Author Topic: Snake oil  (Read 2230 times)

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
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Re: Snake oil
« Reply #75 on: Today at 12:22:55 pm »
I believe TEAC are still* cranking out new cassette decks, though no-one knows why.

* or they were when I bought a s/h Panasonic off the Bay of Fleas a few years ago, that I might complete the digitisation of my crates of rusty plastic.
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Re: Snake oil
« Reply #76 on: Today at 01:04:27 pm »
All I remember about the Dolby button was that it made everything sound like it was recorded under water.

As I'm of a certain era, tapes were a fundamental part of my life. From recording my favourite tunes from the top 40 every Sunday evening and that crunch moment when you ran out of tapes and have to go back and overwrite an older compilation. The days when you didn't care about being cool, you'd happily listen to the Sisters of Mercy followed by Nik Kershaw and so would everyone you knew. As a grown adult, of course the first album I bought was something by the Cure, or the Smiths, or Adam and Ants (but before they became popular, the Dirk album that everyone bought but listened to once). Complete lie, of course. The first actual cassette album I bought was Mr Mr's epic pile of uncool MOR dad rock Broken Wings. I can still sing that title song now. That said, I also bought the 12-inch of Rock Me Amadeus and played it so often my dad stomped in and threw it out of the window. So I put his shittenly Pink Floyd tapes in the dustbin. He still reminds of the Great Music Wars of my Youth. He never got over the fact that it was bin day. I might not have cared that much about being cool, but having to buy a replacement copy of Dark Side of the Moon when you're thirteen was awful.

Then the first Walkmen (so sexist, so sexist), I got a chunky one, used four AA batteries and lasted for about fifteen minutes. But I felt like I'd strolled out of a teen angst movie and into the arms of Molly Ringwald. They did get smaller rapidly, I think the last one I had was smaller than the tape that went in it. Ironically, all the wannabe cool kids now walk around in giant headphones with dinner tray sized phones.

My friend got the first double-speed tape so you could copy albums twice as fast, that was awesome (home taping is killing music, now twice as quickly) at the expense of recording that occasionally slowed down and sped up. The version of Charlotte Street I had featured Lloyd Cole doing a complete Swiss yodel at the end of the middle-eight.

Then there were mixtapes, that vital part of any courtship ritual. Exchanging mix-tapes was the precursor of any attempt to exchange bodily fluids, a lot rode on the selection. We were well beyond mashing up the Sisters and Kershaw. Then when everything broke down, you'd listen to those tapes as you sobbed into your cider. I certainly exchanged a lot more mixtapes than bodily fluids, for sure. I probably should have dialed down the Kershaw quotient.

Somewhere in the loft, I've a duffel bag filled with tapes, I'd go get it, but the only tape player we have is in the car (as mentioned elsewhere, this was a punitive addition by Ford because we bought the cheapest model).
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  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: Snake oil
« Reply #77 on: Today at 01:31:15 pm »

Cassettes were poor but the 8-track cartridges weren't too bad for sound quality but never caught on for music ..... in the mid/late 80s I worked for an IT business and we used them for data storage when a "winchester" hard drive cost a fortune.
Objection m'lud
My loft is full of 8-track cartridges (well, there might be a storage crate full) with my entire Pink Floyd and Elton John album collection (I had a fairly wide spectrum of listening habits, don't judge me).
You couldn't beat the KERRRR-LUNK as the head moved tracks in the middle of a track, and you'd get to anticipate it, just at the right/wrong moment.
And, while I'm at it, lets not forget the joy of the tape winding itself around the drive head inside the cartridge, there was no, zero, way of unwrapping it, and heaven help you if you ever opened a cartridge.
And (I'm on a roll here) the glue holding the two ends of the mobius strip of tape where the metal strip was became unglued over time and you ended up with a completely useless plastic box.
The 8-track system was bloody wonderful - at tleast it's bloody wonderful that it's confined to the scrap heap of history and my grandchildren stare in wonder at such a thing.
And yes, I did own an 8-track cartridge recorder to make my own mix-tapes (but had no one to share them with  :-[).

I /think/ the spec for computer tape drives was slightly different. I am probably wrong.
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