Why Use Audio Cassettes in the Digital Age?

Sony Metallic 60 Cassette

The answer was once obvious. Decades ago, people used compact cassettes because there was no other media upon which they could conveniently preserve sound at home, and because cassettes allowed pre-recorded matter to be played in places where the delicacy and static requirements of vinyl disc turntables were impractical. Continue reading

BASF Ferro Super I Audio Cassette (1989)

One of the problems with striving to improve Type I normal position audio tapes was that whatever manufacturers did with them, they were always still Type Is. That may not have been a problem technically. If the sound and signal to noise characteristics were massively better than those of a very basic, low end Type I, then a higher end Type I would have merit and, in real terms, justify its extra cost.

BASF Ferro Super I 60 Audio Cassette 1989 Continue reading

BASF LH Extra I Audio Cassette (1984)

1984 BASF LH Extra I Audio Cassette

BASF were very well known for their high bias chrome formulation cassettes (see the INDEX for numerous posts relating to those), but they also made some very nice normal bias Type I tapes. A case in point was this, the LH Extra I, probably made in 1984. Continue reading

1987 BASF Chromdioxid Extra II 60 Audio Cassette

1987 BASF CR-E II 60 Audio Cassette

The BASF CR-E II audio cassette (or Chromdioxid Extra II, as it was identified on the outer packaging), filled the space in the range previously occupied by the Chromdioxid II. Despite the ‘Extra’, this tape was still BASF’s standard CrO2 offering, and I couldn’t really tell any difference between this and the previous Chromdioxid II. The CR-E II arrived in 1985, even sporting the same basic colour scheme as its predecessor, although the grey label on this cassette had a sort of metallic effect which changed the shade of grey as the shell was moved in the light. Continue reading

Aswad – Live and Direct Audio Cassette (1983)

Aswad - Live and Direct audio cassette (1983)

That music dealing with the issues felt by disillusioned and disenfranchised youth had such a presence in the early 1980s, says as much about today’s environment as it does about that of three decades ago. The issues are still there, but it feels today almost as if the music business has tried to fence off the disaffected as some kind of ‘worthless market’, unable to provide a sufficient return on a record company’s investment. Continue reading

Emtec Sound I 90 Normal Bias Audio Cassette

Emtec Sound I Normal Bias Audio Cassette

An audio cassette from Emtec, which was the brand that engulfed BASF in the late 1990s. This Emtec Sound I 90 is a normal bias Type I tape, bearing the Emtec name, but an amended version of the BASF logo, with ‘EMTEC’ replacing ‘BASF’ in its top left-hand corner. Continue reading

1984 BASF Chromdioxid II Audio Cassette

1984 BASF Chromdioxid II Audio Cassette

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