Old Cassette Decks

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by david henman, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. david henman

    david henman Member

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    ...i have been buying up old cassette decks. i currently have two sonys and two technics, all single well. wonderful devices, with stereo mic ins and vu meters. they are great for "instant" recording - i keep one in the bedroom for late night inspiration.

    however, none of them plays back at concert pitch - all of them play back a little fast (or, perhaps, they record that way). i have some thirty hours of ideas and sketches recorded, but can't play along because of the pitch difference.

    can i : 1/ take these to a tech to have them calibrated to pitch or, 2/ is there a device, like a voltage regulator (expensive?), that i can buy to adjust the tape speed?

    thanks!

    -dh
     
  2. ap1

    ap1 Member

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    I don't know about those particular models, but I recall taking one of my Onkyo decks to a tech for calibration; I also ended up doing it myself on another deck once I realized it was just a matter of finding out where the control was. It was just a little screw on the motor housing. Stuck a tiny philips head in the hole, jogged it back and forth until it played back in pitch.
     
  3. GaryNattrass

    GaryNattrass Member

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    Two things here get a new pinch roller as if it is worn it will affect the speed of the deck.

    A mini disk recorder may be a better sketch pad as it will at least give you a decent bandwidth without all of the inherent probs of tape and azzimuth alignment etc.
     
  4. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    You can buy cassette decks with a "variable pitch" control.
    Just google or search Ebay (make sure you select "search title AND description") with these parameters:

    cassette "variable pitch"

    OR

    cassette "pitch control"


    and you'll find many models. Very handy for bringing cassette recordings from different sources into standard tuning on playback. I've used the Marantz portable field recorders many times over the years, and I recall most of them have a pitch control on them.
     
  5. Grun

    Grun Member

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    Seems like material recorded on a particular deck would play back OK on that same deck. Same tapespeed for both operations. Are you saying prerecorded tapes play back sharp? Doesn't sound like it though..
     
  6. elambo

    elambo Member

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    There's a potential problem if you calibrate the deck yourself. If you adjust the motor using a tape as your reference that's incorrectly recorded (recorded on that same deck, for instance), then your calibrating to the wrong speed. You'd have to use a cassette with reference tones that are recorded at the correct speed.

    If you're serious about recording at the right speed, take it to a tech. It won't take him long to calibrate. BUT, keep in mind that you might get it back and your old tapes (that were recorded at the wrong speed) could play back faster or slower.

    FWIW, some of those older Technics decks were very impressive.
     

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