Care and Maintenance of Cassette and Reel to Reel.

Discussion in 'Tape' started by Vintage TX, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. fortycoats

    fortycoats Super Member

    Messages:
    1,286

     

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  2. Jonny Ramone

    Jonny Ramone Super Member

    Messages:
    1,864
    I had one of the discwasher demagnetizers. GARBAGE!
     
  3. Live_Wire

    Live_Wire Realistic Ak'er

    Messages:
    794
    Location:
    Brampton, Ontario, Canada
    I was having trouble with wow and flutter on my deck. I kept just running a generic head cleaner through it. The problem would go away, but it kept coming back really fast. So, I read this sticky. I cleaned it all out with a q-tip just as described and what a difference. The high end came back, the lows weren't so rumbling, and there was no flutter to speak of.

    I use to swear by head cleaners, but not now. The manual approach is much better. The grime that came off the head was quite positive really.

    My Pioneer sounds better too, and that deck wasn't giving me this problem. Although, my Pioneer has another problem with Deck A.

    I'd probably get told off about my demagnetizing method, so I won't share that :p
     
  4. JPSRecording

    JPSRecording Yes, I hear that...

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    A suburb of Cleveland, OH
    Any of you guys know what the reference flux level of a mid 1970's Akai machine is???

    320, 250, or 185nW/m (High, Med, Low)?

    Specifically a GX-630D

    ----------
    Merry Christmas
     
  5. ohsteve

    ohsteve Member

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    Huber Heights/Dayton ohio
    Tape head cleaning

    I have used both Isopropal and denatured alcohol with no problems. When I worked as a field tech for a barcode company we used this stuff called 1-2-3 Lift Off to clean the print heads which were made of glass and we also used it to clean the rubber rollers. and the rubber rollers in large pentax laser printers I have used it to clean my tape heads and my rubber, I have Akai which has glass ferrite heads RtR, and my Teac cassette heads also, I haven't had any problem yet and have been using this for about six years now. I was taught in using a demagnetizer to do the whole tape path, but to start from about a foot away and work inwards through the whole path in a circular motion, small circles, and stay as close to all metal pieces as possible, my demag has a rubber tip, so no scar. Be careful with lift off as it is not nice smelling and according to the manufacturer has ingredients that can cause cancer... I use a face mask and spray small amounts on to Q-tip. We used MEK in the military to clean copper wave guides, it also worked on just about any metal, will tend to strip paint so watch out...I used a rubber rejueve product on my rollers similar to the laser stuff seen elswhere here. Cleaning the outsides of any stereo with windex works for me, except those with wood, for that I use a wood polish or oil.
    I used a rubber band to replace my drive belt on the Teac for about three years, then broke down and bought the real deal replacement, but in a pinch... I would use electrical tape on the end of a wand instead of masking tape. Deoxit is great stuff to use in cleaning pots or switches. Great thread. My wand demag is a Robbins I bought back in 71 when I bought my first Akai 7 inch RtR/cassette/eight track all in one for $600 I used it for about ten years and sold it for exactly what I paid for it, and it is still going strong to this day, I sold it to my brother in law.

    Steve
     
  6. Satcom123

    Satcom123 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,997
    Location:
    Central Oklahoma USA
    Some other items to use

    I too have kept up with cleaning and demagnitizing my r-r and cassette decks. Some other items I've tried are the Silcone dressing that you put on the heads after the cleaning process. It is supposed to keep the ware down on the heads. You just put it on with a q tip, wick off the excess and let it dry. I also put it on anywhere the tape makes contact in the path. Another item which I have had good success with is a liquid that etches the capstan shaft. When ever I get a vintage machine in and do the regular tare down for clean and lube I take the capstan off which usually has the heavy flywheel with it and clean it really good. Maybe even sand it shinny with 800 grit real fine sand paper. I then clean it again. Using the etching solution, you put it on the shaft only and let it set for a few minutes. Then clean it really really good before installing the capstan back on the deck, hopefully with a new belt. :D
    These two items I have used with good results. I got them off ebay for around $6.00 USD. One note of caution!! If by chance your capstan shaft is made out of anything other than metal, I wouldn't use the etching solution. It is highly corrosive thus the etching on metal surfaces.
    This is my ten cents worth.
     

     

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  7. Old Busted H

    Old Busted H the H is for Hotness

    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Head Alignment

    One topic that hasn't been covered here, and that needs to be, is proper head alignment, especially on machines that have been moved around a lot.

    If one channel sounds better than the other, or your high end is rolling off or non-existent, you should probably look at the alignment.

    RTR's typically have three screws per head for adjustment. One on top, one near the tape path, and one to the side. All three can vibrate the head out of alignment.

    Any tape recorder lays down a magnetic field like a barcode across the tape.
    Visually, like this: IIIIIIIIIIIIII IIIIIII IIIII IIIIIIIIIIIIII.
    Your playback head's gap must be aligned at 90 degrees to the tape to get the best sound: [] During playback, the I travels through the [] to produce a signal.

    If the head is misaligned, // the head sees less of the signal. As both the head gap and the signal field are microscopic, it doesn't take much misalignment to degrade the signal.

    How to adjust:

    Ideally, you'll want a reference/alignment tape, but any "known-good" tape will do. Pre-recorded tapes, or those recorded on another deck, are better than old tapes from your deck. The point here is to get a nice string of IIIIIII , rather than //////.

    Clean the heads before adjusting.

    First, do the playback head.

    Run your tape and adjust the bottom screw (closest to the tape path) until both channels produce equal volume. If the head has a severe mis-alignment, you'll hear the other side of the tape coming thru. This is usually only noticeable between songs or on very quiet passages. If you hear this, you'll need to adjust the side-side alignment. After getting equal levels, adjust the top and bottom screws equally until the other side goes away. This moves the head in and out until it's aligned with the signal path.

    Next, adjust the azimuth, or side screw. Play the tape and adjust for max treble response. Azimuth can affect the side-side adjustment, so you may have to tweak a little to eliminate the back channels after you've done this.

    Once you're done, a little nail polish on the screws will help to hold them in place.

    Now get a blank tape and some good source material (CD or vinyl) and align the record head for best playback, same process as the playback head.

    The erase head is usually fixed, so you probably won't have to worry about it. But on the topic of the erase head:

    If your play and record heads are really out of whack, you can use the fixed erase head to get a reference signal. Record a tape on both sides, source doesn't matter. Something loud. Run it thru the machine again, recording with the level at 0, and listen for the back channels. If you can hear them, your play head needs to move side to side a little.

    With any of these adjustments, small movements will produce big results. There's no need to bust out the power screwdriver, 1/8 of a turn will probably be more than enough.

    Now that you're aligned, thread your favorite tape in there and kick back :music:

    EDIT: quick-n-dirty way to check the alignment; look at the leader tape.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  8. eddisc

    eddisc Super Member

    Messages:
    1,470
    Location:
    The Great Pacific North Wet
    Their cassette demag unit is on CLOSEOUT for $1.000000!!!!
    suggested resale is $15.99
     
  9. Payneman

    Payneman Active Member

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Thanks TX - Good advise as always. I'll keep the Alcohol very accessible and use the Isopropyl Alcohol on the tape player too.
     
  10. Andrei

    Andrei Active Member

    Messages:
    248
    I'm trying to understand how a 70% purity alcohol from the drug store or the solvent to be found in many head cleaning fluid kits that we are so much warned against can damage the hard alloy the heads are made of.
     
  11. john_w

    john_w Miscreant

    Messages:
    2,094
    Location:
    Englewood, Colorado
    It might not be an issue of damaging the metal. Built up residue over time might cause a problem. Again, I've never run into any problems w/that myself, but why introduce gunk that has no value towards cleaning your gear? You can get higher purity isopropyl at a hardware store, and possibly your local drug store as well. And Everclear does have a definite dual-purpose.
     

     

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  12. Andrei

    Andrei Active Member

    Messages:
    248
    What I'm trying to point out is that more than often I've read alarming warnings like "don't use 70% alcohol or head cleaning solution because you will damage/ruin your heads!", like, you know, one pass with a cotton swab dipped in 70% alcohol or some head cleaning solution and the heads are irremediably gone. Not to mention that some say to use only isopropyl, while others say never to use it, some say use *that* head cleaning kit, others say never to put that on the heads, some say use the American Recorder kit, while others say that a solution said to work both for heads and rollers is definitely not good, man I'm already starting to be afraid of cleaning the heads, because I don't know what's good and what's bad anymore! I'm starting to think of not using the deck anymore so that I won't have to clean the heads anymore! Back in the old days, people in my area, at least, just used 70% purity surgical spirit from the drug store and I've never heard of any issues. It seems that there are more head cleaning options now, when tapes are theoretically gone than were back when tapes ruled the world.
     
  13. john_w

    john_w Miscreant

    Messages:
    2,094
    Location:
    Englewood, Colorado
    The issue there is that it has to be depolarized isopropyl, or it will permanently magnetize your heads. But there is only one source for the depolarized stuff:

    Send me a check for 19.99 and I will send you a 5 ounce vial of this amazing breakthrough in tape head cleaning technology, the Miracle Magical Megahol! Act now and I'll throw in a set of anti-static swabs for free!

    Seriously, all I can say is it's not worth the anxiety to worry too much about it. I used iso on my pinch roller for about 20 years. :-O I quit using the player recently only because the belt broke. Pinch roller is still fine, as far as I know. Do what makes sense to you and enjoy the music!


    DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a real attempt to sell something. Please do not banish me. At least not for this post, anyhow.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  14. samid

    samid Active Member

    Messages:
    212
    Location:
    Toronto
    This and other threads stress that when demagnetizing, the deck must be turned off. But I stumbled upon this manual for a Pioneer CT-W208R double cassette deck:

    http://docs.pioneer.eu/Manuals/CT_W208R_RRB1198_manual/?Page=5

    which on page 5 explicitly states: "When demagnetizing the heads, make sure that the POWER switch of the cassette deck is set to ON."

    What gives?
     
  15. Vintage TX

    Vintage TX Analog forever

    Messages:
    5,910
    Location:
    Houston. Texas.
    Probably error in the manual, common sense the deck should be turned off :)
     
  16. fortycoats

    fortycoats Super Member

    Messages:
    1,286
    That's why they made twin-well decks. It's so that, if you accidentally ruin one, you can compare it with the other!
     

     

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  17. sugupanangad

    sugupanangad New Member

    Messages:
    1
    I have a Sansui (with M 800) Component system. Recently I have found that the the cassette speed is at a higher rate and songs are not played. The service centre I used
    to service the system before is closed. I think with the help of a screw adjustment this
    can be rectified. The cassette covers are also not opening. I do have the manual.

    Can anybody help?
     
  18. avesta

    avesta New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Toronto
    It's pretty strange they would write that... it's definitely not a mistake as they stress that you must turn down the volume.

    I left the power on when I was damagnetizing last time (the door does attempt to close on its own when my unit is turned off) and nothing bad seemed to happen... I hope I didn't mess up anything
     
  19. eddisc

    eddisc Super Member

    Messages:
    1,470
    Location:
    The Great Pacific North Wet
    There's LOADS of info for almost any format with LOTS for r2r here.:thmbsp:

    http://www.richardhess.com/tape/index.htm

    Thanks to fellow ak'er for this in another post (SORRY - I lost your handle!:tears:)
     
  20. vinylisfinyl

    vinylisfinyl New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Would this be an acceptable demagnetizer?:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tape-Deck-H...pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item5d2af429cb

    Would love to have the Han-D-Mag, but $79 is out of my reach...

    Also, what about cassette decks where the erase head is right next to the playback/record head, as in the Sony TC-WE475? Do I need to take any precautions in demagnetizing it or should I be safe as long as I follow the guidelines in the first post of this thread?
     

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