I have some old tapes (the compact cassette variant) and an old Technics deck. I want to digitally archive these tapes as best as I can.
The original deck is from the late 80s and contains a standard playback-only 180 ohm DC resistance stereo playback head with one common wire (so 3 wires total). Since the original deck sounds pretty bad by today's standards (lots of noise and bad dynamics) I want to replace the analog signal path with something more modern. There is not much information available on the subject, most of it deals with stupid things like tube tape preamps or other absolutely inaccurate forms of amplification. I know that tapes themselves don't sound great, but I want to preserve basically everything you can reasonably get off of them to throw them out afterwards.
I explicitly don't care about IEC equalization or Dolby decoding, or any hardware-level noise reduction (other than noise that comes from the signal path itself obviously) since I will do that in software when I actually need the tapes in playable form.
My tentative design currently consists of two LT1115 differential amplifiers (one for each channel) feeding a single AD1871 two-channel 24bit Audio ADC. The LT1115 are going to run off of regulated and filtered +15V and -15V rails, the ADC has its own regulated 5V rail (and a 3.3V digital rail). I'm open to swapping these components for better ones, this is just what I came up with.
I'm not sure about what layout I need on the analog side. Can a coil with three wires (one common one) even reasonably be treated as two differential inputs (since they shouldn't really share a common wire)? Do I need any additional components in the analog path like a bleeder resistor for the coil charge or some form of matching or clamping?
I'd really appreciate it if somebody explain the analog behavior of tape head / inductor amplification.