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25 years old cassettes unusable?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Vinny123, Nov 26, 2021.

  1. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    I have probably close to 1000 cassettes, the majority acquired in trades over a few decades. My oldest cassettes date to the 1970s. I have yet to find a tape in my collection that does not play, or "went bad" while in storage. Maybe I got lucky? I store them all in case logic boxes in a closet.

    The bigger problem for me is, finding someone local that can service my decks for a fair price.

    I will say that the advice a few posts back to "unpack" the tapes before playing them (i.e. fast forward and rewind) is indeed sound advice.
     
    jusbe, cnolanh and Classic Car Guy like this.
  2. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    you can still get a new production type I that are in the "better" category. Its very hard to get an old quality and well stored tapes nowadays.
     
  3. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Incase you need someone to work on your Nakamichi and I don't know how far are you from VA. You wanna get in touch with this guy @perryinva . He's very well know and expert on those machines...
     
    johnny q and cnolanh like this.
  4. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    Great to know, thanks. Well, I have family in VA. but me and my Naks are here in New Jersey :)
     
  5. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    Baking tapes is a process that professionals who need to do it have worked out what generally works, and I would expect this info is shared in their professional networks. I do recall reading somewhere on the interweb (maybe this forum) where the procedure was described. The effectiveness varies with the condition of the tape and the formulation of the tape, so there is always experimentation and risk. It is also a situation where there is little to lose given the tapes can't be used in their unbaked condition. If there are multiple tapes they would do them individually so if one bake didn't work, they could vary the procedure for the next tape. I read that once a tape is successfully baked, that the first thing done is to make a dub of the tape, because the baking is only a temporary solution. I would welcome anyone experienced in baking to elaborate on my comments and to correct any errors in my perceptions of it.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  6. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
  7. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    well if everything works out in your conversation, you can ship it to him...
    The one thing I can share with you guys.. Cassette technicians are different from radio TV guys. There are a few steps needed to make the machine work right in "long term". Honestly I wont take my machine to just anyone and retrofit just any belts to make it work. The transport, pinch roller arm and all moving parts like worm gear, door .. etc. There are probably 3 different types of grease you need to use on certain machines and certain parts. The belts has to be the correct width, thickness that includes tensions so when they install it, it balanced. Anything out of that will result an excessive wow and flutter especially in the long run. The cassette deck has to be dialed correctly not just on speed but the roller tensions, correct azimuth, correct audio output so and so forth. During these works on proper change belts and tires, if your technician gives you labor estimate that's very cheap, it means somewhere along that job, there is a quality that is about to get compromise. I wont go for it myself. The nakamichi are rock solid decks and they are built to last. But if the motor gets toasted because of the wrong tension (or something else and just an example) and the parts are not off the shelf, then you'll be needing a donor.. If you follow me.
    So more time will be involve.
     
    johnny q likes this.
  8. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Why are you guys even using cassettes is my question.
     
    Bill Larson and harby like this.
  9. Mark Shred

    Mark Shred Fiery the angels fell..........

    Location:
    Pendle
    Maybe I'm lucky , but I have 40 year old tapes that are doing fine.
     
    jusbe and vwestlife like this.
  10. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Baking sticky tapes can be a life saver. But you never use an oven. You use a food dehydrator, and you run it at about 130 degree F for about 8 hours.

    I once ran across a prerecorded cassette that was so sticky that it literally broke the capstan belt on one of my machines a number of years ago. But after the baking it, the tape played perfectly, allowing me to dub the contents.
     
    A Grain of Sand likes this.
  11. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Never done it before. This might be the answer to the brand new tape that quit in the middle while recording..
    Thanks,,,,

    Merry X'Mas.. That's all you gotta know.,,,:-plnktn-:

    [​IMG]
     
    johnny q likes this.
  12. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    I agree with all of this, 100%

    It's not so much that I can't find anyone to work on my Naks (there are 2 known "experts" near where I live) it's the insane prices that are being asked. I guess I need to get over this, as this skill has become a niche market at best. But I just can't see paying the $600+ prices I was quoted locally, to "fix" my Nakamichi DR3, a deck that retailed for around $450 in the '90s. Now, to your point, it's not just replacing my seized up motor, they will be doing a total restoration and I would hazard a guess that the deck would last me until the good Lord calls me home, but still!

    But that is the reality in regards to the available expertise and prices. I am also a bit lazy about giving the DR3 attention because my DR1 is working just fine (for now);)
     
    Classic Car Guy likes this.
  13. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
  14. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I only ever had such a severe case of sticky-shed syndrome happen to me once with cassettes (although I've encountered it dozens of times with R2R). Unlike with R2R, relatively few cassettes were assembles with Ampex or Scotch tape inside of them. Fortunately most of the Japanese and European brands of magnetic tape never had this issue.
     
  15. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Thanks... I counted it a few minutes ago and an accumulation of 5 years in recording I have 17 new ones that I stopped in the middle. If it does, I don't fight it anymore with rewind and ffwd. I just take it off and put a brand new one. Some of these tapes I probably got here and there which I think those are the ones. Probably about 6 Fuji's, 8 BASF and the rest are Lasers (which are test tapes). Although these are all brand new, its still not bad out of over a thousand recordings.
    I don't know, neither experience or haven't tried baking. It really depends if I'll gonna do it atleast I should have a bit more than the ones I set aside.
    Or I don't know if I'll do a quick wind on my cassette speech duplicator. That thing has a lightning fast rewind.
     
  16. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    ... Yes absolutely. I think $600 is crazy and I didn't even know its that much for a DR-3. There will be others along the way. Talk about a nice deck I just lost a deal on a nice recording deck. Macster and I are looking and I found a nice 682. Turned out to be a jack in the box. There goes the X'mas acquisition...
    Merry X'mas to all. We'll all chat tonight before the X'mas dinner. I just need to catch up some sleep for a bit. Take care...
    Last night I fell asleep with DJ Scratch using her as a pillow. When I woke up, her foot is in my mouth....:doh:
     
    johnny q likes this.
  17. jusbe

    jusbe Modern Melomaniac

    Location:
    Auckland, NZ.
    Can't speak for others. Only myself.

    It's fun. It connects to a time of my life I enjoyed. It allows me to 'lean into' my hobby a bit more and experiment. That's mostly it. Oh, and I like the impermanence of it all and the fallibility because it reminds me I won't live forever and me and my tapes can decay together.

    I like taking time out from worrying if what I'm hearing is at the bleeding edge of audio, and only concerning myself with whether it's pleasing to me right now.
     
  18. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Blanks don't normally deteriorate. Recordings sometimes do because the magnetisation might fade, but you said you made fresh recordings on blanks so it's a non-issue. Also, recordings made onto metal tapes are the least prone to this problem.

    However, metal tapes can only be recorded on machines that have a metal/type IV setting (Though they can be played on all machines that have a type II setting. even type I if you can tolerate improper EQ). You never mentioned if your thrift store deck does. If it doesn't it can't record properly because it'll apply to weak a current to thoroughly magnetise a metal tape. That seems the most likely reason for the warbling.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2021
  19. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    I want to play my existing tapes from yesteryear. I certainly don't make new recordings, except for testing if a given deck is still good.
     
    Tone? likes this.
  20. rfs

    rfs Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lansing, MI USA
    I tolerate hiss much better than clicks or pops. Also, I sold off most of my records in the aughts but kept my tapes, most of which play fine to this day.
     
    jusbe and Tone? like this.
  21. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco

    I can’t totally understand that.

    thanks for the explanation.

    made sense.

    cheers
     
  22. jusbe

    jusbe Modern Melomaniac

    Location:
    Auckland, NZ.
    Can't?
     
  23. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco

    Can

    Sheesh.

    dumb spell check.
     
    BrettyD and jusbe like this.
  24. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Its Friday and recording time..... Wooowh I'm running out of music...:sweating:
     
    GyroSE likes this.
  25. Probably depends on the company who made the tapes. I've had older cassettes hold up much better to some of the newer cassettes that I've purchased.
     

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