This is the companion album to Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense movie, as released in 1984. The album was phenomenally successful, which perhaps wasn’t that surprising given the astronomical budget of the project, but for a 1984 album to have stood the test of time so well, is rare. Continue reading
As promised, here’s Siouxsie & The Banshees’ 1984 audio cassette album: Hyaena. I’ve taken the unusual step of photographing both sides of the tape and the inlay, such is the visual appeal of this product – rapidly approaching three decades of age. I don’t want to appear biased towards Siouxsie and the Banshees on what’s primarily an audio cassette photo blog (great as the band were), but their audio tapes were so photogenic that the decision to add multiple examples has pretty much made itself. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
In my last post I talked about the bootleg audio cassette tapes available from record fairs in early ‘80s Britain. The photo depicted one of the cassettes, but not the case inlay I was describing… Continue reading
What an attractive beast of a tape this was. Very eye-catching in its black plastic casing with black label and shiny gold lettering, the BASF Chromdioxid Super II 60 of 1984 was a leading Type II consumer cassette of its time. The sound was similar to that of the standard Chromdioxid II, but ‘prettier’, with what I felt was a nicer midrange. Despite the sparkly zing at the treble end, and some nice deep bass, this was still a sweet sounding tape, with a good, full, roundness. Sadly, these were a bit on the pricey side for youngsters to be buying in bulk, so I only got a few of them. Continue reading
This was a tape which certainly had the looks, but did it have the sound to match?… The Sony UCX of 1984 was a Type 2, high bias, CrO2 cassette which was competing with the likes of TDK’s SA series, the Maxell XLII, and the BASF Chromdioxid. That was a tough arena for any rival, and I didn’t feel the Sony UCX had enough going for it to really fight its ground. It sounded nice enough, but I didn’t find it particularly resistant to drop-outs – those annoying breaks in recording consistency particularly evident in the high treble frequencies. Chrome tapes were always going to show up drop-outs more easily than normal tapes, simply because their high frequency reproduction was inherently more powerful. But Sony’s Type 2 tape didn’t to me seem as solid and durable as some other brands.
The TDK SA 60 was a really nice Type 2 high bias tape with a round but well defined sound. It also seemed a pretty durable piece of manufacture, and this one, whilst not having been played regularly since I moved its content to digital media in the late 1990s, does still sound very good – well over a quarter of a century after it was produced. ‘SA’, incidentally, stood for Super Avilyn, which was the receptive coating formulation TDK used on the actual tape. Continue reading