Perhaps the memory most quickly recalled in a discussion about early 1980s chrome audio cassettes is that of the BASF Chromdioxid II. Heavy advertising on television meant a high profile. In those days the audiences per programme were much, much higher, with no Internet, and in the UK just four TV channels competing for share. So any audio cassette with a TV ad campaign behind it was pretty much assured immense initial uptake.
Fortunately, the BASF Chromdioxid II was able to back up the marketing claims with real performance. BASFs were the first really good chrome tapes I used, and I still remember being staggered by the difference in definition between the Chromdioxid II and the Sony BHFs or Memorex dBs I’d used previously. Obviously, the Sony BHFs and Memorex dBs were normal bias Type Is, and so they weren’t trying to compete on terms with the high bias Chromdioxid II. But that was the progression I personally made, from normal to high bias, and the impact of BASF’s super-bright, glassy sound was profound the first time I heard it.
This 1984 version of the BASF Chromdioxid II differs visually from the 1982 version shown in the post on THIS LINK, but I couldn’t tell much difference in terms of sound. At a time when everyone wanted the sparkle of ultra-high fidelity, this was the tape which genuinely did provide it. The marketing didn’t lie. These cassettes had that sound, and this was their moment.