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Author Topic: 4 track cassette recorder issues  (Read 83 times)

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Offline onetrack

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4 track cassette recorder issues
« on: November 05, 2018, 06:46:43 AM »
I finally got round to a project I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time.

And that is to convert my old songs from cassette to digital. There are several reasons for this:

1) to hear them again after maybe a 20 year absence
2) to attempt to clean them up abit and remaster
3) for 4 track recordings - convert each track separately (again to try and clean up and get better remaster version of complete song)
4) to have a permanent version that’s futureproof
5) to be able to share vintage songs with other folk

I had already done part of this exercise about 10 years ago. But as I have about 15-20 cassettes , I just picked a handful of good songs I could find.

So, I got my Forstex X-14 (anyone remember them? Picture attached l) out the loft and tried it out yesterday. Would it work from 10 years in loft and moved house to house?

Well it works....but...UURGH! There’s a mechanical problem and something is kicking every 3 seconds and knocking the cassette, so you get this horrible warble which ruins the listening.

I opened her up to look inside and there were a couple of small components rattling around that fell out. So there we are. Can’t be used. Too expensive and probably not able to get fixed or replaced. >:(

However, I found a small portable cassette player/mp3 converter on eBay for about £15, so I’ve ordered that and a two least I’ll be able to play and convert the complete songs I own on cassette.

So, to sum up - I’m very frustrated that I can’t do my project as I had intended. But at least I’ll be able to convert all the songs to digital format.


Offline Smurf

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2018, 02:30:15 PM »
I had a Yamaha MT40 4 tracker & the Tascam 8 track cassette back in the day, and they worked fine for the time.  ;D  Wrote a lot of songs with them, and still have a couple huge boxes of tapes here.

You can find these units on ebay all the time, IF you are willing to take the chance.  :o  The biggest problem is the cassettes themselves, more than likely the tape is stuck to itself inside the housing, maybe even to the housing itself. you really need to be careful with these old tapes.  ~:)  There are units that will unwind / reverse the tapes VERY slowly so they do not shred / stick to the next layer, or you can just use a pencil & wind them by hand....this is what I did and it worked fine most times, but I still lost some due to the tape sticking to itself.

Good Luck with the project, there is always surprise tid bits lurking on the tapes for sure!  8)
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Offline onetrack

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2018, 10:36:09 AM »
It’s been a fun project. Listening to songs for the first time in 25 years. Some gems and some right turds.

4 tracks are expensive on eBay.

I wonder if I record the side b of a 4 track recording and then play it backwards at a slower tempo, I can then record the a side 2 tracks and get a complete song?

I’ve attached a pic of the cassette I purchased off amazon for about £15.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 10:40:46 AM by onetrack »

Offline whitestrat73

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2018, 01:07:13 PM »
I tried doing that, some years ago. Was wanting to get stuff I had recorded on my dead Yamaha MT-2x. I was reasonably successful, but, a lot relies on the speed consistency of the cassette recorder and the re-player. I used an old Teac machine, to play back. It was good in the 80s, not so good in the 2000s... LOL.

The recording of the 3rd and 4th tracks, reversing and slowing down bit, seemed to work pretty good, for me. It wouldn't be fair to expect the mechanical drive system to be as solid as todays digital system as far as wow and flutter is concerned.....  ::)
Any attempts to line up with a digital 'time line' were futile, in my case. Too much random speed issues ( alright, it is possible that the playing was at fault, too....a little bit).  :(
I did manage to use a couple of tunes, though. I even persuaded 'Tommy Duffy' to add his fretless bass to one of them, which I'm very proud of. It did take quite a bit of work tidying the original tracks, but it was worth it!

It'll be interesting to hear how you get on....  8)
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Offline onetrack

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2018, 01:39:06 PM »
Thanks whitestrat.
I will try that for reversing and slowing down reverse cassette side if need be.

It’s a real labour of love but I managed to convert 3 songs ina bout 2 hours last night.

Here’s probably the best of the bunch. It really helps if he original tape recording is clean and loud to begin with.


https://soundcloud.com/user-210021613/ooger-booger-2018-remaster

Offline onetrack

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2018, 10:21:18 PM »
I’m finding it a revelation and fascinating hearing my old songs from 20 plus years ago.

So much material. But some tapes are warped and I’ve tried to get rid of the hiss on some but made them worse.

But the strangest thing just occurred. Between two of my songs was some music that was on the tape recorded previously. And it was a local band from Kent but the singer sounded just like Gazebo. No, kidding. I’ll upload it tomorrow for you to hear for yourself. Now if Gazebo turns round and says “yeah I was in a kent band 20 years ago and the guitarist was named Paul (with glasses) and we played indie rock” then I’m gonna be mightedly freaked out!😳😳😳

Offline onetrack

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #6 on: Today at 10:58:32 AM »

Gazebo has confirmed he was in no such band I before amentioned.

I’ve attached the file anyway. Maybe everyone has a someone somewhere with a similar voice. I guess the chances are high with a world population of over 6 billion😆