Category Archives: Blank Cassettes

Using an Audio Cassette Tape as a Guitar Effect

BASF audio cassette

If you can remember the days before electronic delay dropped into the affordability range of the average teenage guitarist, you may recall that somewhere around the early 1980s, the Melos echo unit was a common secondhand effect purchase among the guitar-totin’ youth.

The Melos was a tape echo device, typically costing £30 to £35 on the used market. It recorded the guitar input sound to a special type of short-length tape cassette, which then repetitively looped the recorded sound back at diminishing volume (and diminishing quality), simulating an echo.

These archaic tape echo devices, with their custom-designed cassettes, are what most older guitarists will think of when there’s mention of audio tape as a guitar effect.

But did you know that conventional blank audio tapes can be used as a crude but seriously cool guitar effect? Not as an echo, but as a tone-shaper… Continue reading Using an Audio Cassette Tape as a Guitar Effect

What Were the Criteria For “Professional” Audio Cassettes?

PMD Professional audio cassettes

It’s a good question. What, exactly, entitled a manufacturer to brand the word “Professional” onto an audio tape? Or to describe it as “professional quality” in blurb? Was there a bench test that defined a standard of performance, above which the cassette attained suitability for professional use? Continue reading What Were the Criteria For “Professional” Audio Cassettes?

Eleven Forgotten and Unusual Uses For Audio Cassettes

Cassette pile

It was best known by far as a medium for home recording music. Around the early ’70s, the audio cassette took over from the much more cumbersome reel to reel tape as the default means of capturing sound in the consumer domain. The cassette’s compactness gave it a new level of convenience, coupled with very low cost both in terms of media and recording equipment.

People used audio cassettes in a way they wouldn’t use reel to reel, and kids commonly used cassettes too. All of this helped open up a broader span of usage. Families recorded their favourite songs from the radio, bands taped their rehearsals and gave the cassettes to pub landlords in the hope of getting gigs… Most people probably recall or envisage cassettes in these roles. If you’re old enough, you may also associate cassette tapes with self-help, motivational and training courses.

But deep beck in ye olde distant past, audio cassettes performed a wide range of other tasks. Some of them functional, some wild and wacky, some darkly sinister. In this post I’m revisiting some of those less well-remembered applications. And in the finest traditions of Spinal Tap, the list goes up to eleven… Continue reading Eleven Forgotten and Unusual Uses For Audio Cassettes