live recording onto cassette

Hi all,
I have an AP-118 PA mixer which I ran (using a 1/4 inch to rca cable) into a "studio standard", cassette recorder. I use this for recording live performances. Mainly a four piece band. My problem is that I get alot of fuzz recorded onto the tape aswell. Is there anything I can do to illiminate this problem?


Is the fuzz from the guitars or is it impendance issue? Keep in mind that tape will sound much warmer and not as sterile as digital recording. Naturally the tape will sound a bit fuzzy and analog, the "warmth." Great for guitar tracks. Try adjusting the levels. You may have a conflict with the mixer and cassette recorder. You're probably using balanced outs into the casette's unbalanced inputs. You'll have to work that out via adapter or inpedance converter. A low tech solution would be to simply balance the levels so that the recorder does not distort or "fuzz".
Ya, all my experience with tape decks has been fuzz city. My solution, dump a buch of $$ into a 8 chanel computer interface with mic preamps and all sorts of good stuff so I can record right to my computer without having to worry about the annoyances of tape... Probably not an answer you were looking for, but....

I guess, although you have probably already done it, just mess with the levels of everything until you find a happy middle between lack of fuzz and enough volume to hear what is going on. I might also recamend pluging something else into you mixer and see if the fuzz is comming from the mixer, or is just being generated by the tapedeck. If it's the mixer.. well, ya, you know where to start looking for your problem and the same idea goes with the tapedeck, you'll know where to start looking (eather way, looking at the cables as Jeff said)
You mention you're using a quarter-inch to RCA adaptor, but you don't mention if the 1/4" is TS or TRS. If it's TRS (which is more than likely), you're going to need a TRS to TS transformer to unbalance the signal, ideally placed next to the tape deck if it is a long cable run. Be sure you run TRS-TRS from the console to the transformer. From the transformer you can convert to RCA and go into the tape deck.

Also, it may seem obvious, but clean your tape deck and use only new tapes! That will help to cut down on the fuzz. Also, calibrate everything to work at an appropriate level - e.g., don't have a really hot signal come into the tape deck. Your board may be putting out +4 dBu, and your tape deck definitely takes -10 dBV. If this is the case, you need to (a) turn it down on the board or (b) get a pad.
is the deck also plugged into a tape-in anywhere?that could cause ground loop intereference!
There's one that I'm surprised nobody's made more mention of yet (or perhaps not, since I'm a few years older than many here, and cassettes phased out of popularity as I was growing up--I can actually remember when music stores started to change from being mostly tapes with a few shelves of CDS to mostly CDs with a few shelves of tapes, and now to mostly CDs with a few shelves of DVD-As!).

Have you cleaned the tape heads in the machine? Dirty heads can certainly make things a lot fuzzier. They're harder to find these days, but an online search should easily turn up head-cleaning kits, both that you can apply manually and that have an automated mechanism in a tape cassette that cleans the head for you.


P.S.-I just noticed that avkid did mention to make sure the machine is clean and that you use new tapes, so he did hit this point, although buried at the end where you might have glossed over it :)
cassette Bad idea man............the quility alone is a great reason onto record to it.
a million thanks for all the advice guys,

I am stuck, at least for the moment, with the current setup so my job is tragically to make it work.
On the subject of tapes, I use, short length, brand new, metal oxide. Usually a brand name. Heads are clean.
The first thing I did was play with the levels. Lower fuzz comes with lower volume. There is more fuzz on the recording than comes out of the mix and I have selected the post fader out.
One thing is that I run the signal into the tape deck and then out into channel 16 & 18, left and right, in order to play back and show the people what they sounded like. (they love the fuzz)
Assuming I have quality cables and the whole thing is grounded where else should I look to troubleshoot?

Thanks again

Andy_Leviss said:
P.S.-I just noticed that avkid did mention to make sure the machine is clean and that you use new tapes, so he did hit this point, although buried at the end where you might have glossed over it :)

Ahem...*raises hand* I made that comment. :) I do admit it was buried at the end, however.

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