I am in the process of converting old reel-to-reel and cassette tape recordings to digital. One reel-to-recording from the early 70’s of my first band is real weak. When I amplify the sound the tape rumble is also amplified. I’ve tried EQing out the lows & highs and compressing. But, the rumble is still overwhelming and must be sharing the mid range of the vocals. A faint guitar is present and maybe a bass but I can’t hear it. I do not remember what recorder was used for the original mono recording but I am playing it back on Akai GX-747 without Dolby NR and sending it to Sonar 7 thru a Sonar V-Studio 100. I have not tried cleaning it up in Sonar 7 yet because I am still trying to improve the input signal first. What would you do to rescue this important memory?

  • 4
    Since you mention it was recorded on a different recorder, could this be a head alignment issue? Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 19:59
  • 1
    I think Friend has the right diagnosis - the symptoms you describe could easily fit with a head alignment issue.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 7:57
  • @FriendOfGeorge How would one go about confirming that it is in fact a head alignment issue?
    – BenV
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 2:59
  • Ask a tape tech to look at the alignment of your reel-to-real unit. Commented Jul 7, 2012 at 2:10
  • i think that if head alignment was off he would hear something louder and something softer, i don't know if the louder part could be the rumble. I'll throw another idea , can you disable the NR? i don't really know how NR works in consumer grade tapedecks but NR is for a signal passing through, If the NR is on and the tape is recorded with no NR it's possible that it decodes a not encoded signal... it's an extreme thought anyways..
    – frcake
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


It's also possible that the number of tracks on the recording doesn't match the number of tracks on your Akai-GX747. Remember that both 2-track 2-channel stereo and 4-track 20-channel stereo recorders were common in the 1970's.

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