Tape Guide (July 1978)

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Playback Problems

Q. Tapes played on my recorder seem to have a "fuzzy" sound and lack depth. Faulty speakers are ruled out by playing a record, which gives excellent results. However, even tapes recorded on other machines present the same problem. I regularly clean and demagnetize the heads but this does not help. What is the problem here?

-James Chenault, Hampton, Va.

A. Your problem boils down to something wrong in either the playback amplifier of your tape machine or the tape input of your audio amplifier. Try connecting the output of your tape deck to a different high-level input on your amplifier. If you still get a fuzzy sound, the trouble lies in your tape deck. If the sound clears up, it would appear that you have a misconnection between the tape deck and the amplifier, or there is a fault in the tape input of your amplifier. Also, check the cable connection between the tape deck and amplifier.

If the difficulty is in the tape deck, any number of things could be wrong, faulty resistors, capacitors, transistors, dirty switches, etc. If this is the case, then you will need the services of a competent audio technician.

Recorded Buzz

Q. When I put my tape recorder in the record mode, a buzz is recorded on the tape. I have been told that this may be due to the motor. Can you help me?

-Foster Overcash, Canton, Ill.

A. It may be that the unit's motor is sparking and the record amplifier is picking up this buzz, or it may be a hum somewhere in your system that is being picked up. Higher harmonics of the 60 Hz hum frequency would result in a buzz. In this case, a defective filter capacitor could be responsible.

Stereo Simulation

Q. How can I enhance mono recordings on my tape deck in order to simulate a stereo effect?

-Mike Harkey, Lorain, Ohio.

A. You can introduce a variety of differences between the right and left channels. You can emphasize the treble on one, and bass in the other. You can add presence-emphasis of your range around 3 kHz-in one channel, provided your audio amplifier has a presence control. You can also add echo or reverb to one of the channels.

Built-in Dolby

Q. While many cassette decks include the Dolby noise reduction system, why aren't there more open-reel decks with built-in Dolby units?

Mallory Harding, Denver, Colo.

A. In terms of noise reduction, the Dolby unit is apparently most effective at the slowest speeds. Therefore, it was logical to apply it primarily to cassette decks which operate at 1 7/8 ips.

However, Dolby has gradually been making its appearance on open -reel machines.

Transport Troubles

Q. I've been having wow and flutter problems with my cassette deck. I attribute this problem to the motor driving the take-up reel and capstan. Could a hysteresis -synchronous motor be substituted for the one presently in my unit?

-David Campbell, Brooklyn, N.Y.

A. The motor is only one of a number of possible sources of wow and flutter. Pressure pads, tape guide systems, pressure roller, capstan, tape tension, etc. may also be responsible. I suggest that you follow the lubrication and cleaning procedures suggested in the instruction manual to see how much this eliminates these possible causes of wow and flutter (such as a gummy head or guide). However, if you still have a problem, then I suggest that you consult the manufacturer as to the desirability of motor replacement.

(Source: Audio magazine, July 1978; by Herman Burstein)

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