Cassette Tape Speed Calibration

3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
I calibrated the tape speed all of 4 my Yamaha decks this past Saturday. The ceramic tipped screw drivers arrived, I had my tape, and multimeter with frequency measuring capability. The multimeter was an absolute bust ....i could not use it. I ended up using an Android app called Advanced Spectrum Abalyzer Pro by Vuche labs and the on board mic of the tablet. I chose to calibrate the KX800 first, the one with the recent belt replacement. Turns out, it playing the 3KHz tape at 3KHz so that machine was good. I then calibrated the KX1200 which was off by a 100Hz. It played too fast. This backed up my original findings via the ear and I know now that the KX1200 played fast. This means I have to rerecord between 12 to 20 cassettes. I calibrated the other KX800 which was just slightly faster, and the K700 which was also quite fast.
 
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mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
I calibrated the tape speed all of 4 my Yamaha decks this past Saturday. The ceramic tipped screw drivers arrived, I had my tape, and multimeter with frequency measuring capability. The multimeter was an absolute bust ....i could not use it. I ended up using an Android app called Advanced Spectrum Abalyzer Pro by Vuche labs and the on board mic of the tablet. I chose to calibrate the KX800 first, the one with the recent belt replacement. Turns out, it playing the 3KHz tape at 3KHz so that machine was good. I then calibrated the KX1200 which was off by a 100Hz. It played too fast. This backed up my original findings via the ear and I know now that the KX1200 played fast. This means I have to rerecord between 12 to 20 cassettes. I calibrated the other KX800 which was just slightly faster, and the K700 which was also quite fast.
Wish I had those problems. ;) :eek:

But not really :D
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Field Marshall
Wow. That seems to be a lot of work for cassette decks. I never calibrated any of mine just recorded and played them on the same deck unless I used them in my car. I got out of cassettes sometime after 2008 and was hardly using them then. I still look at Naks on Ebay so I guess I never really lost the itch. :)
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
I'm pretty sure I still have some old cassettes layin' 'round here somewhere...

Hey, don't they wear out after time? Is there a way to preserve the recording or copy it without losing anything?
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Field Marshall
You know there is a relief for that, some Hydrocordisone cream 1% or is that Hydra cream? ;) :D
I guess next time I'm on Ebay looking at Naks I'll have to check that out too. :)
 
C

Chris in Dallas

Junior Audioholic
I'm pretty sure I still have some old cassettes layin' 'round here somewhere...

Hey, don't they wear out after time? Is there a way to preserve the recording or copy it without losing anything?
Mine have become patchy over the years. The magnetic material does seem to have lost some of its adherence. This is not a review of cassettes in general.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
I know of few as dedicated to cassettes as 3dB! Couldn't be bothered myself....digital is so much easier.
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Field Marshall
I know of few as dedicated to cassettes as 3dB! Couldn't be bothered myself....digital is so much easier.
Yeah LPs are even easier no fast forward or reverse just place the needle in the groove of the song you want to play. Still nothing as easy as digital.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Yeah LPs are even easier no fast forward or reverse just place the needle in the groove of the song you want to play. Still nothing as easy as digital.
Nah, you still gotta flip 'em. Some cassette decks had continuous playback, tho :)
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Field Marshall
Since I never had a cassette deck with continuous playback I always had to flip them too. :)
But yeah for convenience digital rules.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Hey, don't they wear out after time? Is there a way to preserve the recording or copy it without losing anything?
They certainly have their problems! Reel to Reel has the same problems except many aspects are improved since there is so much more tape to hold the information (both due to wider tape and much faster travel speed. Cassettes pushed the limits and it was a testimony to the enthusiasm and ingenuity directed at HiFi of the day that they actually became a pretty good sounding media within a decade of their introduction into the market. I wish I still had my old Nak to compare my old tapes vs a CD of the same music!

As far as magnetic tape, the metal particles sluff off especially if they pass over a head that already has some accrual of particles (not recently cleaned and playing older tapes that are more prone to decay). The metal particles can rust if exposed to humidity. Even a new tape, you will hear a faint start to the music before the real start comes - this is where the blank tape is laying against the next layer where the music starts and the magnetic charge bleeds from one layer to the other. Obviously, this bleeding will occur with metal particles positioned adjacent to each other such that the "crispness" of the recording will gradually be reduced. I have never seen any real attempt to predict the life of a cassette recording with any accuraccy. Lots of factors at ply including what your standard is for a usable tape. Obviously, if it is a recording of your baby's first words or other speech, it will last longer than if it is highly dynamic music (with very strong and very weak charges close together).

But I will always have a love of the cassette because of how it allowed me to take music into the car (before CDs) without too much concern about the heat of the sun or other damage (since I was recording from LP's and could always make another cassette if worse came to worse). I also used cassettes for my home listening to preserve my LP's and slow the accrual of snap, crackle, pop! The recordings I made and played back on my Nak did not lose much at all to the original and I only broke out the vinyl for special occasions!

I never understood commercial cassettes because they sucked for SQ. I was also impressed at how much better the cassette sounded if played back on the same deck that recorded it although I had a couple of car decks that did a good job with the Nak recordings from the standpoint of listening to music when road noise was in play!

8 tracks were never really a thing in my experience, but I'm not exactly sure why they were so short lived! Does anyone know the story here?
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
My Technics dual cassette in the mid 90’s could play both sides of each tape and skip songs like a cd. (It fast forwarded or rewinded really fast to next song).
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Field Marshall
They certainly have their problems! Reel to Reel has the same problems except many aspects are improved since there is so much more tape to hold the information (both due to wider tape and much faster travel speed. Cassettes pushed the limits and it was a testimony to the enthusiasm and ingenuity directed at HiFi of the day that they actually became a pretty good sounding media within a decade of their introduction into the market. I wish I still had my old Nak to compare my old tapes vs a CD of the same music!

As far as magnetic tape, the metal particles sluff off especially if they pass over a head that already has some accrual of particles (not recently cleaned and playing older tapes that are more prone to decay). The metal particles can rust if exposed to humidity. Even a new tape, you will hear a faint start to the music before the real start comes - this is where the blank tape is laying against the next layer where the music starts and the magnetic charge bleeds from one layer to the other. Obviously, this bleeding will occur with metal particles positioned adjacent to each other such that the "crispness" of the recording will gradually be reduced. I have never seen any real attempt to predict the life of a cassette recording with any accuraccy. Lots of factors at ply including what your standard is for a usable tape. Obviously, if it is a recording of your baby's first words or other speech, it will last longer than if it is highly dynamic music (with very strong and very weak charges close together).

But I will always have a love of the cassette because of how it allowed me to take music into the car (before CDs) without too much concern about the heat of the sun or other damage (since I was recording from LP's and could always make another cassette if worse came to worse). I also used cassettes for my home listening to preserve my LP's and slow the accrual of snap, crackle, pop! The recordings I made and played back on my Nak did not lose much at all to the original and I only broke out the vinyl for special occasions!

I never understood commercial cassettes because they sucked for SQ. I was also impressed at how much better the cassette sounded if played back on the same deck that recorded it although I had a couple of car decks that did a good job with the Nak recordings from the standpoint of listening to music when road noise was in play!

8 tracks were never really a thing in my experience, but I'm not exactly sure why they were so short lived! Does anyone know the story here?
Hi Kurt I had a Soundesign all in one unit with an 8 track play/ record deck included back in the mid 70s. Recorded a bunch of tapes with assorted songs from the cheap phono. Anyway I had enough of them that I bought a Centrex by Pioneer player to play 8 tracks on my 1st real hi fi that I purchased in the late 70s. Later I bought a Kraco car stereo with an 8 track about 1980. Bottom line the 8 tracks had 4 different tracks to access the music and they had an annoying habit of switching to the next track in the middle of a song. Very distracting and they did tend to jam way more than any cassette deck that I ever owned, Bottom line it was a failed media and I stuck with it way longer than I should have. Cassettes were a Godsend when I got into them.
 
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Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
They certainly have their problems! Reel to Reel has the same problems except many aspects are improved since there is so much more tape to hold the information (both due to wider tape and much faster travel speed. Cassettes pushed the limits and it was a testimony to the enthusiasm and ingenuity directed at HiFi of the day that they actually became a pretty good sounding media within a decade of their introduction into the market. I wish I still had my old Nak to compare my old tapes vs a CD of the same music!

As far as magnetic tape, the metal particles sluff off especially if they pass over a head that already has some accrual of particles (not recently cleaned and playing older tapes that are more prone to decay). The metal particles can rust if exposed to humidity. Even a new tape, you will hear a faint start to the music before the real start comes - this is where the blank tape is laying against the next layer where the music starts and the magnetic charge bleeds from one layer to the other. Obviously, this bleeding will occur with metal particles positioned adjacent to each other such that the "crispness" of the recording will gradually be reduced. I have never seen any real attempt to predict the life of a cassette recording with any accuraccy. Lots of factors at ply including what your standard is for a usable tape. Obviously, if it is a recording of your baby's first words or other speech, it will last longer than if it is highly dynamic music (with very strong and very weak charges close together).

But I will always have a love of the cassette because of how it allowed me to take music into the car (before CDs) without too much concern about the heat of the sun or other damage (since I was recording from LP's and could always make another cassette if worse came to worse). I also used cassettes for my home listening to preserve my LP's and slow the accrual of snap, crackle, pop! The recordings I made and played back on my Nak did not lose much at all to the original and I only broke out the vinyl for special occasions!

I never understood commercial cassettes because they sucked for SQ. I was also impressed at how much better the cassette sounded if played back on the same deck that recorded it although I had a couple of car decks that did a good job with the Nak recordings from the standpoint of listening to music when road noise was in play!

8 tracks were never really a thing in my experience, but I'm not exactly sure why they were so short lived! Does anyone know the story here?
What an awesome reply! When you liked my post a little bit ago I knew you were working on a good reply, lol. I have a lot of experience with cassettes but not the technical side of how they worked, what made them tick, how to adjust etc. Nada. I have never had or even used a reel to reel. You just dropped some major knowledge on me!

When I grew up it was always commercial cassettes in my home. My mom actually had a pretty decent 2 channel receiver/cassette player (I realized much later that it was actually pretty nice for the time) and belonged to a tape club. I fell in love with it. My music (at that time mostly Disney music tapes and read along books) sounded so much better on her stereo than on my little red tape player with the big pastel colored buttons. Anyhoo, I wanted a stereo so my mom gave it to me on one of my birthdays because we couldn't really afford to buy one. I think I was only 7 or 8. I was an Audioholic at an early age!

She also used to let me pick cassettes from her books too. How those worked back then was you'd get like "14 for a penny!", but then are obligated to buy one or 2 every month or be sent their pick of the month. My mom's tape club is how I discovered AC/DC (I picked it because it had "Hell" in the title, lol. Kids.). Once I heard them it was all over. I've been a headbanger ever since.

I got pretty good at performing surgery on cassettes and splicing sections back together that would get eaten by the occasional rogue car deck tho.
 
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davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Field Marshall
What an awesome reply! When you liked my post a little bit ago I knew you were working on a good reply, lol. I have a lot of experience with cassettes but not the technical side of how they worked, what made them tick, how to adjust etc. Nada. I have never had or even used a reel to reel. You just dropped some major knowledge on me!

When I grew up it was always commercial cassettes in my home. My mom actually had a pretty decent 2 channel receiver/cassette player (I realized much later that it was actually pretty nice for the time) and belonged to a tape club. I fell in love with it. My music sounded so much better on her stereo than on my little red tape player with the big pastel colored buttons so my mom gave it to me on one of my birthdays because we couldn't really afford to buy one. I think I was only 7 or 8. I was an Audioholic at an early age!

She also used to let me pick cassettes from her books too. How those worked back then was you'd get like "14 for a penny!", but then are obligated to buy one or 2 every month or be sent their pick of the month. My mom's tape club is how I discovered AC/DC (I picked it because it had "Hell" in the title). Once I heard them it was all over. I've been a headbanger ever since.

I got pretty good at performing surgery on cassettes and splicing sections back together that would get eaten by the occasional rogue car deck.
Try performing that surgery on an 8 track tape if you want a challenge. :)
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Try performing that surgery on an 8 track tape if you want a challenge. :)
I don't remember us having an 8 track, but I knew people who did. I was pretty young in those days when they had a little steam behind them. They didn't last long tho.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
My dedication to the casette deck is for the reason of preserving the vinyl of some old blues albums and some rock bands that I cannot find digitally. I know I can buy a USB equipped turntable and do it digitally but I dont want another turntable, even temporarily. With onboard dbx2 , the tapes are as good as the source be it vinyl or CD. Impossible to tell the difference between source and recording.

I calibrated 4 decks in less than hour and they wont need calibration again for a very long time. It was a fun learning exercise. :) Just thought I'd share my experience..... :)
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
I calibrated the tape speed all of 4 my Yamaha decks this past Saturday. The ceramic tipped screw drivers arrived, I had my tape, and multimeter with frequency measuring capability. The multimeter was an absolute bust ....i could not use it. I ended up using an Android app called Advanced Spectrum Abalyzer Pro by Vuche labs and the on board mic of the tablet. I chose to calibrate the KX800 first, the one with the recent belt replacement. Turns out, it playing the 3KHz tape at 3KHz so that machine was good. I then calibrated the KX1200 which was off by a 100Hz. It played too fast. This backed up my original findings via the ear and I know now that the KX1200 played fast. This means I have to rerecord between 12 to 20 cassettes. I calibrated the other KX800 which was just slightly faster, and the K700 which was also quite fast.
Or, you could mark the cases and ONLY play them on the KX1200 and the pitch will be fine.
 

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