I thought this was an attractive looking tape for its era. This is the Sony FXI, from 1996 – a normal bias Type I cassette which, despite its rather eyecatching appearance, fell very firmly into the cheap and cheerful category.
One of the interesting facts about this cassette was that it came pre-labelled. Most cassettes of this era would come out of the packaging with a bare plastic cartridge, and the user would find the labels enclosed separately, on a peel-off pad. This particular version of the Sony FXI, however, would come out of the packaging with its paper ‘Title’ labels already stuck in place. I suspect this was to meet the very low budget on which the product must have been manufactured.
It’s a noisy (hissy) tape, and whilst it will reproduce music acceptably as well as performing basic voice recording, it really isn’t a cassette you’d want to be using for anything important. The fidelity is adequate but not impressive, and there are some glitches. Unquestionably, though, what most recordists would notice most immediately, is the hiss.
I’ve also found another, different version of the FXI from the 1990s. I’ll see if I can get that photographed for comparision, and post the pic tomorrow.