A sound library I am collaborating with has a collection of what I believe
to be home-recorded 4-track tapes. Played back on a conventional machine,
it sounds as if there are two different selections playing at once. These
tapes were made in California, and so I am wondering if they could be the
4-track system mentioned in the various articles below, one of which
mentions California as one of the few locales that used the system broadly.
Is there anywhere on the web a brief description of the 4-track systems
offered for home use capable of recording?
Can anyone advise of a vendor for new or reconditioned 4-track tape players
to play these tapes? To be clear, I am NOT interested in a machine that
will make its own 4-tracks according to newer standard, but rather, one
that can play tapes decades old in the format used at that time.
As an alternative, are there services (especially in Southern California)
that could read these tapes in and output them to CD audio format? If there
are a slew of 4-track formats, that might be easiest, especially since I
don't anticipate an ongoing need for 4-track capability. What should I
expect to pay for such a service?
Thanks in advance for the help!!
Four-track and 8-track cartridges coexisted on the marketplace for some
time, with the 8-track format eventually defeating by attrition its
look-alike cousin (before in turn being overtaken by the cassette format).
Although extremely similar in appearance (the only obvious difference
between the two being a large hole in the top left underside of 4-tracks),
the two formats were not at all compatible, having been developed and
marketed by two different and competing factions. The 4-track system was
refined and marketed as a car accessory by Madman Ernie Muntz, a west-coast
used car dealer looking for something he could offer as an accessory to
boost his used car sales. His marketing and distribution arrangements were
spotty at best, relegating the 4-track format to the inferior (when
compared to 8-track) status of a regional phenomenon, most popular in such
locales as California (Muntz's home base) and Florida, but unpopular or
unknown in many other areas.
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