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flatgrass

cassettes still hanging on

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I did a lot of taping back in the 70's and 80's on cassette, mostly off of vinyl and mostly to compile my favorites in one place. Most did not withstand the test of time (i.e., became crispy critters) but the sound quality was often excellent. Agree with Dave on that count.

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...Many above have talked about "obsolete formats."  I find that silly.  The past two weeks I've listened almost exclusively to 78 rpm records.  Some of these, especially from the 40s, have such punch, presence, and range as to simply disappear as "format" and present as a pure musical experience.  I've yet to see a "modern" format that can make a 78 sound as good as the "thing in itself" when play properly.  Granted, as I suspect you'd agree, this is probably due to poor engineering rather than format but I am never really tempted to record these as I see no sense in stepping a generation away from the original when the original works just fine... 

 

 

 

Dave

I encourage you and others to record (to digital format) these old recordings as best you can.  It might sound great played properly but I'm speaking from the viewpoint of wanting to preserve the music.  Some recordings are pretty rare and maybe even one of a kind.  I hate the thought of them becoming lost over time as records might be damaged or lost.  As precarious as digital copies can also be you can have as many backups as you want.  

 

My grandmother was a school music director for many years and loved playing blues piano (lot of WC Handy kind of stuff).  When she died I took all the recordings I could find and put them on a couple of CD's.  Unfortunately, I had almost no recordings of her before arthritis had already started to take its toll.  Still, it was something... as poor of quality as the recordings were since I was just a teenager and knew nothing about recording piano to my little portable cassette recorder, it was preserved so that we can still enjoy her music whenever we want.  Oh, and those CD's?   I made a couple hundred copies to pass out to everyone who came to her funeral.  I felt that somehow it was my responsibility to share.

 

My mother recently found a 78 (I think it is a 78) that her sister made before she died back in the early 1950's at age 16.  I will probably reach out for help to be sure I play this properly and don't cause any damage.  It would mean a lot to my mom to hear her again after all these years!   

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My mother recently found a 78 (I think it is a 78) that her sister made before she died back in the early 1950's at age 16. I will probably reach out for help to be sure I play this properly and don't cause any damage.

 

You are correct.  it requires care.  Given the robustness of the media and a modern stylus designed for the purpose, however, I have not found any audible degradation to occur from playback.  OTOH, I agree they should be archived.  I broke a rare copy of a Duke Ellington acoustic recording of "The Mooche" a year or so ago, and it both made me sick as well as feeling remiss for letting it happen on my watch.

 

Dave

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After reading this thread about past and present music media, it reminds me of my personal clothing style. "If you hang onto it long enough, it comes back into style"!

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After reading this thread about past and present music media, it reminds me of my personal clothing style. "If you hang onto it long enough, it comes back into style"!

now if only said clothes would still fit

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After reading this thread about past and present music media, it reminds me of my personal clothing style. "If you hang onto it long enough, it comes back into style"!

now if only said clothes would still fit

 

I hear ya!

My motto on buying jeans...

I wear a size 34

But a 36 feels so good

I go ahead and buy a 38 :D

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It's funny that the subject of cassettes should come up.

 

A couple days ago I was looking through unlabeled boxes in my basement and I found one with a bunch of my favorite cassettes inside (these were seperate from the hundreds I collected during my US Navy days in the early 80's).

 

In the box I found a copy of Pousette Dart Band "Never Enough". I've been looking for an affordable CD version of this album for years, you can't touch it for less than $100.00 on Ebay.

 

So I had to give this fav a test ride in my car (yes my pos car has a cassete deck in it), it had a few minor drop outs but still played pretty well, but honestly sonically it was still cassette quality which aside from their portability and size is their downfall.

 

My Teac V-909RX plays cassettes a lot better than my car but it's still... hisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!

 

Scott

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"If you hang onto it long enough, it comes back into style"!

 

Great music NEVER goes out of style for a music lover.  The form it comes in is irrelevant.

 

Dave

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Speaking of a great cassette story.Think about this....I am 57....Back in my younger days while living at my parents house in the late 70's there was a radio station WXRT that would play a midnight album every Friday. At the time I had a Sharp Rt 3388A...the most high tech computer controlled cassette deck. I had the ability to plug my receiver into it and I could set a start recording at midnight...so I would use it to start my receiver and my Pioneer Rt 707 reel to reel start recording the midnight album... You could fit a whole album on one side of a 7 inch reel to reel tape if you recorded it at the slower speed...Then I would transfer them to cassette so I could play them in my car.

This was heaven free albums and I did not even have to be awake to record them. Well I recorded so many midnight albums and transferred them to cassette I need to buy one of those big brief case type cassette holders....I think it may have held 48 cassettes.... Over the years while dating my now wife of 30 years every vacation we went on we would remember to pack the cassette case to listen to on our trip...at every tourist attraction we stopped at whether it was the Corn Palace....Grand Canyon... Devils Tower we would always buy one of those stickers and stick it onto the case with all the cassettes....By the time we got married the case was full . About 12 years ago I started to get rid of a lot of old analog gear one of which was the RT3388A and the cassette case...About a month ago a kid from work (he's 28) come up to me with his cell phone to show me a picture of what he bought at a garage sale....There is the fricken case with the stickers and all and it was still full with the same midnight albums.

 

The kid said ...YOU recorded those... I said F...ing A enjoy

Edited by oldred
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Had a Nak Dragon back in the day. Used it primarily to record first plays of vinyl. I was always concerned about over playing the albums.

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Ahh the day of recording vinyl on to cassette. Putting said cassette in the Pioneer super tuner cassette deck with Jensen 6x9 co-axials in the back of the VW's  in homeade plywood boxes. Adjust that equalizer, turn on that little 20WPC power amp and Steely Dan's Aja would sound fantastic. Always used Maxell tapes. They seemed to last longer in the Houston heat. I know stereos sound better in vehicles now, but the sound of those Jensen's would always be crystal clear. Used a Pioneer deck to record on with my current Thorens TT. I wonder how CD's would have sounded on those Jensen's? Sounds like a project to me.

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Had a Nak Dragon back in the day

 

 

Wish I could have got one of those....a friend of mine who rented a farm house had one paired with a set of Cornwall's ...the farm house ....better known as Malfunction Junction...most of it I remember...but then again he did have a power hitter...I am not admitting to ANYTHING

Edited by oldred
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Wish I could have got one of those....a friend of mine who rented a farm house had one paired with a set of Cornwall's ...the farm house ....better known as Malfunction Junction...most of it i remember...but then again he did have a power hitter

I could have written that...

 

Dave

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Wish I could have got one of those....a friend of mine who rented a farm house had one paired with a set of Cornwall's ...the farm house ....better known as Malfunction Junction...most of it i remember...but then again he did have a power hitter

I could have written that...

 

Dave

As could many...

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Cassettes never caught on with me,,,I used a Nak. with tape speed of only 1 7/8,,,,  Thought it was inferior to my AMPEX 440,, At 15ips... tape saturation on dynamics could be heard,, ...But cassettes were convenient but that's all... I still use my real to real ,,, dumped my NAK and I,m not sorry..

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Cassettes were the mp3s of their day.  Portability and storage were had at expense of maximum fidelity.  At their best, they sounded very good, but it was a serious compromise.

 

With SOTA equipment and media, excellent results could be realized. A format that was intended for dictation was coaxed by the use of Dolby, metal tape, etc. into reproducing music.  Nonetheless, if your goal was the recording and reproduction of live music, and you didn't need portability or storage benefits, R to R was vastly superior.

 

Nakamichi, and the like, squeezing Hi-Fi from cassettes was similar  to Lotus making the world's best handling front-wheel-drive sports car in the form of the last iteration of the Elan.  Yes, Lotus engineers were able  to trick the Isuzu powered roadster into good handling.  Unfortunately for Lotus, Mazda got better handling from the way less expensive rear drive MX5/Miata.

 

Having the best cassette system is kind of like being the world's tallest "little person" or being the world's shortest giant, it's oxymoronic. 

 

Finally, remember ,"Is it live or is it Memorex?"  IMO Memorex was junk.  I found TDK or Maxell to be superior to the heavily advertised Memorex.

Edited by DizRotus

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Thought it was inferior to my AMPEX 440,, At 15ips... tape saturation on dynamics could be heard

 

Finally, a reasonable comparison.  Metal tape and Dolby C yielded results equal to R2R except for the above.  I am not relying on memory as I still have a couple made at the time and they are full range and the noise floor is below ambient levels. 

 

Dave

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Thought it was inferior to my AMPEX 440,, At 15ips... tape saturation on dynamics could be heard

 

Finally, a reasonable comparison.  Metal tape and Dolby C yielded results equal to R2R except for the above.  I am not relying on memory as I still have a couple made at the time and they are full range and the noise floor is below ambient levels. 

 

Dave

 

 

I had a Teac cassette deck with Dolby C, and can say that it could copy most CDs perfectly using metal tape.. Using DBX noise reduction reduced the noise further, and could even record digitally mastered CDs without an audible loss in quality.

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Made the move from 8-track to cassette in my vehicle in the late 70's and started with a Jensen R-430 cassette deck which was surprisingly one of the best ones that you could get at the time that had an outboard amp and bi-amp capability with some Jensen Triax II's in the doors of my truck.  Eventually got some Cerwin Vega CS-18A HED's to replace the Jensen's.  This is what I started with and there were a lot of options in the late 70's.

 

At home in the mid-80's I made my recordings from my Denon DP-62L TT or my Yamaha CDX-1110U CD player on these top notch TDK's.  They had a solid metal frame and superior tape.  They cost about $10 each and I would split a box with a friend of mine.  I had a Nakamichi RX-505 and a Teac R-999X both were incredible decks, I recorded in Dolby C and then played them back on my Nakamichi TD-700 car cassette deck.  The Nak TD-700 had azimuth adjustment so I could perfectly align the tape head. 

 

The Teac had dbx capability and with a Concord Type II dbx adapter connected to the Nak TD-700 the tape could rival the dynamics and noise floor of a CD.  I eventually purchased a Sony CD player to replace the Nakamichi TD-700 once I was confident in them.  I kept all the cassette stuff until about 2000 - 2002 but ended up selling it off and giving away my recordings. 

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Edited by Frzninvt

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