Zipping back a quarter of a century to 1987, for a recollection of this TDK AD 90 audio cassette. These were mid-level Type I tapes – normal bias, but formulated to reproduce music at decent, if not jaw-droppingly impressive fidelity.
Actually, playing this tape again after what must be at least a couple of decades since the last time, it doesn’t sound as good as I’d remembered it. Whether the recording has degraded in the interim, or whether it’s simply that my expectations have been inflated over the years I’m not really sure. On the tape is some material written by a friend, and recorded at his flat in north Birmingham, using some equipment borrowed from the shop he worked at. He did the programming, production, etc; I played the guitar and did the vocals. The biggest disappointment was the discovery of some drop-outs in the recording. I don’t remember there being any ‘back in the day’, but I do remember playing the recording many times. The music’s really good, and I know at one stage I was going round playing it to anyone who’d listen, so the tape did get totally hammered in its heyday.
The basic TDK AD sound was fairly typical of a more sophisticated Type I. Extended frequency range, but nothing like as pretty as a good Type II. A very slight (definitely not glaring) nasal quality to the treble rather than the pristine sparkle of chrome. This AD 90 did its job, but judging purely on what I hear now, in 2012, it’s nothing to get massively excited about.