Tape Gear!


Probably obvious to most folks, but tonight I learned that a 4 track portastudio style deck plays both sides of “normal” two sided cassette tapes at once. This seems to have all kinds of potential for shenanigans.


trying out this analog stuff - just got a handheld recorder (the tcm-200), the motor speed seems fine, but playback is really quiet (usually it can’t be heard on the speaker, usually just comes through headphone input quiet & noisy, sometimes neither?) record erases what’s on the tape but won’t record in (onboard mic or mic in)

it takes 1.5v AA but I’m giving it 1.2v AA. I would think if that mattered playback would be slower, but hey what do I know ! maybe these are the signs of a tape head cleaning needed ? hopefully not completely broken ? really new at this, advice needed !


Yeah clean the heads and rollers with cotton buds + Isopropyl alcohol for a start. Demagnetising tape heads is a thing too but maybe overkill tracking down a demagnetising want for a pocket recorder + i’ve read mixed things about whether it’s really neccessary or not anyway

do you have any pre-recorded albums on cassette to test playback with?

possible the head is misaligned,


yes - for the most part I hear them, pitch is fine but they’re very quiet/noisy