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ARSCLIST  June 2007

ARSCLIST June 2007

Subject:

Re: The worst cassette tape years

From:

David Lewis <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 4 Jun 2007 17:18:14 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (124 lines)

Indeed, I was lucky in that I recorded many of my first gigs on 30 Certrons
that I bought at one time - for $10. They don't sound terrific, but they
don't sound significantly different from the way they did in 1980 and are
not prone to dropouts like some others. 

My worst
Memorex: any year, but especially around 1980-84 and 1988. On the earlier
ones the pad that presses down is glued to a metal plate, and they dry out.
So I've had to replace EVERY pad on every Memorex cassette I have from these
years. 
Computron: horrible, cheap tapes that sounded terrible to start with and yet
worse later.
Tonemaster: The Yellow labeled ones aren't bad, and the red labeled ones
were pretty good. But the grey label Tonemasters are prone to dropouts and
the pad insert comes loose - a lot. Thank goodness they also came with
screws. 
CBS: The pre-Sony Sony tapes are particularly poor - most that I've seen are
unplayable now, including the one that I have.
Maxell in the 90s: As Tom mentioned, Maxell experience a slip in quality
around 1990, especially in longer lengths like 100, 110 etc. 
Scotch: already covered
"Maxwell": Didn't use this brand, but I've found one. It is a cheap knockoff
of a Maxell with a design meant to fool the consumer! The one I have is
unplayable.
Studio made blanks: I guess what you got depended on where your studio
bought their blanks from. Yet I've never bought, owned or found a studio
made cassette that was of any count. 
Metal, C120s or 180s: What a bad idea! These formats were useless.  

My best:
TDK
Maxell in the 80s
Denon: Although I've experienced some problems long term with Denons, those
from 1988-89 are really pretty good.
BASF: very good circa 1980 and in 1986-87.

I'd like to contribute more, but I'd have to look at my cassette holdings
for more brands. Practically all of the recording I did of my own groups and
original music, except for studio sessions, were captured on cassette
between 1978-1998. So this is of high concern to me.

David N. Lewis
Assistant Classical Editor, All Music Guide

"Never treat an audience as customers-always treat them as partners." - Ted
Healy

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2007 4:48 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The worst cassette tape years

Yes, those were terrible but my father used those to tape his lectures for a
course he taught at NYU 
(super-tough Panasonic tape recorder on the table in front of him -- plenty
of table resonance to 
tune out for better audibility). They sat for about 15 years in a box in
semi-damp basement before 
my brother decided to copy them to CD. They have all played just fine so
far, and he's about halfway 
through the box.

So, bad quality on Day 1 for sure, but they seem to be durably bad.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Miriam Meislik" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2007 4:12 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The worst cassette tape years


> Hmmm, Certron comes to mind.  Three noisy rattling tapes for a buck. I
used to use them to tape 
> things off the radio in the 1970s.
>
>
>
> Terry, Kopana wrote:
>
>> The 70's and 80's had a few years that weren't very kind in the world of
>> cassette tape manufacturing. Those crappy years have come back to haunt
>> more than one of us as time has gone on. If you had to pick the year(s)
>> that saw the most poorly manufactured cassette tape, what would it
>> (they) be? In scouring the ARSC archives I've seen two brands mentioned
in
>> particular that seem to be more prone to crappiness than others: 3M and
>> Scotch. Is one worse than the other? Are there other brands that are
>> even worse? Many thanks for your opinions,
>> Kopana
>>
>>
>> Kopana Terry
>> Sr Image Management Specialist
>> Preservation & Digital Programs
>> University of Kentucky
>> M.I. King Library, rm 105
>> Lexington, KY 40506-0039
>> office (859) 257-3210; fax (859) 257-6311
>> [log in to unmask] ; http://kdl.kyvl.org
>
> -- 
> Miriam Meislik
> Media Curator
> Archives of Industrial Society
> University of Pittsburgh
> 7500 Thomas Blvd.
> Pittsburgh, PA 15260
> (412)244-7075 voice
> (412)244-7077 fax
> [log in to unmask]
>
> http://www.library.pitt.edu/libraries/archives/archives.html
> http://digital.library.pitt.edu/pittsburgh/index.html
> http://images.library.pitt.edu/pghphotos
>
>
> When your mouth drops open, click the shutter.
> --Harold Feinstein, November 11, 2001
> 

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