My audio cassettes don’t seem very healthy. I know cassettes age, but my older cassettes don’t seem any worse off than my new ones. It’s the beginning and of each cassette that is most messed up. The volume is low and distorted for about the first twenty seconds or so, and the tape deck grumbles sometimes. I keep it expecting to eat the tape, destroying it utterly, but the tape itself stays more or less intact.
For a while I thought it might be the deck, which I cleaned a few times with my little head cleaner kit. No luck. Is this a common problem, or are a bunch of little gremlins sneaking into my house and spitting tobacco juice onto the exposed portion of my cassettes? Is there anyone to drive the gremlins away, or at least replace them with some that don’t use snuff?