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Old 16th August 2020
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Hi Lars, already alluded to but the most important step in the signal chain is the playback of the cassettes. This cant be emphasised enough. Audio lost here often cant be fully recovered later. Noise and distortion added by a faulty playback machine such as amplifier hiss, hum etc may at best be only partly removed later.

Do you understand azimuth with tapes? For best playback quality especially in the high frequencies the playback head needs to be "tuned" to the tape being played, ideally on each side of each tape, even within one tape side. If not, the audio playback can sound far more muffled and unclear than it actually is on the tape.

Partly due to their relatively wide track compared to their very slow tape speed which is either half or a quarter standard cassette speed, microcassettes are extremely vulnerable to azimuth misalignment.

Adjusting head azimuth involves locating and then carefully turning the azimuth screw with a suitable non magnetised screwdriver for maximum program treble on each tape.

It sometimes seems like everyone has audio restoration tools but not too many know how to play back the original tapes with maximum fidelity. Audio restoration tools cannot bring back audio which was never captured in the first place.

I agree with you that especially low pass filtering is often important as there can be noise in the playback (often playback amplifier noise) much higher in frequency than the wanted program on the tape. Filtering this out in post seems to me a no brainer but as mentioned it can vary depending on the recording, especially with the tape speed. Judgement is often needed.

Hope this helps.
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