Pre-Recorded Ferric Tape vs Blank Ferrics

Pre-recorded Ferric Audio Tape Test

I thought this would make for an interesting experiment. I’ve griped a little recently about expensive, pre-recorded cassettes, manufactured between the mid ‘eighties and mid ‘nineties, being produced with ferric tape formulations, as opposed to chrome. So I thought I’d assess exactly what customers were getting, in terms of sound quality, from these pre-recorded, CD-era ferric tapes. Continue reading

Ten Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Portastudio Recording

Tascam Four Track Level Meters

Most people with a major interest in tape recording will probably know a fair bit about Portastudios. But whatever your experience in this field, I bet there’s at least one thing in this collection of obscure facts that you didn’t know about the world of Tascam four-track tape machines… Continue reading

Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense Cassette (1984)

Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense

This is the companion album to Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense movie, as released in 1984. The album was phenomenally successful, which perhaps wasn’t that surprising given the astronomical budget of the project, but for a 1984 album to have stood the test of time so well, is rare. Continue reading

1990 Memorex dBS+ 60 Audio Cassette

Memorex dBS+ 60 cassette

I can’t help feeling that I’ve been harsh with Memorex tapes over the course of this blog. The generation with which I had the most affinity (early ‘80s) were not well designed for the long term, and the high bias variants I used did not produce the sparkling trebles of their rivals. But in a recent test, I found that the actual tape contained in an early ‘80s Memorex MRXI (a normal bias Type I) acquitted itself very well sonically once the design flaws in the cassette were resolved. That prompted me to evaluate a later Memorex Type I… Continue reading

Audio Tape Shoot-Out: BASF, TDK, Memorex, That’s

Classic Audio Tape Shoot-Out 1

Okay, so this is in no way a fair contest, but unfair usually makes for more interesting reading, so no apologies for that. In this post, I’m comparing the performance of four well-kept and barely used 60 minute audio tapes, made between the early 1980s and the mid 1990s. The idea was not to make a champion of a particular brand, but to explore how varied old audio cassettes can be in the way they handle a modern recording. Continue reading

Deutsche Grammophon 3D Classics Series Audio Cassette

Deutsche Grammophon 3D Series Cassette - Schumann

This is another of the highly attractive, abundantly classy and sonically spectacular Polydor / Deutsche Grammophon CrO2 pre-records of the 1980s. It’s part of the 3D Classics series, which was released around the cusp of the ‘80s and ‘90s decades, with this particular instalment hitting the shops in 1989. Continue reading

Early 1970s Scotch Dynarange C-120 Audio Tape

Scotch Dynarange C-120 Audio Cassette

I was quite flippant about the performance when I posted a photo of a Scotch Dynarange C-90 in 2012, but it’s often very hard with old tapes to evaluate them properly, since so little is known about the recording conditions, and there’s little or no space to record new sequences for test purposes.

Gladly, however, I’ve now unearthed an early ‘70s Scotch Dynarange C-120 with plenty of blank space on Side B, so I set about establishing what these 40+ year-old stalwarts are like when it comes to preserving a known quality of signal. Continue reading