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>> No. 26694 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 4:46 pm
26694 Read all of this in a techmoan accent
Lads, are any of you au fait with cassette tapes?

Me and a few mates have been making music for a couple of years, and due to life it's probably coming to an end pretty soon. As an interesting keepsake (for practical terms, we have everything online), I'd like to make us all a cassette of all the music we've made.

I don't have any blank cassettes in the house so I am hunting around eBay.

What should I look out for when buying new old stock cassettes? Are Type II Chrome tapes worth the extra cash?
I've seen a small smattering of Type IV metal tapes - do they require any special equipment or will the Type II setting on my deck suffice?

Which is better for noise reduction? My deck has B and C but if a deck doesn't have it, will it interfere?

Cheers, lads.
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>> No. 26695 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 5:37 pm
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Type II? Chrome? What the fuck? I have no idea what you just said. In my day I just bought a stack of tapes from the shop and that was it.
>> No. 26696 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 5:40 pm
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Go for a Type II from a brand you've heard of - they're all good. Gun to my head I preferred TDK.

Type IV is 'better' - but presumably you're recording from an existing recording, so it'd be overkill and likely completely unnoticeable in terms of quality increase, and yes, you need a deck that works with metal tape, and not all of them do.

Type II's are fantastic and were, once upon a time, used as actual master backups in real studios, at least the smaller ones I knocked about in, before the digital tape stuff started being affordable. 60 minute tapes are preferred over 90s, as the tape is a little thicker in the former, so in theory they'll last longer.

Dolby noise reduction is what you want to be recording with, BUT the best thing to do is just record a track with NR on and off an compare - you never know how well these old systems work or react to the very different dynamic ranges we've trended towards in modern mixing.
>> No. 26697 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 5:44 pm
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Actual 80s/90s homemade cassette scene lad here.

It was always a shitty format but back in those days it was cheap and easy. No-one I knew ever used the Dolby noise reduction while mastering, loads of tape hiss added to the experience of the music. Dolby was hugely flawed and removed integral frequencies from many kinds of music.

Chrome were certainly better sound quality but finding functioning tape decks capable of playing them accurately nowadays may be tricky for you and your audience. I don't even remember this type IV wizardry.

TDK were always a very solid brand of cassette, from the standard and reliable D-60s and D-90s through to the professional level SA and SAX brands.

There are actually firms who manufacture small run cassettes in garish shells for home made tape labels nowadays still. Back then everyone copied them on twin decks at home. But if you want to really be perverse and ride the hipster zeitgeist, wait about two years until CDs finally die then release something on CD-R only format.
>> No. 26698 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 5:50 pm
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I forgot to specify that Dolby S is the 'good' noise reduction system. Again it costs nowt to test on your own system but I think earlier NR had issues with sounding shite on non NR equipped decks. Probably best to just leave it off - tbh the most endearing thing about this project of yours is getting a proper bit of 'tape sound' in there.
>> No. 26699 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 6:04 pm
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You'll want to record with more level than you're used to on digital recording. Clipping above 0dBFS on a digital recorder sounds terrible, but tape just gradually saturates when you push it into the red. If you take advantage of the natural compression of tape, you'll get more dynamic range.
>> No. 26700 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 6:21 pm
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Did you literally make a post in this thread to tell us you have no idea what you're talking about? That's like wondering into a conversation about car parts and saying "brake boosters? What the fuck? I have no idea what you just said. In my day I just hit the brake pedal and the car stopped and that was it."

I'll give IV a miss then - my m8s all have cheapo combi system decks afaik.

Interesting. Thanks for the info. I have some New Old Stock TDK FE90 coming that I just snapped up for 99p. Again, if II won't play in a cheapo deck then I'll stick with I and up the higher frequencies before I record.

I was considering CDs but tapes are more interesting and easier to make look "good" - unless you have a CD printer, handwritten CD-Rs just look dull. As I say, it's mainly a keepsake but I will fill as many tapes as I can to give out (another reason to use Type I for some of them, though I'd like II/IV for myself). I have a decent laser printer, some thick paper to use for the tape inserts, and a label printer for the actual tape.

My deck doesn't even support S so not an issue there.

Noted, thanks.
>> No. 26701 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 6:37 pm
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FE90 was their crappy budget brand which was kind of sligtly subpar and had a horrible design but will still be better than most other old brands. TDK were the indisputable kings of the cassette. The SA-X line of theirs were so good you could actually master an album on them for later vinyl release, and many did. Bet they are impossible to find now.
>> No. 26702 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 6:40 pm
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I see. Well, for 33p a tape, I can use the cases as spares.

There are loads of tapes advertised on ebay as "blank" but they are just used. Annoying.
>> No. 26703 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 6:42 pm
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These have only been used to record "once". That said, I don't know how they have been treated since. Worth a punt?
>> No. 26704 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 7:44 pm
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Yes, very much so. A wonderful line, TDK at their greatest. Warm nostalgia chills at the sight of em. Taped over things so many times back then and you only ever got notable bleedthrough or added hiss on really cheapo brands.
>> No. 26705 Anonymous
16th August 2018
Thursday 8:50 pm
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Done. That'll give me enough to make a few spare copies to give out.
>> No. 26706 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 6:23 pm
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Any ideas on how to dissolve the ink off the actual tape case without attacking the case?

I've tried glass cleaner, nothing. Lighter fluid, nothing. Alcohol, nothing. Carburettor cleaner worked but also dissolved part of the tape case.

It's not a huge deal it would just be nice to not have the tapes have writing like LOW NOISE HIGH OUTPUT on them.
>> No. 26707 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 7:09 pm
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Nail polish remover should do it.
>> No. 26708 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 7:36 pm
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Why don't you paint something over them? Or make your own printed template paper cassette labels and glue them on over the branding.
>> No. 26709 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 9:27 pm
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Was thinking stencil and plastic dye, but for that I'd need the casette cases to be blank. I might just use stickers, though.

Won't the acetone attack the plastic? I'll have a go when I get hold of some.
>> No. 26710 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 9:31 pm
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It depends on the plastic, but it's possible. My thinking though is that if you're careful, it'll melt the ink/printing long before the thicker cassette plastic.
>> No. 26711 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 9:35 pm
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As an oldlad I find reference to tapes quite warming

>> No. 26712 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 10:27 pm
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I was still at school when I was introduced to the DIY cassette music scene in the early 80s. It thrived for so many years into the 90s, all genres although generally the weird completely uncommercial stuff like industrial and noise seemed to rule the roost. By the early 2000s when homemade CD-Rs came in it very nearly died, and RRR Records of Massachusetts and Matching Head in the UK were the only two microlabels I remember still releasing them.

Then it got rediscovered as a nostalgia thing by people too young to remember how duff the format was sometime around 2010 and rose until you can see cassettes in mainstream record shops again on occasion, eg a ridiculous package of the first Dead Kennedys album on tape with oversized artwork I was scratching my head over the other week.

Literally thousands of the things here which I should shove on discogs and make money from as I have no functioning tape deck.
>> No. 26713 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 10:29 pm
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Even at a sprightly 29, tapes were my primary musical source as a lad. Discmans and the like were ten a penny in the late 90s/00s of course, but they were still all fucking awful. The cheap ones skipped, the more expensive ones with buffers were fine but twice the size and three times the price of a walkman, and you could still fit more music on a cassette, especially in terms of physical space it took up. Also being able to nick stuff off the radio was nice.

The minidisc changed the game for me enough that I never gave a shit about ipods, but that's another discussion.
>> No. 26714 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 10:32 pm
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I should also add that I built a teenage enterprise off the back of my Portastudio, though it was still a relief when digital recording became more affordable.
>> No. 26715 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 11:11 pm
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Completely forgot the misery of trying to listen to a 'discman' on the move until your post. Jolts and skips all the way. Bet even the top of the range ones couldn't withstand a jog, I was just brisk walking.
>> No. 26716 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 11:31 pm
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>too young to remember how duff the format was

I'll dispute that. You're spot on about the clueless youth part, but for it's time it was a very good format. CD's were indisputably higher quality, but useless as a portable format, and their popularity was boosted massively by the record industry doing everything they can to crush digital tape formats like DAT and Digital Compact, because they were terrified of digital tape's ability to copy perfect quality from generation to generation.

Without them essentially boycotting digital tape formats, it's entirely feasible, indeed quite possible, that CDs would have been barely remembered as a very obscure platform.

Of course, we're talking about analog tape here, but I can never resist ranting about DAT which is my favourite format ever. Back to the point, analog tape could never compete with the full-fat digital output of a CD (or DAT, god bless it) HOWEVER, compare it to the modern populist format, the low bandwidth mp3, and I much prefer tape. It has better dynamic range, and the flaws of its recordings are positive (warmth) rather than negative (compression artifacts). The convenience factor of mp3 will always win out, and I can't complain as I can now stream almost any album I can think of in redbook quality over my unlimited phone internet, but still, I find it difficult to call cassettes a duff format.
>> No. 26717 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 11:43 pm
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>> No. 26718 Anonymous
18th August 2018
Saturday 11:57 pm
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Only on .gs could a DAT enthusiast be. I fucking love this place. No idea who any of you are and never want to.

You have a good point about the amazing dynamic range of cassette, and I would like to reiterate to OP the pitfalls of Dolby which may have made it more 'clean' sounding but removed some delicious ear tickles.
>> No. 26719 Anonymous
19th August 2018
Sunday 12:11 am
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Good tapes on good machines could sound great, but cassette was always treated as the poor relation of vinyl and CD. A cheap ferric tape on an off-brand boombox is always going to sound crap, but it's how most people experienced cassettes.

>> No. 26720 Anonymous
19th August 2018
Sunday 12:39 am
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>Only on .gs could a DAT enthusiast be

I could bang on for hours about it. It's not even the format I like, more the potential involved. DAT was used as the primary recording medium in a great many professional recording studios, and was particularly suited to it for a lot of very boring reasons. The advantage of this is that it would have been incredibly effective and cheap to distribute absolute perfect copies of the first generation masters of recordings, had the industry not been terrified of the potential for piracy that would have meant.

It would have changed the way music is mixed today, as the CD and the Red Book standard did a lot to stunt the advancements in this area. The infamous Loudness war would have been stopped dead in its tracks, and we would not be suffering the trend of detrimentally compressed mastering that we still do to this day. It's not a ridiculous idea that DAT (or any other digital tape, perhaps) could have directly improved the quality of present day recordings.


You're not wrong, though I tend to blame the record industry's torpedoing of the format as soon as they didn't have to rely on it as much of the reason for that. As Mr. Techmoan points out in this very video, Dolby S and metal tape and the like was very promising, and perhaps if the era wasn't cut short by the CD (which again, only really happened due to industry lobbying) every man and his dog would have enjoyed a relatively high quality tape system for not much money.
>> No. 26721 Anonymous
19th August 2018
Sunday 12:42 am
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The better ones had stabilisation and buffering, so could take a fair amount of violence before they stopped completely. Assuming you did the sensible thing and carried it in a jacket pocket instead of clipping it to a belt or something.
>> No. 26722 Anonymous
19th August 2018
Sunday 12:52 am
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I remember mine had 12 seconds of buffer, so you'd really have to shake it continuously for near to that amount of time to hear any skipping.

It rinsed the battery, though, and the frustration of having a machine that was portable yet almost exactly *just* too big to fit in a normal pocket was a bit of a disappointment.
>> No. 26723 Anonymous
19th August 2018
Sunday 1:54 am
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>> No. 26724 Anonymous
19th August 2018
Sunday 7:14 am
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I'm going to record without Dolby anyway - the music we make was recorded on cheap gear and so hiss will fit right in, and it will be playable everywhere.

I'm even younger than this lad, and I still made mixtapes as a kid in the early 2000s - I did have some CDs but often borrowed from m8s and taped the music I wanted. My parents' car only had a tape player, so I often taped CDs for them, too.
>> No. 26725 Anonymous
19th August 2018
Sunday 9:01 am
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But it will sound better in Dubly.
>> No. 26726 Anonymous
19th August 2018
Sunday 9:47 am
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Too much perspective.

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