[Maybe OT]British Library National Audit of Sound Collections

Andrew Fear andy at virusplanet.demon.co.uk
Tue May 19 06:46:11 PDT 2015

On 19/05/2015 12:09, David Cantrell wrote:
> On Mon, May 18, 2015 at 05:16:03PM +0100, Jim web wrote:
>> In article <20150518113734.GA21641 at bytemark.barnyard.co.uk>, David
>> Cantrell <david at cantrell.org.uk> wrote:
>>>   So I bought a decent cassette deck, and a few modern
>>> commercial recordings just to make sure I had everything working
>>> properly. The commercial recordings played back OK, so I started feeding
>>> old demo tapes in and transferring them to CD. About half of them had
>>> very serious problems such as the tape getting tangled up, or
>>> stretching. After a dozen or so I just gave up.
>> You may have been unlucky.
> Possibly.
>>                             In recent years I've used a 2nd hand cassette
>> deck to make digital versions of many of my old cassettes. Up to now that's
>> worked fine for over a hundred tapes mainly made in the 1980s. (I switched
>> from R2R at the start of the 80s.)
>> That said, the tapes are Maxell, and the deck a Nak Cassette Deck 2. So the
>> deck may be treating the tapes more kindly than many decks.
> In this case the tapes are whatever unsigned bands consisting of
> impoverished students could buy in bulk. So cheap crap made out of swarf
> and brown paint probably.

I'd echo the comments of previous correspondent. I have some very crappy 
cassettes amongst my collection which date from the mid 1980s (some 
purchased at the rate of 4 or 5 for £1) which played back without any 
problems when they were recently digitised having been left in the loft 
or garage for well over a decade without attention. The only 
modifications i had to make were on a few where the foam in the playing 
track above the reading head had disintegrated and required replacement. 
I used a variety of equipment, but found the most success from a late 
model Sony Walkman which benefits from having exceptional access to the 
tape running mechanism and was therefore easy to untangle on the one 
tape which did fail. Given how cheaply cassette playback hardware can be 
bought for, it is well worth experimenting.


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