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Cassettes?


mr clean
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some twenty years ago a well set up good quality cassette tape deck with a good tape and proper adjustments made for that tape could sound as good as any comparably priced CD player of the day. VHS tape machines sounded even better with half inch tape and their large rotary heads. It was too late in the day for them but they were pretty good. most people have never heard a well set up cassette deck running a top quality tape.You could set the VHS machines to slow speed and put hours and hours of good sounding music on them for a party or for back ground listening, you still can.

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Teac R-888X and R-999X were stellar units

 

I had a Nakamichi RX-505 and a R-888X and used and Nakamichi TD-700 in my car.

 

Akai had some stellar units as well G70?

 

I used the awesome TDK MA-XG cassettes with a solid metal frame.

 

Sold off my units and gave away my cassettes eon's ago.

teac_r-999x_cassette_deck.jpg

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I hate cassettes. In fact, when I salvaged my old stereo system from my parents house when it was sold, I deliberately left the onkyo tape player behind. Why this hate?

1) terrible quality of tape, which leaves a brown residue on the reading head, which muffles the sound

2) nightmares about tape ending up in the mechanism with nothing left but to tear the tape in pieces

3) tape stretching, with horrible tone distortion.

No mister,

Tape will never enter this man's house again!

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45 minutes ago, LeftEyeShooter said:

I hate cassettes. In fact, when I salvaged my old stereo system from my parents house when it was sold, I deliberately left the onkyo tape player behind. Why this hate?

1) terrible quality of tape, which leaves a brown residue on the reading head, which muffles the sound

2) nightmares about tape ending up in the mechanism with nothing left but to tear the tape in pieces

3) tape stretching, with horrible tone distortion.

No mister,

Tape will never enter this man's house again!

 

While I never used MP tapes, I always used a decent brand and NEVER anything over 60 minutes. The thinner tape required form longer times was a recipe for disaster. That and a decent transport and you wouldn't have had most of your problems. I still have a Tascam 102MkII (I think that it is.. )

 

I also have a Tascam DA-30 DAT recorder...sweet, but hardly used now. It has very, very few hours on it.

 

Bruce

 

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90 minute tape would allow to record two albums, one on each sides... most of the time. Until I finally lay hands on the record itself, and found out that there were actually three more songs on the album. Epiphany!!!

Also, if you had a favourite song: play, stop, rewind, play, stop, rewind ad infinitum... This would kill a cassette too!

I mostly bought Maxell tapes, there were different types and different qualities, of which I don't remember the details. Also BASF and TDK were popular brands here in Belgium.

Of course, I'm now writing about the tapes I recorded myself, from vinyl albums I owned myself, or from friends. The commercial, pre-recorded cassettes sold next to the vinyl albums, were actually much, much, much worse quality. Not just the tape itself, but also the plastic casing was stuff nightmares are made of.

The worst that would happen is leaving your cassette in your car on a hot summer day. You'd find it back, bent and distorted by the summer heat, nothing left to do with it but throw it in the dust bin. Or, like I did once, 'transplant' the tape from its bent casing into another casing. This of course, could only be done if the casing wasn't glued together, but screwed together... Oh the memories....

 

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7 minutes ago, LeftEyeShooter said:

The commercial, pre-recorded cassettes sold next to the vinyl albums, were actually much, much, much worse quality. Not just the tape itself, but also the plastic casing was stuff nightmares are made of.

 

Squeak, squeak, screech, screech.  It could often be temporarily fixed by ejecting the cassette and slapping it against something, both sides, to pack the tape more evenly.  That is if the noise resulted from interrupted-and-resumed play and/or FF-or-RW.

 

10 minutes ago, LeftEyeShooter said:

nothing left to do with it but throw it in the dust bin. Or, like I did once, 'transplant' the tape from its bent casing into another casing. This of course, could only be done if the casing wasn't glued together

 

Done that many a time.  Simply pry the shell apart if glued.  Of course, you'd need a screwed-together shell available for use...

 

13 minutes ago, LeftEyeShooter said:

90 minute tape would allow to record two albums, one on each sides... most of the time.

 

Yeah, 90 minute tapes were the best compromise.  It was often possible to juggle the order of the songs on the album(s) so that two programs of somewhat less than 45 minutes each could be derived.  Record the longer of the two, then cut the tape splicing the leader back, and record the other side.  Minimized blank tape time 'til the direction switched.  I once recorded my live UFO album and instead of cutting the tape just faded it out right into the leader and faded it back in on the other side, then filled up the remaining space with other material on the second side.  That was ~1979.  To this day, when listening to that "album" I expect that same Michael Schenker's solo to fade out, then back in again :)

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It was what it was. I only lost a couple tapes over time. Still have a bunch of Maxell, never been unwrapped.

 

Best ones I ever made were for a husband and wife duo, who gave me their reel to reel stereo masters to copy to cassettes that they would use when they sang at churches and small gatherings. I dubbed those on a simple Nakamichi, but a good five years later the husband told me they were the best dubs anyone had made for them.

 

It wasn't a pricey model, but solid.

 

Bruce

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Of course, the obvious advantages were:

1) scratch free and dust free playback, if you made a tape of a relatively new album

2) (illegal) sharing of music with friends

3) creating your own 'mix' for your girlfriend

4) distributing obscure live bootleg recordings

(this is for the millennials here)

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I still have my Nakamichi.  Properly recorded, on quality tape, cassettes sound very good.  I used to use Nakamichi branded tape to record vinyl to.  Nakamichi bought their tape from TDK.  They would get the middle of a 'pancake' of tape and put it in their Nak branded shells (the middle of the 'pancake' is supposed to be the most uniform).  I always used the 'metal' tape.  I have a couple of reference recordings that Nakamichi did to showcase the sound of cassette.  They are fantastic sounding!

 

Another aspect of making tape sound good is keeping the heads clean and demagnetized.  It's not hard to do, and makes a big difference.

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