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

1994 That’s AS:I 54 Audio Cassette

1994 Thats' AS I 54 Audio Cassette

The That’s AS:I 54 was a really impressive Type 1 normal bias tape. The first thing you noticed about it was the unusually quiet performance. Noise levels are truly low for a mid-range Type 1. I used this particular cassette to record an acoustic piano performance, which I played on a Welmar upright in 1994. Tape hiss could be an issue on solo acoustic instrument performances even with Type II cassettes, but it really isn’t a problem here. I didn’t even use Dolby! The sound is what you’d expect from a very good normal bias tape. Rounded and warm, but with a well defined edge. 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

1990 That’s RX 60 Audio Cassette

1990 That's RX 60 Audio Cassette

I’ve put this one down as a ‘1990’, because I believe I bought it in the latter part of that year – possibly even early 1991. However, vintagecassettes.com shows this version of the RX as having been replaced by a different design by 1990, so I dare say some of this stock took a lot longer to sell than the UK retailers might have desired. Continue reading

Early 1990s That’s AS IV Audio Cassette

Early 1990s That's AS IV 46 Metal Audio Cassette Tape

In contrast with the EX 90, this, the AS IV, was a proper metal tape from That’s. A Type 4 as opposed to a Type 2. Judging by the material it was used to master (from a four-track Portastudio), this one was probably bought in the latter half of 1994. I rated That’s cassettes very highly, and this super-high bias job has a very bold, big sound with phenomenally good signal to noise and typically good resistance to glitches. After listening back through the recordings on this metallic monster I almost want to turn my back on CDs and go back to using audio tape for future projects. I did say almost, so it’s not likely to actually happen, but if CDs were banned tomorrow, tapes like this would provide a very acceptable rescue mechanism.

1990 That’s EX 90 Audio Cassette

1990 That's EX 90 audio cassette tape

The That’s brand made some truly excellent audio cassettes, and in the early 1990s I used little else for my most serious home recordings. Probably the most impressive thing about That’s was the durability of their tape, which kept ‘drop-outs’ and qualitative interruptions to an absolute minimum. That’s as a brand offered some of the smoothest recording available on audio cassette tape. The That’s EX was unusual in that it had a metal tape formulation, but a Type 2 classification (and thus bias), which would normally be the preserve of a chrome (CrO2) cassette. Metal tapes were typically classed as Type 4s and ran with a higher bias. Continue reading