Wow & flutter: is it the tapes or the tape deck?
July 2, 2014 11:36 AM Subscribe
I am beginning to digitize some old cassette tapes but have run into a problem: many of the cassettes have significant speed/pitch variations on playback. I can't figure out if the problem is the tapes or the tape deck (or both).
posted by googly to Technology (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Background: I am beginning to digitize about 30 cassette tapes that contain music from bands that I was in. These tapes are from the late 1980s-mid 1990s, as is the Technics dual cassette tape deck that I am using for playback. The tapes are in good condition, having sat unplayed in a shoebox in the basement since the mid-90s, as is the tape deck, which has also sat unused in a basement since the mid-90s.
The problem: during playback, many of the tapes experience serious speed/pitch variation, and a 'crinkly' noise, primarily at the beginning of the tapes. I have tried lightly cleaning the tapes, and rewinding them all the way several times, but this doesn't seem to help.
My problem is that I can't tell whether the problem is in the old tapes or the old tape deck's old motor, either of which could be the culprit. I don't have access to any other tape decks to test the tapes (that's right: no one I know has a tape deck). These tapes have significant sentimental value, so I'm willing to buy a new tape deck if necessary, but would rather not spend the money for a one-time project if I can avoid it. What should I do?