Cassette Player Controls


Call us at (800) 342-3688 if you have a problem of any kind when listening to a book.

See also: "Operating Our Cassette PlayerExternal Link Icon" from the National Library Service

Volume and Tone Control

Volume Control: Closest to the front of the machine is the slide control that makes the sound louder and softer. Move this to the right to increase the volume and to the left to reduce it.

Tone Control: Directly behind the volume control is another slide control that adjusts the tone. For a deeper sound, lowering the pitch of the narrator's voice, slide this to the left. To brighten the tone, raising the pitch, slide it to the right.

Side Selector Switch

How to Play a Four-Track Cassette

Cassette player
A cassette player. Click on image for larger view.

Behind the tone control is a rocker switch, labeled "1-2" to the left and "3-4" to the right. This is a very important control whose operation you must understand to listen to the entire book. Before you use the side selector switch, here is some basic information you should know.

A "four-track" cassette can contain up to four tracks, or sides, of recording, unlike a regular cassette, which has two. Since there are four sides on each cassette, the cassettes are labeled "1," "5," "9," "13," and so on to indicate the number of the first side of that cassette. The book is complete if the cassettes follow this sequence.

Follow the steps below to listen to your book:

  1. On the right side of the machine the "side selector switch" is the third control from the bottom. Be sure that this rocker switch is pressed down to the left (1-2 position).
  2. Place the first cassette (labeled "1") in the machine with the numbered and brailled side up. Push the "play" control to listen to the recording. The "play" control is green and has a raised "O."
  3. When side one is finished, stop the machine (the red control with a raised "X") and eject the cassette. Turn it over and replace it in the machine (numbered and braille side down). Now push "play" to listen to side two.
  4. When side two is finished, stop the machine. Push the "side selector" switch to the right (3-4 position). Eject the cassette and turn it over; the numbered and braille side is now up again. Replace the cassette in the machine and push "play" to listen to side three.
  5. After listening to side three, stop the machine, eject the cassette, turn it over (numbered and braille side down), replace it in the machine, and push "play" to listen to side four.
  6. You have now finished the first cassette. Return the "side selector switch" to the 1-2 position to be ready for the first side of the next cassette.

For books of more than one cassette, the next cassette will be numbered "5." Follow the same procedure for this and the remaining cassettes in the box, playing each cassette four times, alternating sides, until you reach the end of the book. At the end of each side, the narrator will give you a brief reminder of what to do. Please contact us if you need further help operating your cassette machine.

Press "play" and listen to the first side, and turn the cassette over to listen to side two. After side two, turn the cassette over again and press the side selector switch to the right. Now you can listen to side three. To hear side four, turn the cassette over one last time.

To listen to the second cassette (labeled side "5"), insert it into the machine and press the side selector switch back to the left before hitting the "play" button. Note that, depending on the length of the book, some cassettes will contain fewer than four sides.

Listen to the narrator's directions at the end of each side; these provide guidance as to what you should do to continue reading. It is very important that you master the side selector switch, otherwise you may find yourself skipping whole sections of the book and getting very confused. We recommend that you listen to the instruction tape that came with your machine, and please call us at (800) 342-3688 if you need further help.

Speed Controls

Your cassette machine has two controls that regulate the speed at which the tape runs through the player. Each control has a quite different function, and you need to understand them both to operate your player with confidence and to enjoy your recorded books fully. It's easy, but if you misuse either control, the book won't sound right.

The fourth control from the front of the machine on the right is a rocker switch labeled "Speed." The machine can run at either of two pre-set speeds, 15/16 and 1 7/8 inches per second (ips). All but the very oldest cassette books you get from this library play at 15/16 ips, so you should keep this switch pushed to the left, where it says "15/16."

Playing commercially produced cassettes on the TBBL cassette player:

The machine will run at the faster speed when the switch is pushed down to the right, "1 7/8." This is the speed to use for playing commercially produced cassettes such as music tapes and cassette books borrowed from your local public library. If a book has that cartoon "chipmunk" sound, it's playing too fast and you probably need to move this speed control to the left.

Behind this is a slide control labeled "Variable Speed Control." When you slide this all the way to the left, the tape will play at the normal pre-set speed (15/16 or 1 7/8 ips). This is where most borrowers leave this control. Sliding the control slightly to the right will slow the tape down by as much as 20%. If you continue sliding it to the right, the speed will begin to increase. When the control is all the way to the right, the tape runs very fast-probably too fast for most listeners-and the voice is high and distorted. However, many of our borrowers have become accustomed to using a faster than normal speed to read books.

Last Updated: April 12, 2011