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Author Topic: 4 track cassette recorder issues  (Read 361 times)

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Offline onetrack

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2018, 06:18:34 PM »
I got a feeling it’s not the tempo of reverse recorded tracks that’s the issue. I think it’s pitch as on playback it sounds off key and I’ve tried speeding it up and it still sounds out of tune.

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Offline onetrack

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2018, 07:25:49 PM »
Hi whitestrat

Thanks very much for the offer. Worth a go. I can send you the cleaned up versions I have? Or the raw recordings FLAC files?

I think you’re right. The 2 tracks that use the reverse side of tape and record backwards don’t sound right if I reverse the file. But the two tracks that record normally sound fine.


Offline whitestrat73

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2018, 09:27:56 PM »
No problem....  :)
Send whichever is the best quality, I guess.....
Can you get them onto the ftp, unless you prefer something else..... What format are the cleaned tracks in?
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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2018, 09:33:58 PM »
Ah, just picked up your emails........

I'll have a look tomorrow......
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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2018, 11:59:44 AM »
Cheers whitestrat. Don’t
Worry if you can’t fix it.

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2018, 12:35:24 PM »
Back, again......

OK, I loaded the tracks into Sonar.

The first, but not too important, issue is with alignment. Not having a start point on each track hinders getting them aligned together, for me.

More importantly, when I tried to get a tempo for the drum track, I noticed that there are serious speed fluctuations. I expect this is down to the recorder and the replay machine. The tech term, I guess, is 'wow', often coupled with 'flutter'. The most tell tale sign is in your 'picky guitar' track.
Just for the record, the tempo seems to be 'around' 91 bpm.

About head alignment, etc, in this scenario:
It is possible that 'correct' head alignment, for playback of 4 track tapes, can't be achieved just by flipping the cassette in a 2 track machine. Rough alignment will cause poor quality sound reproduction, but not added speed fluctuations. The speed issues are probably due to the mechanical nature of the cassette machines in question. I used to sell Nakamichi cassette machines, which had seriously good speed consistency and a facility to align every tape to optimum. But, the N1000 was over £1000, in the 1980s..... And, by digital standards, it wasn't perfect..... ::)
Another cause could be tape stretch/shrinkage, due to age/storage conditions.

Sorry mate, I don't think there is much I can do.......
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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2018, 09:03:20 PM »
Ok whitestrat. I kinda thought this would be the outcome. Many thanks for trying.

At least I mixed down the 4 track recordings down to a seperate cassette recording of song at the time. It Might not have the best levels and it’s kinda stuck as it is but at least if playback is incorrect speed or pitch is out, then it will be wrong on overall recording.

I think the main issue is the 3rd and 4th tracks which use the reverse side of the tape. Playing these means they won’t align with tracks 1 and 2.

I have a feeling that I could transfer the same song onto audacity twice and get differing song lengths each time.
The cassette player I bought recently was £15. Maybe not the best. But I think I got some good results with songs. It’s the 4 track recordings that’s the problem.

Oh well it was worth a go. I was hoping to be able to clean up the separate tracks and add effects in digital environment but not to be. I can however clean up the final songs from tape and make them audible.

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2018, 12:36:20 PM »
If you get stuck, Al, I'd be happy to help getting the tracks ready for your re-mastering. Not saying I'd get better results than your good self, but I'd be using Sonar, which has many more facilities.
Sounds like you are having trouble with tape speed consistency of your playback machine.....

I'd like to extend the same offer as well - I have both SONAR/Cakewalk and Harrison Mixbus, and would welcome the chance to try and mix tracks which aren't my own.

I obviously can't do anything with any issues in terms of the mechanics of your cassette players, but can offer the above at least!

EDIT: Just realised I posted this without reading Whitestrat's later reply.  It could well be an issue with the player itself rather than the cassettes though (although you can't rule out the cassette being warped or stretched).  If you have budget to do so, it's probably worth looking at a new 4 track recorder - I believe, if possible going for something from the early to mid 90's would be best, as this was when cassette was at its heyday and the mass-produced equipment was of a better quality.  There's a few going on Ebay currently for reasonable prices, like this one:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/TASCAM-Porta-02-MK11-Ministudio-4-Track-Cassette-Tape-Recorder-Multitrack/163413828226?epid=1741410862&hash=item260c392282:g:iE0AAOSwv0dcBmh3:rk:3:pf:0
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 12:45:30 PM by kevmsmith81 »

Offline whitestrat73

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2018, 01:39:26 PM »
Although, in theory, I agree with what you say, Kev, cassette machines, by design limitations, are always gonna have speed issues. Add age to the equation, and you get worn/stretched drive belts/pully-wheels, etc. Any old machine will need a thorough overhaul. I would guess, that, the only machines you can bring back to new condition are Revox.......
Added to which, over time, recording tape will deteriorate, either stretching and/or losing oxide. Especially if it was not the best to start with. I always used either TDK, Maxell or Nakamichi brand tapes, which were generally recognised as the best, yet my old tapes do not sound as good as in the day.

P.S.
Through the 70s and 80s, I worked in/managed 'high end' hi-fi shops, in the center of London. I dealt with Nakamichi, Revox, Teac, etc, tape machines. My best mate was sales manager, first for Maxell, then for Nakamichi.  ;) Because I always had Maxell tapes, the other reps plied me with their product, to try to get me to change.... LOL
At home I ran my own high speed Revox A77, along with an old Tandberg reel to reel, plus Yamaha and Teac cassette machines. When I left UK, at the end of the 80s, I got myself a Yamaha MT2x 4 track.
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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2018, 01:51:10 PM »
Although, in theory, I agree with what you say, Kev, cassette machines, by design limitations, are always gonna have speed issues. Add age to the equation, and you get worn/stretched drive belts/pully-wheels, etc. Any old machine will need a thorough overhaul. I would guess, that, the only machines you can bring back to new condition are Revox.......
Added to which, over time, recording tape will deteriorate, either stretching and/or losing oxide. Especially if it was not the best to start with. I always used either TDK, Maxell or Nakamichi brand tapes, which were generally recognised as the best, yet my old tapes do not sound as good as in the day.

P.S.
Through the 70s and 80s, I worked in/managed 'high end' hi-fi shops, in the center of London. I dealt with Nakamichi, Revox, Teac, etc, tape machines. My best mate was sales manager, first for Maxell, then for Nakamichi.  ;) Because I always had Maxell tapes, the other reps plied me with their product, to try to get me to change.... LOL
At home I ran my own high speed Revox A77, along with an old Tandberg reel to reel, plus Yamaha and Teac cassette machines. When I left UK, at the end of the 80s, I got myself a Yamaha MT2x 4 track.

In that case, you're probably more knowledgeable about the subject than I would be.  I was just thinking using a 4-track may minimise the issue, what with the tape always being wound in the same direction.  But, yes I do see what you're saying and you're more likely to be right than I am on the matter!!

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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2018, 09:06:25 PM »
Quote
In that case, you're probably more knowledgeable about the subject than I would be.  I was just thinking using a 4-track may minimise the issue, what with the tape always being wound in the same direction.  But, yes I do see what you're saying and you're more likely to be right than I am on the matter!!

Yes, it may get you better results than a 2 track machine. So long as the head alignment is close to the machine used to record.
The magic of the Nakamichi machines was it's ability to align the heads both for recording and, by reading an alignment tone, also for playback.

....and, I'm sure I have forgotten more than I now remember.... LOL
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Re: 4 track cassette recorder issues
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2018, 04:45:51 PM »
Thanks for your input Kev.

I don’t think I’ll be investing in buying another 4 track recorder. I don’t think I can Warrant that when (as whitestrat points out) there’s no guarantee it will solve the pitch/speed of tape issue.

Thanks anyway guys.