This was a fantastic tape. Essentially, Tape Tardis is a photo blog, but I like to add some info about the cassettes it depicts, so I usually play each tape between taking its photograph and making a post. I can honestly say I was knocked out by the sound of this That’s CD/IIF 60.
The recording captures a live run of a chain of 1990s MIDI instruments – all injected directly into a mixer and then sent in stereo to a Yamaha Natural Sound K-340 cassette deck. All sounds held firmly within the electronic domain, so no room at all for degradation. You’d expect very high quality. But it’s still difficult for an analogue audio cassette to do what this one has done, and preserve what seems like every last detail. It does sound like you’re listening to the live sequence. An exceptionally good recording with a truly sizzling brilliance and a highly detailed fidelity. No drop-outs – it’s silky smooth.
The “CD” buzz-term was adopted by a number of cassette manufacturers in the 1990s, often in a bid to persuade customers that audio tapes could exactly replicate a recording from a compact disc. I had a moan a short while back on this blog about TDK’s CDing, and the rather optimistic marketing which surrounded it, but I wouldn’t lump the That’s CD/IIF into the same category. Aside from the obvious differences in marketing strategy, the That’s CD/IIF was simply, in my opinion, a much better tape than the TDK CDing. It has a fuller and more solid sound, with very plainly superior durability. Audio tapes are often remembered as an annoying, hissy little stop-gap which had to be endured until desktop digital recording arrived. Playing this tape proves that in terms of sound quality at least, the analogue audio cassette did not have to be a compromise.