Sony AHF 90 Audio Cassette (1981)

1981 Sony AHF 90 Audio Cassette

The Sony AHF was an excellent normal bias cassette from the renowned hi-fi manufacturer. At the dawn of the 1980s, there were three normal bias ferric oxide tapes in the Sony range. The CHF was the basic offering. Light on treble definition, fairly noisy, and low in price – but in its class, still pretty good value. The next step up was the BHF. This had noticeably better treble response, and whilst noise/hiss wasn’t exactly minimal, it was certainly more under control than with the CHF. The price was typically around 30% higher than that of the CHF. Stepping up again to the most expensive Sony ferric, you found, this, the technically superior AHF. Continue reading

1998 TDK SA 90 Audio Cassette

1998 TDK SA 90 Audio Cassette

It’s hard now to imagine how life would be without fast PCs and intuitive operating systems. Even though it was made in the Internet era, this tape predates the release of Windows 98 (imagine that). So we’re back in the territory of Windows 95, and a climate in which most consumers were only just learning what USB was. The computers on many people’s desktops still didn’t feature CD burners, and so there was still a big market for blank audio cassettes. Continue reading

1995 TDK SF 90 Audio Cassette

1995 TDK SF 90 Audio Cassette

The TDK SF 90 of 1995 was TDK’s basic Type II tape. I thought these were very good value and used them a lot. They were pretty much interchangeable with the That’s VX60, offering similar characteristics and reliability at the same sort of price. The tinted casing gave the TDK SF 90 a little visual personality. Continue reading

1987 TDK AD 90 Audio Cassette

1987 TDK AD90 Audio Cassette

Zipping back a quarter of a century to 1987, for a recollection of this TDK AD 90 audio cassette. These were mid-level Type I tapes – normal bias, but formulated to reproduce music at decent, if not jaw-droppingly impressive fidelity. Continue reading

1982 Maxell UL 90 Audio Cassette

1982 Maxell UL 90 Audio Cassette

These were a common sight in the latter part of 1982 – particularly around the record fairs, where the live gig bootleggers would sit at stalls behind boxes of Type 1 audio tapes. The tapes would feature performances from popular bands of the day, recorded on the sly at various venues, on a pocket tape recorder – typically a Sony Walkman. Names such as The Jam, Echo & The Bunnymen, UB40, Duran Duran, Madness, Bauhaus, Altered Images and Mari Wilson were among those well known from the UK pop charts at the time. Continue reading

1990 BASF Ferro Extra I 90 Audio Cassette

1990 BASF Ferro Extra I 90 Audio Cassette

What an excellent tape this BASF Ferro Extra I was. As you’d expect, given the cassette’s name, it was a Type I, normal bias ferric, but it had a lovely refined sound. I bought a few of these in the autumn of 1990, shortly after getting myself a Tascam Porta 05 ministudio (26th September – still got the receipt). The Ferro Extra Is weren’t suitable for use in the Tascam (which only took Type II tapes), but I wanted to master some of the Tascam’s multitrack recordings onto normal bias cassettes which would play on the widest range of equipment. Continue reading

1981 Sony BHF 90 Audio Cassette

1981 Sony BHF 90 paper label Audio Cassette

This is the old paper (as opposed to foil-type) label version of the Sony BHF 90, from 1981. I know that I was buying these paper label jobs through 1982 as well as in latter ‘81, but by spring 1983 I was getting the shiny label versions. Continue reading