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Revival of the Music Cassette


trj22487
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Picked this up locally last night, 2019 re-issue
Love the look of the clear cassette with the bright red tape
So satisfying uncensored out of a Fisher-Price XD

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Here are most of the other ones I've picked up locally in the last year or so, several of them are released/reissued in the last few years.
A few like the Third Eye Blind, Stone Temple Pilots and Bush I picked up for 30 cents each!

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Has anyone else seen Cassette Tapes starting to pop back up? Some people are into them as a cheaper alternative to vinyl.
What's old is new again!

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I have 3 shoeboxes full of old school hip hop tapes. Just careful as unlike vinyl, tape WILL degrade to an unplayable state. The binders in the tape will degrade and will lead to sticky shed where the tape physically starts to stick to the heads and breaks up, leaving fragments on the heads.

To combat this issue in the professional realm with regards to master tapes of albums, they bake the tape (exactly what it sounds like) to reset the binders and get a few attempts to get as high quality of a digital transfer as possible before putting it away.

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1 hour ago, a3quit4s said:

I get the vinyl music comeback because of the audio quality I guess, but weren't cassettes the worst media to have? The sound wasn't that great?

You would be correct. It’s kinda funny because the CD is capable of better quality, but the desire to maximize loudness at the expense  kinda ruins that.
 

Vinyl has a physical limitation where if you tried to achieve that level of loudness, the cutting lathe would jump the grooves when making the master. That built in hedge against the loudness war is what leads to the better quality. Vinyl as a medium seems to impart a sound that people, myself included, seem to enjoy. But it does have drawbacks.

 

Also, the angle of the groove matters for quality. The outside grooves are a more gradual angle than the inner grooves. The stylus makes a better contact with the groove towards the outside of the record and as a result sounds better. This is why records during the vinyl era tended to have the singles as the first track of each side.

 

Cassettes on the other hand were just a compromise all around. Low track width coupled with slow record/playback rate (1 7/8 ips vs a minimum of 7.5 ips for professional open reel formats, more commonly 15 or 30 ips) lead to poor audio quality. Again, it does impart a sound on the audio that some people may enjoy. But you are actually better off with mp3 than cassettes, and mp3 is not a quality format.

Edited by MachineCode
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The cassette comeback happened because of Guardians of the Galaxy. It has caught back on because new albums are generally only priced around $8-15. The same type of people who enjoy vinyl are not concerned about fast forward/rewind or skipping through an album. There is a group of people who see art in playing through the album start to finish in the order in the sequence the tracks were set up to be intended. When I started picking them up again I wasn't expecting great sound quality, I mainly just wanted to make the childhood Fisher-Price player I dug out of my Dad's closet play music you'd never expect it to. But I'm actually surprised that they sound better than i expected, they don't sound too bad at all, particularly the more recent releases seem pretty quality. There is a certain aesthetic to it. I just like to occasionally pop one in if I'm cleaning around the house or in the hot tub for a few minutes or something like that. Certainly wouldn't pick it as your #1 format. Also probably not a good idea to leave any type of physical music format in the car really 😛

Also, from a collector standpoint, a lot of these are much rarer on cassette than they are on vinyl or CD. Just look up a few of the ones I posted in my pictures above on eBay. Like the Third Eye Blind one? They're scarce. Nintendo soundtracks like the one MegaMan52 posted? Way less common than the CDs.

Also, the ones that are getting released these days are just really cool looking. They don't have the "trashy" stigma that they did in the 90s anymore.
Funny enough, my first car was a 2000 Jeep Cherokee (that I got in 2004) and it only had a stock cassette player which I thought was crazy for that recent of a car.
Used to have to use one of those cassette-to-CD adapters as a teen


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Edited by trj22487
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Ok now you are having your cake and eating it too. 🤪

You feel albums are made to play as a whole?  So you never stop them midway through?  Like you already made it where you are going but need to sit in the car another 15 mins cause the album isn’t done?   Cause if you do then I guess you need to fast forward or rewind the tape so it can be at the correct starting point.  You can’t just pop them in as background while you clean the blinds, Jimmy Page will be mad you aren’t listening to it as he intended!😤

One of the best parts about vinyl is the fact you can find the groove and drop the needle right on the track you want.  Also albums are bisected in a way to allow unique listening experiences.  Play the A side if you used want the hits.  Play the B side if you want the heavier, more experimental stuff.  No need to fast forward or rewind.💪

Also my car still had a tape deck in early 2000s as well, so yeah that is why my tapes were in the car.  So what you had to carry a box of tapes back and forth constantly?  Nobody got time for that.  🤪

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Wow, about the whole come back thing, until recently I've been in the dark about it all, then see topics on here about vinyl and now cassettes. No way for me, certainly not to the hassle of tapes, all that fast forwarding and rewinding just to find a spot you want to hear or in the case of movies to watch, so time consuming, good for the time because that's all there was, but then CDs came along, and now, internet, downloading, though even that comes with the price of sometimes not working as it should or internet going out and those are times that I wish, damn I wish I still had my movies I had on CD. I didn't own any music until CDs and even then only had about a dozen of them, youtube opened me up to more variety, before that it was mostly just game music, turn game on, enter sound test, listen to music or play game, listen to music while playing, hum tunes whenever. My best option for playing music has always been off of my own memory, tunes pops up in head, hum or sing it, entertainment until I get tired of it.

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12 minutes ago, fox said:

Also my car still had a tape deck in early 2000s as well, so yeah that is why my tapes were in the car.  So what you had to carry a box of tapes back and forth constantly? 

I think he’s saying if you leave your tapes in the car, somebody will break in and steal them. I know I’ve had two car stereos stolen. Even one with the removable face, I took it off but just kept it under the seat for convenience, still got broke in and stolen. 😡😡😡

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Most local shows I go to have cassettes as the primary option for merch. I had a lot of fun going on long bike rides with my Walkman but throw those old shitty headphones that came stock with the unit.

I actually came across a bunch of NOS Mini Discs recently. Thats one outdated format I never got the chance to own.

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Yes I've witnessed popularity of cassettes has crossed over to younger people without memory of the format. Guardians of the Galaxy maybe not the sole reason, also 13 Reasons Why come to mind, but they're the big examples. Cd's might be regarded more for the digital contents, and being cheaper to make maybe changed its status to disposable. I couldn't afford any with good skip protection back when, but got to hear 16/24 bit revolution with a mini-disc later on.

I have been expecting to see a walk-man w/ blue-tooth receiver for headphones on the subway for a minute now, but have not.

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Edited by KrystalsOfZongWater
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On 11/24/2019 at 5:48 AM, Estil said:

Yeah back in the 90s and especially 80s only the high end cars like Caddys or Lincolns or something had CD players.  At least by default.

My 94 Vette had a factory Bose cd player.

What the hell is wrong with people. Cassettes are a terrible format. I had tapes as a young kid, by middle school I had saved up and bought a Sony discman. When they were still big and square. Side note the first cd I bought with the discman was a longbox copy of Metallica black album.

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5 hours ago, themisfit138 said:

My 94 Vette had a factory Bose cd player.

What the hell is wrong with people. Cassettes are a terrible format. I had tapes as a young kid, by middle school I had saved up and bought a Sony discman. When they were still big and square. Side note the first cd I bought with the discman was a longbox copy of Metallica black album.

The key word here is "Vette".

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I love music, grew up on cassettes but was happy to move on to CDs/digital. I've been picking them up more lately since my car has a tape player / having CD player issues and see them at the thrift all the time. 

I have an obsession with finding new music by just buying stuff that looks good that I've never heard before. Current success was Stevie wonders album In Square Circle. I mean everyone knows "part time lover" but this album just slaps till the end. After listening in the car for a couple weeks I can't get it out of my head and bought the record. Seriously every song is just a banger, even the ballads. I spent the other morning looking up the wiki and wanted to know what synth was used because it just has this friggin awesome sound (Yamaha cs 80: famous for blade runner soundtrack, 80s Dr who theme) 

Long story short, listen to Stevie wonders' album in square circle.

 

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Cassettes won't last IMO. They are inferior to both vinyl and CDs. I never bought cassettes despite them being popular when I was younger. I never got into vinyls - too inconvenient to me. Over the years I amassed a big CD collection though I purged it a good amount a few years ago. But I am hanging on to my favorites and maybe even start building the collection back up. CDs are super easy to get and cheap right now. So we'll see who's laughing when CDs become collector's items...

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  • 1 month later...

Here’s a 2 year old article that I just read about CDs declining while vinyl has growing popularity.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/the-end-of-owning-music-how-cds-and-downloads-died-628660/

 

Looking back over this thread, it’s funny. Almost exactly a year prior on NA (I remember because I was in the airport on my way to Thanksgiving) there was a thread asking about collecting VHS. I doubted there could be very many people interested in that. I was told quite strongly by multiple people that I was severely wrong and that there was quite a burgeoning scene around it. I even got a PM asking how it feels to be so wrong. I can’t help wondering where are all those tapeheads now??

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