jazzcorner

Cassette tape production revival?

41 posts in this topic

`Have just seen in the german TV a report about efforts to start a new cassette tape production with improved audio quality. The  usual tape hiss is strongly reduced mentioned the report. The little company is located in the US.

Has anybody else heard about this  Info?

Rhanks

Edited by jazzcorner

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Naturally, I have been using CDs (and the occasional LP) for many years, but cassettes using Dolby sounded great and there was no audible tape hiss. I don't see any need to go further than that. I recall transferring a CD of Artur Rubinstein playing Brahms's First Piano Concerto onto a cassette. The playback was indistinguishable from the CD.

It isn't the point, but in earlier years, I had a Tandberg open-reel tape deck, and that sounded great at 7 1/2 i.p.s. I couldn't afford to run at 15 i.p.s., and, at half speed, there was a 2-hour playing time. (It took 7" reels.)

It would be interesting to see what kind of system they have come up with, and whether the difference between it and Dolby can be detected without laboratory equipment.

"All the highest notes, neither sharp nor flat - the ear can't hear as high as that - , still I thought I'd please any passing bat, with my High Fidelitee." (Flanders and Swann, "At The Drop Of A Hat", ca. 1960.)

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9 minutes ago, Shrdlu said:

Naturally, I have been using CDs (and the occasional LP) for many years, but cassettes using Dolby sounded great and there was no audible tape hiss. I don't see any need to go further than that. I recall transferring a CD of Artur Rubinstein playing Brahms's First Piano Concerto onto a cassette. The playback was indistinguishable from the CD.

It isn't the point, but in earlier years, I had a Tandberg open-reel tape deck, and that sounded great at 7 1/2 i.p.s. I couldn't afford to run at 15 i.p.s., and, at half speed, there was a 2-hour playing time. (It took 7" reels.)

It would be interesting to see what kind of system they have come up with, and whether the difference between it and Dolby can be detected without laboratory equipment.

"All the highest notes, neither sharp nor flat - the ear can't hear as high as that - , still I thought I'd please any passing bat, with my High Fidelitee." (Flanders and Swann, "At The Drop Of A Hat", ca. 1960.)

IIRC Dolby wasn't available on too many portables, probably because of the additional expense. To be commercially viable today a cassette player would have to be portable. If you could reduce hiss and avoid the Dolby licensing fee you could manufacture cheaper.

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Yes, that might be it.

I wasn't aware that Dolby wasn't on portables. I thought it kinda took over. My player is a big household on on a shelf. Any family portables were mono trash ones, so we weren't concerned with the sound. Back in the day, I had a nice cassette player in the car. Actually, they were standard in some cars years after CDs appeared. My 96 Volvo wagon originally came with a cassette deck.

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And the next hot new trend among formerly obsolete yet now mysteriously trendy/hip technology will be the millions of audiophiles ditching internet radio in favor of the "crystal clear" audio provided by this device:

complete-guide-build-crystal-radio-plus-

Everything old is new (to some one) again!

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Gizmos overtake music and music surrenders from exhaustion.

Edited by Chuck Nessa

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"As with vinyl’s comeback, however, music fans seem eager to embrace the quirks of physical formats, in this case such as winding tapes by hand with a pen and turning it over at the end of each side. Some websites also mention the hiss of the tape as an appealing feature."

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/nov/09/back-in-the-loop-why-cassette-tapes-became-fashionable-again

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MCs must have been around and about all the time, and the "below 25-year old" mention in the Grauniad article does seem to nail it. I remember my 20-year old son (who is very much into Heavy Metal - but also more and more 70s classic rock) has told me for a couple of years now that it is fairly common for local newcomer/youth bands in the Metal genre to put out their first recorded and self-published efforts (for use as demos or sale/giveaway to their local fan base) not on CD (though I imagine self-produced CD-Rs really cannot be a cost factor anymore these days) but on cassette tape, of all things. (As confirmed by the Grauniad story) And the format seems to be much appreciated. To the point of the youngsters drooling over cassette finds, such as when my better half dug out some prerecorded rock cassette tapes from her teen days in the 80s and passed them on to our son. Made a hit among his friends when he put up pics of his finds on the social media ...
Very niche-y but surprising anyway ...

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From bitter experience, I know only too well that all "updates" cause problems or deterioration. I always say "No",  but some force themselves on you. A recent "update" for Youtube messed up my list of watched videos. An "update" for my VPN actually crashed during the installation process, and I had to delete the entire VPN and use an earlier installer which I had kept.

"if'n it ain't broke, ... "

Edited by Shrdlu

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So another old low-fi analog tech is making a comeback? So those of us who lived with all its shortcomings are supposed to cheer?

Dolby tapes had no hiss because they rolled off the highs so much, you couldn't hear it. :lol::lol: The trick for the best sound out of a cassette was to avoid Dolby and live with the hiss. At least then, you got the full fidelity of the music.

It's funny, but I was over on another forum and some loon started complaining about HD TV, saying stupid shit like, "The picture is so much better on an SD TV". I figure he was just trolling but then several other idiots started agreeing with him... well, maybe it was a group troll job? :)

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Tape is fun...at first.

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I have a Sony reel to reel, which I received from my parents for making honor roll in 10th grade (1966) when I lived in Barcelona. My friend Ronald (who also had a reel to reel) and I used to make tapes of our records or what we heard on the radio and bring it to each other’s house and spent a lot of time discussing the music. I don’t know if I have any tapes as they’d be up in the attic and it’s very cold up there right now. Don’t have the heart to toss it, even though it’s very bulky. 

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8 hours ago, bresna said:

So another old low-fi analog tech is making a comeback? So those of us who lived with all its shortcomings are supposed to cheer?

That may be your private opinion.

It all depends on the quality level of the  hardware  you use and brand of cassette tapes.

I have recorded only on the highh-end Nakamichi decks ZX 9 and Dragon  ( and a few in my BRAUN) and have used only TDK or Maxell cassette tapes of all kind (Ferro/Chromium or metal) for my FM radio broadcasts I did record. No Dolby on the master tapes.  Recently I producerd a CD-R from my Nakamichi master. Someone asked me  from which CD this was copied. The playback quality was superbe.

I do agree that a lot of low-fi hardware and cheap cassettes damaged the general opinion of the home  cassette recording but all I can say my Cassettes from 25 years and more ago meet the quality of most of todays CD's.  The 2 track recordings on open reel are still a small percentage better using the BRAUN TG 1020 2 track or the Revox machine.

 

Edited by jazzcorner

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1 hour ago, jazzcorner said:

That may be your private opinion.

It all depends on the quality level of the  hardware  you use and brand of cassette tapes.

I have recorded only on the highh-end Nakamichi decks ZX 9 and Dragon  ( and a few in my BRAUN) and have used only TDK or Maxell cassette tapes of all kind (Ferro/Chromium or metal) for my FM radio broadcasts I did record. No Dolby on the master tapes.  Recently I producerd a CD-R from my Nakamichi master. Someone asked me  from which CD this was copied. The playback quality was superbe.

I do agree that a lot of low-fi hairdware and cheap cassettes damaged the general opinion of the home  cassette recording but all I can say my Cassettes from 25 years and more ago meet the quality of most of todays CD's.  The 2 track recordings on open reel are still a small percentage better using the BRAUN TG 1020 2 track or the Revox machine.

 

That is my very-experienced opinion and it is one shared by many other audiophiles who tried to make that format the best it could be. While I may not have had a Nakamichi Dragon, I had a very high-end cassette deck and I only used TDK or Maxell FerroChrome or metal tapes. No auto-level recordings, meticulous attention to detail and yet it never came close to LP, much less CD. All it ever did was add hiss to anything you recorded. Dolby A, Dolby B, dBx, etc. all took away from the music. I think I might have a bunch of old Blue Note prerecorded cassettes somewhere in a box. I couldn't wait to get that music on CD. Night & day.

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20 minutes ago, bresna said:

That is my very-experienced opinion and it is one shared by many other audiophiles who tried to make that format the best it could be. While I may not have had a Nakamichi Dragon, I had a very high-end cassette deck and I only used TDK or Maxell FerroChrome or metal tapes. No auto-level recordings, meticulous attention to detail and yet it never came close to LP, much less CD. All it ever did was add hiss to anything you recorded. Dolby A, Dolby B, dBx, etc. all took away from the music. I think I might have a bunch of old Blue Note prerecorded cassettes somewhere in a box. I couldn't wait to get that music on CD. Night & day.

Format nostalgia is amazing. Excuse me while I sharpen some cactus needles.

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2 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

... Excuse me while I sharpen some cactus needles.

Don't be a prick. :P

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I think the real importance of the cassette was that for the first time it gave the consumer some control over the music. You could create mix tapes from the records you owned and best of all you could dub records you didn't. Which is why the cassette is completely obsolete today when digital music is far better suited to those ends.

 

Home_taping_is_killing_music.png

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12 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Format nostalgia is amazing. Excuse me while I sharpen some cactus needles.

cactus needle

9 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

I think the real importance of the cassette was that for the first time it gave the consumer some control over the music. You could create mix tapes from the records you owned and best of all you could dub records you didn't. Which is why the cassette is completely obsolete today when digital music is far better suited to those ends.

 

Home_taping_is_killing_music.png

From cassette to files: the Waterloo of the Record Companies' war against private copy.

When I taped records 45 years ago it was a matter of money, I borrowed records from friend, BUT my ambition was to have these records as I did often when got enough money. Back then a taped record from a cheap TT to a cheap cassette deck was anything but a "hifi" experience. The funny thing is that now most of the people that can have for free a perfect copy of a record don't give a damn about the sound quality.

Edited by porcy62

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15 hours ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Format nostalgia is amazing. Excuse me while I sharpen some cactus needles.

Yes for the 78 rpm stock it does it. But thats too much nostalgia for me.

;-]]

 

11 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

I think the real importance of the cassette was that for the first time it gave the consumer some control over the music. You could create mix tapes from the records you owned and best of all you could dub records you didn't. Which is why the cassette is completely obsolete today when digital music is far better suited to those ends.

 

Home_taping_is_killing_music.png

 

Not here in Germany.

The radio stations offer a software "Radiorecorder" which can be installed free  on your own computer. It recods digitally the broadcast and lists it in a internal database. Recording for private use is officially allowed. How is it in the US?

That ad with the logo seems to come from the companiers fearing reduced proceeds.

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1 hour ago, jazzcorner said:

That ad with the logo seems to come from the companiers fearing reduced proceeds.

Of course. Instill fear into the hearts of the unwary ...

Let's face it, copying music (and the potential revenue losses that may have come with it) in the age of the musicassette was a laughable affair compared to today ...

 

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2 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Let's face it, copying music (and the potential revenue losses that may have come with it) in the age of the musicassette was a laughable affair compared to today ...

Correct. But in general here in Germany home recording for your own pleasure  it is legal  and trading the music in one way opr other too. Thats one of the reasons these decks and walkman recorders werde constructed.

But there is one more reason re tape hiss which was not mentioned here.

Playing a CD or CD-R is touchless which is not possible for recorded tapes (reels, cassettes). The musical signals are encoded via magnetism on the readable surfache of the tape. Playing it back means your reading head touches the magnetic surface of the tape. Every time you play a tape a bit more magnetism is transferred from the tape to the reading (playback) head and is accumulated there. This causes to a high degree "tape hiss" and remains on your hardware unless  a regular demagnetism procedure is performed. This can be done

a) with special demagnetizing cassette tapes

b) with special device (driven by a battery inside)  touching cautiously the  reading head and remove the device very slowly from the heads.

If the original  signal  from radio is free if noise and hiss there will be no audible  'hiss' on your home recording. This is at least my own experience because I care very much for my hardware to keep it in the best possible shape.

 

Edited by jazzcorner
text

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On 1/17/2020 at 6:33 AM, bresna said:

It's funny, but I was over on another forum and some loon started complaining about HD TV, saying stupid shit like, "The picture is so much better on an SD TV". I figure he was just trolling but then several other idiots started agreeing with him... well, maybe it was a group troll job? :)

Yeah, there have been a few people on Hoffman's Visual Arts subforum who have made this claim. Almost without exception, they have been a couple of tacos shy of a combination plate, and for plenty of other reasons in addition to seriously putting forth such a claim. The corollary to such claims is usually "you can only view analog video properly on a CRT". 

I still have a substantial number of laserdiscs, and given the limits of the format they are generally quite watchable on an HD panel as long as you're using a good scaler and a high-end laserdisc player, but there's no way I'd ever claim that such a setup can compare to a well-mastered Blu-ray played back with my Oppo. 

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23 minutes ago, Dave Garrett said:

Yeah, there have been a few people on Hoffman's Visual Arts subforum who have made this claim. Almost without exception, they have been a couple of tacos shy of a combination plate, and for plenty of other reasons in addition to seriously putting forth such a claim. The corollary to such claims is usually "you can only view analog video properly on a CRT". 

I still have a substantial number of laserdiscs, and given the limits of the format they are generally quite watchable on an HD panel as long as you're using a good scaler and a high-end laserdisc player, but there's no way I'd ever claim that such a setup can compare to a well-mastered Blu-ray played back with my Oppo. 

Those folk there are interesting...  I can only speak from the perspective of 16 bit 2D video games, but if you look at say, the original arcade release of Street Fighter III: Third Strike on an HDTV from the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection on PS4 it looks quite a bit pixellated vs if you were to view the original arcade machine on a CRT... but if you use a few scan lines it can look very good. It won't look nearly as good as a modern game, that's stating the obvious, but if it was always well done, as that game was it'll look good no matter what.

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10 hours ago, jazzcorner said:

Not here in Germany.

The radio stations offer a software "Radiorecorder" which can be installed free  on your own computer. It recods digitally the broadcast and lists it in a internal database. Recording for private use is officially allowed. How is it in the US?

US radio stations certainly don't encourage recording broadcasts, but US radio stations don't play anything worth recording anyway. I think back in the days of the cassette there was even a rule that radio stations would not announce the songs they were going to play in advance so as to discourage people from taping them off the air.

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