Early 1970s Scotch Dynarange C-120 Audio Tape

Scotch Dynarange C-120 Audio Cassette

I was quite flippant about the performance when I posted a photo of a Scotch Dynarange C-90 in 2012, but it’s often very hard with old tapes to evaluate them properly, since so little is known about the recording conditions, and there’s little or no space to record new sequences for test purposes.

Gladly, however, I’ve now unearthed an early ‘70s Scotch Dynarange C-120 with plenty of blank space on Side B, so I set about establishing what these 40+ year-old stalwarts are like when it comes to preserving a known quality of signal. Continue reading

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The Lore of Lo-Fi Cassettes

1970s Audio Cassettes

Technically, it’s an abomination. Inaccurate sonic reproduction, often lacking high end definition, drizzled in haphazard distortions, subject to random pitch fluctuations and topped off with a hissy backdrop. But to some, these technically woeful traits have come to represent beauty, character, charm. Why? Why do some of us prefer a bad recording to a good one? Why do we actually like lo-fi? Continue reading

Bob Marley Live Rainbow Theatre Bootleg Tape

Bob Marley Rainbow Theatre Live Audio Cassette

I’ve spoken before on the blog about the record fairs of the early 1980s, and the bootleg tapes that featured so prominently in their trade. Extremely erratic in quality, and often pedalled by people who knew little to nothing about the artists, these tapes (usually of live performances or radio sessions) were frequently Continue reading

Classic EMI White Label Chromium Dioxide Audio Cassette

Classic EMI White Label Chrome Audio Cassette

Here’s a fine example of a major recording label maintaining the highest standards in its audio cassette output in the early 1990s. It’s a German-made EMI tape from 1992, featuring Pinchas Zukerman (violin) and Daniel Barenboim (piano) performing Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas, Nos. 5, 8 and 9. Continue reading

The Who – Live At Leeds Audio Cassette

The Who Live at Leeds Audio Cassette

Whether or not this is “the best live rock album of all time”, it’s certainly had a phenomenal impact on the world of music, and since not even Wikipedia mentions the availability of a compact cassette version, I’ve done my good deed for the day and added this rather interesting specimen to the Internet.

You know the basics: recorded at Leeds Uni in Continue reading

Rhythm Divine 1 and 2 Audio Cassettes

Rhythm Divine Audio Cassettes 1 and 2

Whilst my street-cred mates would never have anything to do with compilation albums, I didn’t have the slightest problem with the idea. Right from as far back as I can remember I was pestering my Mom for K-Tel double albums and playing them repetitively until the record player needed a new stylus. Continue reading

Mahalia Jackson Greatest Hits Audio Cassette

Mahalia Jackson Greatest Hits 1974

Whether or not you have any religious leanings, if you care about the history and development of modern pop music, the work of the legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson should be essential listening. This audio cassette, compiled as a posthumous Greatest Hits album in 1974, contains some amazingly vital and musically thrilling performances by the Queen of Gospel, who died at the beginning on 1972. Continue reading