For the last few weeks I have been reading and watching a lot of videos about tape looping. I started thinking it could be a really cool and unique way to approach sampling and creating new sounds when I’m composing. After multiple failed trips to the local Goodwill to try and find a used tape player in good and working order,
I discovered the Panasonic RR-830 (below) which was created to function as a transcription machine. There are tape speed and VSC (Variable Speech Control) controls, which allow for greater manipulation of the tape in a live performance or even sampling setting. I found a unit in like-new condition on eBay for $60 and pulled the trigger. What I didn’t realize, was that this machine had an auto-stop function, meaning that if the left tape head didn’t move continuously, the machine would eventually stop playing the cassette. I was now in dire need of a fix!
After trying out a few workarounds I found online, including running a rubber band around the two tape spindles after removing the machine face (below) I finally discovered the perfect solution! It involved covering the two tape reels in blue painter tape (roughly 4-5 times around) and then running a size #32 rubber band around both reels (below). This obviously dictates that the tape then must be run around both reels as well, so it isn’t your typical 4-5 second tape loop routed around the right reel only. For some reason I couldn’t get the cassette to work super well with just the rubber band, which is why I added the tape. It does seem that the rubber band should have traction enough itself to be turned physically by the reels, so if you’re interested in trying this fix for yourself, you might try without tape first and maybe you’ll have better luck than me.
For a more detailed explanation into the issue with the Panasonic RR-830 and the fix I’ve come up with, check out the YouTube video I created below.