Sony CHF tapes were among the very first I used for my own recordings after I hit my teens. They were good, if basic, normal bias cassettes with quite a warm sound, but also an acceptable amount of definition for a Type 1 range-propper. Pretty noisy though. I’ve got a fair old few of these, and the material on them ranges quite widely. At one end of the scale there are some all-too-clear renditions of my own instrumental tracks, played on a Bontempi home organ. At the other, performances by chart bands of the day, recorded from the TV, with a cheapish tape recorder placed in front of the set’s speaker, and my family jabbering away in the background.
Not many people could afford a video recorder in 1981, and over nine out of ten households didn’t own one. Therefore, even such visual transmissions as TV comedies would end up being preserved on audio tape. This red and white Sony CHF 60 reminds me of all that.
Another of the uses UK teenagers would have for these cheap all-rounder cassettes in ’81 would be to record snippets of John Peel’s radio show. Almost everyone’s favourite band did live sessions for John Peel, however obscure an act they were. And since the performances were often markedly different from the records, putting them onto tape was almost like buying completely new material. Radio was a massive thing in ’81. Live concerts, interviews with your favourite acts, music documentaries… Much of it’s still there, but it’s not such a big part of people’s lives in the age of the Internet.
There’s a highly evocative image of the 90 minute version of this cassette on my new JPEGJuice photo blog, in the Sony CHF90 post.