Does anyone here still use cassettes?

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Sonik Wiz

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IMO, some things are 'better left in the past!' Cassettes were fun and offered convenience in 'their day,' but why take a backwards step in both fidelity and diluting your incredible 5.1 surround remix by offering lo fi STEREO cassettes! Your release on hybrid SACD 5.1 and BD~A 5.1 was certainly a bold move for an independent production but hey, it's your $$$$$ ...... if you decide to go the cassette route!
Oh about a hundred years ago there was a transitory time if you bought a car, and it had only a radio in it, a choice needed to be made between 8 track or cassette. To avoid Top 40 & Sports Radio. I had a friend working at Hi Fi Fo Fum stereo store & spent a good bit of time listening to Advent cassette decks & others early on. There was a lot I didn't like about stereo 8 track carts, largely breaking up songs with "CLU-CHUNK". But with out any Dobly tricks the 8 track sounded more extended treble, such as it was, compared to the cassette high end. The higher speed & larger track width paid off in audible results for the 8 track & that's what I chose. Well, just stereo.

As time wore on 8 tracks vanished for purchase & I got a Pioneer cassette deck for the car. Grand total I made probably made 40 tapes. I would have done more but never did cassette seem to rival other formats in quality.

Before cassette, in my home, I would usually buy an LP play once to "clean the grooves" & then record it on R2R at 7.5 ips. It sounded very good compared to the source to be acceptable. From then on I would play the tape rather than the LP.

Eventually I bought a mid-line cassette home deck with dbx. It still seemed rather dull, even using best tapes, when playing back recorded LP's. And later I found a Quaddie friend (Hello David!) that had a highest end Sony cassette deck & really loved purchasing pre-recorded classical tapes. They still sounded a bit dull & muffles from what I might expect, remarking to myself I no reference to compare to.

One night we took some great quality Sheffield direct to disc LP's & copied to cassette on Ferric II & Chrome. They both sounded a bit different, and noticeably inferior to the source.

So this and other experiences I look back on leads me to conclude that analog cassette in its day was the equivalent of MP3 today: convenient but not great quality.

Addendum: I was totally enamored over the Elcaset! I thought this would be the perfect compromise between R2R & cassette. I never bought into it cuz if I did it would just be me, and that other guy over there, with this stuff sitting in our closet...
 
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kfbkfb

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2) Dolby stopped licencing any noise reduction for cassette machines years ago. I know some people don't like it, but if you have an existing tape that was recorded in some version of Dolby you're stuck if you can't play it back properly.
Software Dolby NR:




I'll ask Pspatial Audio if they'll add Playtrim + 120 to 70 microsecond EQ adjustment (the auto tracking for their Dolby B seems like it would be very helpful).


Kirk Bayne
 

Owen Smith

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And get a load of the current price on ebay for a TDK MA~XG 46 minute blank tape 'NEW'
That's a factor of 10 more expensive than I thought. OK it's a new sealed MA-XG, but it's still cassette with all the issues that brings. Prices being asked for other new tapes are similarly insane. At those prices I have a few hundred dollars (or pounds) worth sat in the cupboard across from me.
 

4-earredwonder

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Oh about a hundred years ago there was a transitory time if you bought a car, and it had only a radio in it, a choice needed to be made between 8 track or cassette. To avoid Top 40 & Sports Radio. I had a friend working at Hi Fi Fo Fum stereo store & spent a good bit of time listening to Advent cassette decks & others early on. There was a lot I didn't like about stereo 8 track carts, largely breaking up songs with "CLU-CHUNK". But with out any Dobly tricks the 8 track sounded more extended treble, such as it was, compared to the cassette high end. The higher speed & larger track width paid off in audible results for the 8 track & that's what I chose. Well, just stereo.

As time wore on 8 tracks vanished for purchase & I got a Pioneer cassette deck for the car. Grand total I made probably made 40 tapes. I would have done more but never did cassette seem to rival other formats in quality.

Before cassette, in my home, I would usually buy an LP play once to "clean the grooves" & then record it on R2R at 7.5 ips. It sounded very good compared to the source to be acceptable. From then on I would play the tape rather than the LP.

Eventually I bought a mid-line cassette home deck with dbx. It still seemed rather dull, even using best tapes, when playing back recorded LP's. And later I found a Quaddie friend (Hello David!) that had a highest end Sony cassette deck & really loved purchasing pre-recorded classical tapes. They still sounded a bit dull & muffles from what I might expect, remarking to myself I no reference to compare to.

One night we took some great quality Sheffield direct to disc LP's & copied to cassette on Ferric II & Chrome. They both sounded a bit different, and noticeably inferior to the source.

So this and other experiences I look back on leads me to conclude that analog cassette in its day was the equivalent of MP3 today: convenient but not great quality.

Addendum: I was totally enamored over the Elcaset! I thought this would be the perfect compromise between R2R & cassette. I never bought into it cuz if I did it would just be me, and that other guy over there, with this stuff sitting in our closet...
Great dissertation on the subject, SW. Yes, the 70's seemed to be littered with SO many analogue based tape formats it certainly BOGGLES the Mind....And then the advent of VHS/Super VHS and BETA and the format Wars that followed. And to think today one can cram 200 hours [or more] of 1080p video with DD 5.1 on most DVRs!

I likewise was intrigued by the Elcaset which traveled at 3 3/4 ips but like you threw up my arms and said 'this ain't gonna fly!'

And if I say it once, I will shout it out again ...... Digital Recordings were actually in their infancy in the mid 70's and if ALL this R & D which went into all these inferior tape based formats was applied to the then nascent Digital formats, we would've possibly had perfect sound forever when SONY/PHILIPS introduced the Compact Disc. But NO......In fact, Philips initially proposed a 12 bit/44.1 CD format but SONY insisted on 16/44.1 and most audio scholars said if they had waited a year ...or two, they could've introduced a 20 bit format which some surmise would've been more than sufficient for higher quality music replication!

I realize MQA~CD is unpopular on QQ forum but of the 40 MQA~CDs I do own, I will state they do sound exceptional! And they do elevate the CD to 24 bt resolution with high oversampling rates. And to these ears, NOTHING is lost in translation sonically......Listened to Universal Japan's recent MQA~CD remaster of THIS IS THE MOODY BLUES and all I can say .... I wish those Moody Blues QUAD/5.1 SACD remasters sounded THAT GLORIOUS. And would I kid, you, SW.....Nay!

Now getting back to our cassette discussion ..... my final say on the matter: Let Sleeping Dogs die, er lie!
 

Vintage_Dutch

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Well well,
I say I have used the good old Compact Cassette for many years. First in Private, and when my DJ-skills evolved I used them also in professional DJ Settings. I mainly used them for sound effects and 'Unable to buy that new record" type situations..

I also used it to record myself while DJ-ing in Discotheques and clubs. It was good to be critical on your own preformance... That was back in the 80ties..

Allot was depending on the Source quality aswell as the Tape Quality..
I had a Technics Deck with LCD metering and some form of DOLBY.. I still have it..

Recently I found an old tape of myself back, stuck in the same deck.....and came to the conclusion that it needed some TLC in the form of Recapping and Dioxit.|

After that I played nicely. But man it was a shock hearing myself coming back from the 80ties.
My voice was lower (due to nicotine and hugh amounts of Liquer :cool: ) the music was.....not the best source..... but it had something nostalgic..

It got my girl friend in tears. Back then she was a regular visitor in the Club I was playing in as resident DJ, and she remembers it so well..

Back to dec 2021:
No, I'm not gonna track down many other decks, but I'm gonna buy a few tapes and re-record some of that music...from vinyl...the way it was back then.. Dolby On..Drive them hard..maybe even use a Tube sound compressor in.

Just for old time sake and the fun of music..


And that my friends, leads me to a conclusion...

Who cares what you listen to, 8-track, tape deck, Vinyl, Cassette, DAT, CD, AM radio, or Spotify, Apple Music, Radio streams, MP3, FLAC, It does not matter!
It is the experience that counts.! Not the format. And let no one take your experience away..

Cheers!
 

audiomaster

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Not much recording, but I still have some cassettes I recorded from albums back in the 80s. They are TDK metal (MAR C60s with cast metal shells. Most still play ok. Back then I encoded everything with DBX. In addition to aTechnics home 3 head deck w DBX I had a DBX decoder with my Concord player in my 280ZX Turbo. I also had a battery powered DBX adapter for my Walkman so I could listen with headphones. I understand that the metal cassettes are going for crazy money now, even used? But I still have stuff on them that I don't have on LP or RTR.
 

TVB

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yes yes yes!. I'm just enamored by those little reels as they turn. The trick is getting a totl tape deck. I've been collecting them for 25 years and have some beauties. My latest is a denon 3 head dual capstan with hx pro. There are lots of great sounding pre recorded cassettes out there. I have more fun with this hobby. Believe it or not, I recently found a huey lewis and the news mfsl cassette in a thrift store! Ever heard a mfsl cassette on a totl system? You wont believe your ears. There's a reason they go for big bucks on ebay-check it out. Ever heard a digilog cassette tape on a totl system? I have a kraftwork digilog cassette that would blow your mind and... Im not even getting into recording your own mixtapes. How about grabbing a cassette tape of an album from a band you like at a thrift store or garage sale and putting in your car player for the ride home? Or finding that rare sealed metal tape. fun fun fun!
 

MidiMagic

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The problems for any cassette revival are twofold:

1) no new Chrome or Metal tape is being manufactured due to the toxic chemicals required, and new old stock is exhausted. With only Ferric tape available new, results will always be poor.

2) Dolby stopped licencing any noise reduction for cassette machines years ago. I know some people don't like it, but if you have an existing tape that was recorded in some version of Dolby you're stuck if you can't play it back properly.

So if you want decent sound quality (which cassette was capable of just about), the only options are old tape decks, and old second hand tapes. This limits how long this revival will last.

Contrast that with LP. You can press on 180 gram virgin vinyl, and play it on brand new state of the art turntables with excellent new cartridges and new phono pre-amps. It can sound as good as it ever did.

Dolby are being corporate idiots here. They should make all their noise reduction systems for cassette licence free, rather than refusing to licence them. It would cost them absolutely nothing, and gain them some good will in the market. But since they have turned into a rapacious corporate licencing entity that does no R&D themselves, they probably don't care. Ray Dolby hated the company it had turned into by the time he died.
Dolby does not license cassette NR because the patents have expired. They no longer have the right to demand a license.

Anyone can use the technology now without a license from Dolby.
 

cbmmm3

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If I ever go the cassette route, might as well gimmick to the max and matrix-encode it.

I recommend you go the cassette route AND the Lossless surround for everything you create ? Why ? Cassette - for increased volume ( = increased revenues) and increased audience exposure and visibility---with a cool niche factor. And lossless - hell, even lossy- surround for the few tens of thousands like me that play in this arena
 

Owen Smith

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Dolby does not license cassette NR because the patents have expired. They no longer have the right to demand a license.

Anyone can use the technology now without a license from Dolby.
But no-one is doing so, all new cassette decks either have no noise reduction, or have a rudimentary version for playback only which has no settings for B/C/S it's just on or off.

It's a moot point though given the only new transport mechanism available is the Tanashin which is dreadful. Doesn't really matter whether it has noise reduction or not, it will still sound awful.
 

Mr. Afternoon

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But no-one is doing so, all new cassette decks either have no noise reduction, or have a rudimentary version for playback only which has no settings for B/C/S it's just on or off.

It's a moot point though given the only new transport mechanism available is the Tanashin which is dreadful. Doesn't really matter whether it has noise reduction or not, it will still sound awful.
Luckily I can manufacture B-encoded tapes.
:D
 

jefe1

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It's a moot point though given the only new transport mechanism available is the Tanashin which is dreadful. Doesn't really matter whether it has noise reduction or not, it will still sound awful.
Theres an optimist. Well Ive heard of a Tanashin transport now sadly I know what it means...

Im not sure regarding the above about dolby NR
If the patents are expired it would be implemented in the new cassette decks. Why not?
 

jimfisheye

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Im just curious are any members still recording and or buying cassettes? There is supposed to be a cassette revival like Vinyl but I see little evidence of it.
...
It would be the novelty end of that revival. They make USB and even bluetooth connecting cassette decks and turntables that have cartoon-ish sound quality.

The stubborn old analog audiophile holdout?
I bet some of those are still out there. It's not that I don't have the highest respect for what was achieved with these formats. It's just that I'm chasing the accuracy to the source and modern digital wins for that. That doesn't mean someone can't do a better job with a lesser format. (Garbage in, garbage out applies to everything.) I'll take 24 bit ADC with the snooty analog front end and unlimited hard drive space please and thank you.

I stumbled across people paying stupid money for NOS cassettes on Ebay one day 10 or so years ago. I still had a dozen blank sealed Maxell MX-S from back in the day. I got $15-$20 a tape or something like that. (Would have paid around $3 new.)
 

LB-V

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I remember my annual KROQ New Years music countdown, "record it all on cassette" nights. I believe it was the top 106.7 songs after the radio call numbers. I had to stay close to things, hitting the pause so Richard Blade could talk every now and then to keep it real. I don't remember actually listening to those particular tapes ever again. But I do remember making a few mix tapes. I actually seem to have lost quite a few memories from those years, likely from the purposefully ingested toxins that made my world a bit blurrier, but I believe I bought quite a few pre-recorded tapes in the days before CDs. Sound quality was not even a whisper of a consideration at that time.

I've thought about going after cassettes for fun, but always decide that I'm too far off center as it is with my 6 turntables and just as many preamps, amps, tuners, quad gear in my collection. It's difficult to give them all a good run time, especially when things like the SM and my newly acquired QSD-1 come along...I just keep playing with the pieces that sound so nice. And after reading the interesting words in this thread, I feel avoiding cassettes, in the current state of my stereo / quad hobby, is a good call.
 
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