Old tapes and digitize them


I have 50 cassettes of recordings made with my old band i used to play in. Now i would like to make, let's say, a personal anthology on CD. unfortunately, i dont have a tapedeck anymore so i have to buy one (second hand). My question: what tape deck(s) are best suited for this? I think I need a deck with a bias function... anyone?

Please mail me at: m.p.c.alkemade@chello.nl

I am embarking on a similar project. I got a SINGLE-tape JVC deck in perfect condition at a local pawn shop.

Since you (like myself) are only interested in palyback, not recording to the tape deck, you should probably get a high-end SINGLE-tape deck. Single-tape decks tend to have higher performance specifications.

Also, do not pay too much attention at any additional features (such as adjustable bias, microphone input) since you will have no use for them. DO look for ability to control channel balance on the output, possibly pitch control and Dolby B.

Bring a couple of your tapes that have a wide range of frequencies and a pair of high-quality headphones to test used decks.

Remember, this is the last time you will be playing your tapes, so get the best-performing deck you can. Do not jump at the first one you find.

Unregistered guest
If the tapes were made with a high bias you should look for a deck with high bias. If you did not record using dolby NR don't worry about NR.

Bias is only applied during record, it doesn't exist during playback, so is irrelevant for playback only situations.

You MIGHT need a machine that offers 70uS equalisation if the original tapes are Chrome dioxide formulation.

Bronze Member
Username: Mark_of_cenla

Plaucheville, Louisiana USA

Post Number: 11
Registered: Jun-04
I bought a Denon DRM-555 so I could record a large collection of cassettes to CD's. It has worked very well. Now I mostly use it to record our band practices (via a small mixer). I then record it on for the other guys to listen to.

Unregistered guest
I would recommend Nakamichi, they cost a fortune new but now appear on ebay a lot for peanuts. What you need is PLAYBACK AZIMUTH ALIGNMENT. no other brands did this, and only a few naks. It isn't just the dragon, though, the last ranges they made both had this feature, e.g. 'cassette deck 1'(definitely), 'DR-1','DR-10' (I think - better you check naks.com) and luckily these decks are really ugly and hence cheap!

This means that you can change the angle of the playback head as it plays so you can listen to the difference, and match it to the angle of the original machine you recorded on.

If the head angle is incorrect a): you lose progressively more treble information as the angle increases because the head is reading several 'moments' of tape instead of an 'instant'
b): the left and right signals become out of phase as you're reading left before right or viceversa. this messes with the stereo image.

Until you've heard it you might not think it significant but it is unbelieveable (especially the amount of treble content that is waiting on the tape to be discovered)! Basically any tape deck can record to far greater quality than it's playback system. With these nakamichis you get EVERYTHING that was on the tape. I'm involved with a large tape digitising project and this is the way.

Then read up on how to clean/demag the heads properly, and how to keep the rubber tyres tip-top, and maybe even shell out for a servicing.

Then into the pc... well you need a good soundcard (basically emu0404, see head-fi forums for detail on this one!) and you need some kind of level control to give the card the highest possible input level without overloading, this is so the card's ADC can do its job best (the input level control you see on the computer screen is AFTER the ADC and therefore is too late and should be set to 100%, ie 'don't mess with my signal').

The Nakamichis have output level control, but if the tape is quiet you may need further preamplification.

Hope this helps, good luck

New member
Username: Aishit

Post Number: 1
Registered: Mar-05
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