[Popular Mechanics] Cassette Tapes Are Back, Don't You Dare Call Them Obsolete - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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[Popular Mechanics] Cassette Tapes Are Back, Don't You Dare Call Them Obsolete

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post #1 of 96 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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[Popular Mechanics] Cassette Tapes Are Back, Don't You Dare Call Them Obsolete

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In 2017, according to an annual report from music-industry research company Buzzangle, cassette sales in the U.S. rose 136 percent, even more than vinyl, which was the only other format in the beleaguered music industry that was still growing (digital was down 23 percent). But while vinyl has been hailed as a high-fidelity format for serious audiophiles, cassette tapes are, well, hissy-brown spaghetti packed in a plastic card. They’re the 1980s. Shoulder pads. They’re goofy.


Cassette tapes are remarkably similar to another historic cultural artifact that dates back way further than the 1980s: Wooly Willy. In the game, you moved a magnetic stylus around to attract and align thin metal filings around a cartoon face. In cassettes, the tape deck passes an electric current over a tape’s thin metal coating, aligning the needle-shaped particles into magnetic patterns that can be read as sound. “Nothing physically moves,” says Stepp. “You’re just changing the magnetic fields within the tape.” To rerecord on the same piece of tape, you just scramble the oxide particles and realign them to a different song.


This process has its downsides that have to be addressed if you want to eek out the format's maximum potential. For one thing: Metallic particles that haven’t been arranged into pattern with the song, extras that are just sitting around, can create a surface noise called tape hiss. The louder you record on a tape, the less likely this effect is to happen. Certain types of tape reproduce high frequencies poorly. And God help you if your tape deck "eats" it.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/tec...audio-company/


Everyone keeps wanting to revive old formats. I just want FLAC on a read-only Flash device like a SD card or something.
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post #2 of 96 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 10:01 AM
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While I can somewhat understand the nostalgia for for vinyl (although the claims of higher fidelity is a prevaricating farce), for the life of me, I cannot fathom why anyone would be nostalgic about cassette tapes. I sure as heck don't miss the hiss, wear induced lower fidelity, wow from tape stretch, tape breaks and snarls, etc! Yeesh!

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post #3 of 96 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 10:09 AM
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post #4 of 96 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 11:18 AM
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They're not really back... if 100 people have them and it rose by 136%, that's just around 236 people that use them. Still small compared to people who download their music.
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post #5 of 96 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 11:32 AM
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+1 for FLAC flash cards.

Finding music that I paid for in FLAC is difficult enough a lot of the time, and often are just upscaled 320kbps MP3.

Quote: Originally Posted by clonxy View Post
They're not really back... if 100 people have them and it rose by 136%, that's just around 236 people that use them. Still small compared to people who download their music.


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post #6 of 96 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 12:12 PM
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They also said vinyl was back, but really at 500% price increase. If tapes are back at those criminal prices, keep them. And if someone tries to explain that the price is due to a limited production, don't bother.

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post #7 of 96 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 01:09 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by The Pook View Post
+1 for FLAC flash cards.

Finding music that I paid for in FLAC is difficult enough a lot of the time, and often are just upscaled 320kbps MP3.
Usenet.

What they need to do is make some kind of portable reel to reel format, or somehow cram reel to reel fidelity into cassette tapes. I think to this day, reel to reel is still the top dog of audio fidelity.

I'm all for higher fidelity, the thing that gets me though is that most people don't have the right equipment to take advantage of it thus making it useless. I see people all the time that claim to be fans of vinyl and how it sounds so much better yet they have a vinyl record of some modern music that was recorded all digital to begin with playing on a $50 record player through some white yellow faded 1997 Altec Lansing computer speakers.

My all digital library of .flac CD rips running through a sound card and good headphones blows that away.

The whole point of the audio fidelity game is that you want to get the closest you can to the sound that was made when that band or whatever was in the recording studio, unless you were there that's impossible so the next best thing is the original reel to reel master tapes; not exactly practical either so original first run pressed vinyl records made from the original reel to reel masters would be it. So unless you're buying the right kind of vinyl/analog mediums and have the right gear to go with it to make use of the higher fidelity, you might as well have an all digital library.

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post #8 of 96 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 01:56 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Chargeit View Post
Cassette tapes were junk. The hipsters can keep them.
Actually, a combination of quality tape with dolby noise reduction (b or c) makes for a pretty decent sounding setup, especially for the time.

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post #9 of 96 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 02:57 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by hojnikb View Post
Actually, a combination of quality tape with dolby noise reduction (b or c) makes for a pretty decent sounding setup, especially for the time.
It's 20 years past the time.
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post #10 of 96 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 03:06 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by xJumper View Post
The whole point of the audio fidelity game is that you want to get the closest you can to the sound that was made when that band or whatever was in the recording studio, unless you were there that's impossible so the next best thing is the original reel to reel master tapes; not exactly practical either so original first run pressed vinyl records made from the original reel to reel masters would be it. So unless you're buying the right kind of vinyl/analog mediums and have the right gear to go with it to make use of the higher fidelity, you might as well have an all digital library.
Weren't reel-to-reel tape recorders the method by which masters were made in recording studios back in the 60's and 70's?
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