1987 Maxell UD II 46 Audio Cassette

1987 Maxell UDII 46 Audio Cassette

After buying my first proper home multi-tracking system in 1987 (a Tascam Porta One), I asked around for recommendations as to the best value high bias CrO2 tapes. The Maxell UDII was mentioned, and I gave it a try. I wasn’t disappointed. These were really nice products, with great high frequency reproduction and what I felt at the time was superb resilience. Now 25 years old, my first batch of Maxell UDIIs haven’t noticeably degraded with age, and have preserved my initial experiments with 4-track recording extremely well. The content of the recordings, however, is another matter.

Before I was able to afford a real multi-tracker, I used to use two standard stereo tape decks to make multi-track recordings. I’d record an instrument onto a tape in the first deck. Then I’d play back that recording, whilst playing a new instrument live, and recording the whole thing onto a new tape in the second deck. You could continue adding live instruments two or three times in this way before the sound quality degraded into the category of unacceptable. There was of course no facility to mix the recording using this primitive method. You had to get the overdub volume level exactly right with each live performance. But two stereo tape decks would be much, much cheaper than a single multi-tracker, so if you were on a budget, it was the only way you could multi-track at home.