Last weekend I was listening to a fascinating radio interview, which Cerys Matthews did with engineer and producer Tony Platt – noted for his work with Bob Marley, AC/DC and a diverse range of other major artists. There were some great insights into the making of legendary recordings, including a discussion about Bob Marley and the ‘commercialisation’ of his track Stir It Up. Lots of nuggets of info from what one might expect would now be fading memories, but recalled with consummate assuredness. Continue reading
The TDK AR60 was one of the better Type I audio cassettes. The sound from Type I tapes could vary enormously, going from a woolly blob of poorly defined warbling at the low end of the market, up to a frequency-rich and high fidelity experience in the more expensive echelons. Not that Type I cassettes could ever be described as expensive in themselves, but if you used a lot of them and bought in bulk, there’d be a dramatic difference in price between a batch of low end Type Is and the high end alternatives. Continue reading
The early to mid 1990s TDK SA-X 60 audio tape was the upmarket high bias product in the range. TDK had notably used their own Super Avilyn tape coating for high bias Type II cassettes right through the era when chrome was the most popular Type II formulation. But by the time this cassette was manufactured in the early 1990s, most rivals had dropped chrome and followed the TDK path, adopting a cobalt-ferric mix of some sort. Continue reading
A break from actual cassettes today. This bottle of Radio Shack (Tandy) Tape Recorder Head Cleaner fluid, from 1993, was actually part of a kit. In addition to this product, the kit contained a bottle of Head Lubricant of equal size, and ten long-reach swabs. In the year this was bought, the price of the kit was £2.69.
The Tandy range included quite a variety of maintenance products and accessories for audio cassette users in ’93. A Cassette Deck Demagnetizer and Cleaner, priced at £9.99, topped the range of maintenance artefacts. There was also a fluid plus cleaning tape kit at £1.99, cleaning fluid alone at 99p (different bottle from this one), a cleaning tape alone at 99p, a pack of swabs at 99p, and a replacement fluid pen at £1.99.
Among the more specialised products, was a Cassette Fast Winder (£3.49), with which you could rewind your tapes by hand whilst your cassette deck was still in use. There was also a Tape Splicing Kit (£3.99) which catered for both audio and video tape. The inevitable variety of storage solutions was also offered of course.
It’s been no secret on this blog that That’s tapes were among my very favourites. From the early 1990s, I used them more than any other brand, and I can’t remember a single instance in which they let me down in any serious way. Continue reading
Here’s a cracker from the 1990s – a PMD Magnetics Professional Audiocassette, which I think would probably have been manufactured in 1993 – the year I bought it. The ‘Professional’ designation hints at something fairly magnificent, so you’d expect at least a high bias Type 2 tape – if not a Type 4 metal job. However, this is in fact a normal bias Type 1, with a ferric formulation. Continue reading