View Full Version : Tape Playback

2008-09-25, 01:54 PM
Hey I've been wondering this for a while but never really found the answer for it. On my tape player it has a switch between:Normal and CrO2/Metal. Could any one please explain the difference between the two and how to recognize the difference? (but more importantly the difference). I want to get the best sounding play back possible (sorry they're official).


2008-09-26, 07:55 AM
tape manufacturers used various chemicals to create the magnetic coation on cassettes...the most common were called Type I, which would be the Normal setting on yer deck...there were also Type II cassettes using CrO2 [chromium dioxide] which had an improved sound quality, and Metal cassettes [Type IV] which were considered even better quality

basically, each type requires a different bias for accurate playback/record...so you should set the switch on yer deck to the proper setting based on what Type each cassette is

for more detailed info, you can probly search "cassette tape" at wiki and learn more

2008-09-26, 09:06 AM
but how can I tell the diffrence between the two?
are the normal ones the bark brown colour and the metal ones the black colour?

2008-09-26, 09:19 AM
i am not aware of telling the Type based on the tape color...it should be printed on the cassette tho

2008-09-26, 10:12 AM
the holes on the top of the cassette will indicate what kind of tape it is.

normal - holes next to the 'safety punch tabs' at the far ends.
CrO2 - are about 3/4 inch from the edges
Metal - almost together in the center.

grab a cassette of each know type and match up the top holes with your mystery tape to verify.

Bias is a special signal that is applied during recording. The first tape recorders simply applied the raw audio signal to the electromagnet in the head. This works, but produces a lot of distortion on low-frequency sounds. A bias signal is a 100-kilohertz signal that is added to the audio signal. The bias moves the signal being recorded up into the "linear portion" of the tape's magnetization curve. This movement means that the tape reproduces the sound recorded on it more faithfully.

2008-09-26, 11:30 AM
ok cool! thanks!

2008-09-27, 02:28 PM
also be aware that many official cassettes were released on chrome tape with a note on the j-card saying to 'play back in normal position' ... so in that case you would play back the chrome tape in normal position, otherwise go by the holes in the top. better tape decks auto-detect the holes and switch accordingly.

2008-10-09, 01:17 AM
It's my experience that for playback a type II chrome or type IV metal tape might sound better if played back at the normal type I position. Just listen as you switch back and forth - it'll be brighter in the highs at the norm position. If the deck does have auto tape type sensors it looks for those other holes beside the tape record tab like previously mentioned, you could cover the holes with a chunk of scotch tape or something to block them...

While it might be more accurate to set the bias "correctly" according to what type of tape you're using, in this digital age that extra couple dB in the high range helps. Tape noise be damned!

Good luck and remember: for best results always adjust tape head azimuth (re-align heads manually to match the tape you want played)... This is the most important part of proper tape transfer, bar none! Look it up!