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How to Properly Protect Audio Tapes from Damage Over Time

by | Apr 5, 2018

How to Properly Protect Audio Tapes from Damage Over Time

CDs, MP3s, and streaming content are today’s top ways to play music. But many music lovers still treasure their cassette collections. If you don’t want to part with your 80s music mixes, even though your old Walkman has long since bit the dust, there are ways to properly protect audio tapes. Time is the enemy of these delicate, aging tapes. So find out now how you can enjoy them for years to come.

Enemies of Audio Tapes

There’s a lot to consider if you are to properly protect audio tapes. An audio tape features a plastic outer shell. Inside the plastic, there’s a magnetic strip on which the audio content is stored. This delicate material degrades over time and from handling and usage. The tape can be damaged if exposed to fluctuating or extreme temperatures, moisture, light, dust, and even exposure to magnetic fields.

How to Protect Audio Tapes

The location where you keep your collection is key. Moisture, dust, and extreme temperatures are detrimental to the tape’s condition. Therefore, never store a cassette collection in a garage, basement, or attic. Besides having dirt, dust, dampness, and other destructive elements, these locations are sometimes inhabited by pests. Choose a cool dry room, preferably unused, to store your collection.

Handle with care. Never touch the tape inside the plastic cassette. The oils on your fingers destroy the delicate material. And once the tape comes in contact with your skin, it’s easily scratched, stretched, or chemically altered. If you must handle the tape to repair it, wear special lint-free gloves and avoid touching the surface.

Store audio tapes in their original cases and keep the tapes in these cases between uses. Place them in a vertical position, never stacked, and never directly on the floor. Also, never store tapes near equipment that produces a magnetic field or loud vibrations.

If you still have a functioning cassette player, make sure it’s in good working order before putting your favorite mix in it to play. These machines have been around for a while, and even if they are still in good shape, they’ve collected dust and may need cleaning.

Your Best Bet

The best way to protect audio tapes is to transfer them to a digital format. Do it yourself if you have the time, know-how, and the right equipment. Or leave the task to the experts to be sure it’s done quickly and correctly. Contact Disc Hounds today at 610-696-8668 and we’ll help you preserve your music and memories.