The Type II Chrome Bias Audio Cassette

The Type II high bias audio cassette is actually much older a development than many people realise. The rise of the Type II tape is generally associated with the 1980s, but in fact, it was introduced, with a chromium dioxide (CrO2) tape formulation, at the dawn of the 1970s.

Chrome tapes were, technically, a big advancement from the start. Du Pont’s chromium dioxide formulation gave an undeniable increase in high frequency response over the often rather muffled tone of the existing Type I ferric cassette. This meant much better definition – a major improvement in fidelity, and an ability to preserve all the zing and sparkle at the treble end of the original sound.

Classic 1980s BASF Chromium Dioxide Audio Cassette

A classic blast from the past, in the shape of a mid 1980s BASF CR-E II cassette. A real chromium dioxide formulation, and for many, the epitome of the high bias tape.

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1993 TDK SA-X 60 Super Avilyn Audio Cassette

TDK SA-X 60 Audio Cassette

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

1980s High Bias White Label Audio Cassette

1980s High Bias White Label Audio Cassette

This generic-looking audio cassette, which I acquired in the late 1980s from a local producer of amateur bands, has proved impossible to identify so far. It has a white paper label, which appears to have been stuck on by the producer, rather than at the factory, and it has the appropriate sensor notches for high bias (CrO2-type) operation. The tape is dark, purple/blue-black, but it doesn’t have the ‘chrome smell’, or indeed any smell at all. It doesn’t sound very chrome-like either. It has a thicker tone more in keeping with a cobalt composite.

The producer in question was using a lot of these cassettes around the late ’80s and into the ’90s, but unfortunately I’ve long lost touch with him, so the source of these old tapes is a mystery which could take me a while to solve.

1983 Memorex HBII 60 High Bias Audio Cassette

1983 Memorex HBII 60 High Bias Audio Cassette

I must say I got a serious buzz of excitement when I finally unearthed this. I knew I had at least one old 1983 Memorex HBII (High Bias II) audio cassette kicking around somewhere, but my huge hoard of old possessions is in such disarray that searches have long since fallen into needle-in-haystack territory. Continue reading

Branded Woolworths Chrome 90 Audio Cassette

Branded Woolworths Chrome 90 Audio Cassette

Another good find, in the shape of this Woolworths Chrome 90 audio tape. Unlike the Woollies Chrome 90 and Ferric 90 I photographed in their cases for previous posts, this one actually has branding on the cassette shell. Once again, the shell is different in design, so it’s not just a matter of whether recognition was added to the cassettes – Woolworths looked to be using a range of different manufacturers. I don’t know whether this tape was made before the others, or shortly after, or even in between – but it’s clearly a 1990s offering. Somewhere between 1994 and 1998 I’d guess. It’s hard to be more specific, because the recordings now on the cassette evidently aren’t the first. Continue reading

1993 That’s VX60 Audio Cassette

That's VX 60 Audio Cassette

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

That’s CD/IIF 60 Audio Cassette

That's CD IIF 60 Audio Cassette

This was a fantastic tape. Essentially, Tape Tardis is a photo blog, but I like to add some info about the cassettes it depicts, so I usually play each tape between taking its photograph and making a post. I can honestly say I was knocked out by the sound of this That’s CD/IIF 60. Continue reading