Here, let me help by providing an UNbroken link:
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I remember when they were called "Compact Cassettes". They were
actually contemporary competitors with 8-tracks in the '70s.
But 8-tracks were so awful that the Compact Cassette became
On 2/10/2011 12:34 PM, Tegger wrote:
:cassettes". They were
As i remember, the early cassettes fidelity was not good and they were
more expensive. The 8track was not a terrible medium, but its endless
loop format caused reliability issues and the splice failing at the
metal foil end would put one out of commission. and issues with the
sliding tape heads alignment could cause crosstalk issues.
In the early 70's, 8tracks still ruled. There were even the bastard 4
channel quad 8track units for a short time for those who wanted the
short lived quadraphonic era. As i recall, my stereo in my 68 cuda
was a Craig S280 under-dash 8T pullout unit with dual 12" speakers in
the flip door under the rear glass. It was a hot setup for the time.
I think in those days you could have got a quad 8track in a Lincoln or
such and listened to Pink Floyd in quad if you had the bucks.
Cassettes eventually got better and cheaper and the rest is history.
eventually, CD's will go the same route.
An 8-Track would have been boss in my 67 Barracuda Coupe - as would be a
working radio. No matter, I enjoyed driving it anyway.
In this age of random access music, the young people probably wouldn't
be able to comprehend how music was laid out on an 8-track nor
appreciate how little space CD take up.
An 8-Track player came with the stereo system in my parent's house which
was purchased through the Columbia Record Club. Oddly enough, the only 2
tapes we had were Laura Nero and Andy Williams. They came with the
player and my guess is that the system was mostly a way to encourage
people to buy more records and 8-Track tapes from the club. As far as I
know, we never did buy any 8-Track tapes. I had some fun pushing the
buttons on the machine and marveling at how you could change music so
fast. A CD or MP3 player could probably be set up to act exactly like an
8-Track player although that would probably be a little nuts.
i remember being a kid of modest means, i rarely went out and bought
new tapes. I remember shopping discount records stores having tapes
by alpine and such. Tapes like "sounds like credence CWR"
no wonder they were cheap...
I eventually got a Akai 8track recorder and made most of my own
from albums. I guess i was ripping music before it became popular
to do so.
my cuda was a 68 fastback. That fold-down backseat got a workout in
those days. Getting the butt cheek marks off the inside of the huge
rear window was problematic at times ;)
Those Barracuda fastback were the first hatchbacks, it seems. My coupe
didn't have the folding backseat. I guess there would have been no point
in that because the angle of the glass made it tougher to get a decent
cheek print. The 70s pretty much spelled the end of any chance of
getting a decent "double bubble" but the golden age of butt cheek
printing will always be fondly remembered.
CD and DVD aren't far behind. I'm not a big music guy, but all my MP3s
are on a 16GB thumb drive I plug into my trucks USB port. The nav/radio
has a hard drive and supports a jukebox function there, but I find no
reason to use it, the thumb drive is more convenient. DVD support on the
nav/radio is nice, but I think before long we will just be using MPEG4s
on the same thumb drives. An auto environment isn't real good for
optical media anyway, too difficult to avoid scratchs, smudges and dust.
Not to mention putting small precision machinery in an environment of
high vibration and wide temperature excursions. At this time I'm
reluctantly concluding that what was once a fairly high end Pioneer CD
receiver in my car has reduced to a nice AM/FM radio with a long
skinny ventilation aperture in front. There are things that just get
better as it becomes feasible and affordable to make them more and
more completely solid state.
I've still got the odd box of cassettes here and there, but haven't
played one in years and wouldn't swear that any of them have
survived. In fact, the only cassette I've seen in a while (weeks?
months?) was a smashed one at the recycling bins. It reminded me
of the days when you'd see disembowelled cassettes (and 8-track
cartridges) by the side of the road all the time because people tired
of putting up with a defective one would grab it by the tape and sling
it out the car window.
Cassette made a lot of sense in its day, especially inasmuch as it was
the first cheap, user-friendly, and technically decent *recording*
technology (dubbing vinyl records onto cassettes for use in the car
was among the common applications), but its day was a couple of
technological generations ago.
What would happen... the player would grab the tape and refuse to let go.
When you ejected the cassette, the tape would remain wound around the
mechanism and you'd end up pulling several yards of tape out of the
cassette in your efforts at disengaging the cassette from the player (while
driving, yet; no laws against that...). The disembowelled cassette ended up
getting tossed out the window in frustration, the tape festooning the
roadside, and blowing in the wind.
8-tracks just never caught on this side of the pond, though it's well
know that after the lubrication had worn off of the tape, if you didn't
get it out of the machine fast then you were in for a long bout of
unwinding tape from the capstan.
8-track tape is not bad as long as you have decent equipment and
media. Although the format certainly has its limitations, the real
problem was the low-quality merchandise that flooded the market.
For detailed info on the wonders of 8-track tape, visit 8-track
I have 8-track players in all my cars and use them on a daily basis.
Most of the carts, now 30+ years old, need only pressure pad and
splice replacement to continue playing properly if they need anything
at all. The players typically require occasional cleaning, lubrication,
and belt replacement. (Also I have cassette adapters so I can also
play compact cassettes in the players.)
Roger Blake (Change "invalid" to "com" for email. Google Groups killfiled.)
What is the longest tape practical in an 8-track? What is the tape
speed? My guess is that they had the potential for a better sound than
the cassette mainly because the tape was probably faster than a
8-tracks ran at 3 3/4 inches a minute, double that of compact cassette,
however they had 8 (hence the name) tracks on 1/4 inch tape, whereas
compact cassette tape was half as wide but with only two tracks if mono
or four tracks if stereo. Whilst it might seem that the 8-track could
be superior, cassette had the big advantage of Dolby from early on.
What's more, cassette didn't need lubricated tape, the 8-track did.
Thanks for the info. OTOH, 8 tracks on a tape twice as wide as one with
4 tracks would seem to be equal. Are you saying that the tapes had to be
lubricated because the feed was from the center of reel? I guess that
makes sense. I can't say that I understand how you can add tape to the
outside of a spool and take it out from the center without having the
whole thing continuously growing unless you somehow have the entire roll
of tape sliding throughout the entire reel. It's kind of non-intuitive.
You've got it about right, because of the relative speed of each coil of
tape to the one either side meant that it had to be lubricated to work
properly, and the extended playing times were normally achieved with
using the tape in a mobius loop format, which while doubling playing
time, had serious consequences for cross-talk.
No they did NOT have DOLBY from early on.
the first cassettes had no Dolby B, no CRo2 tape,
and inferior tape heads. they were basically made
for dictation and such, not HiFi. early units were mono only.
Eventually, they evolved where the 8T did not. When things
like Dolby B and CRo2 tape first came out, they were on high
end very expensive machines. eventually, things like DBX, and
Dolby pro were added to the mix.
A bastardized version of the 8t existed for years after the
death of the 8t in the NAB cart they used in the broadcast industry.
These carts had a big hole where a external pinch roller was inserted
into the cartridge, vs the 8T's internal smaller pinch roller
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