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David Ayers

The cassette vs. the Rest of the World debate

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The cassette is still probably about 50% of the West African market; though most things seem to be coming out on CD as well, now.

I have about 60 feet of 'em.

MG

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Of course cassettes sound better than mp3s. Everything sounds better than mp3s. The wider public really needs to know about lossless music files.

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"Craig Proulx says he has discarded scratched CDs, but still has cassette tapes from his childhood."

And I'm sure they sound wobbly as hell. A secure FLAC rip from a CD on the other hand lasts a lifetime.

Edited by erwbol

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I used to buy cassettes with my pocket/holiday money when I was in junior school in the Seventies. My parents had a turntable but I liked to listen to music on my own, single-speaker portable player. I would guess that the tape snapped in roughly half of them.

I have been collecting CDs since the late Eighties -- have more than 7,000 I suppose. None of them is scratched.

Edited by crisp

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I am working on a project to convert 18,000 cassettes to digital files. Most are private recordings of jazz gigs from the mid 60s to 93.

I use to like the convenience of cassettes. You could take them in your car and have your music.

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How are you doing this? Is expensive equipment involved? I have a few tapes I would like to digitise myself.

Edited by crisp

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I got rid of my washing machine a few months back. I take my washing down to the banks of the Chesterfield Canal and do it there. You get a far better wash. And it's HIP too so you can act really cool.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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I got rid of my washing machine a few months back. I take my washing down to the banks of the Chesterfield Canal and do it there. You get a far better wash. And it's HIP too so you can act really cool.

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

I thought cassettes were great in 1984, but in 2013, I'll take another option.

I still kick myself for buying so many albums on cassette back then instead of on vinyl. :wacko:

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How are you doing this? Is expensive equipment involved? I have a few tapes I would like to digitise myself.

It really depends on how much you care about the material on cassette. I picked this up for $15-20 and it is fine for pop cassettes: http://www.amazon.com/AGPtek®-Portable-Cassette-Converter-Headphones/dp/B005NGJLYW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1369159533&sr=8-4&keywords=cassette+mp3

(I wouldn't use it for anything really rare.)

You just need a lot of patience, since you have to record to .wav in real time. Then you probably want to split the wav files and convert down to flac or even mp3 files.

I also wouldn't use the recording software that comes with the player. Just use a standard sound board to wav software (I forgot the name of the software I use -- only at home naturally).

Edited by ejp626

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Back in the 90's, and possibly early 2000's, I converted quite a few cassettes of live recordings to digital. I used a MiniDisc recorder, which allowed me to edit the recordings (you could not only remove long stretches of silence or applause, but you could move and combine edited tracks). I would then often transfer them from MD to CDR. I still have the MD and CD recorders, but no longer have a working cassette deck (I've had three of them die on me over the last several years, including one that was recently returned to me after being loaned out to a family member). I don't miss using cassettes.

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How are you doing this? Is expensive equipment involved? I have a few tapes I would like to digitise myself.

First, it is done in real time. I am playing the cassettes while recording them on my computer. Once done determining if I will split the tracks. Repeat this over and over. Hopefully cassette deck will last. I am working on this with one other person. It is going to take several years to go through all these tapes.

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I can see the appeal to the "lo-fi" folks who are using cassettes as a distribution medium (as stated in the article).

I don't miss cassette tapes, either, but I do kind of miss the shopping trips I used to make to various "ethnic" grocery stores that also sold hard-to-find music on cassettes. Grabbing a bunch of those and taking them home to listen (and, often, re-dub, since the physical quality of the ones I bought was usually horrendous) was a lot of fun. You never quite knew what you'd be getting.

Cassettes were my intro. to older Bollywood soundtracks and a lot of Arabic music. Even today, there are rare cassette-only issues of some Arab singers that are worth hunting down.

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I've ripped many of my tapes to mp3 (by first transferring them to CD). Tapes that sound pretty bad on my stereo don't sound so bad in my car or on an iPod boom box. Overall, it's a worthwhile endeavor, but it does take a lot of time. To save time, you might want to transfer them a tape side at a time, and later on separating them into individual tracks.

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I got rid of my washing machine a few months back. I take my washing down to the banks of the Chesterfield Canal and do it there. You get a far better wash. And it's HIP too so you can act really cool.

:lol:

Slow washing!

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The wonderful days of 'the mix tape'. Making them for friends. Including the tracks you 'knew' they 'must' hear. Friends making them for you.

Or someone making a cassette for you of that rare unfindable album you couldn't live without, and the cassette becoming your most precious object.

Or the sound mixer recording your gig 'through the board'.

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I can see the appeal to the "lo-fi" folks who are using cassettes as a distribution medium (as stated in the article).

I don't miss cassette tapes, either, but I do kind of miss the shopping trips I used to make to various "ethnic" grocery stores that also sold hard-to-find music on cassettes. Grabbing a bunch of those and taking them home to listen (and, often, re-dub, since the physical quality of the ones I bought was usually horrendous) was a lot of fun. You never quite knew what you'd be getting.

Cassettes were my intro. to older Bollywood soundtracks and a lot of Arabic music. Even today, there are rare cassette-only issues of some Arab singers that are worth hunting down.

I don't get the whole "distribution medium" aspect. In this digital age it just seems akin to having a hand crank on the front of your car.

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The wonderful days of 'the mix tape'. Making them for friends. Including the tracks you 'knew' they 'must' hear. Friends making them for you.

Or someone making a cassette for you of that rare unfindable album you couldn't live without, and the cassette becoming your most precious object.

Or the sound mixer recording your gig 'through the board'.

I had so many rare Blue Note dates on cassette tapes made for me by various friends. I mean really, until the Mosaic box, how else did you hear Tina Brooks "True Blue"?

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Mix tapes were the best parts of the cassette era. As for it being "audiophile", that's another story.......

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Think I tossed them all several years ago.

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I liked cassettes then and like them still. Have a box or two of them under the spare bed and dig the odd one out occasionally. Still have a deck in the sitting room and have been known to buy the odd tape from charity shops. Bought The Smiths - Strangeways Here We Come a few weeks ago and enjoyed it. Sound takes a bit of adjusting to after digital clarity but it isn't bad and I've heard Gig PAs with more hiss...

Used to love the portability compared to LPs and their near indistructibility (though tapes would occasionally mangle). Remember travelling in the 80s with a clutch of tapes and sometime look at my 8 gig mp3 player (Sansa Clip) and wonder how many cassettes it holds in a device about the size of a matchbook...

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I can see the appeal to the "lo-fi" folks who are using cassettes as a distribution medium (as stated in the article).

I don't miss cassette tapes, either, but I do kind of miss the shopping trips I used to make to various "ethnic" grocery stores that also sold hard-to-find music on cassettes. Grabbing a bunch of those and taking them home to listen (and, often, re-dub, since the physical quality of the ones I bought was usually horrendous) was a lot of fun. You never quite knew what you'd be getting.

Cassettes were my intro. to older Bollywood soundtracks and a lot of Arabic music. Even today, there are rare cassette-only issues of some Arab singers that are worth hunting down.

I don't get the whole "distribution medium" aspect. In this digital age it just seems akin to having a hand crank on the front of your car.

the people buying them are mostly under 30 and cassettes are a novelty item, kind of - and very "retro." I can see the appeal to the "lo-fi" and punk bands that use cassettes. It's against the trend, very much an "underground" kind of thing.

The people who are putting out cassettes (see article) said that they know the trend could change to something else tomorrow.

Edited by seeline

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