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25 years old cassettes unusable?

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

  1. JakeMcD

    JakeMcD Forum Resident

    So Central FL
    I recorded these from my long-gone Nak CR-7A 35 years ago. I kept them for posterity and haven't played them in over 30 years. I wonder how they sound.

    Rodant Kapoor likes this.
  2. Rodant Kapoor

    Rodant Kapoor Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI
    They probably sound fantastic, those SA-X TDK's are one of their best cassettes.
  3. soundboy

    soundboy Senior Member

    Back in the late 80s and early 90s, I would recording hour long radio dramas (i.e. Joe Frank shows) and broadcasts of "Hearts of Space" episodes from my local public radio station. I mostly used Maxell UR C-120 (60 mins. per side) for such recordings (recorded with Dolby B), but on occasions, I have used TDK D, Sony HF, and Radio Shack Supertape XR (all C-120s). None of these C-120s ever failed and the tapes still play fine today on my Aiwa portable cassette player.
  4. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Northwest, USA
    I been messing with tapes all my life till today. But been using 90 minutes till 2 years go, I got hooked up with 120 minutes tapes. I think its really important for some tapes especially if you haven't ran if for over 5 years. running it a full fast forward and rewind before you play or record.
    2 days ago, I was recording into a brand new 1985 Fuji 110 minute tape and almost at the end of the tape it stopped. Ive encountered a few of these symptoms from time to time and every time it does just toss it in my bin box and put another new one, and restart. This time, my recorder didn't start. It slowly burned the direct drive playback circuit of my Nakamichi BX-300. This trouble is probably been there little by little throughout the years and triggered it the last time. Its a good thing I have another BX-300. I just hope it doesn't happen again or early enough till I get my other deck up and running again so I have a backup.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
    markreed likes this.
  5. markreed

    markreed Forum Resident

    Good advice : if you haven't played a tape for 5 years, do a full ffwd>rewind of the whole tape at least once to bring the tension back to the tape.
  6. ti-triodes

    ti-triodes Forum Resident

    If the tape was recorded and stored well it should still sound great. Tapes I recorded decades ago on my Nak still sound excellent after a ff/rew tension. There have been reports, however of some TDK stuff getting mold issues but mine are all still fine.
  7. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Northwest, USA
    Yes and true. Basically my recordings done in 1982 I have no problem for they are stored correctly. The ones that are locking on me are the few new sealed tapes that I bought from sellers that who know what and where they came from....
  8. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    Better advice: Don't pack a tape with fast forward or rewind. The tape pancake will pack unevenly, with edges sticking out, that will crumple and curl in storage. Better to play the whole tape through the capstan at normal speed (or double speed on a dubbing deck). You'll see the difference through the cassette window - a smooth winding.
    BrettyD likes this.
  9. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Kozmik Kowboy

    Colorado foothills
    My oldest cassettes are Maxell UD from the early '70s. Still play just fine. The only old tapes that have deteriorated are a few BASF Professional II that sound all funky.

    My collection includes TDK, Maxell, Scotch and a LOT of Fuji Type I stuff that still holds up OK. Only the BASF are on the edge of perishing.
    jusbe likes this.
  10. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled meeeeee!

    United States
    Since I moved, i've uncovered boxes of old cassette tapes i've had since the 70s, and they play and sound great, even some of the prerecorded ones. I'm having fun! I found a brand new Scotch professional and some new TDK metal tapes. I have no reason to record them except to have some nostalgic fun. Uh, not using Dolby this time! I plan to dub some digital files.
    jusbe likes this.
  11. Vinny123

    Vinny123 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    As a side note, I had a nice Sony 615s w Dolby S and three heads. It sounded really nice until it crapped out. I ended up buying an entry level Sony Minidisc recorder. The thing sounded excellent! It also eventually died. Too bad, it really impressed me. I’ve never heard a great tape deck but it blew away the Sony 615s that I had.
    Grant likes this.
  12. jusbe

    jusbe Modern Melomaniac

    Auckland, NZ.
    Sounds reasonable. Until one encounters a tape or tape mechanism/reels/etc that stick and cause things to unspool or jam.

    I guess if you FF/REW first and then play, that approach may give reassurance all around. :cool:
  13. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled meeeeee!

    United States
    That's the same experience I had with my Sony TC-K6116 Dolby S deck. It sounded like a dream until it crapped out too.

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