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jwc

Who is still playing or recording cassettes?

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I had a SABA black face CD362 that I sold decades ago, but came really close to buying one that came up on e-bay, just to have the piece again.  I still have a lot of cassettes that I recorded.  I remember paying stupid amounts of money for the best quality blanks that I could obtain at the time.  If I could go back, I would have hung onto all of the SABA and Revox gear that I owned, there were some really special pieces.  

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7 hours ago, Seadog said:

Until a couple of months ago, I still listened to cassettes on a regular basis in my boat system (25 year old Jensen player) and in my 1999 Infiniti Q45 (original Bose system, CD not operational but cassette worked great).  I replaced both of these with Kenwood Bluetooth/CD players.  I was listening to tapes that I had recorded 30 years ago, and those sounded decent in a automobile audio system.  I have the original AM/FM/CD/Cassette system in my 1998 Explorer that still sees tapes once in a while.


Cassette tapes degenerate after 30+ years, I have found. I LOST the ONLY cassette tape I still have of the original analog Cheep Effects as the tape became too brittle to splice! 😞

John Kuthe...

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I'm fairly positive that a length of tape can only be dragged through the pathway a finite number of times, degrading each time and progressing faster with each pass, well before time itself becomes a factor when used quite heavily...

 

Years ago I'd bought a nice Alpine deck for the car.  I also bought a mid-level deck to record my tapes.  I got one that had the head rotate for reverse direction and adjusted the head stops to match the effective azimuth both directions of the fixed-head Alpine unit, always inserting the tapes same side up for playback in the car.  Kind of a Jeff Medwin thing...

 

Got the most out of Dolby C that way, which actually works quite well, especially in a road-going environment.

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Had a cassette tape player in Jr. High, in the late 60's, before the invention of dolby noise reduction. I built my first speaker with 8" whizzer cone driver and tweeter, all mono. Had "Tommy" by the who on cassette. Sold all my albums to go this route, then went back to Vinyl when I got into "hifi." In 1983, I got a Sony CD player (no other brands were available). My first CD was "The Nightfly" by Donald Fagen, which I had on LP also. No comparison. I stopped buying LP's immedaitely. Still have over 500 of them. The only cassetes I have are eductaional/motivational ones of voice recordings. Big box full. Whn my son was still little, he called them "smart people tapes" when he rode in my car. I had an Aiwa FM/cassette in High School. When I got my used Crown Reel to Reel in the 1974, the guy had just got a high end Nakamichi cassette to replace the Crown R2R. He had Quad ESL speakers. Ah, the memories! I'm surprised no one mentioned a Sony Walkman!

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1 hour ago, glens said:

Years ago I'd bought a nice Alpine deck for the car.

Yeah! That's what I installed in my car, too. Great decks!

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1 hour ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

I'm surprised no one mentioned a Sony Walkman!

Burned through a couple of them on my paper route.

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Got one laying around somewhere...  Used it when I rode my 18 speed bike a lot.  It's somewhere.  Maybe!  lol

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6 hours ago, Rivernuggets said:

Yeah! That's what I installed in my car, too. Great decks!


USED to be great! Now they are a PITA! I mean electronically nice, but control-wise crap!

I had a great one 10+ years ago, and a CRAP one installed 3 years ago! 😞

John Kuthe...

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8 hours ago, glens said:

I'm fairly positive that a length of tape can only be dragged through the pathway a finite number of times, degrading each time and progressing faster with each pass, well before time itself becomes a factor when used quite heavily...

...

At least cassette tapes don't RUB ON THEMSELVES like 8 Tracks! A built in self destruct method! 😞

My audio electronics buddy in high school had an 8 track RECORDER! I myself loved the idea of making my own tapes but recognized the inherent superiority of the cassette tape format over the 8 track, except for tape speed! Which is why in late high school I bought a Pioneer CTf-1000 Cassette Deck, their top model then!

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiSqLP7-dDhAhVCVK0KHaHvC0UQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.klaus-pohlig.de%2Faudiohistory%2Fminidisk%2Btape%2Fpioneer%20ct-f1000%2Fpioneer%20ct-f1000.htm&psig=AOvVaw2BFTnKjkzkDrQeBrp8SyWy&ust=1555378278315960

John Kuthe...

 

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30 minutes ago, JohnKuthe said:


USED to be great! Now they are a PITA! I mean electronically nice, but control-wise crap!

I had a great one 10+ years ago, and a CRAP one installed 3 years ago! 😞

John Kuthe...

My Alpine decks were enjoyed back in the 90s. Haven't purchased one in over 20 years. My modest aftermarket car stereo was stolen in the late 90s, and I have been using stock stereos ever since. That's when I started focusing on home audio. 

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I had what at the time in 1986 was a really nice Techniques cassette deck.

Was way fancy because it had the Dolby B,C, and dbx!!!

Had it in a garage get up.  Still sounded pretty good for what it was!

 

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I know a lot has changed since this article was written– but I thought those still using tape might find it interesting (I did)...

 

Screen Shot 2019-05-07 at 9.38.19 AM.png

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Posted (edited)
On 4/12/2019 at 11:57 AM, jwc said:

I would love to hear about your gear and why you are still doing it.

 

 

I have moved around a lot and have a bunch of components in storage I can't get to, including a nice 1980s Harmon-Kardon 3 sendust head deck and a dbx NR unit. I used to make a lot of tape copies of LPs to save wear and tear on the albums.

 

Lately I got into minidisc. I had a portable years ago and liked the format. I bought two component decks recently, a TASCAM CD + minidisc deck new and a used but like-new Sony somethingorother off ebay.

 

I like minidisc a lot more than cassette. True, in theory analog tape can sound better than digital, especially a compressed format like minidisc, but I think minidisc has enough advantages over tape (any kind of tape) for me:

 

  • The minidisc is protected inside a case even when in use, so it is more durable than tapes. We have all had the disaster where something went wrong and a prized cassette or open reel or even 8-track (yeah, I'm old enough to have recorded these back in the day!) starts spewing tape and is lost to history
  • Editing capabilities on minidisc decks are outstanding. You can split and join tracks and delete unwanted portions of recordings in almost any combination. Especially when making mix tapes this is priceless. Much more flexible than any cassette or open reel
  • Titling: minidisc format allows you to title the album and individual tracks
  • Recording: good minidisc decks can go from pause (standby)-> record much faster than commercial tape equipment. You never have to miss the beginning of recording. And some even buffer the input for some amount of time (ex. 5 seconds) so even if you want to start recording manually by hitting the record button, you never miss the beginning of what you want to record.
  • Playback: playback is programmable on a minidisc deck like with CDs, so you can group or play songs in any order you want. And you can cue to any point and have it start seamlessly. This is used in broadcast and sometimes live performances
  • Multiple format inputs and outputs: most decks include optical, coaxial, and analog inputs and outputs. This is great for all occasions

 

Good minidisc decks are now cheap since nobody wants them and minidisc media is expensive since nobody wants them. It's a dead format but still quite useful. Unlike DAT where the gear and tapes are expensive and almost unobtainium, you can still find minidisc gear in top shape or even some new stuff from TASCAM, TEAC in Japan or NOS around the world and it is quite reliable.

 

What I use minidisc for now is making copies of albums, copies of radio shows live off the air, and the way it is set up I can record anything that goes through my system, either analog or digital.

Edited by gimmeheadroom

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Great to hear these replies.

I'm considering getting back into tapes and recording.  I joined tapeheads.net some time ago and I'm trying to learn more than I knew in the past.

 

My high school and college years, I had a Aiwa AD-F660.   Great Player and recorder.  Made so many recorded tapes for myself and others and it was my source for my playback tapes in my Alpine 7327 car tape player.

 

http://www.hifi-classic.net/review/aiwa-ad-f660-208.html

 

Image result for aiwa ad-f660

 

 

Image result for alpine 7347

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I just don't get it. Must be that old school nostalgia feeling. I had cassettes in their heyday. (some 8 track cassettes early on in my life). Had a really nice Panasonic deck, made my own recordings. Ditto vinyl, had approx 250 rock albums in impeccable condition in the era of 1970-1990. But when cds became available, I jumped on that format and abandoned my vinyl. I gave away my albums to friends and sold a few. No more tape hiss, no more crack and pop. I now have a collection of about 400-500 cds. 

 

The typical specs of cd recordings excel by a huge margin compared to cassettes and vinyl, dynamic range and distortion. Even in today's mp3 world with compression, cd recordings are still one of the best widely available cost efficient for musical purity at home. I do mp3 recordings too, at 320 kbps data rate. Got a few WAV and FLAC files that are > 500 kbps. Bluetooth for music transfer, no thanks......if you like data compression times 2. 

 

To each his own. Guess I'm not a very nostalgic kind of guy. What am I missing here?

 

 

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No disrespect intended to anyone here. Or arrogance on my part.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/9/2019 at 10:11 AM, polizzio said:

I just don't get it. Must be that old school nostalgia feeling. I had cassettes in their heyday. (some 8 track cassettes early on in my life). Had a really nice Panasonic deck, made my own recordings. Ditto vinyl, had approx 250 rock albums in impeccable condition in the era of 1970-1990. But when cds became available, I jumped on that format and abandoned my vinyl. I gave away my albums to friends and sold a few. No more tape hiss, no more crack and pop. I now have a collection of about 400-500 cds. 

 

The typical specs of cd recordings excel by a huge margin compared to cassettes and vinyl, dynamic range and distortion. Even in today's mp3 world with compression, cd recordings are still one of the best widely available cost efficient for musical purity at home. I do mp3 recordings too, at 320 kbps data rate. Got a few WAV and FLAC files that are > 500 kbps. Bluetooth for music transfer, no thanks......if you like data compression times 2. 

 

To each his own. Guess I'm not a very nostalgic kind of guy. What am I missing here?

 

 

 

Maybe it was timing. I didn't have an audiophile setup but I had some good vinyl equipment. The first CDs I heard were so digital sounding, so horrible with so many artifacts and unnatural sounds, I swore off digital for more than 20 years after that time.

 

A good cassette deck with a dbx box sounded far, far better than any CD through the 1980s and early to mid 90s (if my memory is still ok ;) ) until the DACs started getting better. Tape hiss is absolutely absent with this combo. Even then, buying a CD player with a good DAC was much more expensive than a good analog tape combo... and for a long time you couldn't record anything on CDs. So CD is not directly comparable to tape, since tape served more purposes. Like @jwc said if you had good tape equipment you could make a nice collection for your car or portable. It wasn't until fairly recently that CD duplication on a PC was painless enough. For me, anyway. I do remember burning music CDs in the mid-late 1990s. I had a good PC but it made a lot of coasters :(

 

I don't use MP3 at all. Almost all my collection now is FLAC and SACD rips. I guess I'm less nostalgic than you :P I can't see the point in ripping anything to MP3 since FLAC is so well supported and has been for a fairly long time.

Edited by gimmeheadroom

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Posted (edited)

I had a nice cassette deck with Dolby noise reduction. I too recorded my own collections, had a case full of Maxell cassettes. "Is it real, or is it Maxell" commercial. Funny I got rid of it 6.5 years ago when my house was flooded but I can still see a vivid image of the front of the unit in my mind. Had a unique green label on the cassette door.

I have made a few cd coasters in my life time too :) When you break those cds by hand, they can sometimes become serious shrapnel.

 

gimmeheadroom, so where do you purchase or acquire your FLAC recordings from? A favorite vendor or source?

 

Actually after doing a bit of research and looking at images on line, I believe my Panasonic cassette recorder/player employed DBX and dolby NR. Google and the internet are awesome!

 

This is my former unit: http://www.hifi-classic.net/review/technics-rs-m270x-331.html

Edited by polizzio
corrected info

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22 minutes ago, polizzio said:

I had a nice cassette deck with Dolby noise reduction. I too recorded my own collections, had a case full of Maxell cassettes. "Is it real, or is it Maxell" commercial. Funny I got rid of it 6.5 years ago when my house was flooded but I can still see a vivid image of the front of the unit in my mind. Had a unique green label on the cassette door.

I have made a few cd coasters in my life time too :) When you break those cds by hand, they can sometimes become serious shrapnel.

 

gimmeheadroom, so where do you purchase or acquire your FLAC recordings from? A favorite vendor or source?

Sorry about the flood :( I have been through a few and they're bad.

 

Dolby is better than nothing sometimes. I can say dbx was like night and day from Dolby. Dolby killed some of the high-end while dbx just drops all the hiss and noise into a black hole.

 

I ripped all my CDs to FLAC and I bought some highres files online for things I wanted where I couldn't buy the SACD affordably or at all. I don't really have any place I can recommend for online highres because most of the shops are either for Europe and won't sell to America or verse visa. I also had several friends who worked or owned record shops over the years I was a collector so I worked out a lot of deals ;) 

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I had a Pioneer CTF-1000 and as best I know, this was pre dbx days.  Nice deck.  Probably 20 years ago, I did some soul searching and decided I liked the looks of it more than I liked the idea of using cassettes anymore so I gave it to a friend that my wife knew.  

 

After I got the Pioneer, I bought an Akai GX-747 RTR and to be blunt, once I got the RTR, the cassette deck's use was over except for dubbing something for the car.  This was before they incorporated dbx into the 747 unit so I bought a dbx (124? 224?  I forget)

 

Yeah....  gave it away too along with about 25 tapes.

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