I just bought an album which is in a compact cassette format, folk band, consist of vocals, clean acoustic-nylon guitar, double-bass, and a drum/cajon. I have the CD format too. But when I hear the cassette format, the nylon-guitar seems to have a chorus-like sound, and the CD doesn't have it.

The label didn't make any changes while converting from CD to cassette. How's that (the chorus effect) possible? Why's there chorus in it and what are the causes?

  • I removed your 'uncertainty' header. 3 upvotes & no close votes is sufficient evidence that it's a valid question.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 27, 2015 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


The most likely cause is that the cassette play heads are worn or out of alignment, causing phase-discrepancies.

It is likely affecting the entire recording, but is most noticeable at frequencies where the phase-cancellation is worst - where the higher & longer notes will show it up.
You'd be unlikely to spot it happening on the bass, as the head alignment would have to be much worse to spot it, by which time the guitar would become almost unlistenable. Drums are less likely to show it, as they are of short duration.

If you're feeling brave, you can attempt to realign the heads yourself. I wouldn't recommend it if you only hear the problem on one cassette, or if the player is actually worth more than a few pounds/dollars/shekels.
There will be a small screw just under the play head, only accessible when the unit is in play, & sometimes only with the cover off.
A slight twist left or right, aiming for where the sound is brightest, will cure it.

This is not a perfect solution & don't attempt it if the gear is worth anything, but it's how an old-school sound engineer [me] would do it… though I'd have a meter to measure it, for all but a quick playback tweak ;-)

  • 2
    The easiest way to test for this problem is to try your cassette in a different player and see how it sounds.
    – Ben Miller
    Jun 26, 2015 at 13:32
  • for sure - though these days owners of multiple cassette players have got to be few & far between ;-) There's also the possibility that the azimuth was out on the duplicator.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 26, 2015 at 13:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.