A client did a bunch of tapes on his Tascam 688 many years ago. He wants to pull them into the computer. I got a Tascam 238 for this purpose.

The problem is, no matter what tape I put in the 238's deck, even standard 2-track cassettes, when I press Play, the head extends briefly, there is a jerk on the tape, and then it stops. Interestingly, the Shuttle knob works fine; the tape moves in forward or reverse, I get output on the tracks, everything looks OK. Fast forward and rewind seem to work fine as well. Any suggestions? I can't help imagining that I'm just doing something silly, since all the functions seem to work in shuttle mode.

Oh, and while I've got you, how sensitive are these decks to alignment? Am I wasting my time because I'll have massive crosstalk? God knows how the 688 was aligned (or misaligned).