Classic Type IV Metal Bias Cassette Comparison

Type IV Metal Cassettes

Yes, ‘tis the Clash of the Titans, as four old behemoths of analogue recording media slog it out for supremacy. Continue reading

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The Type IV Metal Audio Cassette

1986 Sony Metal-ES 60 Type IV Metal Audio Cassette

The metal-formulated audio cassette hit the scene near the end of the 1970s, as the answer to a number of problems with previous tape formulations. The standard ferric-oxide (Type I) tape had typically rendered poor high frequency definition, with pervasive noise, meaning a woolly sound without much presence or zing… except where you didn’t want it – in the hiss. Continue reading

1987 Maxell MX 46 Metal Audio Cassette

1987 Maxell MX 46 Audio Cassette

Looking and feeling very much like the high-end Type II XLII-S of the same year, this 1987 Maxell MX 46 audio cassette was the range-topping Metal position offering. If you could afford them, these were great cassettes. A strong, frequency-rich sound, and a formulation which was able to take some pretty extensive re-recording before the signs of wear would start to manifest themselves in the sound. It’s fairly evident from the photo that this one’s been well used. Continue reading

1994 Maxell MX-S 46 Metal Bias Audio Cassette

1994 Maxell MX-S 46 Metal Bias Audio Cassette Tape

In the mid 1990s I started to make the switch from analogue to digital recording. However, the process of transition was slow, and actually took some years. It was 1998 before I completed the transition and for the first time began creating multi-tracked home recordings entirely on a computer. Between 1994 and 1998 I was still mastering my songs to audio tape, mostly using a combination of vocals and guitars recorded to tape on a Portastudio, and electronic MIDI instruments synthesizing various parts (including drums) on a live sync-up. Continue reading

1988 TDK MA-X 46 Audio Cassette

1988 TDK MA-X 46 Audio Cassette

Classy look, classy tape. This is TDK‘s MA-X Type 4 metal bias audio cassette, from 1988. Metal tapes as a breed reproduced the best frequency range of all the four types, as well as accepting high volume levels without running into distortion. This tape has certainly made a great job of preserving an ‘album’ of my own songs, as recorded on a home multi-tracker in 1988. The multitracker (a Tascam Portastudio – see HERE and HERE for more details) would not allow the use of metal tapes, so the track-building itself would have to be done on a chrome (CrO2) cassette. However, the final stereo master would be recorded from the Portastudio onto a separate stereo cassette deck, which did allow the use of metal tapes – hence the option to employ this TDK MA-X 46.