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How About Creating a Modern Cassette Player?

Robin L

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It's been done, quite a while ago, and none too successfully.
Doesn't mean it couldn't be revisited, but, in case you weren't aware of the DCC format, this may be a good time to mention it. ;)
View attachment 348134
source: https://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/flipbook/1995_radioshack_catalog.html

EDIT: Here's the R/S catalog blurb from the year it debuted (1994 -- missed it by one year! :facepalm:)
View attachment 348135
source: https://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/flipbook/1994_radioshack_catalog.html
Or, even worse, we could go back to the bad old days of DAT:

567388-66825a27-sony_tcdd8_portable_dat_recorderplayer.jpg
 

Chrispy

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I didn't think vinyl would enjoy the renaissance it did, and cassette folk I just view as a bit younger :)
 

Chrispy

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... and that's why I hang on to one eight-track deck. ;)



:facepalm:
My first "system" was a combo 8-track and record player Panasonic system when I was 12. The 8 track player thing in the multi-unit got a bit weird but I also had an early 8 track system in my car when I could drive to high school....but someone ripped it off and all my tapes and that was the end of the 8 track experience :)

ps but those echoing tracks on a player were something special :) LOL
 

JaMaSt

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pretend it's doing something; keep the spinning spindles and maybe a small loop of black plastic so every now and then you can pretend to clear a jam.
Yeah, that made me laugh and shudder at the same time. PTSD (Post Tape Stress Disorder) :)
 

dlaloum

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There is the hipsters / trendy market, where for the most part quality is non-critical as long as basic minimal performance is achieved (Dolby B, decent mechanicals and alignment)...

Getting decent heads for high quality performance is clearly going to be a problem.

The other marketplace would be archival - for those who have stuff recorded on cassette, and which was never digitised or otherwise converted ....
That marketplace would need a high quality drive system with good alignment (or ideally even a Nak style auto alignment... some of this kind of magic, is easier to set up in todays electronics, but the mechanical complexity...) - it would definitely require DolbyB&C (nice to haves would be Dolby S and DBX).
If it is going to be recording capable - and I'm not sure there is much demand for that! - then it would absolutely need auto calibration to tape - there is even more variability now than there was 40 years ago... without auto calibration, nothing decent can be achieved consistently - and of course if recording is to be a feature, then 3 heads are needed.
Auto-Reverse would be unnecessary.

Outputs - well, it doesn't need to be portable, we have various devices for that, so it basically needs to be able to feed into (and out of) todays audio ecosystem - that means RCA Line level I/O but also digital... I am tempted to say AES/SPDIF/Toslink, but the market is now very heavily HDMI.
Bluetooth etc... what for? it isn't a portable unit, and in the home or studio, it will be connected to preamps / AVR's which will handle distribution to amps/speakers/headphones/bluetooth.

Like Restorer-John mentioned earlier, with current motors, you could build a mechanism like a modern Revox B215 .... all direct drive, no belts, electronic control... that should ensure excellent W&F....
 

Prana Ferox

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Most of the appeal of tape to me was being able to easily (and affordably) swap mixes with friends. That worked in a somewhat brief time window where everyone had some variant of cassette Walkman or boombox. That was expensive to do with burned CDs for a while, sort of clunky in the iPod / SD card era and seems to have effectively died out entirely; sharing a YouTube / Spotify playlist has none of the romance.

The only reason I keep tape decks around is the vain idea that I'm eventually going to digitize my old live recordings, and I'm not sure I'll ever get around to it.
 

radix

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sharing a YouTube / Spotify playlist has none of the romance.

I think part of what made albums and tapes exciting is all you have are titles. There's no user ratings or download counts or sounds-like links. It's like walking down a new trail for the first time. And skipping around is hard (well, not too hard on albums and some decks did have silence detection for a smarter FF).

But I don't really have time like that anymore. I have to update firmware, patch OS, manage 5 music services and 4 video services, respond to email, filter junk mail, avoid phishing, type 6 digit codes, find my MFA apps, deal with bill pay, and yell at Alexa a few times. It's a good thing technology saves me so much time so I can get it all done.
 

Mikig

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It's been done, quite a while ago, and none too successfully.
Doesn't mean it couldn't be revisited, but, in case you weren't aware of the DCC format, this may be a good time to mention it. ;)
View attachment 348134
source: https://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/flipbook/1995_radioshack_catalog.html

EDIT: Here's the R/S catalog blurb from the year it debuted (1994 -- missed it by one year! :facepalm:)
View attachment 348135
source: https://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/flipbook/1994_radioshack_catalog.html
but of course Dcc and Dat, the Dat in particular was much appreciated by musicians, for recording test sessions.
But in fact in my speech, I try to fantasize about the cassette, but I would say that everything has already been said about that format...
 

DanielT

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For cassette players, I have no warm nostalgic feelings there at all. It was just a damn trick to record songs via the FM radio. Where I sat trying to hit rec and stop so the radio DJs chatter wouldn't get on the recording. What a liberation it was when, as a teenager, I had a summer job and could use that money to buy a record player (plus a better amplifier and new speakers). This liberation despite the fact that I then could not afford to buy so many vinyl records, but still. However, the ones I bought were really appreciated and I listened to them a lot.:D

Edit:
Cassette tape bought at the gas station, it was my dad's thing. I have fond memories of several of those songs.But that doesn't mean I would install a car stereo with a cassette player in my car now. However, old sound technology in my car is still the FM radio.:)

Here a mixed tape cassette that the petrol station by the name: OK (now called OKQ8) sold:
(in small text at the bottom of the cassette case it says: Not original versions)
283915595_78de5dae-5857-4fd4-8c2a-761fab71a095.jpg
 
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mhardy6647

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but of course Dcc and Dat, the Dat in particular was much appreciated by musicians, for recording test sessions.
But in fact in my speech, I try to fantasize about the cassette, but I would say that everything has already been said about that format...
I don't miss 'em. :oops:
Philips developed the Compact Cassette in the early 1960s primarily for recording speech (dictation, "talking letters" and whatnot) -- the format was gradually stetched (and, it could be argued, violated, in terms of adherence to the standards*) to permit a very small tape running at very low speed to accommodate four tracks of relatively high-fidelity (in the sense of broadband) audio. It was a kludge, and ;) deserves to die.
Nakamichi, Tandberg (and a few others) notwithstanding. ;)
Like building turbocharged racing Ladas. (and I am sure some folks did so :facepalm:)

_________________
* Heck, there were even double-speed (3-3/4 ips) and half speed (15/16 ips)-compatible decks -- they would sound kind of funny played at the standard's 1-7/8 ips. ;)
 

Mikig

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I don't miss 'em. :oops:
Philips developed the Compact Cassette in the early 1960s primarily for recording speech (dictation, "talking letters" and whatnot) -- the format was gradually stetched (and, it could be argued, violated, in terms of adherence to the standards*) to permit a very small tape running at very low speed to accommodate four tracks of relatively high-fidelity (in the sense of broadband) audio. It was a kludge, and ;) deserves to die.
Nakamichi, Tandberg (and a few others) notwithstanding. ;)
Like building turbocharged racing Ladas. (and I am sure some folks did so :facepalm:)

_________________
* Heck, there were even double-speed (3-3/4 ips) and half speed (15/16 ips)-compatible decks -- they would sound kind of funny played at the standard's 1-7/8 ips. ;)
I don't miss them either.
I still have three “cassette players” and installed one in the system some time ago. What can I say, it lasted 14 minutes…
.I think it was the shortest experiment of the last 10 years….
they went back on the shelf….
 

Count Arthur

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I had a nice cassette deck; I'm pretty sure it was one of these:

1707402202364.png



While I was away studying, and working, all my Hi-Fi stuff went into storage. Some years later, when I took everything out of storage, the cassette deck would power up, but wouldn't play cassettes. In a fit of pique, I threw it, along with all my cassettes, into the bin.

It probably only needed some new belts for the mechanism, but, as I said in a previous post, cassette no longer made much sense in an era of CD-R and MP3.
 

mhardy6647

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I have had quite a few halfway decent ones with belts that turned to goo -- and I hate working on cassette decks!
There is always at least one spring or clip that ejects itself during disassembly* with enough vigor as to either achieve escape velocity or to acquire enough energy to form and disappear into its own black hole.
Always. :cool:

1707403201815.jpeg

__________________
* not so rapid, scheduled disassembly, at that! ;)
 

AdrianusG

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I had a nice cassette deck; I'm pretty sure it was one of these:

View attachment 348270


While I was away studying, and working, all my Hi-Fi stuff went into storage. Some years later, when I took everything out of storage, the cassette deck would power up, but wouldn't play cassettes. In a fit of pique, I threw it, along with all my cassettes, into the bin.

It probably only needed some new belts for the mechanism, but, as I said in a previous post, cassette no longer made much sense in an era of CD-R and MP3.
Looks nice, too bad you threw it away,
i made the same mistake with a Sony DAT recorder some 15-16 years ago, still regret my stupidity, it was probably fixable for less than 220 Euro's or so :confused:

the "throwing away"was probably inspired by the fact i already had a Minidisc recorder, also Sony, luckily that one i still have and still works great.
 

Count Arthur

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There is always at least one spring or clip that ejects itself during disassembly* with enough vigor as to either achieve escape velocity or to acquire enough energy to form and disappear into its own black hole
Kind of like quantum chuck keys*.

1707403741936.png


* Chuck keys can slip into parallel dimensions, but are recalled to our dimension, by buying a new chuck key. :)
 
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mhardy6647

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Kind of like quantum chuck keys*.

View attachment 348277

* Chuck keys can slip into parallel dimensions, but are recalled to our dimension, by buying an new chuck key. :)
^^^ this is hysterical, and oh-so-true. :)

Chuck keys were always, always affixed to the drill's cord with a heapin' helpin o' electrical tape at our house when I was growin' up. :cool:
 

MaxwellsEq

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I hate working on cassette decks!
There is always at least one spring or clip that ejects itself during disassembly* with enough vigor as to either achieve escape velocity or to acquire enough energy to form and disappear into its own black hole
I have only bad memories of fixing cassette decks. At the time I also worked on massive professional 1/4", 1" and 2" reel-to-reels which made it very clear just how rubbish cassettes an their players were.

At that time I also saw my first digital record-to-HDD device and it was obvious that tape was doomed.
 

Gorgonzola

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For a few with old cassette tapes they wish to rip to digital, I can see a quality, modern cassette player being of some value. As an alternative device to contemporary digital device, it's worthless.
 
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