> Thank you - Chris B. 
> 
> 
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