Author Topic: Need help - cassette deck plays REALLY quiet  (Read 1002 times)

Offline Weissbier

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Need help - cassette deck plays REALLY quiet
« on: January 18, 2019, 06:19:54 PM »
Hi everyone - I just decided to get something to play my old records and tapes from the 1980s. So I found and bought a cheap Pioneer Centrex KH-8855 compact system on Craigslist. It’s in perfect cosmetic condition and the radio and turntable work great. However, the cassette player has an issue. When playing a cassette, the sound that comes out of the speakers is really quiet and muddy.  I cleaned the heads and pinch roller really good with isopropyl alcohol, but this didn’t help. Any ideas on what I could do next to fix this?

Offline MacGeek

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Re: Need help - cassette deck plays REALLY quiet
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2019, 06:32:49 PM »
My apologies if this is too basic and assuming you have tried more than one tape-check for proper Dolby settings.  Also, is there a line level output control?  If so make sure it is turned to near maximum.  Is this an all in one unit?  If not, try another set of inputs, not labeled phono.

Some very dirty decks may need more than one shot at cleaning the heads.
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Offline gdv

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Re: Need help - cassette deck plays REALLY quiet
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2019, 08:19:50 PM »
Also, did you demagnitize the tape heads?
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Offline Weissbier

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Re: Need help - cassette deck plays REALLY quiet
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2019, 08:31:58 PM »
There really aren’t any controls on this thing that can fix the issue. It’s an all-in-one unit. See attached photo.

Offline Sir Thrift-a-Lot

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Re: Need help - cassette deck plays REALLY quiet
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2019, 09:30:53 PM »
My first guess would be a dirty tape monitor switch.

Offline Weissbier

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Re: Need help - cassette deck plays REALLY quiet
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2019, 10:37:16 PM »
Please forgive my incredible lack of knowledge in this area, but what exactly is a tape monitor switch? Do you mean the selector switch that toggles between tape, radio, and phono? I’m sorry for my ignorance and I really appreciate everyone’s help!

Offline Sir Thrift-a-Lot

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Re: Need help - cassette deck plays REALLY quiet
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2019, 11:26:58 PM »
I guess I do.   I'm not actually familiar with that unit, but most of the time there is a push button to play back the tape deck.   It is so you can compare what is being played by the source with what is coming out of the tape deck.   In an all in one like this there may not even be such a switch.   Can you give close up pics of the controls, big enough to read them?

Offline Weissbier

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Re: Need help - cassette deck plays REALLY quiet
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2019, 11:55:10 AM »
I just removed the cover and sprayed electronic contact cleaner into several areas of the cassette mechanism. It was moderately gunked up. Getting rid of all the gunk made all of the cassette buttons operate smother, and this somehow fixed the problem. So ultimately I don’t know what the actual problem was, but spraying the cleaner did the trick. Many thanks to all of you. I really appreciate it.

Offline Sir Thrift-a-Lot

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Re: Need help - cassette deck plays REALLY quiet
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2019, 01:06:20 PM »
Excellent.   With old stuff, cleaning is usually a good place to start.   Do you know about DeOxit?

If it made the buttons smoother, perhaps the mechanism wasn't moving the tape head entirely forward into position before.   That would certainly decrease output.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 01:08:29 PM by Sir Thrift-a-Lot »