Home Tape Trail

Reel to reel, cassette and other analogue tape formats.

serious cassette listening

If you are truly serious about this, I would check out the availability of premium cassette tape, and decide which brands are most easily found in your location. Ebay is also a possibility. I think the only type of cassette tapes available in my area are the Sony "low-noise" standard bias tapes at WalMart. No one that I know of near me sells metal tape or ferrichrome types. I stocked up on nice tape about 5-7 years ago when stores put it on sale after CD-R drives became popular. Once you have accumulated a lifetime supply, then take your cassette deck to an audio tech to have it adjusted to perform its best on that particular tape. This should cost about an hour's labor or less. It is also wise to buy a set of rubber belts and if possible, a capstan idler wheel for your deck, as these eventually wear out.

You didn't mention what model of deck you have or plan to get. A nice 3 head Nakamichi is perfect, especially if you plan to play back your tapes on only Nakamichi decks. Dolby S is nice, but only the nicer decks from the later years of cassette dominance (1992-96 or so) have this feature. Dolby C is almost as good. Dolby-B is fine for tapes you will listen to in your car or on someone else's equipment. Dolby C and S sound odd if not properly decoded, whereas Dolby B is listenable without decoding if you turn the treble down a bit.

Please pardon me if I have belabored points that are already familiar to you. Many people, including audiophiles, are not aware how nice a good cassette can sound. Thrift stores are full of wonderful pre-recorded tapes with fantastic music for about 25 cents apiece. I have quite a few Telarc and other audiophile cassettes I have purchased over the years for almost nothing. About 5 years ago the flood into thrift stores was really something to behold. There are still a good many excellent ones out there. If they are priced over 50 cents each, often I can get them for less just by offering say $5 for 10 or 15 tapes.

For LPs, 90 min cassettes are good to record two LPs, one on each side. The 100 and 110 min. tapes are for recording CDs which are generally longer than 45 minutes each.


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  • serious cassette listening - rtbarr 18:27:40 08/04/11 (3)


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