I very much agree with you about cassettes and high end.
I always had good decks and good equipment making the cassettes, and I could tell right away when I
copied an LP, particularly if I used Dolby B. Not a tragic loss, but I did like to tweak the treble
control a little to add some presence when listening back. You look at a spectrum display with a
3-head cassette deck, using something like brass-heavy or strings-heavy music and compare source to
tape. There's a definite upper treble rolloff. THere's just not much there for most cassettes above
That said, I still have and enjoy many cassettes that get regular play. Mostly, I go back to the
original vinyl and make the transfer from it, but sometimes the cassette was made when the record
was in better shape, or the record was borrowed and it's never been out on CD.
When it comes to cassettes, my biggest beef is with Dolby C. I admit being taken right in with that
one. It WAS better than Dolby B when the cassette was just recorded. Trouble is, if the cassette
ages a bit, it doesn't track well on decode, which is very level-sensitive.
Hey, this is pretty far off-topic, but as an aside, WKCR-FM (www.wkcr.org) is now in the middle of a
multi-hour Ray Barretto memorial marathon. Tons of great stuff and they're playing real vinyl. So
nice to hear scratched but not shot records over the air (in other words, these records have been
PLAYED and enjoyed but not destroyed). I'm also highly impressed with their RealAudio stream. I will
have to listen to them more often!
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 6:02 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Cassette obsolescence - digitizing standards
> At 01:26 PM 2/20/2006, Steven Smolian wrote:
>>These suggestions are all good and fine. However, whoever is not financed on the scale of a
>>national library, and departs from 44.1 16 bit, expecting to store on a CD must consider the
>>long-term consequences of a non-standard or only temporarily standard storage medium with its
>>required investment in harware of dubious future repairability, processing (changes in the
>>cataloging system) and the gamble that whatever technological substitute choice is made will be
>>decodable say, twenty five years hence.
> One more item in favour of 44.1/16...
> I was going through and setting up my "new" (via the world's largest garage sale) Dolby 422 B-C-S
> encoder/decoder. It had the option board for 19kHz low-pass filters on the input to the encode
> section (it can be two channels encode, two channels decode or for channels decode).
> With this filter bypassed, the specs for the unit are 20 Hz to 15 kHz +/- 2dB. The filter degrades
> the high end even more.
> There are several options, including a sharp cut at 20 kHz for Dolby S, the standard filter, and a
> special one for TV, which presumably notches out the 15,734 Hz horizontal sweep frequency.
> This is just more evidence that cassettes don't have that much high end. All cassette machines
> with Dolby encoding HAD to have the multiplex filters. A switch was allowed, but not required, as
> I understand it. No switch meant that the mltiplex filter (down lots 'o dBs at 19 kHz) was always
> in the circuit.
> Tape Restoration Seminar: MAY 9-12, 2006; details at Web site.
> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
> Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm