The Azimuth Adjustment

One adjustment that can be optionally done to improve audio quality is called azimuth, which is the adjustment of the angle between the read/write head and the tape. If you don’t feel comfortable doing the procedure described below, don’t be concerned. It is not absolutely necessary, but you may want to try it.

For this adjustment, you will need to play the tape you want to convert to the digital format, and the tape deck must be connected to an amplifier (a.k.a. “receiver”) still with the front lid removed from the cassette compartment.

Looking closely at the front of the tape deck, you will notice one or two screws below where the read/write head is located. See Figure 5.

The screws for the azimuth adjustmentFigure 5: The screws for the azimuth adjustment

The adjustment consists of playing the tape and listening to it while you move the screw slightly to the left or to the right with a Philips screwdriver until you get the best sound quality out of your tape. It is important to memorize the screw’s original position, just in case you want to return it to that position.

After finding the best adjustment for your tape, press the “stop” button and place the compartment lid back into place.

You may repeat the cleaning and azimuth adjustment for the second deck if you have a dual-deck model.

Your tape deck is now clean and adjusted, and you are ready to connect it to your computer to convert your tapes to the digital format, which is the subject of our next tutorial.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.