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First post to this forum, which I found via a Google search. Wondering if anyone can offer some advice.

This concerns old cassette tapes. My husband has a dozens (think "mix tapes," rather than commercially produced cassettes,) and we're trying to decide if it's better to bite the bullet and send them out to be digitized (about $400-$600 for the lot) or if we can buy a small player to attach to our stereo so that he can play them. Just as an aside, I've never heard him actually LISTEN to any of these tapes in the 10 years we've been together, so if we can do this affordably, I'm all for it. On the other hand, $600 is cheaper than a divorce, so if that's what it takes, that's what it takes.

Before you state the obvious: my husband refuses to go totally digital with these items and won't consider an MP3 option. Most of these tapes are 90 to 120 minutes in length, so I feel that this would become a complicated, time-consuming DIY to digitize them at home.

Some background. Our stereo system is far from new (probably mid-90s,) but doesn't come with a cassette-player aux.
 

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If your current system has an aux or any spare line level input you can buy and connect a new cassette deck and play your tapes. They are available at many places such as Amazon for prices ranging from around $80 up.

http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=172550 :is the Amazon link
 

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First, the bad news :yikes::
If your tapes are that old, or been exposed to temperature/humidity extremes, they may not play properly. The problem can be as minor as tape warpage (causing volume-fluctuation), or as major as tape shedding (causing serious damage to the tape and the player). Also, old tapes may exhibit varying degrees of print-through (causing a pre- or post echo of a song as it's played).

I suggest choosing one of your least favorites for a first-run attempt.

Now the good news :sn::
If your tapes have been well cared-for, they may be in good playable condition. Again, chose your least-important tape as a starting point. If you contract out to a transfer service, ask them what their experiences are with older tapes. They may enlist special methods which increase the likelihood of a successful transfer.

Good luck and happy listening!
 
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