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  #1  
Old 02-07-2010, 06:33 PM
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Maxell-LN Maxell-LN is offline
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We're still clinging to the cassette

Check this out,
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/20...?page=fullpage
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2010, 09:13 PM
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While I am happy to see someone is still at least slightly enthusiastic about manufacturing cassettes, I do take issue with some of the points as well as the state of the audio industry in general. The article states "We reinvested and replaced the reel-to-reel system with a digital system. It makes quite a difference ... You get the character of tape without all the noise and defects." While no one can argue with the clarity of digital and the lack of background noise I think he's way off the mark in saying it captures the character of tape. This entire website consists of people who can hear the difference and judging from the way the site is growing, more people are discovering the difference every day and they like what they hear. Even those folks who are partial towards digital make the point that older CDs were mastered to a higher standard as evidenced by the "loudness war" I have been reading about. So apparently even digital has lost some of its earlier luster.

As for tape dropouts and hiss being "part of their charm" I say that's not necessarily true. Cassettes have come a long way since their introduction over 40 years ago. I own two tape decks, neither of which are high end machines, but by using high quality tape and recording at full saturation level the ringing in my ears after a song ends is louder than any hiss coming from the tape. As for the audio industry, I feel they are the ones who don't have the desire to give cassettes a full fledged renaissance. I chuckled at the comment where the article stated that some people "don't even own a boombox any more." A boombox? Are you kidding me? I have to laugh because audiophiles put down the old Radio Shack - JC Penny - Soundesign combos but what in the world do you think a boombox or today's bookshelf systems are? They're just 21st century versions of the old BSR turntable coupled with a Realistic tape player and radio. The only difference between the combos of yesterday and the systems we see sitting on people's shelves today is the fact they contain a CD player and the quality of digital music does sound better in a small system than records and tapes ever did. (I must also acknowledge advances in speakers and speaker cabinet technology) But the problem is twofold.

First, most people agree there hasn't been a really high quality tape deck made in something like 15 years. (there may be exceptions but I'm talking in general, compared to the 1980s and early 1990s) "Black Plastic Crap" is a name that was earned. I recently picked up a Pioneer SX 205 at a thrfit store that was manufactured in 1996 and was in almost flawless condition. I hooked it up to my system and within 15 minutes was climbing the walls out of disgust. It sounded like a loud 1960s AM car radio with a lot of bass and volume but the sound was terrible. My ancient (mid 80s) Sansui S-X500, while not a tube rig, has a much more full and warmer sound than that Pioneer piece of junk. As long as manufacturers, even those like Pioneer which was once a much desired brand, continue to cut corners and make equipment that sounds like garbage, there will be no desire to recapture the true color and character of analog.

Second, it's common knowledge that beginning in the early 1990s the quality of cassette tape began declining. I understand Maxell doesn't even make cassettes any more, TDK doesn't offer the kind of quality product they once sold, and it's "hit and miss" with those brands still in business. While it's true that some tape decks seem to "like" a particular brand of tape more than others, a quick look around Tapeheads will yield countless posts from people who praise the quality of almost every older tape by just about every manufacturer, except the obvious bargain brands. The holy grail for any member of this site is to come across a stash of fresh, unopened, name brand tapes from the mid to late 1980s, regardless of whether it be a type I, II, or IV. Some people are paying incredible amounts of money for a particular tape when they can be found. But as long as gear manufacturers keep turning out junk, and the choice of cassettes is between "Crap, Bad, Fair, and "Hey, I lucked out," analog will never get a fair shake and have the chance to compete with digital on a level playing field. When my hard drive recently crashed I lost every piece of music that was on my computer in a matter of seconds. While I waited for the machine to be repaired I listened to 25 year old tapes and 30 year old records which, for the most part, sounded as good as the day they were recorded. I'm not saying analog is immune to disasters. Drop a speaker on your tape collection and the magnet will damage numerous tapes and careless handling of records brings forth the old saying that "damage to vinyl is final" but with reasonable care tapes and records can last a lifetime. I still have a piece of the first recording made in my family when my older brother graduated grammar school in 1963 and got a Webcor reel to reel as a graduation gift. Yes, digital recordings may also last a lifetime but the point is, except for background noise, there isn't a list of advantages for the average person, and the warmth, fullness, color, and character of analog has never been recreated to the same degree in another medium.

I realize I'm on a rant right now but the fact is I'm not anti digital, I believe there is room for all formats, and I think everyone should own at least one of everything. It's just that I get really hot when someone says something like "digital captures the character of tape" as if it's an indisputable fact. If that were true Tapeheads dot net would not exist, we'd all be listening to nothing but CDs, and cassettes and records would be thought of in the same vein as Edison phonograph cylinders. If the manufacturers would produce better quality decks, amps, and tapes, analog would not only share the spotlight with it's digital cousin, but would give the consumer an additonal choice and let an individual's taste be the deciding factor.
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2010, 11:17 PM
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Maxell-LN Maxell-LN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flick View Post
While I am happy to see someone is still at least slightly enthusiastic about manufacturing cassettes, I do take issue with some of the points as well as the state of the audio industry in general. The article states "We reinvested and replaced the reel-to-reel system with a digital system. It makes quite a difference ... You get the character of tape without all the noise and defects." While no one can argue with the clarity of digital and the lack of background noise I think he's way off the mark in saying it captures the character of tape. This entire website consists of people who can hear the difference and judging from the way the site is growing, more people are discovering the difference every day and they like what they hear. Even those folks who are partial towards digital make the point that older CDs were mastered to a higher standard as evidenced by the "loudness war" I have been reading about. So apparently even digital has lost some of its earlier luster.

As for tape dropouts and hiss being "part of their charm" I say that's not necessarily true. Cassettes have come a long way since their introduction over 40 years ago. I own two tape decks, neither of which are high end machines, but by using high quality tape and recording at full saturation level the ringing in my ears after a song ends is louder than any hiss coming from the tape. As for the audio industry, I feel they are the ones who don't have the desire to give cassettes a full fledged renaissance. I chuckled at the comment where the article stated that some people "don't even own a boombox any more." A boombox? Are you kidding me? I have to laugh because audiophiles put down the old Radio Shack - JC Penny - Soundesign combos but what in the world do you think a boombox or today's bookshelf systems are? They're just 21st century versions of the old BSR turntable coupled with a Realistic tape player and radio. The only difference between the combos of yesterday and the systems we see sitting on people's shelves today is the fact they contain a CD player and the quality of digital music does sound better in a small system than records and tapes ever did. (I must also acknowledge advances in speakers and speaker cabinet technology) But the problem is twofold.

First, most people agree there hasn't been a really high quality tape deck made in something like 15 years. (there may be exceptions but I'm talking in general, compared to the 1980s and early 1990s) "Black Plastic Crap" is a name that was earned. I recently picked up a Pioneer SX 205 at a thrfit store that was manufactured in 1996 and was in almost flawless condition. I hooked it up to my system and within 15 minutes was climbing the walls out of disgust. It sounded like a loud 1960s AM car radio with a lot of bass and volume but the sound was terrible. My ancient (mid 80s) Sansui S-X500, while not a tube rig, has a much more full and warmer sound than that Pioneer piece of junk. As long as manufacturers, even those like Pioneer which was once a much desired brand, continue to cut corners and make equipment that sounds like garbage, there will be no desire to recapture the true color and character of analog.

Second, it's common knowledge that beginning in the early 1990s the quality of cassette tape began declining. I understand Maxell doesn't even make cassettes any more, TDK doesn't offer the kind of quality product they once sold, and it's "hit and miss" with those brands still in business. While it's true that some tape decks seem to "like" a particular brand of tape more than others, a quick look around Tapeheads will yield countless posts from people who praise the quality of almost every older tape by just about every manufacturer, except the obvious bargain brands. The holy grail for any member of this site is to come across a stash of fresh, unopened, name brand tapes from the mid to late 1980s, regardless of whether it be a type I, II, or IV. Some people are paying incredible amounts of money for a particular tape when they can be found. But as long as gear manufacturers keep turning out junk, and the choice of cassettes is between "Crap, Bad, Fair, and "Hey, I lucked out," analog will never get a fair shake and have the chance to compete with digital on a level playing field. When my hard drive recently crashed I lost every piece of music that was on my computer in a matter of seconds. While I waited for the machine to be repaired I listened to 25 year old tapes and 30 year old records which, for the most part, sounded as good as the day they were recorded. I'm not saying analog is immune to disasters. Drop a speaker on your tape collection and the magnet will damage numerous tapes and careless handling of records brings forth the old saying that "damage to vinyl is final" but with reasonable care tapes and records can last a lifetime. I still have a piece of the first recording made in my family when my older brother graduated grammar school in 1963 and got a Webcor reel to reel as a graduation gift. Yes, digital recordings may also last a lifetime but the point is, except for background noise, there isn't a list of advantages for the average person, and the warmth, fullness, color, and character of analog has never been recreated to the same degree in another medium.

I realize I'm on a rant right now but the fact is I'm not anti digital, I believe there is room for all formats, and I think everyone should own at least one of everything. It's just that I just get really hot when someone says something like "digital captures the character of tape" as if it's an indisputable fact. If that were true Tapeheads dot net would not exist, we'd all be listening to nothing but CDs, and cassettes and records would be thought of in the same vein as Edison phonograph cylinders. If the manufacturers would produce better quality decks, amps, and tapes, analog would not only share the spotlight with it's digital cousin, but would give the consumer an additonal choice and let an individual's taste be the deciding factor.
Very enjoyable read flick, you pretty much captured the essence of what I was thinking when I read the article.

I would have to admit my guilt here, as I do master all my mixes on computer, and back them up to DVD, in case the cassette gets lost or eaton, but aside from that I genuinely love doing things, while having some tapes playing away in the background.

Though it is not the greatest of articles, it is a good casing point to demonstrate that cassette is still alive and kicking, in all places; Australia where cassettes have been very difficult to buy since about 2000.

They are a number of articles out there to show that there is still great interest in the media, but trying to contact mr maxell or mr tdk, or nowadays, mr imation is pretty much inpossible, as trying to contact anyone of these people is equivalent to trying to get into fort knox.

I feel the future of cassette is in the hands of people like NAC and Speakerman, in the order of running limited blank tape runds. As much as I hate to say it, I feel the days of mass cassette manufacturing are over.
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Tape Deck 01: Philips D8514 - 02: Philips D8514 - 03: Sony TC FX 211 - 04: Sanyo MCD UB685M
Turntable: Technics SL-BD20D - CD Player: Sony DVP-NS50P
Music Computer: DELL Inspiron 540 MT
Turntable to computer preamp: Rotel RQ-970-BX
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  #4  
Old 02-08-2010, 03:27 AM
nestbox nestbox is offline
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There is little or nothing that might be added to Flicks appraisal as it covers many issues regarding the current cassette format, but heres something for you to consider. I used to work in several hi-fi shops in Central England between the mid 1970-1980s, and nearly all of them closed down in the following decade (I can already hear the related quips this is inviting!). Following a hunch, I have made enquiries about the former stock and in some cases, learnt that some of it, including tapes, is still in storeage, having failed to sell when the business went bankrupt, etc, (one reason why the cassettes didnt go might be the burgeoning of other formats at the time). I hear that one stash contains old mikes, including some Reslo ribbons, and much besides. This type of forgotten hoard is supposedly not that rare; you simply have to research the locations of such former outlets, and among other things, find out where the stockroom was! Needless to say, if you enter into negotiations to purchase such stuff you might be strewd in not relating what the real value of the item is, unless you feel a duty to pay for something that might have deteriorated whilst sat somewhere vegetating. This is what I am having to chew over regarding the possible purchase of an old stock of Sony FeCr's. I won't know what they're like until I get the wrappers off.
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  #5  
Old 02-08-2010, 05:08 PM
Des-Lab Des-Lab is offline
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I think that the OP's article link followed by Flicks outstanding commentary are enough to warrant this as a sticky. I too would have a hard time adding much to that aside from maybe pointing out the obvious: cassette deficiencies aren't a result of the medium per se. It's that quality in both the tapes and machines are so all over the map, ranging from outright garbage to breathtaking clarity and depth.
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  #6  
Old 07-14-2010, 07:01 AM
Laz Baz Laz Baz is offline
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Smile DBX Cassettes

Hi to you all. I just registered and the first thing I read was about cassettes!!
I am interested in vintage audio equipment and have a few SA series Pioneer amps and one TX 8100 tuner and one PL 71 TT.
I got myself a type II dbx encoder.decoder and have managed to buy a few dbx lps but can not find any dbx cassettes.
Do any of you have any? of do you know of any source where I can get a few?
Glad to be a member.

William
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  #7  
Old 07-14-2010, 02:27 PM
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shadowlord shadowlord is offline
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the most interesting thing in the article was the alesis deck imo

http://www.alesis.com/tapelinkusb

i know alesis for well made audio equipment. but take a look at the specifications..... most old decks beat them with ease.
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  #8  
Old 07-21-2010, 12:38 AM
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390FE 390FE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowlord View Post
the most interesting thing in the article was the alesis deck imo

http://www.alesis.com/tapelinkusb

i know alesis for well made audio equipment. but take a look at the specifications..... most old decks beat them with ease.
I have had old piece of crap decks that did better then that (+/-3% out to ONLY 8Khz) on freq response. And with their Dolby did better then the 58 Alesis lists. Plus so far ALL the "USB" or "IN COMPUTER" cassette decks I have seen DON'T have ANY Dolby. So if you are playing back your old pre-recorded cassettes to record to your computer they WON'T be properly copied. Because the Dolby hasn't been "DECODED". You are better off connecting your vintage cassette deck into your computers sound card with a patch cable & use the money you saved by NOT buying one of those "USB" decks & buy some good recording software. Or not even doing that & find some FREE recording software. And use that money for something else. Like blank tapes...
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  #9  
Old 07-21-2010, 12:48 AM
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Warped Bezel Warped Bezel is offline
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We don't cling to the CASSETTE...

We cling to the wrapper.
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  #10  
Old 07-21-2010, 01:20 AM
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390FE 390FE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warped Bezel View Post
We cling to the wrapper.
It's more the other way around. The wrappers static cling to us after unwrapping them....
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  #11  
Old 01-26-2011, 06:50 PM
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vinyljunkie79 vinyljunkie79 is offline
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Wow.. that's just.... sad? There's a cheapo PC dock cassette deck on ebay that has a better frequency response...

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowlord View Post
the most interesting thing in the article was the alesis deck imo

http://www.alesis.com/tapelinkusb

i know alesis for well made audio equipment. but take a look at the specifications..... most old decks beat them with ease.
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  #12  
Old 02-03-2011, 03:34 PM
Redfox Redfox is offline
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Hi all,
While I'm new to this forum, I've been using cassette tapes since being 8 y.o.
At 12 I got a Beocord 5000 (old type) and got myself an U70 headphone.
Later swapped for a 8004 HX-Pro, (in fact two), and later again a Beocord 9000. Sounding good, it broke down many times, and forgot about it for a few years, Later on I got 3 Denons of the better kind, 1 nad (crap), and 7 years ago (apprx.) a Pioneer CT91a-model in good shape.
Now, it's got loose belts, and a strange switch between tape type I and II (digiswitch?).
I am therefore ready to get the Tandberg I allways wanted, but couldn't afford at the time. Possibly a Nak ZX-9 or maybe 700zxl.
I have all my old tapes and they are mostly fine.
I like the medium, and don't see a good reason to drop it.
I think the tape got outdated in most peoples eyes because of degeneration of recordings, lower quality machines, as cd players are easy and cheap to make, and sony (and to some extend Philips) marketed the cd as the all winning grace of all times with LOT's of money in their hand. Mostly Sony want's to dominate the market of who are going to listen to who on what media, and movies too.
But the worst degenerarion I see coming from people themselves. They fail to see the idea in throwing a lot of money into agood propper stereo.
Today HiFi enthusiasts are scarce and far between, while most people have taken the tv-media to their heart, and have silly little 5, 7 or more speakers wireless connected to a small amp, or jsut to the tv. Bad tv-productions and emotional garbage like reality tv-series take over peoples minds, and there's little room for Stereo and the musical experience it can give.
Even the society is to a large extent dominated by the female gender, and they mostly don't like big stereo's etc. Rhink of all the little mp3 and something that people use. They don't even buy the musiv on their own medi any more, in stead they download it, hd crashes etc. People largely just don't care anymore.
Sad because they are loosing out on a sonic frontier, and good, because we can get bargains on good equipment sometimes.
Let's hope it get's a revival.
I preferred and still do, the TDK Sa. I have few TDK MA-R and MA-XG, but they are seriously har to get today.
Well, enough of that, I felt to express this, and while it may sound a little harsh, I just like the media, and it (can) play very well in my humble view. I'll stick with LP's cassettes and CD's. No compressed-or-merry-go-round-loudspeaker-media's for me, thanks ;)
So, I am looking forward to someday find a perfect Tandberg TCD-3014a and enjoy it to it's fullest! Hm, I may have to reweld my Target stand to accomodate the Tandberg... ;)

Stereo-regards,
Jacques.
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  #13  
Old 02-27-2011, 12:15 PM
WaiKeong WaiKeong is offline
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If you listen carefully, CDs sound robotic, virtual,
lifeless, empty and ..... very digital.
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  #14  
Old 03-19-2011, 10:50 PM
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bestbets1 bestbets1 is offline
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I must admit I'm growing on the cassette. No-one these days can agree on music to listen too. In my art class, everyone argue's about what is good music.
I threw on one of my Thai tapes, and everyone laughed! My copied cassette, no-body liked that either. So we just listened to "Blanda Music" from another person's iPod.
Tapes have a character! My deck does too (such as two different speeds on Deck A/B). No modern machine that records tapes sounds good. In-fact, a test recording on a 2009 Philips or Panasonic confirmed how CRAP recordings are. It has 1 head for everything... Even the cheap normal CD/Radio/Tape player from the early 90s we have made better recordings!
I am now hunting on ebay for a decent Sony Walkman, a cassette de-magnatizer (I don't know if they still make 220/240v De-maggers and some nice Chrome and Metal tapes!
And life goes on...
It's great just listening to music whilst on the computer too. It makes it less boring!
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  #15  
Old 03-31-2011, 05:41 AM
eric123 eric123 is offline
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Talking

The humble cassette.

Listening to cassettes only on a well maintained player can be a real listening experience. May I say a digital copy of a cassette never sounds as good as the original cassette and that is why the mellotron is still here today.

CD's are more practical cause you don't have to maintain anything and they can hold more tunes. There is no noise but no warmth either. MP3's were the rage cause its all smaller and it holds even more, but it certaintly not as good as CD. Its only good for music in elevators, waiting rooms or telephone waiting lines.

Anyway I think there is plenty of room for retro technology. You'd think they could be able to build better and more stylish players and tapes at lower costs in these modern times.
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  #16  
Old 04-04-2011, 12:53 PM
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bluegreengold bluegreengold is offline
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Quoth the RZA

"I love how cassettes sound. If it was up to me, Iíd mix to cassette and then master, but thatís not a standard in the industry. Iím not sure I want to be the first person to take a chance and do something like that. If itís not successful, I donít want it to be sitting at the bottom after selling so many records. To me, it sounds better on a cassetteólike a rap tape from the old daysÖ"

(June 1998-Taken from EQ Magazine)
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  #17  
Old 04-05-2011, 05:22 PM
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Lowtone Lowtone is offline
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Spin

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric123 View Post
. MP3's were the rage cause its all smaller and it holds even more.
Maybe more time, but it holds less data, and that's why the sound is bad
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  #18  
Old 04-24-2011, 06:25 AM
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Tapemystic Tapemystic is offline
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RIP Cassette tapes article...

I found this recently....
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/28/bu...Q1CWVeVOtQTPMw

There is a Cassette Tapes RIP tombstone there too...sad, sad, sad! :(

Better say RIP crappy hyper-compressed awful MP3's & iPods (RIP MP3 & iPod!)!
CD's sound rotten nowadays too, full of 'loudness war' over-compression disease, distorted squashed tinny square wave mess...Real sick gone 'music industry' if one asks me...

And this:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/5261...-comeback.html
Somewhere in the article it says this:
"It is about the quality of sound with an analogue recording which is so much richer than the very flat digital sound you get in an iPod.

"Personal stereo cassette players were remarkably good quality. I have an old Sony Walkman that must have cost about £30 in Boots, and the sweet sound is better than I could get in an iPod."


Rings some bells doesn't it? Tapes sound better than iPods... I know some 20 somethings that like tapes, so hopefully not all is lost....But the sick iPod-Mp3 hyper-compression diseased cold ignorant 'music industry' ?!?
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  #19  
Old 04-24-2011, 12:47 PM
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Lowtone Lowtone is offline
Aiwa
 
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Reelspin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapemystic View Post
Better say RIP crappy hyper-compressed awful MP3's & iPods (RIP MP3 & iPod!)!
lol It is exactly what i was saying in my old website 4 years ago

Quote:
Originally Posted by quote
I have an old Sony Walkman that must have cost about £30 in Boots, and the sweet sound is better than I could get in an iPod."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapemystic View Post
Tapes sound better than iPods...*hope
To be fair, iPods can play different formats, and Alac is a good one.
But , most people use mp3 insead.
The fact is the cassette can reproduce high pitched sounds better than mp3.
By the way, mp3 add metalic noises to the sound ( called artifacts ), and these noises are not present on the original recordings.

The cassette was created in 1963, the mp3 was invented in 1987 ans the iPod is from 2001... It is sick to see old technologies are better than new ones
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  #20  
Old 05-17-2011, 09:43 AM
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ianC90 ianC90 is offline
analog or nothing!
 
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Local Cassette News!

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/art...121825234.html

Last edited by ianC90; 05-17-2011 at 10:55 AM.
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