UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Powered By Google Custom Search Vintage Radio and TV Service Data

Go Back   UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum > Specific Vintage Equipment > Vintage Tape (Audio), Cassette, Wire and Magnetic Disc Recorders and Players

Notices

Vintage Tape (Audio), Cassette, Wire and Magnetic Disc Recorders and Players Open-reel tape recorders, cassette recorders, 8-track players etc.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 13th Jan 2021, 8:19 pm   #41
TIMTAPE
Octode
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 1,395
Default Re: Cassette tape types

Re tape types, type 2 had not just better fidelity generally, they were less prone to demagnetization so retained their fidelity better after repeated playings. Type I tapes became increasingly hissy and muffled. If I had my time again I would have paid the extra and recorded to Type 2.
TIMTAPE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th Jan 2021, 8:34 pm   #42
Ted Kendall
Nonode
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Kington, Herefordshire, UK.
Posts: 2,477
Default Re: Cassette tape types

That's an elephant trap if ever I saw one, but the 215 and derivatives are hard to beat all around the course. True, they use Sony heads, which were surpassed by some in the maximum level they could put onto metal tape, and true also that I would prefer to see a pad lifter - but that is a Nakamichi patent feature. Dual capstans make these machines impervious to most cassette problems and impart a stabilty to the sound seldom found in single capstan designs.

This is no reflection on the dual capstan Nakamichi designs - I own two, one in need of attention to the transport - how I love that mode selection mechanism! - but for my money the Revox has the edge.
Ted Kendall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th Jan 2021, 9:26 pm   #43
TIMTAPE
Octode
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 1,395
Default Re: Cassette tape types

I read that some audiophile duplicating companies used the expensive 215's for making their real time cassette copies, partly due to the decks' long term reliability, but I'd wager that over time they had to replace and align a lot of worn record/play heads!

A feature not always appreciated about the Nakamichi head lifter design is that it gets the maximum life of the record and play heads. Pressure pads usually make a real mess of the head's face. On the other hand, Nak decks could be fussy and difficult to repair and some models used cheap plastic parts which could fail.

My ideal cassette deck might be a 215 - or a number of other good dual capstan cassette decks - but redesigned with a Nakamichi type pressure pad lifter. Maybe as Ted says what prevented other companies from incorporating a pad lifter on their high end decks was Nakamichi's patent.

Last edited by TIMTAPE; 13th Jan 2021 at 9:36 pm.
TIMTAPE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 11:14 am   #44
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 4,945
Default Re: Cassette tape types

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Kendall View Post
That's an elephant trap if ever I saw one, but the 215 and derivatives are hard to beat all around the course. True, they use Sony heads, which were surpassed by some in the maximum level they could put onto metal tape, and true also that I would prefer to see a pad lifter - but that is a Nakamichi patent feature. Dual capstans make these machines impervious to most cassette problems and impart a stabilty to the sound seldom found in single capstan designs.

This is no reflection on the dual capstan Nakamichi designs - I own two, one in need of attention to the transport - how I love that mode selection mechanism! - but for my money the Revox has the edge.
Thanks. Mine's a Pioneer CT-93. Do you have experience of that deck?
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 1:40 pm   #45
Ted Kendall
Nonode
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Kington, Herefordshire, UK.
Posts: 2,477
Default Re: Cassette tape types

None at all, I fear, but I've looked it up and it certainly seems to be an impressive beast - I tend to favour Revox/Studer over Japanese machines in general because of the bomb-proof engineering, but YMMV. A properly engineered dual capstan layout is essential at this level, and this the Pioneer has, it seems.
Ted Kendall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 1:50 pm   #46
ben
Dekatron
 
ben's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Madrid, Spain / Wirral, UK
Posts: 6,183
Default Re: Cassette tape types

I agree with Ted. As a fellow B215 owner, it's one of those machines that just goes on and on. Metal chassis, direct drive. Nothing comes close for build quality or reliability, not even a Nak.
__________________
Regards,
Ben.
ben is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 2:09 pm   #47
Radio Wrangler
Moderator
 
Radio Wrangler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Fife, Scotland, UK.
Posts: 16,438
Default Re: Cassette tape types

I once had a colleague try to tell me that cassettes were now better than open reel tape. They had, he said, Dolby, 3 heads, dual capstans and exotic tape formulations.

I asked him if there was anything preventing those things being applied to open reel tape machines.

David
__________________
Can't afford the volcanic island yet, but the plans for my monorail and the goons' uniforms are done
Radio Wrangler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 2:45 pm   #48
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 4,945
Default Re: Cassette tape types

Nice one David. Not to mention the thousands more magnetic particles per piece of information. I once compared a test CD signal with the same recorded on my A77 and my then cassette deck, not sure what it was. It was virtually impossible to distinguish between the CD and the Revox, but the cassette deck had 'whistley' anomalies going on. That's when testing a single, pure signal. On programme material the difference between cassette deck and Revox was much less noticeable. And that's why for all but the most critical listening (have no real reason to do that any more) for example walking around the house listening to a cassette recording, it is totally acceptable for me, especially now I have the Pioneer CT-93.
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 4:40 pm   #49
Martin Bush
Octode
 
Martin Bush's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Oxfordshire, UK.
Posts: 1,448
Default Re: Cassette tape types

I've just received a cassette copy of Prefab Sprout's From Langley Park to Memphis.

I was interested to see the label state "CHROME EQ 120μ Sec".

I'm yet to play it, but I like the attention to technical detail. Another of their albums I own on cassette, Andromeda Heights, sounds excellent too. I wonder if there was some stipulation in their contract as to the quality of their physical output?
__________________
Is it live, or is it... no, it's live actually...
Martin Bush is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 6:13 pm   #50
Mark_RR
Tetrode
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Manchester, UK.
Posts: 67
Default Re: Cassette tape types

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Bush View Post

I was interested to see the label state "CHROME EQ 120μ Sec".
So that would be a Type II tape recorded with Type I equalisation. I assume it doesn't have the extra cut-out next to the anti-record notch or an auto-select deck will play back with the wrong eq.
__________________
Mark
Mark_RR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 7:08 pm   #51
Martin Bush
Octode
 
Martin Bush's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Oxfordshire, UK.
Posts: 1,448
Default Re: Cassette tape types

No cut outs...

I did try playing as Normal or Chrome and, to my ears, Normal sounded better.

The subject is discussed here https://www.tapeheads.net/showthread.php?t=4941

Not that I read that first.
__________________
Is it live, or is it... no, it's live actually...
Martin Bush is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 7:48 pm   #52
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 4,945
Default Re: Cassette tape types

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Bush View Post
No cut outs...

I did try playing as Normal or Chrome and, to my ears, Normal sounded better.

The subject is discussed here https://www.tapeheads.net/showthread.php?t=4941

Not that I read that first.
You heard boosted treble.
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 8:35 pm   #53
ben
Dekatron
 
ben's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Madrid, Spain / Wirral, UK
Posts: 6,183
Default Re: Cassette tape types

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Bush View Post
I've just received a cassette copy of Prefab Sprout's From Langley Park to Memphis.

I was interested to see the label state "CHROME EQ 120μ Sec".
I had that album too on tape, and you are right, it sounded fantastic.
One thing they often did in the 80s was record on chrome, yet suggest playback on normal EQ to add a little more top end.

Makes sense, as what with differing head alignment and dirty transports out there, the top end was always the first to suffer.

Of course, the production helped. Thomas Dolby's (no relation!) work on those albums was amazing. Jordan the comeback is another that absolutely shines.
__________________
Regards,
Ben.
ben is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 8:52 pm   #54
Martin Bush
Octode
 
Martin Bush's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Oxfordshire, UK.
Posts: 1,448
Default Re: Cassette tape types

I've always preferred a bit more treble so I guess that's why I liked it set to Normal.

Jordan the Comeback is the album I meant in an earlier post (not Andromeda Heights). Thst sounds great even on my setup.
__________________
Is it live, or is it... no, it's live actually...
Martin Bush is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 11:23 pm   #55
Ted Kendall
Nonode
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Kington, Herefordshire, UK.
Posts: 2,477
Default Re: Cassette tape types

These cassettes were actually recorded with a 120uS curve, partly to reduce HF crushing at high recording levels. You were hearing the intended treble level on the Type 1 setting.
Ted Kendall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th Jan 2021, 11:45 pm   #56
jamesperrett
Octode
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Liss, Hampshire, UK.
Posts: 1,269
Default Re: Cassette tape types

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Kendall View Post
These cassettes were actually recorded with a 120uS curve, partly to reduce HF crushing at high recording levels.
That's one of the reasons why some decks have separate bias and eq switches for the different tape types. You can record on type II tapes with the correct bias but benefit from the better high frequency headroom that 120uS gives you, albeit at the expense of slightly more noise.
jamesperrett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th Jan 2021, 1:04 am   #57
TIMTAPE
Octode
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 1,395
Default Re: Cassette tape types

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
I once had a colleague try to tell me that cassettes were now better than open reel tape. They had, he said, Dolby, 3 heads, dual capstans and exotic tape formulations.

I asked him if there was anything preventing those things being applied to open reel tape machines.

David
Yes it was claimed in advertising that cassettes were now equal to open reels. There was some truth in it in that tapes had improved greatly over the years with much shorter recorded wavelengths now possible. This benefitted the slow speed cassettes much more than faster speed open reel recordings. A newer cassette could now capture 20 kHz at only 1.875ips tape speed. That wasnt of much benefit for an open reel machine unless you were recording at the same slow tape speeds. Open reels at faster tape speeds had been able to reach 20 kHz and higher long before the newer generations of tapes appeared in the 70's. Then extremely thin tape with whatever coating can be extremely challenging to clean or repair without damaging it further.

The low noise/high output tapes improvements arguably helped the cassette more than open reel where with wider tracks and faster speeds, noise and distortion wasnt so much of a problem.

The Achilles heel of hi fi cassette recording was poorer signal to noise and it was never really solved without Dolby or other NR. But Dolby could be fiddly to get right to avoid artifacts, so many people avoided it. I think the automatic alignment feature of the later more exotic cassette decks helped make good quality cassette recording accessible for the less technical user.

Speaking of cassette tape types I think the Metal tape really came into its own in the 80's with Sony's 8mm cassette tape camcorders and the later digital ones such as DV and Digital 8. What once could only be recorded on large reels of 2" or 1" wide tape could now be captured on tiny tapes in eventually tiny cameras. Then there was DAT. I dont recall if this used a Metal or a Chrome type tape. A downside of Metal type tapes is that they can be easily destroyed by water contamination, whereas conventional tapes such as ferric and chrome have more of a chance of surviving - if treated promptly with the necessary skills.

But there was still another price to pay for the miniaturisation and squeezing of data onto tiny real estate. Alignment was critical and the same dirt, mould and physical damage which might only cause minor dropout on a large tape could mean huge loss of picture and sound with a tiny carrier.

Last edited by TIMTAPE; 15th Jan 2021 at 1:18 am.
TIMTAPE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th Jan 2021, 7:40 am   #58
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 4,945
Default Re: Cassette tape types

Looking at the age profile of members, most of us will be struggling to hear above 10khz. I tested myself a few weeks ago, 10k ok, 12k nothing.
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Jan 2021, 12:35 am   #59
knobtwiddler
Pentode
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: London, UK.
Posts: 135
Default Re: Cassette tape types

The very last cassette decks made in the late 90s had Dolby S - taking the humble format's SNR up from around 60dB (on a healthy deck / tape) to 80dB. S was the consumer version of SR, which rivalled 16-bit digital in dynamic range (from memory, I think SR on a 1/2" reel machine could manage 90dB SNR).

Considering SR encoder / decoder modules are relatively affordable these days, what would stop you from using one on a decent cassette deck? I'm looking at upgrading my current deck for the purpose of recording vinyl. As with the classic cassette decks (look at prices on auction sites...), vinyl prices have gone mad. Records I bought for a fiver are now north of 50 or even 100 quid. I was thinking that a high quality cassette would be a fun way of being able to listen to them after a few G+Ts, without the worry of damaging the vinyl (there is also the cost of decent styli). Of course, I could use a decent ADC, but where would the fun be in that? No satisfying clunk from the solenoid. I've even nabbed a NOS Canon amorphous head for said deck. I've got my head, just need to find a deck

NB - the 215 is the best deck I've heard. I got one out of a duping house. It didn't record well, but it played like new.

Last edited by knobtwiddler; 22nd Jan 2021 at 12:40 am.
knobtwiddler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Jan 2021, 2:38 am   #60
TIMTAPE
Octode
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 1,395
Default Re: Cassette tape types

Quote:
Originally Posted by knobtwiddler View Post
The very last cassette decks made in the late 90s had Dolby S - taking the humble format's SNR up from around 60dB (on a healthy deck / tape) to 80dB. S was the consumer version of SR, which rivalled 16-bit digital in dynamic range (from memory, I think SR on a 1/2" reel machine could manage 90dB SNR).

Considering SR encoder / decoder modules are relatively affordable these days, what would stop you from using one on a decent cassette deck? I'm looking at upgrading my current deck for the purpose of recording vinyl...
Dolby was an evil necessity. Even then many people who only wanted to listen to the music became frustrated with the complexities of Dolby and Dolby mistracking on cassette. These days most recorded music lovers seem to use some sort of digital listening system.
TIMTAPE is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools



All times are GMT. The time now is 6:09 pm.


All information and advice on this forum is subject to the WARNING AND DISCLAIMER located at https://www.vintage-radio.net/rules.html.
Failure to heed this warning may result in death or serious injury to yourself and/or others.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2002 - 2020, Paul Stenning.