View Full Version : Can you re-record over cassettes?


Honkycat
05-21-2010, 03:50 PM
I found twenty Maxell XL2-S tapes in really great condition at a flee market but they all had stuff taped on them. Can you still achieve good sound with a second recording? Thanks George

also, should I record silence over them before I reuse them?

similost
05-21-2010, 03:51 PM
Yes you can. If the tabs are broken out on the back edge of the case, just cover with tape.

I would sometimes record silence, other times not..

Honkycat
05-21-2010, 04:26 PM
So does it degrade the sound?

jan_stevns
05-21-2010, 04:31 PM
probably not - XLII-S is fine tapes

Celt
05-21-2010, 04:34 PM
The erase head should be enough to eliminate the previous program with any noticeable degradation to the new program.

Honkycat
05-21-2010, 05:03 PM
Cool. I have a Sony TC-WR550Z tape deck. Good enough?

Andyman
05-21-2010, 05:07 PM
If you're worried about residual recordings, get a bulk tape demagnitizer for $20 bucks or so off eBay. They'll wipe your tapes very clean and the erase head will have no problem removing what's left; if anything.

Honkycat
05-21-2010, 05:14 PM
isnt that just a very strong magnet passed over the tape? I have huge magnets sitting around i could use

Andyman
05-21-2010, 05:27 PM
Basically, but there's a trick with how you turn it on and apply and remove the magnetic field.

Honkycat
05-21-2010, 05:36 PM
I took took a bryan adams tape and put it between two very strong magnets for a few and there is very little audio left ...

Celt
05-21-2010, 05:37 PM
I took took a bryan adams tape and put it between two very strong magnets for a few and there is very little audio left ...

And very little worthwhile music before...

Honkycat
05-21-2010, 05:43 PM
lol, there is some hiss left, is this normal? Could I be harming the tape by doing this or should I just turn my recording level down to zero and record silence over the tapes first?

slow_jazz
05-21-2010, 06:51 PM
I usually record blank noise over mine before recording on them..

vinyldavid
05-21-2010, 07:01 PM
Cassettes are hissy.

jan_stevns
05-22-2010, 06:09 AM
Cassettes are hissy.

ahhh - that's why you'd get a hissy fit when the car player ate a tape :D

hifi_nut
05-22-2010, 07:10 AM
And very little worthwhile music before...

:lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao:

fortycoats
05-22-2010, 10:22 AM
there is some hiss left, is this normal?

Yes. It was there when they were brand new. That's what Dolby noise reduction is for.

benb
05-22-2010, 11:12 AM
The erase head has its track wider than the record/play head, so theoretically, and mostly in reality, it works just fine. But sometimes not, and then it's good to use a bulk tape eraser.
isnt that just a very strong magnet passed over the tape? I have huge magnets sitting around i could use
That "works" but leaves the tape with a magnetic equivalent of "dc bias" that may contribute to noise and hiss, though the erase head would supposedly clear that up. A bulk tape eraser is really a lot better, and the best way to insure the tape is as "blank" as can be.

Phototone
05-22-2010, 12:52 PM
A bulk tape eraser uses a strong AC (alternating current) magnetic field to erase tape, leaving the magnetic particles in a state of total non-magnetization, making for a tape as clean as when it left the factory. A strong magnet imparts its own magnetic field on the tape, wiping the recording, but still leaving the magnetic particles magnetized, thus you will hear hiss. The strong magnet may magnetize the tape enough that the erase head in your recorder may not eliminate all the magnetization, thus producing a more hissy new recording. Tape recorders use an AC (alternating current) signal higher than audio spectrum to erase the previous signal. Good tape can be re-recorded indefinetly unless the physical tape breaks down due to age. As long as the tape is smooth and pliable and the oxide is not shedding, record away.

terra1
05-22-2010, 01:24 PM
lol, there is some hiss left, is this normal? Could I be harming the tape by doing this or should I just turn my recording level down to zero and record silence over the tapes first?
If you got hiss using the magnet method, just record silence over the tape. It's probably the surest way to make sure you erase the target tape path.

You don't have to turn the recording level down. Useless precaution. If your source is quiet, it will record quiet. If you have any hiss, it will most likely be because of the quality of your components. You want to know if there is any problems with your silence and recording levels anyway. And also I don't like having to redo the recording level each time.

This is what I have always done. Never used a bulk eraser.


Rewind and reset the counter to 0000.
I record silence for about 0007.
Then Rewind and run Play and stop at about 0004 to take into account the non-recordable leader and also at 0004 you'll start recording before the end of the silence segment.


Otherwise, also, make sure your tape path is cleaned and demagnetizing could help if you haven't done so already.

fortycoats
05-22-2010, 03:10 PM
A bulk tape eraser uses a strong AC (alternating current) magnetic field to erase tape, leaving the magnetic particles in a state of total non-magnetization...

A state of total non-magnetization or a state of totally random magnetization? I always thought the latter.

ec1st
05-22-2010, 05:09 PM
A state of total non-magnetization or a state of totally random magnetization? I always thought the latter.

"Demagnetized" is a state of (virtually) totally random magnetization. The atoms never lose their inherent magnetic property.

BrocLuno
05-22-2010, 08:03 PM
Bulk eraser better :)

analog fan
05-22-2010, 08:10 PM
20 Maxell XL2-S tapes? Good score! Use them!

Honkycat
05-23-2010, 03:59 AM
Well, I recorded silence over one of the tapes by turning down the recording volume to 0 and putting on Dolby C. The tape was pretty darn silent after that. Great info guys!

Honkycat
05-23-2010, 04:08 AM
saw this...doubt it would work well though..

http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/magnet/cassette/eraser.html

fortycoats
05-23-2010, 12:40 PM
Putting on Dolby C did nothing because you had no input signal. It did make the tape appear more silent on playback because it reduced the high frequencies coming off the tape, which includes the hiss, but it did nothing during the slient recording so it doesn't matter whether you have it on or off when erasing a tape. Just FYI.

Also, for what it's worth, I have a hand-held bulk eraser (standard enough "Nortronics" type although under the "Geneva" brand) and it really takes a lot of effort for it to erase a Type II cassette. Type I, no problems at all but my deck really does a much better job on a Type II. I might be wrong here but I think recording silence prior to making the new recording is a bit of a waste of time. The erase head erases everything immediately before recording anyway so, as long as it's working properly and satisfactorily (and the fact that you've done it at least once with no signal is good because it establishes that), you can just combine the erase/record steps into one.

Edit: When I say "I might be wrong here", I'm thinking specifically of a possible situation where one pass over the erase head might not be enough to erase the previous material. I've never come across it though. Also, I'm thinking (and again might be wrong) that since a pass over the erase head will be so consistently similar every time (unlike a bulk eraser which can depend on technique, duration, etc), if there is something that doesn't get erased completely the first time, then the second time isn't going to be any different. Open to corrections.

jan_stevns
05-23-2010, 12:52 PM
have to agree with fortycoats here - if a deck is working properly it normally should erase a tape to -70db - that is under the normal signal/noise ratio level .

ec1st
05-23-2010, 08:47 PM
First, I usually record about 10 seconds of silence at the beginning of a tape if something has been recorded at the beginning (like one of my mistakes...). It's just my paranoia insuring that I have a clean lead-in to my first song.

Second, demagnetization needs to use alternating polarity magnetic fields to work best. I have an ancient discwasher demagnetizer that has a small bar magnet inside an o-ring driven cylinder in a hollow cassette case. The decks takeup spindles drive pulleys inside the shell around which the o-ring fits. The o-ring drives the magnet's cylinder by rubbing against a small gear molded onto the hub of the cylinder. The other side of the gear fits into teeth molded into the upper side of a track on the insides of the shell halves which begins and ends on the top side of the shell. The magnet is supposed to start at the top of the cassette. Driven by the o-ring the magnet spins as it is driven along it's track from the top of the cassette shell around to the bottom where the tape path is exposed to the alternating north and south polar influences of the magnet. The magnet ends up on the top side of the shell at the other end of it's track where it may be sent for another pass by the opposite function of what drove it's previous path (FF or REW). I think it has been a helpful gadget to have, especially for the car cassette decks.

The better way is probably an AC electrical unit which emits rapidly changing magnetic polarities as the current flow from it's AC source changes direction. Either way, it is the fast-changing magnetic field polarities that best scramble the alignments of atoms with magnetic properties in tapes and tape path components.

fortycoats
05-24-2010, 04:24 AM
I always put 10 seconds of silence at the start too just because it sounds "right". Also I do a level and bias check before recording each tape and, although I normally do that 1 or 2 minutes in from the start, sometimes I forget to wind in and in those cases the 10 seconds makes sure none of that comes through before the real recording.

Honkycat
05-26-2010, 02:04 PM
Went to the thrift store today and they had a sealed 4 pack of Maxell XL2's for two dollars.

They also had tons of new TDK D90's..are they worth picking up?