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How About Creating a Modern Cassette Player?

I guess I'm just a very easy person to please...I like all of my classical stuff for the most part, tapes, LPs or whatever....

The only CD mastering I ever really hated was "Born in the USA," the original Columbia CD sounded very harsh and brittle to me.
 
"Prerecorded tape sounded horrible back when the format still was in demand. The only tapes the sounded good where your own recordings ."

This is really not true. Many of the classical cassettes that I went off to college with in 1977 still sound very good. The Advent CR70 tapes from the mid 70s are excellent, rivaling the later Nakamichi Reference Recordings of the 80s. Cassette sound got steadily better through the 80s with more widespread use of CrO2 tape and HX Pro recordings. At the end of the "cassette era" there were titles on very high quality Type II tape with Dolby S. Yes, the mass market Rock & Country early tapes in the 60s and 70s were so-so, usually in sealed rather than screwed shells and using inferior ferric tape, but there were many exceptions.
Must been a bigger market in the US all i'll ever found sounded quite bad.
 
I guess I'm just a very easy person to please...I like all of my classical stuff for the most part, tapes, LPs or whatever....

The only CD mastering I ever really hated was "Born in the USA," the original Columbia CD sounded very harsh and brittle to me.
I was a recording engineer for about a decade in the 1990s, exclusively recording classical repertoire. It wasn't until very recently that I was satisfied with the sound of my playback gear, which now is only from digital sources. There's a clarity and focus I'm experiencing that I wasn't experiencing previously. And even with that there are recordings that have sonic issues that bother me. Yesterday I was listening to the remastered Mahler 2nd of Leonard Bernstein/NYPO for Columbia from 1963. There was a harsh quality to the peaks, especially with the strings. Also, a 1991 recording of Vladimir Ashkenazy playing Beethoven's op. 101 piano sonata in A, out of focus and a touch echoey in spite of being a Decca production. So, I guess I'm not as easy a person to please.
 
Yeah, those tapes I bought back when were always full of surface noise, pops, crackles, and inner groove distortion brand new out of the case. Oh wait, no they weren't... ;)

Stop bashing vinyl! :-D

Seriously - compact cassettes weren't horrible because we lacked for other choices. I loved the cassette format - it was our only way of truly putting playlists together. But that was then. There was hiss, there was the fact that if you had to create a meaningful 90min cassette it'd take you over 2 hours to record it. There was the audibly diminshed (yet at the time still acceptable, if you knew how to record them and adjust levels, which most didn't) sound quality because of hiss and the 5 different types of noise reduction and cassette materials [1] would produce inconsistent results.

No one can ever accuse me of not having loved the compact cassette format in the past (I had a TEAC 8030S for many years back then the biggest investment I had done in audio equipment), but no, never again. Might as well claim a Ford T is still the best commuting car in the world.

[1] I know it was a long time ago, but I am amazed today's cassette promoters seem to know nothing about calibrating and such. It had a MONUMENTAL impact on cassette audio quality, and results without it ranged from underwhelming to vomit inducing. :-D
 
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Yeah, those tapes I bought back when were always full of surface noise, pops, crackles, and inner groove distortion brand new out of the case. Oh wait, no they weren't... ;)
What they did have was plenty of wow and flutter, overload on peak passages and rolled off high frequencies, along with all that hiss. Of course, if the cassette was used to dub an LP you would get all the problems you cited along with somewhat improved frequency response and distortion.
 
I had all the fun taping friends LP’s :) child memories, but I dont think the nostalgia would last very long if I’ve got a tape deck now.

had an Alpine , yes actually they did not only make car stereos. Dad brought it in to his work and had it tuned by their workshop ( SR, Swedish Radio )
 
I had all the fun taping friends LP’s :) child memories, but I dont think the nostalgia would last very long if I’ve got a tape deck now.

had an Alpine , yes actually they did not only make car stereos. Dad brought it in to his work and had it tuned by their workshop ( SR, Swedish Radio )
One of the virtues of LPs dubbed to cassette is how clicks and pops were reduced in volume and impact. Very helpful with 78 rpm transfers.
 
I had all the fun taping friends LP’s :) child memories, but I dont think the nostalgia would last very long if I’ve got a tape deck now.

had an Alpine , yes actually they did not only make car stereos. Dad brought it in to his work and had it tuned by their workshop ( SR, Swedish Radio )
Alpine owned Luxman for several years. No brand stigma there.

I seem to recall the fight for top honors with cassette players-recorders was among Nakamichi. Teac. Sony. Pioneer. Kenwood. Tandberg was there earlier. Dual capstan and callibration would have been search words...
 
Alpine owned Luxman for several years. No brand stigma there.

I seem to recall the fight for top honors with cassette players-recorders was among Nakamichi. Teac. Sony. Pioneer. Kenwood. Tandberg was there earlier. Dual capstan and callibration would have been search words...
Yamaha made a dual capstan, three-headed unit I owned, had easily adjustable bias. Metal tape could be recorded at very "hot" levels without overload. Made the best sounding cassettes of the eight or so cassette decks I had at the time.
 
What they did have was plenty of wow and flutter, overload on peak passages and rolled off high frequencies, along with all that hiss. Of course, if the cassette was used to dub an LP you would get all the problems you cited along with somewhat improved frequency response and distortion.
Compared to FM radio they were awesome.

Rick "the usual alternative back in the day, when ripping off someone else's recording" Denney
 
Compared to FM radio they were awesome.

Rick "the usual alternative back in the day, when ripping off someone else's recording" Denney
Was I the only one sitting there during popular FM shows to record songs onto cassette? it was a fun ritual that required some skill on top.

wow so long ago. was I ever that young... :)
 
Was I the only one sitting there during popular FM shows to record songs onto cassette? it was a fun ritual that required some skill on top.

wow so long ago. was I ever that young... :)
That was the start of my music library too...
 
The titular question -- "how about creating a modern cassette player?" brings to mind the last two panels of a now quite vintage Calvin & Hobbes comic strip involving a Ouija Board:

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:cool:

The whole comic, FWIW:
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Probably more expensive, considering both inflation and smaller runs of the product.
What's really needed is something simple, inexpensive and designed for transfer to digital media. A playback only device would make sense - design something to transfer tapes before they fall apart. Dolby B only. Dual capstan would sound better, but the limiting factor will be the tapes themselves. As pointed out elsewhere, there was a lot of expense in the r & d for cassette decks, the kind of thing corporate monoliths could afford in the 20th century, but not little companies in the 21st century.
The # 1 problem is that Dolby doesn't sell their noise reduction system for manufacturer's to use anymore. They stopped at Dolby S, which was actually quite good (IMHO).
 
The # 1 problem is that Dolby doesn't sell their noise reduction system for manufacturer's to use anymore. They stopped at Dolby S, which was actually quite good (IMHO).
A pity, but if one wanted to play back commercial tapes, Dolby B was usually the only option.
 
A pity, but if one wanted to play back commercial tapes, Dolby B was usually the only option.
Most of my friends were using Dolby C for their mix tapes and radio show recordings.
I do not know anyone that bought more than 2 or 3 commercial tapes.
They bought the albums & then recorded those to use as their tapes in the garage or backyard (or the occasional mixed tape for their love "significant other" that they would enjoy on a date in the car at lover's lane (or in my crowds use case, in the boat while water skiing).

As a result of the extra signal processing, Dolby C-type recordings will sound distorted when played back on equipment that does not have the required Dolby C decoding circuitry.
Some of this harshness can be mitigated by using Dolby B on playback, which serves to reduce the strength of the high frequencies.

Dolby C first appeared on higher-end cassette decks in the 1980s. The first commercially available cassette deck with Dolby C was the NAD 6150C, which came onto the market around 1981. Dolby C was also used on professional video equipment for the audio tracks of the Betacam and Umatic SP videocassette formats. In Japan, the first cassette deck with Dolby C was the AD-FF5 from Aiwa. Cassette decks with Dolby C also included Dolby B for backward compatibility, and were usually labeled as having "Dolby B-C NR".

Dolby HX/HX-Pro[edit]​

Further information: Adaptive biasing
The Dolby HX circuitry driven by the industry-standard NEC uPC1297 integrated circuit. It modulates the incoming bias current and injects it into the two channels of the stereo recording head via two ferrite transformers.
Magnetic tape is inherently non-linear in nature due to hysteresis of the magnetic material. If an analog signal were recorded directly onto magnetic tape, its reproduction would be extremely distorted due to this non-linearity. To overcome this, a high-frequency signal, known as bias, is mixed in with the recorded signal, which "pushes" the envelope of the signal into the linear region. If the audio signal contains strong high-frequency content (in particular from percussion instruments such as hi-hat cymbals), this adds to the constant bias causing magnetic saturation on the tape. Dynamic, or adaptive, biasing automatically reduces the bias signal in the presence of strong high-frequency signals, making it possible to record at a higher signal level.

The original Dolby HX, where HX stands for Headroom eXtension, was invented in 1979 by Kenneth Gundry of Dolby Laboratories, and was rejected by the industry for its inherent flaws. Bang & Olufsen continued work in the same direction, which resulted in a 1981 patent (EP 0046410) by Jørgen Selmer Jensen.[22] Bang & Olufsen immediately licensed HX-Pro to Dolby Laboratories, stipulating a priority period of several years for use in consumer products, to protect their own Beocord 9000 cassette tape deck.[23][24] By the middle of the 1980s the Bang & Olufsen system, marketed through Dolby Laboratories, became an industry standard under the name of Dolby HX Pro.

HX-Pro only applies during the recording process. The improved signal-to-noise ratio is available no matter which tape deck the tape is played back on, and therefore HX-Pro is not a noise-reduction system in the same way as Dolby A, B, C, and S, although it does help to improve noise reduction encode/decode tracking accuracy by reducing tape non-linearity. Some record companies issued HX-Pro pre-recorded cassette tapes during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
 
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Most of my friends were using Dolby C for their mic tapes and radio show recordings.
I do not know anyone that bought more than 2 or 3 commercial tapes.
They bought the albums & then recorded those to use as their tapes in the garage or backyard (or the occasional mixed tape for their love "significant other" that they would enjoy on a date in the car at lover's lane (or in my crowds use case, in the boat while water skiing).
I remember very well asking so very politely if I could make a tape recording or have a owner make me a recording and usually they said yes but I had to supply a proper blank tape of their choosing. It was so awesome the goodwill at the time for recordings from buddies. Then I went on to service the gear and loved working on high cassette machines.
 
I remember very well asking so very politely if I could make a tape recording or have a owner make me a recording and usually they said yes but I had to supply a proper blank tape of their choosing. It was so awesome the goodwill at the time for recordings from buddies. Then I went on to service the gear and loved working on high cassette machines.
& then a lover would lovingly make a mix tape of their favorite songs for the 2 of you to enjoy next to the fireplace or in the car at lover's lane.
 
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