recording machine casette tape player problem

Can anyone help? I have an old Vestax MR44 4 track recording machine…I have recorded loads of tracks on my machine but when I come to play them back…the tape just spins, as if it is in fast forward mode…As soon as I can fix this, I know all my recordings will have to be transferred to digital…but I am desperate not to lose what I have…it is 20 years of work!! I´m desperate

If you can see that the tape reels are going around much too fast in Play mode, then chances are the capstan – the little rubber wheel inside that pulls the tape in Play – is not engaging. The only thing left to move the tape when that happens is the tensioner motors which could go either direction depending on the machine setup.

You could have a damaged capstan rubber wheel or it could be glazed and slippery, a common problem on older recorders. When was the last time you cleaned the tape pathway? Do you still have the instruction book?

Do you get sound but it’s much too fast? That’s the symptom of capstan problems.

You could also have a logic problem where you press Play, but the machine actually goes into Fast Forward. The machine will be silent then even when the tapes moves. Do you get the meters when you’re playing a tape?