Roxette Tourism on new DCC doesn't start until forwarded a bit


This is possibly a stupid question but since this is my first encounter with a pre-recorded DCC I’m not sure what to expect.

On my recently acquired DCC170 a brand new Roxette Tourism pre-recorded DCC doesn’t start playback until forwarded a bit, if fully rewinded a press on play just starts and shortly afterwards it then tries the other side and then stops.

When fast forwarded just a bit it starts and the 1st title shows up and the everything works perfect from that point.

Could it be a too long blank “lead in” on the tape?


What is default behavior on playing prerecorded DCC cassettes is this:
When fully rewound, when PLAY is pressed, the deck will first encounter a few seconds of leader tape, which of course does not contain any information. The deck wil show ‘-- – --’ or similar in the display. This wil last around 2-4 seconds.
When the part with magnetic tape is reached, there will be a code on the prerecorded tape to instruct the deck to forward to the first track marker. This will be a bit further on the tape, so the deck will do a short FFW and when it finds this marker it will PLAY and the first track will start.
This is done because from experience (also from analog cassettes) it was learned that the first part of a tape after the leader tape is more prone be bad and could have dropouts etc. Further along the tape it is usually fine.

This writing of a ‘SKIP’ marker also happens when you make your own recording, when you follow the correct procedure to initialize a tape for a new recording. Then the deck will start writing a ‘LEAD IN’ while preparing for the recording (which will become the part that will be FFW on PLAY), go into REC PAUSE and wait for you to start the actual recording.
This procedure to correctly initialize a tape is different per deck unfortunately. I have written for myself a guide to do this correctly for some of the decks that I usually do my recordings on. You can read this quick reference guide here:

The DCC standard defines a few different ways to do a recording. It is explained in the manuals as well.

Now, I just realized that I explained a lot, but have not answered your question :thinking:

It could be some grease residu from the internal felt pads that resides on the beginning of the tape. The tape will ‘stall’ and that will confuse the player. It has happened, and is well documented. It will cause the behaviour you describe. There are blog posts and youtube videos about this phenomenon.
It could also be that there is some other tape damage (like crinkled tape) which causes the information from the tape to be read incorrect and generate an ‘error’ in the electronics and that might confuse the player also.
You could check the tape at that point, very carefully as it is very delicate. And also make sure the head, the capstan and the pinch rollers are all pristine clean. There is a lot more to be said, but just start there.


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Thank you for all the useful and detailed information, I certainly didn’t know those things about DCC - feels like both DAT and MD are easier to understand in that regard. In my case the pre-recorded tape was unopened and possibly around 30 years old(!) and after a few forward and rewinds it works perfectly from the beginning now! happy :slight_smile:
And the pinch-rollers and head looks to be in pristine order. The unit was supposedly only used for 10 hours with DCC only and then put to rest. The belt was changed by me - only a tad bit more work compared to the Panasonic RQ-S60 I’ve done some work on earlier.

If only my recently ordered blank DCCs could turn up now, should really have kept a few when I sold the 730…didn’t knew at the time that I would re-visit this tech. I blame DAT and MD for that :wink:

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I had a similar problem with a pre-recorded Tchaikovsky DCC tape a while back, same circumstances as you describe – factory-sealed up to the moment I opened it, and iwhen I tried to play it, it would get a few seconds into side A and then suddenly reverse. But, after several rounds of this, the next time I tried playing it, with the intention of hitting “stop” and “eject” the moment it spontaneously reversed so that I could see if there was damage to the tape at that spot, it stopped doing it and played normally every time afterwards. (Go figure.)

In both of our cases, the most likely explanation was that there was a bit of dust, or a very slight deformation of the tape at that spot, which was causing a read error that fooled the deck into thinking it had hit the end of the recorded data on the tape. The repeated play/rewind operations either finally knocked the dust particle loose, or smoothed out the deformation, so that on the next play-through attempt the deck didn’t see that sudden interruption of the data stream and wasn’t fooled into reversing itself.


With my prerecorded DCCs, I typically FF and REW a few times before playing for the first time. This can help with drop outs if the tape was sitting in one place for a long time.

Always rewind the tape to the clear leader tape before you take the cassette out of the player, to avoid buildup of sticky goo on the backside of the tape due to the 2 inside felt pads that shed this stuff onto the tape. If you don’t do that, and the tape sits for a few years, than you will have trouble playing that spot.
REW and FFWD the tape does not necessarily clean this up, it will remain a bad spot on the backside.
I make rewinding a habit and haven’t had any problems since.

Also, when obtaining second hand cassettes for the first time, the tape is almost always in the middle of the tape. Stored like that for years. I then carefully pull the tape out and clean the dirty spots on the backside before first play. Hopefully the owner did NOT try to play them just before the sale, because then the bad spot would difficult to find.