Rare 1983 TDK Records Audio Cassette Hybrid

Rare 1983 TDK Records Audio Cassette Hybrid

There isn’t much here in 2015 that’s managed to evade the attention of the Internet. Once in a while, however, you unearth an item which, as far as Google is concerned, doesn’t exist. This rare and highly unusual audio cassette fits that bill perfectly. Continue reading

Mid 1990s TDK SF 60 Compact Cassette Tape

Mid 1990sTDK SF 60 Compact Cassette Tape

A lot of people don’t realise that Tape Tardis was set up as a photo blog. As the content progressed, the posts incorporated more and more information, until the site was serving primarily as an information source, which just happened to have some nice pictures.

This post, however, Continue reading

1993 TDK AR60 Type I Audio Cassette

1993 TDK AR60 Audio Cassette

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

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

1989 TDK D 90 Audio Cassette

1989 TDK D 90 Audio Cassette

This is the 1989 version of the TDK D audio cassette (a 90 minute variant in this instance), which I’ve posted for comparison with other TDK Ds I’ve photographed for the blog. You can find all the versions in the alphabetical index to blank cassettes. Continue reading

1995 TDK D 60 Audio Cassette

1995 TDK D 60 Audio Cassette

One of many incarnations of the famous TDK D normal bias Type I audio cassette – in this case a 1995 version. This lightbox view of the tape takes advantage of the transparent casing to show both sides of the product, but more importantly, the innards. You get a good sense from this image of how simple compact cassettes really were/are. Other than the two reels and the length of tape travelling from one to the other, it’s just a set of guides, and a soft pad (bottom centre) which gently pushes the tape against the record and play heads in the tape machine.

If you look between the ‘spokes’ in the reels, you can even see where the ends of the magnetic tape have been pinched into the plastic to hold them in place. Quite a primitive system, but it’s remained essentially unchanged throughout the historical lifespan of the compact audio cassette. A tribute to a brilliant design which was pretty much right first time as a basic concept.

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