Special editions (part 2)
Before we get started, the following: when is something a special edition? After all, it is just how much 'value' you attach to something that is special in your eyes. What may be special to me may not be special to you at all.
Some media that I'm going to show here are in this case not always that special, but in my opinion they are definitely worth showing.
let's get to it!
We start the blog with a series of cassette tapes, in this case two tapes where the cover is particularly special.
We first look at Buddy Holly's tape. the inside is a fairly standard box with a not too special cassette tape, but the cardboard sleeve that runs partly along the inside and along the outside is something I've never seen before. In this case, Buddy Holly's short life itself is a tragic story worth telling, but why should I tell you when the cardboard cover can do it for me:
If the writing on the card is hard to read, here's the same text:
The third of February 1959 will always be remembered by Rock 'n' Roll fans as the blackest day in the history of their music. On that bleak early morning just after take-off from Clear Lake, Iowa, en-route for Fargo, North Dakota, a tragic air-crash took the lives of three of that music's most remarkable personalities: J.P. Richardson, better known as "The Big Bopper" of Chantilly Lace fame, 17 year old Mexican-American Richiee Valens whose double-sided million-seller Donna/La Bamba had carried him to enormous success, and Buddy Holly who, with his group the Crickets, had evolved a whole new style of rock. Holly was just 21 at the time, only really starting out on a promising career which, although it had already made him a star, would undoubtedly have gone to much greater heights and indeed did so posthumously, particulary in Britain. Thus, for an artist whose entire recording career was condensed into just a few short years, Buddy Holly is extremely well represented and this selection of 12 first-rate numbers is indicative of the development of his particular artistry with a couple of lesser-known but still admirable numbers mixed in with the so familiar strains of Rave On and Everyday. More than just another singer, Buddy Holly was a fine and distinctive guitarist and a songwriter who had his finger right on the pulse. What's more, as the passing years have proved, his recordings have a timeless quality about tem, sounding just as fresh today as when they were first issued. Roger ST. Pierre.
The tape itself is still in good condition, the content with the music of Buddy Holly (who was previously unknown to me) also sounds very good, it is precisely these types of copies that give me insight into artists and bands that I have hardly or never heard from before. It's in this way that I have broadened my taste in music over the years, like: 10cc, The Police, The Beatles, Bent Fabric and many others. Buddy Holly is the next which I can add to this list, purely by purchasing and listening to this interesting looking cassette.
I have to admit that the above does not apply to this tape, in this case it was purely about the special packaging and not about the artist shown here. I did look up 'Hetty Koes Endang' on the internet, it concerns a singer from Indonesia, who is very well known there (and perhaps also beyond). I have listened to the content but it was not my taste, I plan to reuse the tape and the interesting cover.
The cover design looks a lot like it's bigger brother, the video tape cassette. The packaging is pretty much the same though in a smaller size. In one of my previous blogs Record Fair in the Brabanthallen, this tape is also discussed, although I did not buy it at the fair but in a 'Vintage HiFi shop'.
The price was also very reasonable for me at € 2,50. The old price is also still on the box and even on the card. It is funny to see that the real original price has gone up by 1,500 Rupee, a sticker has been pasted over it with a different higher sales price. Sneaky bastards!
As for the tape, I have the idea to replace the contents completely and put a new reel of tape in it. After this I'll make my own recording and make a new card for the cover.
The following tape can also be called special, not because of the possible recording, but because of the type of tape.
After all, you have four different tape compositions:
- Type I 'Ferrous'
- Type II 'Chrome'
- Type III 'Ferro-Chrome'
- Type IV 'Metal'
The first two types are common, type III and IV are somewhat rarer, but it is especially type III that is exceptional, because it concerns a (in my view) failed composition, it should offer the best of type I and II together, but in contrast this turned out to be not the case, type IV can therefor also be seen as the worthy successor to this type.
The tape above is composed of this magnetic coating of Ferro and Chrome, but according to many enthousiasts of the medium, the Chrome layer would be scratched off after playing the tape a few times. Which would in theory leave you with a tape on which only the Ferro coating is still present. I myself have little experience with this and this tape is the only one I have of this type. I found this tape in a bag full of other tapes I wrote about in this blog.
The tape still sounds pretty good to my ears and I might even use it for my own recording in the future.
The original recording is not worth keeping, the card is otherwise in good condition, the photo does not show the card in full detail because the gray colors are actually reflective silver, which gives it a nice finish.
While we're on the subject of different types of cassettes, here's three copies that can possibly be counted among the best cassettes ever made. They are three TDK tapes of type IV (metal). The cassettes themselves bear the name MA-R. the two bottom ones are of 60 minutes playing time, the top one is 90 minutes playing time, though the latter is not only different in that respect...
If you look closely you will see that the 90 minute tape above has a different kind of tape and reels than the original 60 minute tape below. I had to replace the tape because it was beyond salvage, I reported about this on the repair page of the Compact Cassette Chapter 6.
The cassette not only consists of 'metal' tape, but also a part of the housing is made of metal. This would make the cassette more stable and thus better suited for recording purposes.
By the way, if you turn the tape over, you get a better picture of the inside, which also shows the transport parts of the tape better. The housing actually differs little from the standard, despite it being made of metal.
Personally, I also think that the metal housing does not contribute much to a better listening experience, the composition of the tape still seems to me the most important in this. Still, the cassette looks very cool and with its weight it certainly feels a lot more sturdy.
The cards that come with the cassettes are still in good condition, there is also some information about the composition of the whole.
The cassettes themselves already contained recordings (which have since been erased) this also explains the sticky tape over the already broken tabs that should prevent overwriting.
If the previous tapes already looked interesting, than these can certainly be called an eye-catcher.
Don't be fooled by their beautiful appearance, they are certainly not original tapes, the reels are 'custom made' and only an addition, they certainly do not ensure a better functioning of the tape, on the contrary I call them 'heavy runners' because many cassette deck and Walkmans often have great difficulty playing them. It is purely the appearance of the tape that matters here. By the way, I bought the collection from a single seller on Ebay. Nevertheless, the seller is no longer available, because the tapes come from Russia and given the current circumstances you may understand why they are no longer available through him. Still, if you search carefully on Ebay, you will still come across these types of tapes, whether it concerns the same seller with an account in another country, or a completely new seller, I do not know.
For those who are interested in these types of tapes, here is a link with search results on Ebay itself.
I have already used the three tapes shown above for recordings and they sound quite reasonably, they are not of top quality, the tape often consists of standard Ferro tape and again, due to the addition of the reels you have a chance that they do not all run equally smoothly. Below is a collage of all the copies I own:
What is also important to mention, the playing time of the tapes is often different than what is said on the included cards, at least for the models I have here. For example, although the cards (which are newly printed) state that the tapes have a playing time of 90 minutes, in reality this often turns out to be less. This probably has to do with the size of the reels, the length of the tape is presumably adjusted to fit the size of the reels. In my case, most tapes have a total playing time of between 40 and 60 minutes, one even lasts for 37 minutes total!
For those who are interested in buying such tapes, keep in mind that variants are also sold that are not usable at all! Even in this collection there is one that I can't use because it is simply a too 'heavy runner'.Finally, it is worth mentioning that there are certainly original versions of this type of tape, as far as I know there are models from TEAC that are originally equipped with reels, with some models (and alternative brands) it is even possible to exchange reels. The Techmoan Youtube channel has an interesting video about this. See this link.
In addition to 'normal' cassettes, I also have an extensive collection of cassettes for testing and maintenance purposes.
Every cassette deck or Walkman needs light maintenance to keep them working as intended, because heads (and other parts) become contaminated with scrapes that can come off the cassettes, at the same time heads are magnetized a little bit with each use. For this purpose, special cassettes have been developed that should solve both problems, one does this better than the other. Let's go check them out.
The series of maintenance cassettes come in three different forms, cleaning, degaussing and finally listening tests. This cassette combines cleaning and demagnetization of the heads. The tape consists of a kind of felt that wipes the heads clean, the round part that you see through the window is a permanent magnet which rotates above the read and record head during use and should undo any magnetic formation on the head. On the card you can also find instructions on how to use the tape.
I also have a somewhat more extensive tape for demagnetizing the heads, this time in the form of an electromagnet. This cassette (and the previous one) comes into action when you have pressed the start button on your deck.
Here again a clear instruction in Dutch that tells you how to use the cassette, or rather what not to do with the cassette...
Translations of the instructions:
1. If your cassette player has a built-in radio, set the volume knob to zero. (If the device has an on/off button, turn it off.
2. Turn off cassette players that can spin even when turned off.
Cassette players that cannot do this, turn the cassette player on with the volume set to zero.
3. Be careful not to press the record button while degaussing.
4. Do not touch the demagnetizer head!!
5. Insert the degaussing cassette into your cassette player. Make sure that the front (with the red light) is facing you.
6. Press the play button, the red light will light up.
7. After one second, the heads are demagnetized. however, the red light stays on until you remove the cassette from the player.
8. The battery can be used about 500 times. If the battery is left in the cassette for a long time, it may discharge itself. If the red light no longer comes on, you need to change the battery
(1.5V dry cell, SR-44, IEC(S-76, RS-76, MS76).
9. Put the demagnetizer back in the box when you are not using it.
10. Do not clean the demagnetizer.
11. Do not store the demagnetizer near alcohol, gasoline, stereo equipment, amplifier, etc.
12. Do not expose the demagnetizer to sunlight and high temperatures.
13. Do not touch, look at, talk to, or breath near the demagnetizer, don't feed it past 10P.M. and store it in a safe so it can not harm you or anyone else if it tends to become self-aware.
Okay, that last line is not in the official instructions but you get the point, there's a lot of 'don't' to follow up on...
I have an almost similar cassette from the Tonar brand that electrically demagnetizes the heads. This also comes with a nice box that I broke by dropping it not long after getting it... Instead of a written instruction, the operation instructions are shown with illustrations.
Although this cassette worked last time, it seems that the battery is empty because during testing very little happens, the instruction says that after 300 uses the battery should be replaced and the old one should be disposed of in the trash can, of course this is not quite correct, batteries are known to discharge themselves slowly and nowadays we don't just throw them in the trash but we bring them to a specified drop-off point for chemical waste, at least that's what's mandatory in the Netherlands.
In addition to demagnetizing, you can also have your deck cleaned by a cassette like this one. This time I wrote the instructions myself. Officially, this cassette came as a complete set with replaceable wiper elements and a bottle of cleaning alcohol. Nevertheless, I bought this cassette separately, I can't remember where exactly...
Normally I always do the cleaning of the heads and other parts manually with cotton swabs and alcohol that I buy in large format at the drugstore. This not only saves a lot of money but is also more precise than having a cassette like this do the job. Nevertheless, I have a single 'hybrid' cassette deck where I can't get to the heads myself. The tape serves here as a worthy replacement to still be able to clean the heads. The relevant deck will be discussed shortly.
The self written instructions are stated as following:
. Moisturise the felt pads with 96% alcohol (the cleaning agent I use).
. Place the cassette in the device.
. Start the device with the 'Play' key.
. Check the heads after about a minute of cleaning.
. Repeat the steps above if the heads are not clean after this proces.
I also have a few cassettes with listening tests. This one has a fairly extensive range of tests that you can use to adjust the sound of the cassette deck and stereo system.
Contents when translated:
1: Intro 0.55
2: Test 1 Cleaning heads 0.14
3: Test 2 Dolby test 0.35
4: Test 3 Control function settings 0.35
5: Test 4 Check whine 1.05 *
6: Test 5 Left - right check 1.34
7: Test 6 Balance adjustment 0.12
8: Test 7 "Phase" check 0.29
9: Test 8 Mono test with music 1.34
10: Test 9 High and low frequency corrections 1.35
11: Test 10 Tone deviations 2.30
1: Test 11 Testing the frequency spectrum with low frequency music 2.54
2: Test 12 Mid section 2.23
3: Test 13 High section and stereo test with music 3.35
4: Test 14 Stereo width test (channel separation test with music) 2.30
5: Super stereo sound effects 2.40
6 Stereo music with a clear difference left - right effect 3.50
(orchestra Dick Bakker with Soft Melodies)
* test 4 states the word 'jengel' which is a sort of Dutch slang for speed deviations in the drive mechanism especially concerning media like a record player or tapedeck.
Google translate changes it to the word 'whine' which does not really describe the real meaning...
The cassette was recorded with Type II tape, but they forgot a small detail, the tabs... My self detecting decks will see the cassette as a Type I due to the missing of the Type II tabs.
In addition, I have a cassette with sample recordings in stereo, purely for demonstration, in this case there are some songs on the A side, the B side is left blank for your own recordings. The tape is probably from somewhere in the late 1970s.
It can sometimes be quite interesting to listen to the B-side of a cassette like this as they often contain recordings from perhaps the original owners, in this case I get to hear two songs, the first is 'Be My Boogie Woogie Baby' by Mr. Walkie talkie. The second track changes course and is a classic piece: 'Valse Triste' by Jean Sibelius. After this, the voice of a child suddenly sounds, reading elaborate stories from a Jip & Janneke book (Dutch children novels), every now and then you also hear the turning of a page. The reading is interrupted halfway through with another recording, there is silence for a moment with only noise in the background, then you suddenly hear a clock with heavy bells go off and a greeting sounds, it looks like someone is visiting someone else, just if they start talking to each other, the recording stops and I hear the stories of Jip and Janneke again. This continues until the tape is almost finished, after which noise is heard for a few minutes before the tape ends.
I probably don't tell it as interesting as it sounds, but to hear the voices of complete strangers, where the recording is probably almost half a century old, remains quite special for me. Would the people who can be heard on the recording ever dare to believe that their voice would be heard by a completely unknown after +/- 50 years. Let alone that he would mention this to be read by everyone?
besides the one cleaning cassette there is actually one other cassette that I use for serious purposes and that is this test tone cassette.
The cassette contains two recordings, side A contains a test tone at 3Khz and side B a tone at 3.15Khz. I use the recordings to adjust the speed of a cassette deck and at the same time to look for small and large deviations in the playback speed.
The meter in the last photo converts the tones and makes the speed of the deck readable. I can see any deviations from reading the two meters and can use this to adjust the deck until the meters remain in the correct position.
I had the cassette made on request by someone who specializes in test cassettes. I bought the meter on Ebay.
I made the case of the cassette with the colorful cover and instructions myself, which was not included as standard.
You may remember this type of cassette, this adapter was popular for a short time, especially among people with a car that still had a cassette player built in. With this simple adapter you can use your MP3 player to listen to music via the cassette player. Nowadays you see fewer and fewer cars that still have a cassette player in them and even a CD player is an increasingly rare phenomenon. I got this adapter in 2017 at a thrift store, I probably didn't pay more than a €1 for it. I don't really use it seriously, but it might come in handy someday.
Because I want to demonstrate some of the special cassettes including this one, I had to open the adapter to let the cable run along the top. So here's a unique look at the interior of the adapter, a set of gears and a playback head that is pressed against the head of the cassette player during use. The gears are used to fool the cassette player, otherwise the player (on some models) may stall because it thinks it has reached the end of the tape.
Below is a composite video of some of these cassettes in action, at least as far as it was possible...
Next on our list are these cassettes. I have a total of 6. (Yes you only see 5).
That's because I have one double...
These cassettes are essentially a double album, if you put two separate cassettes next to them, the difference is more visible.
But what exactly are these cassettes? In this case, they are contain collections of well-known songs from years gone by. Part of this was compiled by BBC Radio 1.
Below is a collage of the collection:
Almost then, let me take off the price tags first, by the way, these are the prices I actually paid for it.
I actually lied a bit when I said I owned 6 of these boxes, actually I have 6.5...
In this case, the box does not only contain a cassette, but also a DCC (Digital Compact Cassette). The content of both media is the same and is intended to persuade the listener to choose DCC as the music format of the future.
At least that was the idea, DCC flopped after a few years when the CD and afterwards MP3 became popular...
The box with cassette and DCC was used in audio stores to present this new listening experience to visitors, officially this set was not ment to be sold to customers. I ended up buying the set via Ebay from someone from Italy for a pretty reasonable price!
Philips had more or less invented and popularized the Compact Cassette, and is largely responsible for the development of the Compact Disc. But DCC is also a type of media developed and released by Philips. I have to admit that the DCC medium is well thought out, but unfortunately it came too late to the market, Sony had the Minidisc and DAT cassettes and as already mentioned the CD was the big winner in this battle for physical media, MP3 finally made an end to all these forms of sound carriers.
It is worth mentioning that Philips did cheat a bit with this listening test, it is not difficult to give a better sound experience if the cassette consists of Type I ferrous tape... Nevertheless, there is noise reduction on the cassette (Dolby b).
However, the vast majority of commercial cassettes were actually composed of this type of tape, so the listening test is somehow realistic, it was only during the last years of the compact cassette that manufacturers would switch to tapes with better formulation.
To stay with the DCC as a subject, I have a rather special edition here. This DCC was used for tests within Philips itself for the development of live lyrics on DCC. This allows the user to play the music while following the lyrics on the display of the playback device. However, the failure of DCC also ment that this experiment did not land very far.
Like every DCC, the cassette contains two sides, only here both the A and B side contain the same content, with the big difference that the B side also contains the lyrics.
Not many players are capable of displaying these lyrics, the Philips DCC 951 is one of the very few. Unfortunately I can't provide a demonstration as this unit still needs repairs, but you can imagine what it should look like when you look at the unit's display. It doesn't seem very useful to show lyrics on a display this size, but Philips had bigger plans for lyrics on DCC, because there are prototype converters to show the lyrics on a television with the graphic appearance of Teletext.
In terms of appearance, there is little to mention about the DCC itself, originally it came with a blank insert card, I took the trouble to make a worthy cover based on the album for the cassette. The card behind the clear plastic in the cassette itself is original. I kept the blank card that was in the sleeve to keep it completely original, it is now hidden inside the homemade sleeve.
Despite the special feature of the DCC tape, it can still be played in any DCC deck, in this case my working DCC 600, which does not have the ability to display lyrics.
And this is where our cleaning cassette comes in again, as I said there is a single 'hybrid' deck in which I can't reach the heads myself. The cassette is the answer to this problem. For those who don't know, this deck can be called a hybrid because it can play both DCC and regular cassettes. To be honest, the quality of this deck is also remarkably good at reproducing sound from a compact cassette!
Now that I'm showing digital media anyways, I might as well bring out the special collection of CDs.
Autographs from the artists on your physical media always have something special, in this case the autographs of the duo Jon Moody and Ned Franc. If you already read part 1 of this blog, you may recognise this album.
After all, I have both the LP and the CD with signatures. As mentioned in the previous blog, I ordered these two copies via their website after it was announced that this album would be released, this also included the option for the signed version.
I got to know their music thanks to the radio, where one of their songs was played.
Franc Moody's music is of the genre Disco, Funk & Dance-pop, at least that's what it's called on the English Wikipedia. When I read the contents of the CD on the computer it says Breakbeat / Electro, which may be more correct for this album.
the album 'Into the Ether' can be heard here on Youtube.
Next on the list is Beastie Boys with Intergalactic. In this case a CD single on which two songs have been burned, Intergalactic is one of them. I think the cover alone is brilliant. It doesn't completely match the image of the video clip, but it certainly has similarities. Unfortunately the cover is a bit damaged in the lower right corner.
What makes this CD single special is more about my experience and taste. I have known the song since I was a child as well as the video clip that me and my mother used to request very frequently on the music channel MTV. Personally, I think the video clip is just brilliant, also because of the fact that as a child I thought robots were very cool (I still dp love robotics). When I came across this CD at the local thrift shop I absolutely couldn't pass it up, although the sale price was well under a euro, the CD is invaluable to me, purely because of my childhood memories.
Interesting by the way, on a Single CD it's easy to see where the audio is stored, you see a dull and reflective part on the CD, the dull part (with the rainbow shine) is the audio that is physically burned onto the CD, Normally it is not always that visible because a CD-album is often fully burned. You will see this feature more often on recordable CDs on which you have burned audio or files yourself.
The Beastie Boys as a band quit after the death of band member Adam Nathaniel Yauch in 2012.
Nevertheless, their music lives on, including this (in my opinion) great video clip by Intergalactic from 1998.
CD singles come in different sizes, here Queen with 'Another One Bites The Dust' among others. the difference in this CD single from the previous one by the Beastie Boys is the size.
The CD is of the so-called 'Mini' format (Mini-CD) and is sometimes also called Pocket CD, given the format it would indeed fit in your pocket. The only times I normally encounter this format CD is when it comes with a new product as a software CD, such as when purchasing a new printer.
For who ever wondered why a CD player has two levels of indentations.
remarkable enough, if I take the Beastie Boys CD one more time, you can see that the contents of that CD would probably fit on a Mini-CD (or maybe just not).
Besides 'Another One Bites The Dust' there are two lesser known songs by Queen on this CD. I myself only now see that this CD is part of a series of 12 different editions (see text below). I only own this CD and have no plans to hunt for the other 11 releases.
Incidentally, I have shown the Mini-CD before on the blog of the Record Exchange where I bought it.
The latest addition to this blog in terms of CDs is from Gigi D'Agostino. With the famous album L'amour Toujours.
For this we have to put CD 2 in the computer...
The images do not do it justice, but the CD contains three bonus video clips, not only that, but these can be played via a special media player that can also be found on the CD, as a completely separate program.
Although the content is designed to work on Windows 95, it still works great on Windows 10. Despite this, the 'Fullscreen' option in the program is not exactly fullscreen, due to the high resolution of monitors these days.
The clips are actually intended to be shown on a screen of 800x600 pixels, a resolution that is rarely used nowadays.
It is certainly a nice addition to an album, in my opinion it makes this a bit of a collector's item.
I've never seen these kinds of extras on audio CDs before (though I suspect there certainly are). I would have liked more artists to do this to give an album on CD that little bit extra.You have to imagine that when this CD came out, Youtube and the current internet did not exist yet, the only way to see the video clips was via television or on video tape, or so via a CD like this. The resolution of the clips can certainly not be called HD because of its age, but actually the low resolution does have its charm, it reminds me of the past when we didn't know any better.
Although I hardly ever play the CD, I did copy the contents to the computer and used it to record my own cassette tape. Thanks to this CD I also got to know and appreciate the more alternative songs of Gigi D'Agostino.
By the way, I got the CD from the same local thrift store where I bought the Beastie Boys CD Single, I believe it was on the same day, again the price was a joke compared to the value I place on it.
We step out of the digital world and go back to the 1970s of the analog century.
Here is an almost unknown type of media for people who have not visited my website before. The Sony Elcaset.
In addition to the previously shown DCC from Philips, Sony also has a type of media that has not been on the market for long, it is the predecessor of the well-known 'compact' cassette. The cassette above, like the DCC listening test shown earlier, was not intended to be sold to the public.
Although the 'standard' Elcaset is already special, this one takes it up a level, it is a demonstration cassette of the same type of media. The playing time is also different with a total playing time of 30 minutes compared to the more reasonable 60 and 90 minutes of the normal variants. Sony wanted to conquer the market with the Elcaset, and secretly it wouldn't have been so bad if Elcaset had become the standard. The sound quality of these oversized tapes is great, not only for the 1970s but even today, this type of media can still match digital sound quality with a wide playback range. And when I say wide, I actually mean both ends of the spectrum!
If you place the Elcaset next to a normal cassette, the differences are clearly visible, the Elcaset is almost the size of 2,5 cassette tapes. the thickness is also one and a half that of a compact cassette. This is due to the use of tape, which is the same width as that of reel to reel tape, only made much thinner so that it fits in such a cassette. This gives you the quality of the tape recorder in the format of an easily manageable cassette.
Why did the Elcaset flop? Quite simply, the compact cassette format was much more convenient to use (and especially on the go). The sound quality of the Elcaset is better, but the format of the compact cassette was better.
Due to copyrights I can't play the contents, so here's an image of the demonstration cassette in action.
Besides the demonstration cassette from Sony itself, there have also been other producers of the Elcaset, these two cassettes are also quite rare so worth mentioning, above two Technics tapes of Type I (blue) and Type II (orange).
The Technics Type I came new in box when I bought some of these tapes in bulk.
I got the Type II from an acquaintance who has a lot of experience with the Elcaset. (Thanks again for this).
The cover of the Type II Elcaset was in a pretty bad shape when I got it, I scanned the cover and refurbished it, printed it out on a sticker sheet and stuck it over the old damaged cover, I'm quite pleased with the result.
I did exactly the same for the sticker on the cassette, the old sticker was already written on and could not correct this without it looking ugly, so I measured the old one, scanned it, printed it to size and pasted it over the old.
Although the new sticker does not shine and the color looks a bit dull, the end result doesn't look to bad.
The refreshed stickers for the cover and the cassette can be found here on the download page.
We are approaching the end of this blog and that's a good thing because the page has already grown quite a bit, before we look at the latest special editions I have a number of special types of media that are worth displaying.
RCA Victor Sound Cartridge
RCA Victor Sound Cartridge
RCA Victor Sound Cartridge en Sony NT
Minicassette and Microcassette
Homemade 'Mini reel'
Homemade 'Mini reel'
Playtape next to an 8-track
Cantata 700 cassette
To give some extra info on some of the media shown:
- RCA Victor tape: First type of cassette ever, developed by RCA and released in 1958, phased out in 1964.
- Sony NT cassette: The world's smallest cassette, records digitally. Came on the market in the 90s, but flopped shortly after.
- Grundig Steno Cassette: Dictation media, special is that it has only one side.
- Playtape: Smaller version of the more famous 8-Track, has 4 tracks, plays in mono. Released in 1966.
- Philips Mini Cassette: Related to the Micro Cassette, has long been used as dictation media.
- Microcassette: The cassette shown contains Type IV metal tape for use in recording music, was not a success.
- Edison Cylinder: First type of music media on the market with which music could be recorded, predecessor of the gramophone.
- Cantata 700: The world's largest cassette, was used in shopping centers and factory halls as background music.
- Mini reel: self-assembled type of media consisting of a roll of tape from a cassette, never used.
We end the blog with four special cassette tapes that are special to me. The dates on the cassettes probably speak for themselves.
The cassette shown here is the first tape I recorded in the way I still do today. The name 'Introludestape' refers to the intro music that's played before the music starts, this was the first tape where I used this intro and I still use it to this day. I had more tapes that I had recorded before and after this tape, but gave them away to an old colleague who uses them in his car (which still has a cassette player in it). I re-recorded most of the tapes in better quality. Though I held onto this tape as a keepsake.
Although I now design and print the cards on the computer, I sometimes still write the titles by hand. Before my handwriting was good enough, I typed the titles on the cards with a typewriter, as can be seen on this cassette. I wrote the date on the bottom, nowadays I write the recording device used on this location.
I used the three other tapes in 2007 to record music from the radio. I also mentioned the exact shooting dates. The last of the three, 'X-FM', was a regional radio station that could be heard mainly in the south of the Netherlands (province of Brabant to be precise). Although I haven't written down the frequency here, it must have been around 97.3 MHz. X-FM stopped broadcasting over the Ether in 2011. The other stations 'Sky radio' and 'Slam FM' still exist.
I recorded these tapes for several reasons, we were in the middle of moving houses, my room was already empty except for a radio with cassette recorder and CD player, I had little to entertain myself in my spare time since everything was boxed up. I didn't have an MP3 player, but really wanted to put together my own music collection.
The local electronics store still sold cassette tapes of which I bought a set. I used these tapes to record music from the radio, so I spent days lying down in an empty room listening to the radio waiting for a nice song to record. I also had a specific goal in mind. Mika with 'Relax' was a popular song at the time that could was played very frequently on the radio, sometimes up to three times a day, I absolutely loved that song. In the end I managed to record this on the Skyradio tape, just before I was out of tape.
My plan then was to record tapes of these three radio stations every year, but when I got the opportunity to buy an 8Gb MP3 player from a classmate for €10, I never got to recording tapes after that. I sometimes played these tapes in the same radio as I had recorded them on, later the tapes where moved to the attic. Every now and then I came across them when I was snooping in the attic. In 2011, I bought a simple Walkman on a local auction site to be able to play these tape on the go.
I still have the tapes and have since digitized them. Despite their age, they still work as if I had recorded them yesterday. Every now and then I play them again, not for the listening quality but purely for the nostalgia, they take me back to my childhood with all the memories from then.
For those who might find it interesting to take a ride on the nostalgia train, below is a recording with fragments of the three cassettes from 2007, you can hear the different tunes of Skyradio, Slam FM and X-FM. In addition, a single advertisement for ADSL internet announcements from radio presenters and the 'striking news' of October 11, 2007 from Slam FM. Though of course they are all in Dutch, so there not much nostalgic in them for you if your not known with any of these radio stations...
Don't ask me why some tunes are recorded so often on the cassettes...
In the end, a special edition doesn't necessarily have to be of great value to everyone, sometimes it's a personal thing, an object (in this case a set of tapes) that you may see as an valuable asset, whether it's in a dusty box somewhere on the attic or framed on the wall to be seen every day...