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RGibran
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

It's all about creativity...

Cassette Tape Skeletons

smejias
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

That's cool stuff. I dated a girl who made sculptures out of old cassettes and tape. She made an enormous sombrero-shaped thing out of cassette tape. It hung from the ceiling and when you stuck your head in it, music played.

RGibran
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

When you stuck your head in your girlfriends sombrero... music played?

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

There isn't going to be any "revival" of cassette tape technology!!!!

One good reason is because the technology was always basically very limited with regard to frequency response and noise level.

Another good reason is that virtually NO ONE is currently manufacturing a new quality 3-head tape deck, and there are very few good used ones, because by now even the best ones have worn-out tape heads and other mechanical problems that severely degrade their original performance capabilities.

The technology was abandoned for lots of good reasons, and anyone who tries to revive it has their head up their ass, in my humble opinion.

With superior CD and vinyl technology available, why deliberately choose an inferior superseded technology? Bizzaro!!

It seems to me that the argument for this goes like this..."this terrible distorted grunge music is so shitty that it is best served by a deliberately low-fidelity medium".... Good grief!!!

"Crazy" is definitely the correct word.

(a wise man once said "the fact that a lot of people choose to do something stupid does not make it any less stupid")

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

QUOTE:

There isn't going to be any "revival" of cassette tape technology!!!!

One good reason is because the technology was always basically very limited with regard to frequency response and noise level.

Another good reason is that virtually NO ONE is currently manufacturing a new quality 3-head tape deck, and there are very few good used ones, because by now even the best ones have worn-out tape heads and other mechanical problems that severely degrade their original performance capabilities.

The technology was abandoned for lots of good reasons, and anyone who tries to revive it has their head up their ass, in my humble opinion.

With superior CD and vinyl technology available, why deliberately choose an inferior superseded technology? Bizzaro!!

"Crazy" is definitely the correct word.

(a wise man once said "the fact that a lot of people choose to do something stupid does not make it any less stupid")

END QUOTE

I'm beginning to suspect you have something against cassettes. Can I suggest posting the same rant a third time to be sure we get the message?

"An ordinary man has no means of deliverance." - wm burroughs

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

Weeeell, I wouldn't go that far. (directed at comsysman.)

While cassettes don't have the inherent quality of vinyl (it's much easier to get to good in the vinyl world) messing with cassettes isn't stupid either.

Maybe a bit quixotic, yes, but as SM correctly points out some bands have gravitated there, and if you want to hear them, you get the cassettes.

And you *can* coax decent sound out of them - it's just a chore. They were replaced partly because better tech came along, but also because they were a commodity item and business doesn't want to compete on the basis of commodity pricing.

The reason to go back and explore cassettes is to see what was missed the first time around - what does the form do when it comes to dictating content? How can you improve the experience? Where does it fit with the rest of the music/audiophile world?

s.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

You can post it as many times as you like; you might as well, since you apparently have nothing to say and are nevertheless determined to post SOMETHING so we know you are still more or less there...lol.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
There isn't going to be any "revival" of cassette tape technology!!!!


It's already happening, a point that I've made clear. I'm not saying that you're going to read about it in Stereophile. I'm saying that many underground bands are releasing their work on cassette, selling it online, at record shops, and at shows.

And, because of this, people like me are interested in buying cassette decks. There are many of them on eBay. I haven't checked Audiogon. The deck that I lost out on was a Nak CD1, manufactured in 1990. I had hoped to snatch it for around $60; it went for $130.


Quote:
One good reason is because the technology was always basically very limited with regard to frequency response and noise level.


I don't care.


Quote:
Another good reason is that virtually NO ONE is currently manufacturing a new quality 3-head tape deck, and there are very few good used ones, because by now even the best ones have worn-out tape heads and other mechanical problems that severely degrade their original performance capabilities.


I think it would be neat if someone introduced a new, high-quality cassette deck. I would be interested in it, if I could afford it.

Are you an expert on used cassette decks?


Quote:
The technology was abandoned for lots of good reasons, and anyone who tries to revive it has their head up their ass, in my humble opinion.


Hmm. Why does this issue deserve such animosity?


Quote:
With superior CD and vinyl technology available, why deliberately choose an inferior superseded technology? Bizzaro!!


That's what I've been wondering! It's what we've been discussing. The answers have been given: It's a method of keeping the underground underground; it's a statement against technology; it's a way for the artist to make sure his work gets to his intended audience; it's a way to restore the relationship between artist and audience; it's a way to restore the relationship between song and album; it's fun. There are probably a few other reasons that I haven't discovered yet.


Quote:
"Crazy" is definitely the correct word.


Argh.


Quote:
(a wise man once said "the fact that a lot of people choose to do something stupid does not make it any less stupid")


A wise man would know when to use this saying.

commsysman
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

Yeah...that makes a lot of sense.

I guess it might be a good idea, while I'm at it, to get a 1957 Ford 3-speed transmission and stick it into my 2009 Corvette so I can "see what was missed the first time around".

No thanks. I HAD the 1957 Ford for three years, and my memory tells me that the 3-speed sucked then and it would still suck now; just like tape cassettes do.

If you want to personally go through rediscovering why cassettes suck, have a ball!

commsysman
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

Hey, Stephan;

YOU SAID it was "crazy" in your very first post here.

I'm just agreeing with you.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
Hey, Stephan;

YOU SAID it was "crazy" in your very first post here.

I'm just agreeing with you.


Ooh, touche.

satkinsn
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

My experience is mostly from the arts side of things, not hardware, so I'm thinking about things like the loft jazz of the mid 70s that "rediscovered" the virtues of pre-bop swing and marches and did something different with it.

You can fairly argue apples n' oranges, that old tech is just old tech. But as I'm sure you know, there are examples of abandoned or deprecated technologies getting second lives because someone figures out a new application or something.

Like you, I think the cassette thing will pass. But in the meantime, why not let people enjoy it if they're so inclined?

s.

commsysman
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

Stephan:

I'm not sure if I qualify as an "expert" on used tape decks, but I have a friend locally here who runs a small stereo repair shop and has been working on them for 40 years.

He is definitely as expert as anyone around, and he says that the chances of buying a used 30-year-old tape deck and NOT finding that the tape heads and guides are NOT totally worn out is pretty much nil!

Most are so worn out that they hardly work at all, and replacement parts are usually impossible to get, unless you can find some specialist who bought up a bunch of parts and has hoarded them for many years. Rubber belts are usually available, but not much else (I had to have a machine-shop teacher make me a part for my Nakamichi 481 15 years ago because it was no longer available anywhere).

These are things that anyone should keep in mind before buying any used tape deck; especially without testing it carefully first.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

If you want a pristine cassette deck that is not worn out - look for equipment that was used by audiophiles...we usually 'trade up' before anything is broken in, let alone worn out!

I bet the average Nakamichi owner never accomplished this thing called 'wear and tear' that you speak of.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

"You can post it as many times as you like; you might as well, since you apparently have nothing to say and are nevertheless determined to post SOMETHING so we know you are still more or less there...lol."

The CD is an excellent demonstration of the failure of technology to provide the musicality of even the humble cassette. CD technology is plagued - after 27 years!! - by a number of inherent problems, most notably (1) the inability of Reed Solomon ECC to be of much value except in limited cases, (2) the inability of the CD player's photodetector to discriminate between real signal and scattered background laser light, (3) the suceptablity of the CD to jitter from airborne and structureborne vibration.

Having said that, it is true that the CD, as it is, is good enough for most people.

commsysman
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

Well...mine had a lot of use; I recorded several hundred tapes on it in the 1970s and 1980s, and despite the excellent quality of the Nakamichi guides and heads, I'm sure it was suffering significant wear by the time I finally had to give up on it as unrepairable.

I still have some archival tapes and an old Sony machine that I use to play them on occasion, but 90% of my tapes were discarded long ago, and the Sony is still in good shape because I always used the Nakamichi when I still had it; the Sony was hardly used then.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
"You can post it as many times as you like; you might as well, since you apparently have nothing to say and are nevertheless determined to post SOMETHING so we know you are still more or less there...lol."

The CD is an excellent demonstration of the failure of technology to provide the musicality of even the humble cassette. CD technology is plagued - after 27 years!! - by a number of inherent problems, most notably (1) the inability of Reed Solomon ECC to be of much value except in limited cases, (2) the inability of the CD player's photodetector to discriminate between real signal and scattered background laser light, (3) the suceptablity of the CD to jitter from airborne and structureborne vibration.

Having said that, it is true that the CD, as it is, is good enough for most people.

The key is to record those CD's to cassette.

The quantum effects of placing digital data on an analog "magnetic" medium add back some of the musicality.

This works for computers, too.

Get rid of the CD ROM, DVD RW, whatever, and get back to cassette drive for a more satisfying computer experience.

commsysman
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

I have two excellent CD players which provide sound quality that is 100 times better than the best cassette; to allege that the cassette can even begin to compare is to display complete foolishness! The CD players, especially the Sony, provide sound so close to lifelike as to be breathtaking. No cassette ever came close to that level of fidelity or musicality!

I had one of the best cassette decks ever made for 20 years, and I am intimately familiar with how the best-recorded cassettes sound; it ain't all that good, even at its very very best. Cassette dynamics are severely restricted, and poor signal-to-noise ratio is also a major impediment to fidelity and musicality.

You apparently have no experience whatsoever with the sound that CDs produce when played on a state-of-the-art player, or you would not make such ridiculous claims.

There have been dozens of articles by highly experienced Stereophile writers over the past 5 years extolling the magnificent sound of the best CD and SACD players; let me know when you see a single article that even takes the trouble to comment on the comparatively 3rd-rate sound of a cassette.

Ridiculous!

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:

This works for computers, too.

Get rid of the CD ROM, DVD RW, whatever, and get back to cassette drive for a more satisfying computer experience.

Only if you type the program in by hand.

s.

RGibran
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

WALKPOD SIGHTING!

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

hey stephen. i came across your site when i saw the stereophile link in my website stats... but i wasnt allowed to look at it until i was a memeber... so i signed up... i figured it would be about the "revival" of tapes. tapes have been a big part of underground music all along. they never went away. just because big record labels stopped producing them, it doesnt mean there are ZERO fans of tapes.

cassettes are still a viable product for the simple fact that they are not a disposable medium for music. cds/ mp3s are completely diposable. vinyl/ tapes force the buyer to listen to it in its entiretyand rarely are they discarded as easily as something they bought at itunes.

there is also a strong collectability factor. no one collects mp3s. finding a great music collection is easy these days. go to any download site and voila! years of hard work from a vinyl/ tape collector can be had in a matter of minutes. but its not the same as owning a physical copy. plus they are cheap and fast. if you are a band looking to fill your merch table on tour, cassettes are a wonderful choice.

i feel that tapes/ vinyl have brought back the importance of physical formats. smaller names (bands & labels) need to sell their music to pay for tours/ recording/ etc and cds/ mp3s just arent viable. itunes doesnt want to sell something from a band that has 40 fans... but those 40 fans still want to hear the music and are willing to pay a few dollars for the experience.

there are a bunch of reasons why i love releasing tapes... and yes... i know sound nerds (that is a term of endearment... i am a collector/ tape nerd) hate the sound from cassettes but its not all about sound quality. sound is secondary to the music. and music is the real reason i still release tapes...

if you have any questions/ interview requests, by all means, just ask. i am more than willing to help in anyway...

xo

AL

scotchtapes@hotmail.com

www.scotchtapes.ca
www.myspace.com/scotchtapesincorporated

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
Sound isn't everything.

AMEN!

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
cassettes are still a viable product for the simple fact that they are not a disposable medium for music. cds/ mp3s are completely diposable.

How is a CD a "diposable" medium? Why is it any different from a cassette in this regard? It's collectible just like a cassette. The band still offers a whole album of tracks and it's so inexpensive and you can handcraft them and release them as limited edition lots of 40 (ndividually numbered) just like cassettes. In fact the 1st 2 bands I looked up on Stephen's list do just this on CD!!! They also offer casettes...in fact one offers 2 CD's and a cassette as a package deal.

The cassette is used purely and simply for it's perceived "cool" value and underground signals. It's different and is somewhat more congenial than spitting a welcome to the brotherhood. To look for more compelling reasons for it's use is for the romantics among us (they don't exist - the reasons not the romantics).

From what I've heard so far I can't imagine this underground producing a Joy Division.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
From what I've heard so far I can't imagine this underground producing a Joy Division.

Hey Peter, I'm wondering how much time/experience does "so far" represent?

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:

Quote:
cassettes are still a viable product for the simple fact that they are not a disposable medium for music. cds/ mp3s are completely diposable.

How is a CD a "diposable" medium?


CDs became a disposable medium when storage became cheaper and people decided they'd rather rip their collections and rid themselves of the physical thing. CDs became more disposable when labels started including them and/or download coupons, for free, with vinyl packages. CDs will continue to become disposable as more hi-res downloads become available.

The idea of the compact disc being a "disposable" or "temporary" format is nothing new.


Quote:
From what I've heard so far I can't imagine this underground producing a Joy Division.


I think you have a lousy imagination.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

Hey scotchtapes, welcome to the forum!


Quote:

there are a bunch of reasons why i love releasing tapes... and yes... i know sound nerds (that is a term of endearment... i am a collector/ tape nerd) hate the sound from cassettes but its not all about sound quality. sound is secondary to the music. and music is the real reason i still release tapes...

Good stuff! While sound quality is really important to me, I do agree that it is secondary to the music. And while I have bashed cassette tapes as a medium, I do recall very much enjoying some of the mixes that I made back in the day. They could actually sound very good when made (and played back) with care.

I find this whole thing fascinating as I had no idea that tapes were still being produced and distributed. I no longer have a tape deck, but it's cool to see some push-back against the digital dreck that reigns supreme.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

I'm wondering if you mean commercial tape quality, which was terrible due to super cheap materials and speed reproduction, or home recorded tapes? I haven't had a cassette deck for some time, but back in the day, when recorded to ultra low-noise high quality tapes from my Rega 3 TT, the tapes sounded really very good. As good as the source? No. But not as far as you'd think.

But I don't think this discussion is so much about comparing sound quality per se. Obviously a commercially produced CD would sound better than the same album on store bought cassette. But record that CD to a good tape and it's more than acceptable for enjoyment.

PS: Can I just metion how much I hate seeing those Bose adds at the bottom of the posting pages! Arrrgghhh!

Grosse Fatigue
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

- Bose
I desagree with that. This forum is slowly coming together with more traffic.. and advertising. I am not going to buy Bose but if they want to advertise here and support our addiction for high end audio it is fine with me.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:

I guess it might be a good idea, while I'm at it, to get a 1957 Ford 3-speed transmission and stick it into my 2009 Corvette so I can "see what was missed the first time around".

No thanks. I HAD the 1957 Ford for three years, and my memory tells me that the 3-speed sucked then and it would still suck now; just like tape cassettes do.

If you want to personally go through rediscovering why cassettes suck, have a ball!

Y'know, I went and looked at as many pictures of '57 Fords as I could find, and while I'll take your word about the three speed, I didn't see a single car that sucked, at least in the looks department.

Maybe the cassette thing is nothing more than look and feel. So what? What I saw was beautiful.

s.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

57 Fords?

Worth more now than when new. How many CD players can you say that about?

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

I owned a '57 Ford Custom in college. Just like the one Janet Leigh drove to the Bates Motel. Great car, great ride (even the three on a tree) and the only mod was an under-dash cassette deck.

commsysman
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

I had a Fairlane 500 4-door sedan, which my parents bought new, and it had the 245-horsepower 312 engine with a 3-speed stick shift. It became mine on a full-time basis in 1961, when my dad bought a slightly used 1960 Corvette.

The reason the 3-speed sucked was twofold:

First, the gears were so widely spaced that the engine rpm really dropped off badly when you shifted;

Second; the 1957 3-speed was essentially the same transmission that was produced for the 1954 Ford, and it could not handle the power of the 312 engine. A clean, smooth shift from first gear to second, followed by full throttle, would strip out second gear and the cluster gear as often as not.

I got to where I kept a spare gearset in the garage, and could drop it, overhaul it, and have it running again in a bit over an hour. I overhauled that transmission at least 15 times.

I finally installed a beefed-up Cadillac 4-speed hydramatic transmission (built by "C & O Hydro" in Inglewood) when I rebuilt the engine to give about 350 horsepower; much better for the drag strip.

In 1958, Ford came out with the "Interceptor" transmission, which had gears twice as big and could handle 350 horsepower without problems. I installed one of those, with a stock 390 engine, in 1966 (by then, I had given up drag racing and was doing SCCA road racing, with a highly modified 1300cc English Ford Anglia).

smejias
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
Maybe the cassette thing is nothing more than look and feel. So what? What I saw was beautiful.


SO beautiful! Look and feel is certainly part of it for me. I love the look and feel of cassettes. But I'm just as excited about the music that's being released on cassette. I've been listening to Terror Bird a lot over the last few days. Can't wait to get her tape.

RGibran
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

smejias
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

Yeah, there's some cool stuff happening in Vancouver. I'm also enjoying the Shearing Pinx album.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

This:


Quote:
CDs became a disposable medium when storage became cheaper and people decided they'd rather rip their collections and rid themselves of the physical thing.

is madness. Anyone who thinks their music is more secure on a computer is delusional. A CD in a closet if vastly more likely to be there when the PC dies than the data on that PC, or any computer based system.

Buddha
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
This:


Quote:
CDs became a disposable medium when storage became cheaper and people decided they'd rather rip their collections and rid themselves of the physical thing.

is madness. Anyone who thinks their music is more secure on a computer is delusional. A CD in a closet if vastly more likely to be there when the PC dies than the data on that PC, or any computer based system.

Absolutely right. In fact, they have a saying for that about CD's: "Perfect sound, forever!"

smejias
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

I might like Modern Creatures even more than Terror Bird. Uh-oh, crush developing on Nikki Nevver.

Buddha
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

So, I Googled Nikki Nevver, but left one "n" out of Nevver.

Yikes!

smejias
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
So, I Googled Nikki Nevver, but left one "n" out of Nevver.

Yikes!


Heh heh. Me, too.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
Absolutely right. In fact, they have a saying for that about CD's: "Perfect sound, forever!"

A marketing slogan, written by Philips marketing people, that caused the Philips engineers (yes, I know them) to go "aggghhhhhh!!!!!!!".

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
Absolutely right. In fact, they have a saying for that about CD's: "Perfect sound, forever!"

Far, vastly overwhelmingly more 'forever' than anything on a hard drive...and I simply do not believe the data file remains 'perfect' each and every time it is copied or restored. Nothing is that accurate in our lives...All one needs to lose it all is a lightning strike, a power company doing maintenance without telling anyone and then spiking the power when they go back on line, or a virus.

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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
A marketing slogan...

Only a marketing slogan?!?!

Nooooooooooo!!!!

____________________

This thread has some very serious tone for being a lark about cassettes, so I'll just tell JIMV: "I have cassettes from 1970-ish (CSNY's Deja Vu, Creedence's "Comso's Factory," The Youngbloods...that still play.

There are no 39 year old CD's that compare.

Hell, I have 50 year old LP's that sound pretty damn good, too.

We used a Wollensak 8-track player at T.H.E. last year, so I do admit to having some joie de anachronism.

Poor Audiophile
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

Buddha,
Thanks for the pics! I didn't know there were other classic car guys here; cool! My preferences are American muscle cars, but I appreciate all American classics.

I wouldn't do the cassette thing again, but I don't think it's stupid if that's your deal.

smejias
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

More about cassettes in The Times Online.

The article begins with evidence of cassette's popularity in a London hi-fi shop and cites some interesting sales numbers:


Quote:
This week Island Records announced that sales of the 4,000 cassettes they decided to produce of Words for You had exceeded all expectations. HMV and the leading supermarkets have long since stopped selling tapes, but the album, on which celebrities such Joanna Lumley and Martin Shaw read poetry while classical music trills prettily along in the background, still managed to sell out on Amazon. By contrast, only 746 of the 200,000 copies of Words for You sold have been downloads. Thousands more cassettes are being manufactured in time for Christmas.

And last week I also tried to answer the question "Why Cassettes?"

satkinsn
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

Both yours and the TO are good pieces.

I hope you stay with this subject/idea for a while; it's interesting and like you said, fun.

And a general question: is anyone releasing classical or jazz on cassette?

s.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

The old Ford pictures are great. It is probably from my generation, but I remember every Sept. when the new car models came out and what a big deal seeing what the new body styles were going to be.

I still remember sneaking down to the dealerships in my old hometown and peaking into the windows to see the hidden models. Across from our church every Sunday I would ask my Grandmother to wait, which she did, for me to go over to the Kane Ford Dealer and look at the new arrivals. I still remember what a big deal that retractable Ford hartop was.

smejias
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
Both yours and the TO are good pieces.

I hope you stay with this subject/idea for a while; it's interesting and like you said, fun.

And a general question: is anyone releasing classical or jazz on cassette?


Thank you. I don't know if anyone's releasing classical or jazz on cassette, but I'll find out.

satkinsn
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival

I have no idea about the music, but I read an interesting interview with the folks behind this label in the current 'Record Collector.'

A slightly different version of it is linked off the web site.

tapeworm

s.

smejias
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Re: The Cassette Tape Revival


Quote:
tapeworm


Cool, thanks. I've been bookmarking tape label sites, so I've now added this one.

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