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Music on cassette tape made easy

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Music on cassette tape made easy

Postby Argiletonne » Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:35 am

I've never heard my music on cassette tape before.
Is it possible that there is someone out there that can make me a cassette tape of my music,
so that I don't have to buy all the equipment to make a tape?
Obviously I'd pay for the tape and shipping it to me.
I know this seems infantile but the reality is don't kid me,
I know the facts about CD quality versus tape and how tape is inferior to all other mediums,
still,...
I've never heard my music on cassette tape.
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Re: MUSIC ON CASSETTE TAPE MADE EASY

Postby resistorman » Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:08 am

What is interesting about linear formats like tape and vinyl is that it's not easy to skip around through it. This gave birth to albums and then concept albums. It takes a commitment of time to listen to the whole thing, and when it was well done it was a great experience. The medium itself imparted no magic, we learned to work around it and listen past it.

If you're interested in what the actual cassette medium would do to your music as far as sound quality goes; add a fair amount of noise, roll off the high end, smear the low mids, blobularize the bass, modulate the pitch, and slowly vary the phase between left and right channels. Enjoy.
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Re: MUSIC ON CASSETTE TAPE MADE EASY

Postby Tim Gillett » Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:10 am

It really depends on how well the recording is made, on what equipment, tape, in what condition etc. There is no definitive "cassette sound". Done well, the cassette playback will probably be indistinguishable from the original for most listeners.

The sound here I recorded off TV to cassette in 1976. I wasnt aiming for super quality, just as a record of the TV show's music. Its main problem is probably tape hiss and saturation (distortion) towards the end when the band gets louder. BTW no restoration/enhancement done here.



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Re: MUSIC ON CASSETTE TAPE MADE EASY

Postby HomerJSimpsson » Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:56 am

Beware of old tapes and cassettes. Through time, moisture from the air settles on the tape makeing it sticky almost like glue. Therfore its usualy much 'harder' to rewind old cassettes. Playing them put heavy load on the motor and mechanics, it can overheat and get damaged. You may even hear the music slowed down from the tape.

There's supposed to be a trick using a microwave to boil off the moisture, but I never tried that.
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Re: MUSIC ON CASSETTE TAPE MADE EASY

Postby resistorman » Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:26 am

Surely somebody has made a cassette tape simulator vst...
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Re: MUSIC ON CASSETTE TAPE MADE EASY

Postby Arpangel » Sun Aug 09, 2020 6:48 am

My advice would be to buy a cassette deck, there’s plenty around, I love them, treat them just like an effects unit.
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Re: MUSIC ON CASSETTE TAPE MADE EASY

Postby ef37a » Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:33 am

Arpangel wrote:My advice would be to buy a cassette deck, there’s plenty around, I love them, treat them just like an effects unit.

Agreed. Presumably OP has the ability to play cassettes but not record them? Replay only systems, by and large are of inferior performance compared to a good Sony say, hi fi deck.

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Re: MUSIC ON CASSETTE TAPE MADE EASY

Postby Arpangel » Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:51 am

Yeah, one of the Tascam semi-pro decks would be cool, I’ve got a Tascam 3 head job, very reliable. Or grab yourself a Nakamichi...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NAKAMICHI-BX-2-Dolby-B-C-2-Head-Cassette-Deck-Working-Good-Condition/154032680436?hash=item23dd102df4:g:-6kAAOSw-OpfKH9K
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Re: MUSIC ON CASSETTE TAPE MADE EASY

Postby ef37a » Sun Aug 09, 2020 10:23 am

Arpangel wrote:Yeah, one of the Tascam semi-pro decks would be cool, I’ve got a Tascam 3 head job, very reliable. Or grab yourself a Nakamichi...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NAKAMICHI-BX-2-Dolby-B-C-2-Head-Cassette-Deck-Working-Good-Condition/154032680436?hash=item23dd102df4:g:-6kAAOSw-OpfKH9K

Yes, nice. But the problem with buying a second(?) hand deck privately is that you have no idea of its state of wear. Cassette decks rely on precision head structures and alignment. Drive belts can stretch or go hard and lead to wow and flutter and accurate Dolby* replay depends critically on a flat frequency response and aligned levels.

Buying from a 'hi fi' dealer might get you a well serviced deck but of course you will pay extra for it. All that said, if a deck SEEMS ok and you clean the heads and trim the replay azimuth alignment for each cassette you will probably not be far out. Cassette was only ever 'jeeeust hi fi' and some would say not even that!

*If getting cassettes made I would ask for them NOT to be Dolby B encoded. With a modern(!) high output, low noise typell cassette, noise should not be a problem unless the music was of vast dynamic range.

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Re: MUSIC ON CASSETTE TAPE MADE EASY

Postby ef37a » Sun Aug 09, 2020 10:30 am

HomerJSimpsson wrote:Beware of old tapes and cassettes. Through time, moisture from the air settles on the tape makeing it sticky almost like glue. Therfore its usualy much 'harder' to rewind old cassettes. Playing them put heavy load on the motor and mechanics, it can overheat and get damaged. You may even hear the music slowed down from the tape.

There's supposed to be a trick using a microwave to boil off the moisture, but I never tried that.

I think this MIGHT be a confusion with "Sticky Tape Syndrome" as it affected certain brands of OR tape?
I must have over 200 cassettes recorded some 40-50 years ago and whenever I pull one out to check it is always fine. These are a range of makes, TDK, Maxell, Philips, BASF, 3M, and a many strangers!

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Re: MUSIC ON CASSETTE TAPE MADE EASY

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:16 am

Argiletonne wrote:I've never heard my music on cassette tape before.
Is it possible that there is someone out there that can make me a cassette tape of my music,
so that I don't have to buy all the equipment to make a tape?
Obviously I'd pay for the tape and shipping it to me.
I know this seems infantile but the reality is don't kid me,
I know the facts about CD quality versus tape and how tape is inferior to all other mediums,
still,...
I've never heard my music on cassette tape.

Just FYI, we did a small run a few years back to sell at concerts. Used a printing plan someplace in the UK for a "two single" tape and pro sleeve printing and the costs were nothing crazy at all, some £150 equiv I guess. Super pro admin also, great guys. Can try and dig the plant name if useful.

I did have to buy an old walkman to listen to it tough - after a while I was given an old boombox.

As of how it sounds... it sounds just the same - at least on non-hifi stuff. To my lead ears, of course :)

Yeah the medium is far less capable but so it's the playback system and the point of well mixed and mastered music is that it survives pretty much intact. The two songs we put in were, so they did. I don't think there is such a thing as a "cassette" experience (other than the physicality of the thing). Nevertheless, they sell as hot cakes because of the novelty and physicality - bit like vinyl.

On the other side, I grew up listening to badly duplicated cassettes so probably I have no idea. :D
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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Postby ef37a » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:40 am

Yes CS70, well recorded/reproduced cassette is very good and not at all 'niche' sounding.

When I first got my Sony Dolby S machine I carefully biased and calibrated some TDK SA and duped some CDs. I really could not tell the difference on my Tannoy 5A monitors.

Now that I no longer have a car with a cassette player in it I don't know what to do with my vast tape collection and two pretty good tape decks?

Seems such shame but "All things pass."

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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:50 am

Surely somebody has made a cassette tape simulator vst..

Of course. I have one and it's really good...https://aberrantdsp.com/plugins/sketchcassette/ I bought this because the UI was such fun to be honest, but it sounds fab too. There are free ones out there too which a quick Google will supply.
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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Postby ef37a » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:54 am

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
Surely somebody has made a cassette tape simulator vst..

Of course. I have one and it's really good...https://aberrantdsp.com/plugins/sketchcassette/ I bought this because the UI was such fun to be honest, but it sounds fab too. There are free ones out there too which a quick Google will supply.

So, what does it DO? Add hiss, W&F and some harmonic distortion?

But then I am a cynical old sod...

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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:56 am

So, what does it DO? Add hiss, W&F and some harmonic distortion?

Yes. And it doesn't unravel all over the floor of your car.
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