I had the good fortune (miss fortune?) of having to get factory trained on
servicing high speed bin-fed cassette duplicators for large facilities. They
were absolutely built like tanks with very, very good heads, both playback
and record heads. They were also very, very trying to set up perfectly.
Controlling azimuth, tape path, and bias among other things took quite
literally forever to get right, particularly in a room full of cassette tape
on 14" pancakes in 40 record-only decks. That said, if the tape was good
quality, and you did everything right (including set up the air-driven bin
loop platter) the frequency response was quite remarkable. I always ran my
QC of the adjustments after the test recordings made it to a shell for final
insurance. Needless to say, I do NOT look fondly back on those experiences.
Who knows what happened 10 minutes after I left the places..!


-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 7:35 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DATs DELETED but not LPs (was: 15/16 Recording

The biggest problem with the duped cassettes was azimuth and also Dolby
tracking. You actually could get the frequency response OK up into the high
octaves. Richard Hess probably knows about this, I'm guessing you have to
use very precise head gaps. But you can have these wonderful heads and the
best intentions but then when you use a POS cheapo tape type, run your dupes
on an Ampex 3200 varient transport and load the result into garbage shells,
not even the best tape deck can play them back worth a damn.

I was never that conservative about recording levels on cassettes, I'd let
my peak levels get over 0 but the average level would be below or just at 0
depending on how compressed the source was (yes, there was toothpaste
mastering in the LP era, especially with rock records). Dolby HX was a
really good idea and it's too bad it didn't catch on more widely. Luckily, I
didn't adopt Dolby C until the CD era, so very few cassettes that I couldn't
just get the CD were made with that system. The problem with Dolby C is that
it gets to terribly mis-tracking as the cassette naturally loses its level
over time.

And yes, them young 'uns today have no idea the geeky rituals us gray dudes
used to go through to hear decent-fidelity music on the go!

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Shoshani" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 7:49 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DATs DELETED but not LPs (was: 15/16 Recording

> On Thu, 2011-01-13 at 19:21 -0500, Tom Fine wrote:
>> But, none of this warm and fuzzy nostalgia will make those piece of
garbage pre-duped tapes sold 
>> to
>> the Walkman Generation sound any better. They were disposable junk, and
almost all of them ended 
>> up
>> in landfills in the 90's, replaced by much better sounding CD's. I never
fell for the trap since 
>> I
>> could dub my own tapes.
> Same here. I never understood how high speed commercial dubbing worked
> in the first place; it seems that all the high frequencies would be well
> out of the reproduction and recording range of the equipment involved.
> I made my own LP to cassette dubs, carefully setting the recording level
> to kick just below -0 db on the loudest passages so as not to ride gain
> constantly.
> My children will never know such geeky joys. :)
> Michael Shoshani
> Chicago