Vaulting Cassette Tapes and have a final question.


I am putting away a large amount of analog cassette tapes and do not have the original cases for each of them. I plan to stuff them into a shoe box and store them away. My question is: Will the magnetism of the tapes adversely affect each other? In other words, will the tapes erase (partially or otherwise) each other?


Brad Day
Atlanta, GA
Brad, the distance from one tape to the next is too great for the small amount of magnetism present in each cassette to affect the next. However, the same cannot be said for the many layers of tape wound within each cassete. In addition, magnetization is lost over time as reorientation occurs. This is true of any magnetic storage format, and for any magnet, for that matter. To answer your question, the answer is 'No', the tapes will not erase each other, but they will erase themselves over time. Twenty years from now, you will still be able to hear your treasured just may not sound the way you remember. Hope that helps.
Hmmm...I'd be more worried about oxide shedding than
degaussing. Where are you planning to store them? Got
anything better than a shoe box?
Before storing them, you should also "retension" them. That is, fully fast forward to the end of the tape, and rewind to the beginning. That will re-spool the tape in an orderly fashion, and avoid curling of the tape due to loose packing.

Retensioning was a common practice in the older days of computer tape backup, especially with 2-spool designs, which a cassette is. I agree with Goinbroke, though, any magnetic media will steadily degrade over time, especially well-used tapes, as much of the magnetic coating on the tape will have already worn off through contact with the tape heads during playback.

Though I'm not an expert, I would make a guess that any storage container you use should not be completely airtight, as trapped humidity could cause damage. To achieve better humidity control, you could use silica dessicant packs (the "do not eat" packets that come in the shipping cartons of many electronics - these absorb humidity)... these might be a good idea to throw in the storage container as well.
Thanks, guys!