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On 10/9/2018 1:47 PM, CJB wrote:
> Problems Digitising Cassettes.
> 
> I guess this is a project known by thousands maybe millions. However I
> am running up against problems. Remounting a spool of tap into another
> shell is easy enough. So too is reattaching lead in / out tape - 3M
> sticky tape is ideal, using a sharp pair of scissors to trim any
> overlap.
> 
> But the real problem is the actual playing of the cassette tapes.
> 
> I use iMic and Behringer devices for the actual digitisation,
> capturing with Audacity. I then do a Save As... in WAV, FLAC and MP3
> (320 kbps) formats.
> 
> I have a variety of double cassette decks - all relatively brand new.
> They have auto-reverse and switch from the first cassette tape to the
> second automatically.
> 
> I always clean the heads manually first, then run a head cleaning
> cassette, before mounting the cassettes. The cassettes are then
> rewound forwards and backwards to even up the tape layers.
> 
> I have to assume that the read head azimuth settings are OK. I have no
> way to adjust them.
> 
> So far so good.
> 
> BUT the digisations are far from perfect.
> 
> The first side of cassette one is nice and clear but the sound gets a
> little 'muddy' (loss of clarity and treble) towards the end of that
> side. The cassette then reverses direction and the 'muddiness' becomes
> more pronounced.
> 
> This effect is repeated when its the turn of the second cassette.
> 
> Sometimes when I'm busy after the second cassette has run its course,
> the first cassette starts up again. This time the recording has lost
> all treble, and the digitised recording s all but unlistenable.
> 
> This is driving me mad, and has wasted so much time. But it indicates
> a serious sticky-shed issue, likely exacerbated by the cassette
> pressure pad forcing contact onto the read head.

More likely your cassettes have azimuth problems.

> Now I have bought a second hand Nakamichi DR 10. This has one
> difference to the above decks. It has a cassette pressure pad lift-up
> device, so that the tape passes across the read head passes across
> with very little pressure. Hopefully this will keep the sticky-shed to
> a minimum.

The Nak has an easy-to-reach azimuth adjustment -- it's the slotted-head 
wheel to the right of the play head. Adjust while monitoring in MONO, 
tweaking for maximum treble output.

> 
> What I do find strange is that others maybe with even simpler tape
> players manage to digitise their cassettes with no reported quality
> issues.

They lucked out -- the cassettes were recorded with an azimuth that 
matched the playback head's.

Azimuth, not sticky shed, is the big issue with cassettes.

> CJB
> 

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