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Thread: Audio cassettes in 2017

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon_s1942 View Post
    Many years ago a workmate had a not inexpensive Reel to Reel recorder on which he taped classical music from ABCFM.
    Quote Originally Posted by gordon_s1942 View Post
    He said although the unit played back beautifully, one problem was tape stretch which he claimed to be able to hear.
    I have no idea how big a reel he was using but it would have had more tape on it than the standard 60 minute per side cassette that was very common back then.

    My other concern with tape is demagnetizing as well as 'shedding' its coating as it ages.
    Tape wears every time you play it so it must one day eventually by the way its made, become useless.

    Every recording medium has its 'Cons' so all you can do is hope you have chosen wisely to record your audio/video selection.
    Tape stretching does not occur on it's own but due to faults in the machine. Especially on reel to reel machines the spools will store a lot of kinetic energy while winding fast, so the setting of the brakes is crucial. Mechanical brake bands could get sticky on older machines, while the EMF braking on the newer big machines must be adjusted correctly.
    When I rewind the 29cm reels on my Tascam 34 it looks and sounds a bit like a turbine spooling up and can take almost 10 seconds to stop.
    Another issue is the tension of the take up reel at playback.

    The tape machine is also the main reason why tapes can suffer from demagnetisation. Regular service with a demagnetisation tool is important however improper use of the tool can make things worse.

    A tape that experiences wear from a lot of use was backed up with another tape and/or is grandfathered with a master tape.
    Last edited by nomeat; 24-04-17 at 01:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomeat View Post
    [FONT=Verdana]

    The tape machine is also the main reason why tapes can suffer from demagnetisation. Regular service with a demagnetisation tool is important however improper use of the tool can make things worse.
    auto reverse decks have a built in demagnetization system called the record head, a couple minutes recording will undo years of magnetization in most (all) auto reverse deck

    not that i've ever experienced magnetization or noticed it, but another plus for the auto flipping heads in auto reverse units (apparently another concept disliked by the purist but enjoyed by regular users of common formats.)
    while auto flipping heads aren't 'ideal' for many purists, i've never witnessed issues using them myslef, although i can't say i'm THAT finicky with my formats.
    Auto reverse means press play and come back in 60-120 minutes when the music stops not 30-60 minutes when its time to flip it.

    part of my interest is the format, the other is the cheap music i aquire by looking at cassette vs the vinyl crowd who've pushed the prices for older pressings beyond regular consumers.

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    The TD470 in the picture has separate play back and recording heads.
    The capstan shafts (you have two in your auto reverse) are made of low remanence steel but low does not mean free of magnetic remanence.
    Over time they still can develop enough magnetisation to damage tape recordings.
    Same goes for the magnetic shielding of the heads. You are only demagnetising the cores of your head when you record and autoreverse that rotates the head would still have half the surface area left magnetised. Most AR I have seen do have 4 head cores(tracks) though.
    In reel to reel machines there are also usually 2-4 steel tape guides.
    Last edited by nomeat; 25-04-17 at 02:58 PM.
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  • #24
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    The only, truly, "lossless" format we have is, sadly, digital. A digital master can be copied many times with no loss of quality. The next nearest thing is the record, but it does suffer from wear and tear by friction from the stylus (not to mention dust). Magnetic tape, whilst very good, does suffer from the issues already elaborated. At least with a digital (inherently lossy) format, a copy will be exactly the sane as the original regardless of how many times it is copied. Of course archival copies still have the potential for degradation, but, they can, at least, be reproduced exactly as originally archived if proper procedures are followed.
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    I burn FLAC downloads to cd as a way of reproducing albums no longer available or rare.
    FLAC makes for a great storage format.
    But long after the format it's stored on gets replaced, there may not exist a functional method of transferring these disigtal formats.

    Say, zip disk's, ls120/240 floppy disk's, or devices with not modern drivers -my 5 yr old scanner /connectivity - IDE / file system support, DRM (apple music-sony records) etc.

    IM not buying or listening to cassettes for the absolute sound quality, it's for the breadth of plentiful cheap music that can be acquired on the format.

    Because it sits in that spot between replaced and hip/cool (kind of like the first Xbox vs the nes, ones cheap and cheerful the other one stupid expensive) - and because it's still in use in many countries​, newer material (last 10 years) can still be acquired for nix.

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    I bought a sealed copy of Eagles greatest hits on record for $15-20 about 8 years ago, and a couple others cheaper, from a record store,
    These days it's $40-70 for single disc and more for double

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    We must never forget that when Cassettes were introduced,it enabled 'Joe Public' to have a medium so small to be completely portable to enable playback where ever you were.
    That coupled with ability to record, often on the same device you played it back was a huge step that literally killed the vynal record overnight.
    Some just recorded from a record by playing it and standing the cassette recorder by the speakers, bloody rough but it WORKED !!

    Because of the size of a cassette and the fact it wasnt subject to vibration made it an ideal medium to be installed in your car or carried ala the famous 'Walkman'.

    Although I know its a bootleg copy sold as genuine of the Scottish group, the 'Bay City Rollers'. I have kept it to show how hard it was to tell genuine from fake as this is.
    I stand unequivicably behind everything I say , I just dont ever remember saying it !!

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    Alot of the bootleg copies were off contract duplications done at the same place who made the official consumer copies.

    Kind of like end of run, let's make some more (or the guy Manning the duplicators fed a few extra blanks in to give / sell at the pub

  • #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by voltare1 View Post
    But long after the format it's stored on gets replaced, there may not exist a functional method of transferring these disigtal formats.

    Say, zip disk's, ls120/240 floppy disk's, or devices with not modern drivers -my 5 yr old scanner /connectivity - IDE / file system support, DRM (apple music-sony records) etc.

    IM not buying or listening to cassettes for the absolute sound quality, it's for the breadth of plentiful cheap music that can be acquired on the format.
    An interesting point.
    Today's digital technology is beomming more and more short lived.
    Any device you hold for three years is already way out of date and if it fails, practically unrepairabe = junk.
    The constant 'upgrades' force you to use new devices and the matching software with failing backwards compatibility. Apple and Google now even deletes stuff on our "smart devices" without our consent if it suits them.

    Playback of selfmade Wav and mp3s (and Flac if you find the right drivers for your hardware) still works, but for how much longer?
    The trend now is going towards smaller harddrives and having all your music (and other personal data) on cloud storage.

    DVDs are becoming already obsolete, one day we might even see hard drives disappear.
    The sheeple behavoiur guided by the industry will lead to cloud storage of music through itunes or similar mafia organisations only.
    Anybody still with digital music on an old harddrives or self burnd CD may be considered a criminal.
    Our politicians are already in bed the industry more or less silently tracking and blocking our internet behaviour. What do you think it will be like in 10 years from now?
    I am guessing that purchasing a harddrive might require some form of registration and the drive must be regularily checked online for content otherwise it's data becomes corrupted.

    BTW I don't think I a working, usable hard drive that is over 10 years old any more.
    I also could not even buy a standard SD card to USB reader in my town anymore except a huge unpractical one stiil in BigW, probably about to get deleted. Plenty on stiil Ebay though.

    I got my almost 20 year old casette deck to work with little effort. I have way, way older analouge machines that still work and the only way to stop me from repairing them is to pry them from my cold dead hands!
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    Default Audio cassettes in 2017

    Just to add a little twist to this thread:
    This is about as good as it gets if you want audio cassettes on your Android device in 2017

    After finally finding some time(thanks to all this rain ATM) to search for a decent alternative to the annoying stock music player on my Samsung Note, I stumbled over this:


    Very pleasing details including scrubbing(cueing) the 'tape' with a finger, which is super if you want to hear out a part or riff over and over to play on an instrument and the handwritten labels. Everything highly modifiable (63 different cassettes!) and very accessable. Very well thought out UI also for Vol/EQ.
    Animation needs to be set to high on my old Note 2 for smooth VU and reel movement.
    As I store my music in folders, I like the way it can turn a folder straight into a playlist with clever editing functions to quickly modify it and make a favourite 'cassette', but of course the usual artists/songs/albums are found straight away too, unlike what one user review mentioned.

    Apk link generator here if you don't have/want a Google account:


    If you (like I do) only have WiFi or Data enabled when using an internet browser(and not this app at the same time) then you won't be bothered with ads.
    Last edited by nomeat; 10-06-17 at 01:27 PM.
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  • #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by voltare1 View Post
    Alot of the bootleg copies were off contract duplications done at the same place who made the official consumer copies.
    Yeah,probably still going on in Oz. with CD's,for every genuine copy thru the front door there was probably 2 going out the backdoor.Former Girlfriend worked for a Record Shop Chain in the 1980's and whilst they purchased thru. normal legal Channels they also purchased thru. 'Wholesalers' the exact same CD or Tape for half the distributors price.

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