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Thrift Store Cassettes . How do I judge condition ?

Discussion in 'Tape' started by zebra03, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. zebra03

    zebra03 All Audio - NO BS

    Messages:
    14,902
    Location:
    West of Weedville
    I like to scour the CD's at Goodwill and the like but always notice there are a lot of cassettes too . I am always afraid of worn out tape screwing up my cassette deck . What should I check to see if a cassette is gonna be a problem ?
     
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  2. KevinJS

    KevinJS Lunatic Member

    Good question. About the only thing I could think of is to avoid those that are uneven on the reels. Of course, that might not be any indication of tape quality but it’s my rule of thumb. I’ve picked up quite a number of cassettes at GW, both prerecorded and blank. I snag any CrO2 and Metal tapes I come across.

    Maybe buy a beater cassette deck to test dubious media before allowing it near your main system?
     
    zebra03 likes this.
  3. zebra03

    zebra03 All Audio - NO BS

    Messages:
    14,902
    Location:
    West of Weedville
    Beater deck might be a good idea .
     
  4. MRL_Audio

    MRL_Audio AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,842
    Location:
    St. Chuck, MO
    For the price of Goodwill tapes how much are you risking... ? Take em home and play em. If they play well, great. If they don't toss em. The only tapes I stay completely away from is filthy dirty shells. Figure if they were left out to get that dirty some of that made it inside the shell and on the tape. Can't beat Goodwill, garage and tag sales.
     
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  5. kermit z

    kermit z Loud Music saves Lives!! Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,506
    Location:
    Denver CO
    I always watch out for beat up cassettes. Mainly the cassette itself, as the case is there to take the beating. There is no guarantee on condition until you have a listen, but I cannot remember the time I got a bad one at a thrift. And as MRL states, at .99 cents, oh well.
     
  6. dr*audio

    dr*audio Fish fingers and custard! Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,780
    Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
    It's easy to check the condition on cassette tapes. Look in the opening where the heads go at the surface of the tape. The tape should be flat, not cupped, with no grooves, scratches or vertical lines in it. Chrome tapes should be shiny. Bring along a Bic pen to stick in the hubs and turn them. The tape should turn very freely. Damage usually occurs near the beginning of the tape, so turn the tape until you get to the beginning and look at the tape. There can be vertical lines in the tape near the beginning from the slot in the hub where the tape is attached, but these should stop after a few turns of the hubs. If not, the take up tension on the deck may have been too high. I bought lots of tapes at garage sales this way and got very few rejects.
     
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  7. UncleBingo

    UncleBingo AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Make sure there is a felt pressure pad under the tape. It should be at the very center of the opening when looking at the magnetic tape.

    Also look for wrinkled tape through the tape housing window.
     
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  8. MRL_Audio

    MRL_Audio AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,842
    Location:
    St. Chuck, MO
    I wouldn't worry about the felt, er pressure pad, too much. Can easily be replaced but good to check before you put it into your deck unless it's certain Nak's and then it's push from the equation. I usually smack the tape on my hand with these older cassettes because the glue holding the pressure pad on it dried brittle and old. If it sticks I am good to go. If not I use Elmer's to glue them back in position. My two cents.
     
  9. zebra03

    zebra03 All Audio - NO BS

    Messages:
    14,902
    Location:
    West of Weedville
    All good info . I think I will start buying some .
     
  10. Hajidub

    Hajidub Chihuahua/Pug = Chug Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,436
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Buy a decent Nak and pressure pad isn't a worry, since they have the lifter built in. BTW, my GW's locally have resorted to NOT selling tapes, instead shipping them to a central location for destruction or shipping them off. My local thrift with tapes is the ARC (GW type). All tapes are 69 cents, even the sealed blanks, I find a keeper every once in a while.
     
  11. zebra03

    zebra03 All Audio - NO BS

    Messages:
    14,902
    Location:
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    Actually , I have a Nakamichi CD 1 deck I bought brand new . This is the deck I am trying to not "eff" up with bad tapes . haha
     

     

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  12. slow_jazz

    slow_jazz AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    13,860
    Location:
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    buy em cheap and pitch if no good.
     
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  13. zebra03

    zebra03 All Audio - NO BS

    Messages:
    14,902
    Location:
    West of Weedville
    Can't get any easier than that . :D
     
  14. MRL_Audio

    MRL_Audio AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,842
    Location:
    St. Chuck, MO
    Yep, as I indicated.
     
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  15. percival

    percival New Member

    Messages:
    22
    They're a quarter in the Goodwills around here...
     
  16. M-D-Z

    M-D-Z New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Boogie-Down Bronx
    Here in NYC, they are $0.99 to $2.99!

    I always prefer tapes made from the late 80s & up.
    Dark color shiny tape, nice and flat, not sun/UV faded, dull, scratched up.

    Also, I know a recording is most likely going to sound good if it says HX-Pro, Digalog, SR, Dolby, Type II, and has a clean tape and housing, I avoid dirty heat warped shells and trashed cases.

    There were many excellent advances implemented to prerecorded Compact Cassette production during that period, presumably a full bore (read desperate) attempt to stay in the game against the onslaught of CDs.
     

     

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  17. percival

    percival New Member

    Messages:
    22
    I try to stick to the newer tapes with clear shells...usually the better quality tapes too.
     
  18. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,087
    Two things that sometimes will work.

    1. Give the cassette a couple of raps...but not too hard.

    2. Run it all the way through fast mode, and reverse it at the same speed.

    This may hold off the turf for a while, but if it's been played a lot, they like the 8 tracks have their point of no return.

    Q
     
  19. revox-b77

    revox-b77 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,037
    Location:
    Fingerlakes, NY
    All good advice. Couldn't agree more.
     

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