| The Phillips standard cassette, using 1/8" wide tape, was first
brought out in the U.S. during 1966 and Dolby noise reduction added
during 1970. RCA had earlier and unsuccessfully marketed a jumbo version
of the now familiar audio cassette in 1954, using ¼" wide tape to
record in stereo.
The Phillips system used thin tapes in lengths which played for
up to 90 minutes, or 45 minutes per side. A thinner tape which could
record up to 120 minutes arrived later and is more prone to stretching,
slowing, wrinkling and jamming. Microcassettes are much smaller,
1-1/4" x 2".
I can change the order of selections, even out levels, take out
extraneous noises and put in track markers for the CD. So can you,
on your computer with a decent sound card and sound editing system
and some time with the instruction manual.
My services are helpful when things have gone wrong. Many cassette
recorder users were not aware their machines had to be cleaned and
the heads demagnetized. Without this basic maintenance, the tapes
they made became hissy and lost high frequencies. A similar muffled
sound may also mean a Dolby or DBX noise reduction system was used
to record but was not switched in during playback. Occasionally
a miscalibrated noise reduction setting at the factory was used
in making the recording. I can often figure out the problem's source
and compensate for it. I also fix broken cassettes and put them
into new shells and can adjust playback speeds when weak batteries
caused the tape to slow.
I'm gradually bringing on line some of the cassettes not compatible
with any of the standard formats and which were used in office dictation
machines over the years. I've just restored a DeJur Grundig Stenorette
BASIC COPYING: Cassettes take a bit more than their playing time
to put the sound onto the computer hard disc. C-60s fit on one CD.
C-90s play for 90 minutes, C-120s for 120 minutes. A CD will hold
no more than 80 minutesof audio so two CDs are needed for the latter
two lengths. Further material can be added to fill up the second
CD. A C-60 cassette costs $ 80 to copy; a C-90 costs $ 110, a C-120
$ 140. Trimming the excess time and loping off starting end ending
noises, removing the silence between the end of one side and start
of the next, making some of the softer portions loud in proportion
to the loudest parts, hum reduction, etc., is an additional $ 25-$50,
depending on how much is to be done. The 120s are the most troublesome
in terms of extra help usually required.
To fix a broken cassette tape and installing it into a new shell
is $ 50 plus $ 5.00 shipping to the US, provided there is no tape
damage to be repaired as well.
Editing out extraneous clicks and other sudden noises can take
an consideable time since this work cannot usually be automated.
Whipping, the noise made by abruptly starting the recorder, can
be reduced but not removed. As the program can not differentiate
between contntent and noise and the quality and quantity of tape
problems vary, I'll usually discuss work at this level with you
after I've done the basic transfer and heard the recording.
The tape in battery operated cassette recorders slows down as
the power becomes exhausted. When played back, it sounds increasingly
faster. Fixing this takes four to six times the playing time for
speech, more if music, as variations from the original pitch are
more noticeable. A 45 minute side of a C-90 of spoken sound costs
between $ 300 and $ 450 to even out.
As the batteries expire, the audio signal becomes increasingly
faint until it is quieter than the tape's inherent background noise.
I can recover much of this but often not all. The voice becomes
increasingly artificial and generic as more computer power is applied
to push the tape noise back. Processing at this level usually takes
double the tape's playing time.
site ©2001 Steven Smolian. rev. 2