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LastGoodBoy
Sep 7, 2014

Keep your mind be open window everyday


Remember those things from 30ish years ago we all used to shove pencils into? Turns out they also have music on them. Let's talk about them. Who are they? What are they about? Why they gotta be so square all the time? That's right, we're talking about CASSETTES.



With cassettes starting a resurgence similar to vinyl records, let's have a place to talk about them, show off our collections and scores, etc. I'm not much on the technical side, but I'll try to cover at least some of the basics as I understand them. If anyone more knowledgeable than me on this sees a mistake I made or something I forgot to cover that I should have, chime in!

Post your collections, post your finds, post anything cassette tape related.

-----
Small Q&A from a tape novice to a tape newbie.


Q: They still make tapes?
A: Yes indeed. Thanks to the prison system of all things keeping cassette manufacturing alive for the last several decades, cassettes have persevered beyond CD, MiniDisc, UMD, HDDVD, Ultraviolet Digital and into the modern age. Due to the cheap production cost, many indie artists are attracted to the format as a simple way to distribute their albums to a wider audience.

Q: Don't tapes sound like poo poo?
A: Any format can sound like poo poo with the wrong hardware. With the right kind of tape and the right hardware, a cassette tape can sound just as good as any CD.

Q: Where do I find tapes?
A: A lot of places, surprisingly. Discogs is a great place to find that album you had as a kid that you'd love to own again. For new indie stuff, Bandcamp is a great source. A lot of vaporwave albums specifically will see cassette releases, as well as other obscure formats. If you don't want to wait for shipping or don't know what you want, bumming around your town's local thrift stores and the occasional yard sale can be a good source of tapes as well.

Q: I got some tapes, now where do I put them in my iPod?
A: Wu-hoooh there, chief. Slow down. Tapes don't go in your iPod, they go in something called a "Cassette Tape Sound System Music Player Box", or cassette players for short. They can come in all shapes and sizes, even pyramid shaped, but usually you'll see them in the form of a hifi deck for home stereo use, Walkman portable players for on the go tunes, or older model cars sometimes still have them built in.

Regardless of which one you get, there's some things to consider both before and after purchase. First off, as with record players, older is typically better. That new USB Bluetooth compatible cassette Walkman on Amazon might sound neat and have the best features, but the sound quality of new cassette players leaves a lot to be desired. Things like Dolby Noise Reduction aren't a thing anymore, and the modern parts being manufactured are usually of pretty low sound output quality. Your better option is to poke around eBay and find a model from the 80's or 90's, like my Yamaha KX-W900 here. You'll probably have to put a little bit of love (i.e. cash) into it, but it's worth it if you want the best sound quality.



Not looking for a home system? You can pick up something like my Sanyo M-G41 here. To get a really good sounding one, you're probably going to be spending a small sum, but even this little guy sounds great while not being top of the line. (Really I just loved the way it looked).



Q: Alright, I bought one of these players. So I just put the tape in and-
A: Not so fast, we're not tape worthy yet. At least most likely we aren't. While I have had the odd player that ran fine out of the box 40 years later, odds are you're going to have to do the one most common bit of maintenance on the player: changing the belts. After decades of existing, the rubber belts that drive the cassette mechanism will turn to goo. Thankfully, you can fix this pretty easy usually. Look up your model if you have questions on that and to find the correct size belts you'll need, then replace them. If you don't, you could run into playback issues, like slow speed and whatnot, if it even plays at all. If you don't feel comfortable fixing them yourself, look into local repair shops.

Q: Alright, alright, I got the player, I got it fixed, I got the tape, now what?
A: Put it in the player, hit play and jam out.


If you have any more questions about tapes, I can't recommend checking out Techmoan's YouTube channel as a resource, especially these two videos, one on tapes in general and one on picking out a good Walkman, but there's a lot of good information from this man that I haven't linked here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVoSQP2yUYA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9wT2Y4W-T0

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A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



I think it's important to counter the idea of tapes as a nostalgic revival of an obsolete medium, since that gets brought up a lot on the internet now whenever they're mentioned. While usage of tapes did dip down significantly in the early to mid 2000s, they've never stopped being used entirely in genres like punk, black metal or noise, so what you're seeing isn't really a revival so much as a holdover from an older period, and it's a holdover that has occurred because tapes as a medium have qualities that can't be replicated by any other format. And in terms of economics, if you're an artist with a niche audience or a small diy label there just isn't really a more cost effective way to release music on a physical format, since CDrs are complete poo poo that no one likes.

LastGoodBoy
Sep 7, 2014

Keep your mind be open window everyday


Agreed, that's why I said resurgence instead of revival, as cassettes have always still been around, but I still think that probably wasn't conveyed the right way. What I mean by that is we're starting to see more people noticing them.

LastGoodBoy
Sep 7, 2014

Keep your mind be open window everyday


For the first time in a month thanks to the virus stuff, one of my tape orders came in. Two new additions to the collection.

LastGoodBoy
Sep 7, 2014

Keep your mind be open window everyday


This has been a surprisingly good past few days for my orders coming in. Just got these two in today. Wiseauwaves 1 and 2.



Pretty decent pair of albums. Unfortunately, my copy of 1 came with a nice crack in the case. There's still a couple left on bandcamp too I think.

Giga Gaia
May 2, 2006

360 kickflip to... Meteo?!

LastGoodBoy posted:



There's still a couple left on bandcamp too I think.

gonna need a link here pal

LastGoodBoy
Sep 7, 2014

Keep your mind be open window everyday


Giga Gaia posted:

gonna need a link here pal

https://cloudvault.bandcamp.com/album/wiseauwave
https://cloudvault.bandcamp.com/album/wiseauwave-ii

Cassettes are all sold out, but the digital album is pay what you want.

LastGoodBoy
Sep 7, 2014

Keep your mind be open window everyday


Got a few more in over the last few weeks. Wanted to get a bunch in one post, so I waited until today's tape came in.



"슈퍼마켓Yes! We’re Open" by 식료품groceries was the one that I just got in today. Some chud on Discogs is trying to fleece people by charging $105 for a used copy, more than double the price of a mint copy. Picked this one up from the same release page for $40. His listing has been up for a while, but he quickly pulled it when this other guy I bought from listed his. As soon as I bought it and the $40 listing was gone, surprise surprise, the $105 listing came back.

Don't get ripped off, folks.


Also, bonus pic: floppy disk album

Zeluth
May 12, 2001



Taco Defender

I don't rememerr which is in my back car.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7Hy7uAb_eU

Xarthor
Nov 11, 2003

Need Ink or Toner for
Your Printer?

Check out my
Thread in SA-Mart!





Lipstick Apathy

Glad to finally see a cassette thread!

I have a Panasonic RS-256 which is circa 1970 and has big chunky/clicky buttons that are super tactile and make me very happy.



I buy most of my tapes at thrift stores and record stores. I almost made a huge score of 100+ 80s/90s hip-hop cassettes on FB marketplace a few weeks ago but the guy ended up selling it locally instead of shipping it to me, which was kind of annoying. But the unit overall sounds great and it's a fun add-on to my vinyl setup.

But as long as we're talking about tape, there's this other thing I own...



Reel to reel is amazing and the sound quality is killer but everything you have heard about it being just a endless pile of is correct. I'm hoping as cassettes get more popular and people start enjoying tape again that reel to reel will make a comeback too. It would be amazing to see the record labels start putting out pre-recorded 7" 7.5 IPS tapes like they did back in the day. Think how good something like the new Lady Gaga album would sound! Oh well. A man can dream...

LastGoodBoy
Sep 7, 2014

Keep your mind be open window everyday


My uncle has the same reel to reel player in his garage workshop. Someday I hope to get my hands on it.

Xarthor
Nov 11, 2003

Need Ink or Toner for
Your Printer?

Check out my
Thread in SA-Mart!





Lipstick Apathy

LastGoodBoy posted:

My uncle has the same reel to reel player in his garage workshop. Someday I hope to get my hands on it.

If it's not working, or needs service, tell your uncle he might want to think about getting it done sooner than later. There is literally one guy in the US who still has the knowledge and spare parts to work on Crowns with any degree of quality. I think he's in his 60s and he took over from the previous old-timer guy who retired from being the only guy servicing them. If you do any reading about them, they're somewhat fiddly to work on. But it's one of those things, once he services it it'll be ready to go for the next 50+ years. If you want his name and contact info just DM me.

LastGoodBoy
Sep 7, 2014

Keep your mind be open window everyday


I think it works. It's in pristine condition. If I ever get my hands on it, I'll let you know.

LastGoodBoy fucked around with this message at 02:20 on Jun 10, 2020

LastGoodBoy
Sep 7, 2014

Keep your mind be open window everyday


New stack built up.



I didn't even order Peachy, power_lunch just knows I like Azuresands大麻. Real cool guy!

LastGoodBoy
Sep 7, 2014

Keep your mind be open window everyday


https://imgur.com/a/oBys6qr

Here's my uncle's reel to reel, somewhat obscured behind a box, but it still looks pristine.

esperantinc
May 5, 2003

JERRY! HELLO!


Xarthor posted:


But as long as we're talking about tape, there's this other thing I own...



Reel to reel is amazing and the sound quality is killer but everything you have heard about it being just a endless pile of is correct. I'm hoping as cassettes get more popular and people start enjoying tape again that reel to reel will make a comeback too. It would be amazing to see the record labels start putting out pre-recorded 7" 7.5 IPS tapes like they did back in the day. Think how good something like the new Lady Gaga album would sound! Oh well. A man can dream...

Yeah my buddy has a spare reel to reel deck that he says I can have if I want to get into that game, but gently caress, I've been looking and yep, . I don't need to spend 100$ on ANOTHER copy of Electric Warrior, my vinyl obsession is enough.

Giga Gaia
May 2, 2006

360 kickflip to... Meteo?!

some cassettes got delivered, i hope you enjoy them here in these end times

Only registered members can see post attachments!

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LastGoodBoy
Sep 7, 2014

Keep your mind be open window everyday


Nice grab on Precursor. Been considering that one myself.

I got a couple more in, including a Tiger Blood Tapes release, so naturally it took almost six months to get. No joke, I ordered it December 27th, 2019 and it just got here like four days ago. I had opened a PayPal dispute and everything on it.

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