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Daw to Cassette
Old 25th July 2020
  #1
Daw to Cassette

I have very rudimentary knowledge in this field so please bear with me.

I'm looking to record my masters to cassette. What are my best ways of going about this with either new or old gear?

I've done some browsing and found a fairly new Tascam deck with USB, but unfortunately only in one direction (tape to pc). Perhaps somebody knows of a model that has USB in!

If that's not an option I'm wondering if just going out of my interface straight to a deck would be a good way to go about it, or if I could get better results with a multitrack, which I don't see the point of given I will just do stereo out from the PC.

Please share your thoughts or your way of doing it here.


Cheers,
Sonny
Old 25th July 2020
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny Casanovas View Post
I have very rudimentary knowledge in this field so please bear with me.

I'm looking to record my masters to cassette. What are my best ways of going about this with either new or old gear?

I've done some browsing and found a fairly new Tascam deck with USB, but unfortunately only in one direction (tape to pc). Perhaps somebody knows of a model that has USB in!

If that's not an option I'm wondering if just going out of my interface straight to a deck would be a good way to go about it, or if I could get better results with a multitrack, which I don't see the point of given I will just do stereo out from the PC.

Please share your thoughts or your way of doing it here.


Cheers,
Sonny
Just use the analog outputs from your audio interface to go straight into the cassette deck. Remember to set the levels on the deck for the type of tape you're using (normal bias, "chrome", "metal", etc.) and whether or not you're using noise reduction. (The new Tascam cassette decks don't come with Dolby noise reduction, and while they offer something they claim is "compatible", I believe it's only available for playback anyway, not recording.) If you record with Dolby or dbx noise reduction, you can (usually) hit the tape a bit harder. BUT...Dolby and dbx noise reduction efficiency is tied to the tape speed. If you record on one deck and play back on another, the speeds invariably will be different. In that case, the noise reduction won't "track" properly, and your recording simply won't sound as good as it may have on the deck where you recorded it.

I seriously doubt you'll find a cassette deck with a USB input, since it would then have to convert the digital audio that comes in via USB to analog -- and you wouldn't be able to set the recording levels. So, you might as well forget that and just dump your recordings to a two-track cassette deck just like you would if you were copying a CD.

And FWIW, use the shortest tape length you can find. Anything over 60 minutes usually has a thinner tape base, which is more prone to stretching...and destroying your "master".

Steve
Old 25th July 2020
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Kronos147's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny Casanovas View Post
What are my best ways of going about this with either new or old gear?
Something to consider is that the output of your interface (typically balanced), should match the input of the cassette deck.

There are some pro cassette decks that have balanced ins.
Old 26th July 2020
  #4
Lives for gear
 
syntheticrhyme's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny Casanovas View Post
I have very rudimentary knowledge in this field so please bear with me.

I'm looking to record my masters to cassette. What are my best ways of going about this with either new or old gear?

I've done some browsing and found a fairly new Tascam deck with USB, but unfortunately only in one direction (tape to pc). Perhaps somebody knows of a model that has USB in!

If that's not an option I'm wondering if just going out of my interface straight to a deck would be a good way to go about it, or if I could get better results with a multitrack, which I don't see the point of given I will just do stereo out from the PC.

Please share your thoughts or your way of doing it here.


Cheers,
Sonny
In the old days, many people used to master to S-VHS tapes. That's always another option.
Old 27th July 2020
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Its not that complicated really. Make sure you have a nice deck, I love my Tascam 112 mk2, Tascam 302... people always say ‘wow thats playing off a cassette??’... type 2 bias is good enuf, 60min length has more durable tape that wont stretch or snap easily, as was states earlier above... you can push the levels & experiment with that, see how the tape responds, get to know it! And most importantly, dont listen to the naysayers!

Balanced Ins do make a difference, albeit subtle, but real. I dont think it should be a dealbreaker though if it only has RCA inputs.
About noise reduction, Ive found that DBX is less intrusive an effect than Dolby, which seems to really step all over the upper frequencies. If you have a solid deck & use quality tapes like the Maxell XLII or XLII-S the noise floor is pretty darn low to begin with, you probably wont even need NR. I rarely encounter hiss on my decks, and when I play my tapes on other decks theres very low to zero hiss.
Old 27th July 2020
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by INDEED View Post
Its not that complicated really. Make sure you have a nice deck, I love my Tascam 112 mk2, Tascam 302... people always say ‘wow thats playing off a cassette??’... type 2 bias is good enuf, 60min length has more durable tape that wont stretch or snap easily, as was states earlier above... you can push the levels & experiment with that, see how the tape responds, get to know it! And most importantly, dont listen to the naysayers!

Balanced Ins do make a difference, albeit subtle, but real. I dont think it should be a dealbreaker though if it only has RCA inputs.
About noise reduction, Ive found that DBX is less intrusive an effect than Dolby, which seems to really step all over the upper frequencies. If you have a solid deck & use quality tapes like the Maxell XLII or XLII-S the noise floor is pretty darn low to begin with, you probably wont even need NR. I rarely encounter hiss on my decks, and when I play my tapes on other decks theres very low to zero hiss.
All good points here. My initial point about noise reduction was more tied to Dolby, anyway. I've found that if the deck speed is correct (and most aren't), Dolby tracks properly and can help with noise reduction in higher frequencies.

But I'd watch out for dbx noise reduction. I liked it on the decks I had. But so few have it that it's not worth using, since you can't move from deck to deck. And unlike Dolby "B" (or Dolby "C"), leaving it off on playback really isn't an option; you'll definitely hear the artifacts as noise.

Steve
Old 27th July 2020
  #7
Thanks for the great answers. A couple of questions that spring to mind...

- Should I opt for something that records at high speed for better quality?
- Will I do myself a favor if I get a deck with three heads so that I can monitor while recording?
- Are certain decks or mixers better suited for one or the other (recording or listening), and if so, could someone point me in the direction of something that's good for recording?

Thanks,
Sonny

Last edited by Sonny Casanovas; 27th July 2020 at 11:17 AM.. Reason: three heads, not decks.
Old 27th July 2020
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny Casanovas View Post
Thanks for the great answers. A couple of questions that spring to mind...

- Should I opt for something that records at high speed for better quality?
- Will I do myself a favor if I get a deck with three decks so that I can monitor while recording?
- Are certain decks or mixers better suited for one or the other (recording or listening), and if so, could someone point me in the direction of something that's good for recording?

Thanks,
Sonny
I guess we assumed you were "mastering" to a cassette for a reason. But almost anything will record at a higher speed and give you better quality than a cassette.

"High speed" does not necessarily equal "better quality", but all reel-to-reel decks record at at least twice the speed of cassette decks; most usually start at 4x the cassette's speed. And their wider track widths result in better quality recordings with a higher signal-to-noise ratio and better recording of higher frequencies.

A deck with separate record and playback heads would allow you to hear what you've recorded as you're still recording it, but they're very expensive and relatively rare now (as most good cassette decks are). These decks usually have better specs for wow & flutter and frequency response, but that's because they're "pro" cassette decks, not because they have separate heads.

There are cassette decks that record at double the standard cassette speed. But you don't really gain much in frequency response, and you guarantee that you won't be able to play the deck back on pretty much anything else. Also, you could have more problems with the deck's built-in noise reduction system, since it may only be calibrated for the standard recording and playback speed of 1-7/8 inches per second.

You may need to decide why you're "mastering" to cassette. It doesn't sound like it's because you wanted "that cassette sound", which is pretty much the only reason to master to cassette. If you're trying to get "that tape sound", you're opening up a different can of worms. Reel-to-reel tapes and recorders will get you "that tape sound", and they will sound better than cassette, but they're considerably more expensive.

(For what it's worth, I put "mastering" in quotes because mastering to cassette is different from mastering to anything else, and is not the same as just dumping the song to cassette. If you know how to get the most out of a cassette's S/N ratio and frequency response, then you're probably ready to master to a cassette. If you're just going to hook your audio interface up to a cassette deck and hit "Rec" on the deck, you're not "mastering"; you're just dumping a song to a cassette, and you're not getting the most out of the cassette's sound. And that's okay, if that's your intention. But it's not "mastering".)

Steve
Old 27th July 2020
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowsOfLife View Post
I guess we assumed you were "mastering" to a cassette for a reason. But almost anything will record at a higher speed and give you better quality than a cassette.

"High speed" does not necessarily equal "better quality", but all reel-to-reel decks record at at least twice the speed of cassette decks; most usually start at 4x the cassette's speed. And their wider track widths result in better quality recordings with a higher signal-to-noise ratio and better recording of higher frequencies.

A deck with separate record and playback heads would allow you to hear what you've recorded as you're still recording it, but they're very expensive and relatively rare now (as most good cassette decks are). These decks usually have better specs for wow & flutter and frequency response, but that's because they're "pro" cassette decks, not because they have separate heads.

There are cassette decks that record at double the standard cassette speed. But you don't really gain much in frequency response, and you guarantee that you won't be able to play the deck back on pretty much anything else. Also, you could have more problems with the deck's built-in noise reduction system, since it may only be calibrated for the standard recording and playback speed of 1-7/8 inches per second.

You may need to decide why you're "mastering" to cassette. It doesn't sound like it's because you wanted "that cassette sound", which is pretty much the only reason to master to cassette. If you're trying to get "that tape sound", you're opening up a different can of worms. Reel-to-reel tapes and recorders will get you "that tape sound", and they will sound better than cassette, but they're considerably more expensive.

(For what it's worth, I put "mastering" in quotes because mastering to cassette is different from mastering to anything else, and is not the same as just dumping the song to cassette. If you know how to get the most out of a cassette's S/N ratio and frequency response, then you're probably ready to master to a cassette. If you're just going to hook your audio interface up to a cassette deck and hit "Rec" on the deck, you're not "mastering"; you're just dumping a song to a cassette, and you're not getting the most out of the cassette's sound. And that's okay, if that's your intention. But it's not "mastering".)

Steve
Hey Steve, thanks for writing. As I started off with, I have very rudimentary knowledge on this topic. I see now however that I wasn't crystal clear. What I want to do is to have two releases, one digital and one on cassette. I'm not looking to get "that" tape sound as in reel to reel. I'm looking for a personal, physical medium for distribution. For now, that's about as much as I want to say about why, but I'm absolutely sure that I do want to do it.

BUT, I haven't decided on which tape type to go for yet but since they all have different freq responses I would mix the final versions for tape accordingly. One of my follow up questions was that if I could hear what it sounds like on tape straight away, it'd save a lot of time in the final stages, not having to guess where to cut or boost etc.

I mix ITB and I do my own "masters". I put "masters" in quote because I don't have the tools, studio or business dedicated to that task, being a composer, but I do what I have to do to make it sound as good as I can to my current knowledge and understanding. And it's going pretty well.

If we leave the decks for a minute and mention, say, a Tascam Portastudio recording at 2x speed, won't I be able to listen to it in a "home listening" deck to your knowledge? Earlier, I suspected that a Porta wouldn't serve the purpose better than a deck, but being rather inexperienced I have to admit don't know! So, to sum it up: you mentioned what mastering to cassette isn't, could you please tell me what it is? Especially if you're suggesting to not go out from my interface. Is a dedicated DAC appropriate here? Enlighten me!

Thanks a bunch,
Sonny
Old 27th July 2020
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny Casanovas View Post
Hey Steve, thanks for writing. As I started off with, I have very rudimentary knowledge on this topic. I see now however that I wasn't crystal clear. What I want to do is to have two releases, one digital and one on cassette. I'm not looking to get "that" tape sound as in reel to reel. I'm looking for a personal, physical medium for distribution. For now, that's about as much as I want to say about why, but I'm absolutely sure that I do want to do it.

BUT, I haven't decided on which tape type to go for yet but since they all have different freq responses I would mix the final versions for tape accordingly. One of my follow up questions was that if I could hear what it sounds like on tape straight away, it'd save a lot of time in the final stages, not having to guess where to cut or boost etc.

I mix ITB and I do my own "masters". I put "masters" in quote because I don't have the tools, studio or business dedicated to that task, being a composer, but I do what I have to do to make it sound as good as I can to my current knowledge and understanding. And it's going pretty well.

If we leave the decks for a minute and mention, say, a Tascam Portastudio recording at 2x speed, won't I be able to listen to it in a "home listening" deck to your knowledge? Earlier, I suspected that a Porta wouldn't serve the purpose better than a deck, but being rather inexperienced I have to admit don't know! So, to sum it up: you mentioned what mastering to cassette isn't, could you please tell me what it is? Especially if you're suggesting to not go out from my interface. Is a dedicated DAC appropriate here? Enlighten me!

Thanks a bunch,
Sonny
No, you can't listen to what you record in a Portastudio recorded at 2x normal speed on a home cassette deck. I had both for several years, and aside from the Tascam's dbx noise reduction not being compatible with the Sony cassette deck (which offered Dolby "B" and "C"), the Tascam also had narrower tracks (to fit 8 tracks onto a cassette tape), half the tracks could not be heard unless you played the tape backwards (again, because of the track alignment), and since it was recorded at 2x normal speed, it would play back at 1/2 the speed it was supposed to. Everything would be an octave lower, at 1/2 the tempo and with other problems.

You can certainly go straight from your interface to the cassette deck. And getting a deck with dedicated record and playback heads will allow you to hear what you're recording as you record it. But that really won't help you much for what you're doing. Without a "mastering engineer's" ears and years of experience, you're not going to hear what to cut or boost from that separate head. Aside from some wow & flutter, all you'll hear is a slight roll-off of the high end -- and no amount of boosting will put that back, because the cassette medium simply can't handle it. So I wouldn't waste another $300 on a deck with separate record and playback heads.

A good cassette deck will allow you to master to cassette -- that's not a problem. You might want to brush up your mastering skills first, however. Most of us who mix our own stuff don't spend as much time learning proper mastering skills -- especially if we're trying to master to media we're not intimately familiar with. But you can certainly start with any cassette deck to learn what works and what doesn't. Aside from the noise floor (which you can tame a bit with noise reduction) and the high-end roll-off (which you just have to learn to accept, if the deck is properly maintained and demagnetized), you'll quickly learn how "hot" you can hit the tape to get the best sound for what you're doing. And while that will vary from tape to tape, it's pretty much the best thing you can learn about recording to tape -- any type of tape.

When it comes time to replicate (not duplicate) your master for distribution, keep in mind that some (read: most) cassette decks don't even record at a proper 1-7/8 ips, so there may be a slight pitch change from what you record to your cassette deck at and what a replication house (if you use one) will play the tape at. If you duplicate the cassette yourself, that pitch difference will be even more greater. I've been through this more times than I care to discuss.

If I were looking to buy a cassette deck now, I'd want one with all the noise reduction/headroom extension options available, along with adjustable bias and speed. (The separate heads would be nice, but not worth the greatly increased cost.) Adjustable bias allows you to hit the tape harder or softer within a given formulation; adjustable speed can help ensure you're recording and playing back at exactly 1-7/8 ips.

A relatively simple and easy way to simulate what a cassette deck would sound like when you're mastering is to get the specs of the deck and/or tape formulation you want to use and set up your EQ on your master buss to match that frequency response. Adding a compressor with a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio across the buss before the EQ can help simulate tape response, too. But only use these as a guide, and don't try to add back the frequencies that the EQ lops off, because again, the cassette medium simply can't add them back. Just accept that they're gone and adjust your mix accordingly.

You can also strap a free tape emulation plug-in across the master buss to simulate the wow & flutter, compression, and the slight saturation/distortion that tape imparts to the sound. I wouldn't go for any of the gimmicky "cassette emulation" plug-ins, unless you want to hear some extreme examples of wow & flutter issues, dropouts, distortion and other nonsense. The CHOWTapeModel plug-in models reel-to-reel tape, but that's good enough to get your feet wet. People seem to love it, and it's free. There are some good cassette ones, but again, they're usually made to show the worst examples of what cassettes sounded like, and they're usually used for effect, not to simulate a well-maintained cassette deck using good tape. I've seen some free ones, but I think one of the best isn't free, and I don't remember who makes it. Maybe someone who's bought it can chime in here. AirWindows also (supposedly) makes a good tape emulation plug-in, but without a GUI they're not terribly intuitive (or fun). He also has many different versions of tape emulation plug-ins, so things get confusing very quickly. And on top of that, sometimes the plug-ins change "under the hood" and what sounded great to you yesterday doesn't sound the same today, after you updated the plug-in. His plug-ins are free, and people like them, but to me, they're just more trouble than they're worth. YMMY, of course.

Steve
Old 27th July 2020
  #11
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny Casanovas View Post
I mix ITB and I do my own "masters". I put "masters" in quote because I don't have the tools, studio or business dedicated to that task, being a composer, but I do what I have to do to make it sound as good as I can to my current knowledge and understanding. And it's going pretty well.
What exactly do you want to achieve by mastering a mix on tape?

Like the previous speakers, I can only recommend using high-speed decks with chrome or metal tape to compensate loss in high freq spectrum. HX Pro would also be great. However, a reel-2-reel tape machine would be more suitable. It is also best to use an HS machine there. But in general I wouldn't archive my masters on tape. There are so many variables with tape decks, especially when you want to digitalize it years later.. also there's tape stretch and time does not pass on tape cassette without a trace. What happens if your deck eats a tape?

If you really dig the cassette tape sound, why don't you get a nice 3-head deck and use it as an insert on the master bus?

Or do you want to make cassettes for consumers in the end? In this case for consumer cassettes, you have to make sure that your deck also has the correct speed. So get a test cassette and a frequency counter or use quartz decks like the famous Revox B215. HX makes sense here too.

I don't even start with W&F and co.
Old 29th July 2020
  #12
To the OP, you might find some useful information about cassette decks and tape formulations here: http://www.tapeheads.net/forumdisplay.php?f=6

Steve
Old 29th July 2020
  #13
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loujudson's Avatar
If you want to record to cassette and duplicate it for release, there is nothing better than a Nakamichi. I have a DR-1 and a CassetteDeck1, and my service person gives me a chart of its recorded frequency repsonse, 20 - 21k +- 3 dB.

I only use them for playback, as I am restoring ("digitizing") a collection of radio program master cassettes...
Old 29th July 2020
  #14
I don't know how to multi-quote by sections so I'll just copy and paste and answer under here....

No, you can't listen to what you record in a Portastudio recorded at 2x normal speed on a home cassette deck. I had both for several years, and aside from the Tascam's dbx noise reduction not being compatible with the Sony cassette deck (which offered Dolby "B" and "C"), the Tascam also had narrower tracks (to fit 8 tracks onto a cassette tape), half the tracks could not be heard unless you played the tape backwards (again, because of the track alignment), and since it was recorded at 2x normal speed, it would play back at 1/2 the speed it was supposed to. Everything would be an octave lower, at 1/2 the tempo and with other problems.

- Thanks for that! That'll save me hours of reading and comparing models.


I feel confident with my masters. I'm not saying they couldn't sound better, that'd be a lie, but I know what I'm doing and I get feedback from it through the commercial usage of my music. Which might not be a lot from an artistic point of view, but it certainly tells me I don't have to outsource it to a dedicated engineer. For now.


Of course, a different medium has different rules, but the whole point with getting a deck and distributing my own music on cassette is because it's fun. I love doing this so I will be more than happy to learn it through trial and error, this was never the problem, the problem was not knowing which deck to get and how to get it properly from the digital realm to the tape!


With regards to Airwindows, I've been wanting to try out his work for some time now but I'm on Catalina so I can basically wave good bye to most free plug-ins. This is, I believe but don't quote me on it, due the fact that Apple wants developers to pay a license to them in order to work on their platform. Developers who work for free or donation-based are not inclined to do that, for obvious reasons. It's an excellent idea to mix through a tape emulator, though! I'll see what I can find.

Thanks for your investment of time in this thread, you're giving me a lot of good things to think about. Now I'm off to tapeheads and looking for a proper deck.
Old 29th July 2020
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter37 View Post
Or do you want to make cassettes for consumers in the end? In this case for consumer cassettes, you have to make sure that your deck also has the correct speed. So get a test cassette and a frequency counter or use quartz decks like the famous Revox B215. HX makes sense here too.

I don't even start with W&F and co.
Yes, for consumers. It's not to get the cassette sound in my DAW, I believe that could be emulated convinvingly with some software noodling. Thanks for the tips on decks. That b215 is well above my budget. Is there nothing cheaper that'll get a decent job done? And what do you mean by correct speed?

Old 29th July 2020
  #16
The Nakamichis keep appearing on my radar, of course. Many of them carry a pretty hefty price tag, though. I get it, you get what you pay for but it's rather steep if you're starting out and want to navigate in the tape world to see the whats and the hows.
Old 29th July 2020
  #17
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowsOfLife View Post

A relatively simple and easy way to simulate what a cassette deck would sound like when you're mastering is to get the specs of the deck and/or tape formulation you want to use and set up your EQ on your master buss to match that frequency response. Adding a compressor with a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio across the buss before the EQ can help simulate tape response, too. But only use these as a guide, and don't try to add back the frequencies that the EQ lops off, because again, the cassette medium simply can't add them back. Just accept that they're gone and adjust your mix accordingly.

Steve
Thanks for the info.
Old 29th July 2020
  #18
Gear Addict
About tape speed...

I used to have a tape deck playing cassettes at 4.80cm/s.
While standard speed is 4.75cm/s.

I discovered this as a teen in the mid 80s, my tapes sounded like being played faster. Of course, the tapes I recorded music on played slower on other friends decks.

So I dove into specs to understand the speed thing. Dunno why speed isn't a standard to follow.
Old 29th July 2020
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

If you’re creating tapes to sell, why not just use one of the tape duplication services? I’d think it’s a good way to test out your potential market without spending a lot.
Old 29th July 2020
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by _barnee View Post
About tape speed...

I used to have a tape deck playing cassettes at 4.80cm/s.
While standard speed is 4.75cm/s.

I discovered this as a teen in the mid 80s, my tapes sounded like being played faster. Of course, the tapes I recorded music on played slower on other friends decks.

So I dove into specs to understand the speed thing. Dunno why speed isn't a standard to follow.
Speed is a standard to follow. But very few decks incorporate the circuitry and drive mechanics necessary to ensure the correct speed, because that costs quite a bit. Nakamichis do (and I think the high-end TEAC or Tascams do), but you pay extra for them, for good reason.

Steve
Old 29th July 2020
  #21
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowsOfLife View Post
Speed is a standard to follow. But very few decks incorporate the circuitry and drive mechanics necessary to ensure the correct speed, because that costs quite a bit. Nakamichis do (and I think the high-end TEAC or Tascams do), but you pay extra for them, for good reason.

Steve
I beg to differ. Every cassette deck I have been inside has a small screw adjustment on the back of the motor. Even cheap Sonys! It is inside the motor shell. Just look at the back of the motor.
Old 29th July 2020
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
I beg to differ. Every cassette deck I have been inside has a small screw adjustment on the back of the motor. Even cheap Sonys! It is inside the motor shell. Just look at the back of the motor.
Differ with what? I didn't say the decks couldn't be calibrated. I've calibrated several. But they still drift -- especially the "belt-driven" decks, as the belts stretch over time. You can calibrate the decks, but most people don't even know the deck isn't recording or playing at the correct speed until it's too late, and very few have the tools necessary for proper calibration.

And cheap (or poorly made) motors and unstable power supplies in cheaper decks contribute to the speed deviations.

I had a relatively high-end dual cassette deck that could record in both wells at the same time. Unfortunately, doing so put such a strain on the underpowered power supply that the overall pitch of the song was off by over a quarter of a tone when played back against the master (in a deck whose speed was relatively accurate).

Steve
Old 29th July 2020
  #23
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowsOfLife View Post
Differ with what? I didn't say the decks couldn't be calibrated. I've calibrated several. But they still drift -- especially the "belt-driven" decks, as the belts stretch over time. You can calibrate the decks, but most people don't even know the deck isn't recording or playing at the correct speed until it's too late, and very few have the tools necessary for proper calibration.

And cheap (or poorly made) motors and unstable power supplies in cheaper decks contribute to the speed deviations.

I had a relatively high-end dual cassette deck that could record in both wells at the same time. Unfortunately, doing so put such a strain on the underpowered power supply that the overall pitch of the song was off by over a quarter of a tone when played back against the master (in a deck whose speed was relatively accurate).

Steve
"MOST PEOPLE?"
Old 29th July 2020
  #24
Lives for snowflakes
 
12ax7's Avatar
 


It's called Plus deck:








Edit: Sorry, but I just noticed that there is no "record" function on this thing.

Last edited by 12ax7; 30th July 2020 at 12:00 AM.. Reason: Oops!
Old 30th July 2020
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
"MOST PEOPLE?"
Ah, I think I see now: You seem determined to argue with something I say in every post since you showed up here.

No, most people won't know their cassette deck isn't recording or playing back what they've recorded at the right speed. To greatly oversimplify for the sake of illustration, if your deck is recording at 100 ips and playing back at 100 ips, everything you record on that deck will be "in tune" when you play it back on that deck (everything else being equal). The same holds true if it were recording and playing back at .1 ips. And unless you're insanely attuned to how fast the spindles on the reels are supposed to move, you will not know the deck isn't recording at the correct speed. It's only when you record on one deck and move to another that you become aware of recording speed differences. I've had years of experience with this, and I'm sure many here who started out making overdubs between cassette decks can attest...though I guess maybe not @ loujudson .

Also, MOST PEOPLE (yes, "MOST PEOPLE") simply use(d) their cassette decks to listen to music or copy their CDs, vinyl, or other cassettes; they weren't meticulously measuring the tape record and playback speed, head alignment or other potential issues. (And yes, MOST PEOPLE used their cassette decks for these purposes. That's why some CD players came with options to find the loudest part of the CD so that you could set your recording levels, and why cassettes started to come in 100- and 120-minute lengths. It's also why you started to see options on CD players and cassette decks to link them together for transport control, to make copying CDs easier.)

The overwhelming majority of cassette decks produced and sold were for the consumer market. The overwhelming majority of those were belt-drive decks, which were prone to problems maintaining the correct speed, especially as the belt aged and stretched. When direct-drive decks became more commonplace, the majority of the speed issues abated, but there were still wow & flutter considerations, though some of those were the fault of the cassette tape and/or shell, too.

Steve
Old 30th July 2020
  #26
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loujudson's Avatar
Thanks for the lecture, Steve. I am sorry I invaded your thread. I won't bother you again.
Old 30th July 2020
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
Thanks for the lecture, Steve. I am sorry I invaded your thread. I won't bother you again.
Any time!
Old 30th July 2020
  #28
I found one in Berlin that seems decent. I'll see what their quote will be. One of the reasons, besides the fun, of doing it myself would be because if I really just needed a €200 deck plus cassettes, prints, cases and some time, I thought it'd be cheaper than to go through a duplication company. The result is another question entirely
Old 30th July 2020
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny Casanovas View Post
I found one in Berlin that seems decent. I'll see what their quote will be. One of the reasons, besides the fun, of doing it myself would be because if I really just needed a €200 deck plus cassettes, prints, cases and some time, I thought it'd be cheaper than to go through a duplication company. The result is another question entirely
It's cheaper, depending upon how many you're doing. If you think you'll have to do 100 or more of them, a duplication company is definitely faster and more convenient, and the quality is consistent.

I did my own for one project, and it was an interesting learning experience. Hope it works out well for you!

Steve
Old 30th July 2020
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowsOfLife View Post
It's cheaper, depending upon how many you're doing. If you think you'll have to do 100 or more of them, a duplication company is definitely faster and more convenient, and the quality is consistent.

I did my own for one project, and it was an interesting learning experience. Hope it works out well for you!

Steve
I'd like to hear that!


...and what kind of deck did you use for that project?
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