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cassette tape repair

If you come from the generation that inevitably had a cassette tape Walkman clipped to their belt, then you know all too well that audio cassettes enjoyed more than 30 years or so as a popular medium for storing music. They had practical applications for many businesses as well and were also used for computer storage. They were small, cost effective and easy to use when it came down to recording audio of any kind from music to lectures and dictation – even important news events.

The downside to cassette tapes is that they’re fragile. Not only were the plastic cases easily damaged due to physical factors (dropping, crush damage, cracks) the tape and the plastic shell were susceptible to environmental factors like heat and moisture that could cause serious damage – often rendering a tape unplayable.

Like many things, time is the nemesis of magnetic tape. While an aged shell is an easy fix, aged tape presents a major problem when it comes to the audio that’s stored on it. Not all damaged cassette tapes need to be discarded however. There’s a variety of damage that can be easily fixed by a professional service.

Broken Shells – The broken shell is a common damage issue when it comes to cassette tapes. In many cases it looks like the tape is completely destroyed – especially if the spool is broken and the tape is a bit unwound. Thankfully a professional service can easily remount the tape for you using their equipment. You can even have the audio transferred to a new format to avoid future mishaps if you so choose.

Unreeled Tape – The nightmare of the era was having your tape deck “eat” your tape. The tape would be pulled out of the cassette and when you tried to remove the cassette from the player it would inevitably spill out of your tape deck in a hopeless pile. Some of us have the patience to try and slowly wind the tape back up.

Curled and cinched Tape – How do you deal with the wrinkled, curled and folded over accordion looking tape? Even if it’s crumpled or broken tape repair professionals can often fix these types of issues with the help of certain equipment and software. Of course, the software is something that would be used only after the audio was transferred to a digital format. However, when nothing else can be done to fix the tape, audio restoration software can often give you an improved digital file or CD of your recording.

Keeping Your Cassette Tapes Like New

There are a variety of repair services and methods to restore old, damaged cassette tapes. Some are as simple as swapping out damaged shells and remounting the tape while others require respooling, replacement of internal parts and even special chemicals or processes to clean the tape or even bake it in a special oven to temporarily deal with bonding issues.

Whatever the issue, it’s strongly recommended that you avoid trying to fix cassette tapes on your own – especially if you have a recording of great importance. Let a professional handle the cassette repair and transfer the audio to a digital format. This way you not only get your original recording back (in most cases) but you’ll have a digital recording to act as a backup, ensuring that you don’t need to rely on the master copy for regular play.


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