Tape Restore Live! for Winamp

Help: Tape Restore Live!: Digitizing tapes: Some cassette deck quality checks before starting

To get good quality recordings on the PC, the cassette deck that is used to digitize the tapes must be in a good shape. Here are some tests that you might want to perform before starting to digitize your recordings. If any of these tests fail, consider using another cassette deck.
  • Jitter check
    Jitter can be very annoying in music, but it is not always clearly audiable in every song. And even if it is, it may not be clear whether it was already present in the recording or it originates in the playback.

    On the cassette deck that you will be using to digitize your recordings (!), record the following sound: 'dsp_tape_restore_live - Jitter check sound.mp3'.
    The file can be found in the Winamp plugins directory, usually 'C:\Program Files\Winamp\Plugins'.

    Then, play it back, and listen if any jitter is present.

    If any jitter is present, try cleaning the cassette deck as described in Digitizing tapes: Tips for getting the best possible sound from your tapes, then retry this test.

  • Frequency response check
    After performing the frequency response calibration, look at the resulting bias settings.

    If the cassette and cassette deck quality is good, the sliders for 170 Hz, 340 Hz, 680 Hz, 1375 Hz, 2750 Hz and 5500 Hz should be set to 1.0 for both channels.
    The 11 kHz slider might be set slightly higher (up to about 1.3), but the lower this slider is set the better the quality is.
    The 22 kHz slider should not be set much higher than 2.0.

    If this test fails, clean the tape heads of both cassette decks as described in Digitizing tapes: Tips for getting the best possible sound from your tapes, then retry this test. (Don't forget to calibrate the tape head if using two cassette decks!)

    If that also fails, and you have used different cassette decks for recording and playback, repeat this test again, but record the sound on the cassette deck that will be used to digitize the sound.
    This rules out that the problem is caused by the other cassette deck.
    Don't forget to change the re-calibration to the original cassette deck afterwards!

    If this also doesn't help, you might try it with a new (or just another) cassette.

    If none of this works, you should really consider using another cassette deck.
If these two tests have passed, you are ready to digitize your tapes with the best possible quality.

Hint: If you have multiple cassette decks lying around, you can repeat these tests with all decks to find the one with the best sound quality. Trust your ears also - other factors may also influence the sound quality.
Tape Restore Live! 1.0     (C) Copyright 2006 by Hans van Zutphen     Email: software@hansvanzutphen.com