Adventures In Audio

Cassettes are DEAD (?)

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@donmason356:  Cassettes have been in my life since my first tape player around 12 years old, I am 56 now and still love cassettes. Store bought music tapes were always junk, I would buy high bias tapes usually 90min length and fill them up with recording records or recordings taken off the radio and then from cd and even tape to tape because whats better then a mixed tape of your own creation and set levels from your personal collection of music, mixed tapes rock and was great making mixed tapes for friends. Sure they cant compare to records or cd and beyond but they were personal, it took time and care to make a good one. Tape decks need a good back bone, need some stereo watts and jack the bass and treb and the mids if you have too. Not many could tell if they did not see the little guy spinning with a good deck and tape combo.

@LeeBergerMediaProd:  Hilarious what you’re doing in the inset as your AI lady is speaking.

@timandtheocean:  Cassettes are so usefull in the studio. It's not a hifi format although t at higher speeds and type ii or iv tapes it get's close to reel to reel. Then the thing is that in digital everything sounds so clear so we have to degrade the quality to give it character. In very low speeds the wow and flutter and narrow frequency band can complete transform the signal. For hifi use i would play a tape here and there. But vinyl wins for me. 😊

@summersky77:  It's still the ONLY portable analog format. It's really not that hard to get good analog sound on the go. Still a very niche market, but there's your true justification, other than pure nostalgia.

@peraspera999:  in my opinion, no one needs "cassettes" anymore ...

@user-yt6gv1rr8b:  Cassettes are not dead they are still alive and returning. You can carry a cassette tape anywhere you go. Cassettes don't die they are everywhere just hiding now they are returning.

@grandadgamer8390:  Even compared to vinyl, back in the day cassette was always an inferior after thought. Loving these vids 👍

@arjungandhi1242:  Younger people buying these cassettes are typically getting them as collectables. Affordable merch from artists they like (where vinyl would be way more pricey). For listening it is still primarily streaming

@ampheat:  Nakamichi was the exception to inferior casette quality.

@slow.poetry:  I think cassettes are a good compromise between vinyl and digital/CD. Of course, you can't get many albums on cassette (ripping them sounds silly to me) but just find something else you like. Unless you make good money vinyl is expensive if you start from scratch.

@Menieres4Life:  Why didn’t you add 8 track and reel to reel to your survey?

@alexslavinzki2408:  You surrey is wrong. Where are reel-to-reel, miniDISC or Eight Track Tapes.

@Ruinwyn:  Physical copies give you much stronger sense of owning something. Your copy, becomes more yours each time you play it. Especially with analogue formats with some imperfections. Neither Vinyl nor cassette can produce as perfect sound as digital formats, but they produce good enough. It's not like we only listen to perfect studio recordings either. We often pay good money for live recordings that have plenty of "flaws", but that is often what we are seeking. We don't value what comes too easily, and there is no easier way to listen to music than streaming. As easy as putting a cassette into a player is, it is still harder than pushing a button on your phone. Ordering a cassette or vinyl requires extra steps to digital download. Seeing parts moving in order to play the music, again, makes it more real and more valuable.

@user-ud9rn7dw6q:  I love cassettes nothing will stop that I owned over 40 decks and sold it all now. Still have a soft spot for them. Doesn’t make it bad. All we are fundamentally as a piece of life that we are is the food that we eat and the memories in which we gather over a period of time my gathering on memories is cassettes. Miss my nak zx9 😢

@zeussuez240:  MacDonald's is most popular restaurant in the world, but does it men the best?

@ksteiger:  Although I'm now retired, I was an audio engineer. I was ALWAYS a critical listener and would frequently return crappy pressings when I was a kid!!! (My Dad called me "Take it back Ken") I had reel to reel machines by the time I was 8. So when cassettes became I "thing" I was highly aware of their flaws and limitations. When I finally got a 4 track reel with DBX NNR in the 70s it seemed like the best quality audio to my ears. Even 45 years later some of my old 4 track studio recordings sound AMAZING and very close to digital dynamic range, super clean. Unfortunately cassettes I recorded from that era are inferior in every way.

@ianl.9271:  Blank cassette tapes are not so easily available now. And I'm not going to stream Apple Music hi-res lossless into tapes just to replay them again despite me having a well maintained glass head 3-head Akai GX-67. It still sounds superb even with Type I tapes and even better with Type II and Type IV.

@grahamstrahle4010:  I adored the solenoid controls and precise tape handling of the best made machines. Some of the finest Japanese engineering went into the higher end cassette decks like Nakamichi. For the home recording enthusiast, it was a way of connecting with the music that was different to vinyl. Still is.

@clamanttomb2317:  I understand your point that cassettes don't sound as good as vinyl or CD's. However if you have a decent quality cassette player from the 80s or 90s that's been well maintained, they still sound pretty good. The point of them isn't to be the best sounding format, it's the fact that they're a tangible object that you own and they're more fun to use than a CD or streaming.

@Jake-Balibari:  Long ago, I used to catch music from FM radio to K7, and also recorded various other things on the same K7 (voice, music, ambients). Listening to these medias now is a wonderful "life slice"

@darlenegoodwin:  I used to buy pre-recorded cassettes because I was afraid of CDs until 2005 when I got a CD player for my birthday. But I still love blank cassettes.

@johnpajestka5022:  Bought a mid-range Kenwood deck with an external DAC to record Bluetooth audio. Run the bluetooth through DAC to cassette and use dolby C. Recordings come out amazing!! Actually shocking how good they come out as long as you watch your levels.

Edit: Forgot to mention the negative. To get good recordings I use good quality chrome tapes. Occasional metal tape as well. Prices on new old stock are getting insane. People want $50 for a metal tape!

@simongills2051:  Back in the day people were moved to tears by listening to a 78 windup phonogram. By the music, despite the abysmal sound reproduction.
Cassettes are good enough for most people and even those who take their music seriously.
A Deutsch Gramaphone tape still sounds good enough to keep playing it on my good enough Boots Audio ( Aiwa, top the range, spared no expense) tape deck. Or my So knee ( correct pronunciation) XO 7 Cassiever.
The CD is better, but I got the cassette already.
Good upload, you are correct, of course, but not eating your greens as a child did you no harm ( apart from how you pronounce Sony and bus) so perfection is not necessary all the time.

@fernandouribe2644:  I use a nakamichi zx7 with Chrome and metal tapes , and it sounds great specially with Dolby. Tape vs cd I would Say that 90% of the time people choose tape over cd

@bentbilliard:  Let me give you an example. I bought a recently released album from the viagra boys on cassette.
I played the album on an old cassette recorder I repaired myself. It's far from perfect but more decent than the new ones you can buy these days. Listening to that particular album on cassette felt like enhancing the experience in the right direction. It has to do with the attitude of the band. I would not want to listen to the Sex Pistols like a classical masterpiece. Cassettes are more than people give it credit for. It's the rebel of the physical medium. The spray paint on the walls of musical history. Pirates of the Hi-Fies. It's not for audiophiles, it's for the kids on the streets. And as such it is as important as Vinyl and CD, no matter the quality. And I hope it never goes away. It will, but still...

@FBAV:  I can prove you that they are not dead. Most likely they won't be used anymore when a certain generation passed away. But I'm not the only one who still has lots of them including cassette players and recorders that will still play them back, and I can also still record om them. I even still have some empty cassettes left, still in their wrappers. There's also new cassettes and cassette tape decks, recorders or players on the market. The quality of those mostly is not good, but if you put a little effort in research to get the better products that ARE available, they are still usable and still sold. So they are alive; if you want to keep them alive.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @FBAV: As far as I know, there are no new players available with Dolby. That would seem to be a limiting factor, although of course there's always secondhand on eBay. DM

@LyleFrancisDelp:  Car cassette players were great in their day, and survived well into the 90s, until CD players became the norm. But it was the Sony Walkman that truly put cassettes in the forefront. Taking your selected music wherever you liked, without having to hoist a huge boom box on your shoulder, was a game changer. Then came portable CD players, and then iPods, and then smart phones, and now streaming. Streaming is certainly most convenient and I do subscribe to a service, but still, I enjoy selected a physical medium from my shelf, cleaning the LP, and playing it on my turntable/player. I have so very many classical LPs from my earliest days of collecting. I don't want to get rid of them and they still sound fine to my ears.

I also have a number of prerecorded cassettes and they sound just fine on my Sony machine. If I want them on the road, I can digitize them to mp3, and stream them through iCloud on my phone, via my car receiver.

By the way, I really like your demeanor and your expertise and your delivery. You sound like a person I'd like to sit down and share a pint with in the local pub.

@BillyTheKidsGhost:  You can record on cassette and have your personal touch on analog media... Plus, it has what the Japanese call wabi-sabi... Something streaming will never have as the only one out of them all. 😁

@AudioMasterclass replies to @BillyTheKidsGhost: From Google - 'Wabi-sabi is the view or thought of finding beauty in every aspect of imperfection in nature. It is about the aesthetic of things in existence, that are “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”' DM

@muzgash:  Just yesterday I bought a cassette from a band I love. I was lucky to happen on it because they make such small runs of 50 or 100, rarely 500. Since I have a cassette player from long ago, bought one of the last Sony music systems that came with it before it disappeared along with the cd-tray, now that bluetooth is so popular. I thought, I have the player for it, why not use it. Listening to music is such a personal experience, from compiling your listening systems to finding the music to play on it. The digital age is very convenient but the soul has been lost somewhere.

@duncan-rmi:  I record streaming radio stations with my finger near the pause button of one of a collection of pretty reasonable decks I've collected. it is a nostalgic affectation, I grant you, but it also sounds nice in my sony ex-5 while I'm commuting. I brush off the looks of 'hipster fool' from the other passengers if they even notice the old tech.
getting good results from cassettes now takes time & patience, & deep pockets to do properly. I do my own maintenance (broadcast engineer with bench skills).
it's also a collection of technology- some of these machines, the portables particularly- took mass produced electromechanical engineering almost to an art-form, something we have lost to pick-&-place robots building solid-state portable computers.

@WalnutSpice:  Modern cassette duplication sounds better than modern vinyl, point blank. It's a mine field finding a pressing of an album on Vinyl that won't throw your needle to the next song when the bass hits. So if you want a physical album thats actually going to be listenable that's not a boring CD, tape is the way to go.
Also, I've got a rip of a The Weeknd album released in 2015 on cassette that 100% has a higher audio quality to a very noticeable extent compared to the CD release. I'd love to share it but, ya know. I have shared it before and have seriously impressed some audiophile guys with it though. You can get Hifi Vinyl level quality recordings on modern cassette tape, especially if you're The Weeknd and somehow manage to get Dolby B HX Pro on your release.
Also, a $60 at most tape deck from 1995 that still works or just needs new belts is going to run circles around any modern turntable for that price.

@cytowing3353:  I see a recurring theme in your videos. Stop everything and just stream. Funny.

@GAYKEEPDEEZNUTZ:  Hard to talk about normal when it’s a youthful audience who want art not just music. This is about art vs audio. It’s truly not that bizarre if you frame it differently. Zegema beach does some really cool handmade pieces and releases. It’s been an evolving art form and more then just a listening experience. Personally I don’t have any cassettes but it’s not hard to understand how people romanticize physical media in general. It’s such a powerful piece of art too own when you hold a vinyl or cassette. Especially these days.

@martynlewis9020:  For sure CD and streaming for quality and clarity. Tape though satisfies something else for me, I love making new mix tapes. A streamed playlist that I’ve created just doesn’t do it for me. I also love minidisc for the same reason.

@markphilpot8734:  Hating on any format is useless. Laziness is the reason for poor sound quality if that is a question. Nothing works well if not maintained. Just because some or most don’t enjoy taping is no reason that those who do give one crap about the opinions of the haters. The ones who have high end decks don’t. You either like or don’t like a format. Those who do say drop dead to the haters. I own two cassette decks. They are both super nice and high end. You go your way and cassette deck lovers will go ours. Either way, keep your negative comments to yourself. No one cares what you listen to as long as you are happy with it. Kicking a format is a pretty wasteful way to spend time on any format, YouTube included!

@elkartian:  I have an amplifier made by a company called MVL the real music company,the amp is called MVL A2+Integra,it came with an add on called SS option pack(£354 at the time in 1999)sound sentinal ,the tailor the sound to each input phono,cd , Mini disc cassette,Dat ,vcr ,the instructions for cassette were to leave Dolby off as the SS sound sentinel reduced hiss ? Unfortunately the company dont exist any more .have you Heard of SS sound sentinel systems?

@sidesup8286:  At a lot of music performances by relatively unknown artists at Arts Festivals etc., they often have a booth where you can buy a cassette of their music. That's another area where cassettes are not dead but thriving. Cassettes at the used lp places around me were priced at $1 for many decades; now their prices have jumped up from $1 (last year) to $4 this year. That indicates an increased demand. But perhaps the main indicator, is that there are companies coming out with new cassette players. One of the ones reviewed plays a cassette and has its own amp and speaker, with an output to power a higher quality external speaker if you wish. It also plays bluetooth. We are at the beginning of a new fad. Not the end by any means. If you think about it, a magnetic head, recording or playing back a cassette, is the exact same process as with reel to reel tapes; only at a slower speed. Many think reel tapes are the ultimate medium for sound quality. Why wouldn't cassette also be good? Since not nearly as much tape passes through the head per second as reel tape, the compromise of limiting dynamic range had to be chosen. Otherwise it would overload the tape with too much signal. The tape is not as wide either. Cassette was intended to give good sound on the go; and it succeeded at that. It was never intended to compete with the dynamics of reel tape. So nothing it intended to be in the first place, ever failed as far as sound performance. It did exactly what was expected of it within its limitations because of the lower tape speed. I am sure that a top Tandberg, Revox or Nakamichi cassette deck sounds way cleaner on factory prerecorded music than an lp on what most people play lps on. With a smoother more lush sound and much more tonal beauty than someone with a $200 turntable cartridge combination.

Factory prerecorded cassettes of different artists vs. cassettes I recorded an lp on with a turntable and a fairly expensive top model Shure cartridge was a dead heat. A tie, is what I would give it. And I have ears and I listened closely to many tapes. I even had a few where I had the factory prerecorded tape and had taped the same album titles from my above mentioned turntable. So except for dynamic range, which is limited because of the slower tape speed, a factory prerecorded cassette played back on a well above average cassette deck should be looked at as roughly the same sound quality as someone playing an lp on a $300 turntable/cartridge rig. There are lower model cassette decks available used for less than $300. Sometimes less than $200. Cassettes at thrift stores and flea markets are dirt cheap. Sometimes half a dollar... Isn't that better than paying near $30 for a new lp, or $6 for a used one whose surface looks like a "maybe" or a "maybe not"

Now at higher price ranges, a well chosen $400 turntable with a $300 cartridge ($700) might give you sound that is more palpable and clear than all but the best cassette decks. At that price, the scale might shift back over to vinyl. But you still might like something more in certain ways about the cassette's sound; a lush smoothmess and continuity. I prefer a faint hiss in the near silent passages to vinyl's ticks and pops. If your tonearm is great, you will hear much less ticks and pops. But your cartridge will have to be great not to hear inner groove distortion and a thinning of the sound towards the end of each side. You will also have to get up to flip the record, brush the stylus etc. Many good cassette decks have auto reverse where it plays through both side without having to get up and mess with it. So cassettes are coming back. It would surprise me if they came back as strongly as lp. On an absolute basis the lp is the higher quality medium. If you chased all around town and on the internet for the choicest pressings. Harry Pearson of The Absolute Sound once compared a Living Stereo reel tape to the lp of the same title. He commented how all lps have a whitish coloration compared to tape. The reel tape also won for clarity and palpable presence Cassette is a viable medium if you don't expect the world from a format that was never intended to challenge reel tape for sound quality. If you have a good moving coil cartridge on a good tonearm/turntable, you will like lps better for clarity and dynamics. But for sumptuousness and tonal beauty, tone colors, smoothness, continuity and some other things, you just may still like the sound of tape,

@ReasonablySane:  To me, playing vinyl records is a bit like driving a classic 60s muscle car. And playing tapes is like driving a Ford model a. They both have their charms, and the former is the only way I listen to music when I'm just listening to music.

That said, I'm completely with you on cassettes. I have several hundred if not over 1,000. However, the way I acquired them was at garage sales and estate sales were people were just giving them away because they were so done with cassettes. I also have a nice pioneer CT f1250 cassette deck that's quite frankly, just fun to watch.

But I think you and I are on the exactly the same page with the cassettes in the cassette resurgence. For what it's worth, I sold Hi-Fi back in the 70s and early 80s. Back in the seventies cassette did have an advantage but all the advantages were completely destroyed when the recordable CD came out.

@apislapis:  I expect that your channel will have heaps of participation bias surrounding your survey, because your expertise is 'excellence in audio' and not convenience in audio (and those pesky cassettes are fun as you aptly pointed out in another vlog). Most of the cassettes I have bought in recent years have been new old stock from Sony, TDK, Maxell, BASF et al and (pseudo) chrome prices have been silly for some time. None of the major manufacturers are in a hurry to mass produce cassettes anymore. Junior doesn't own a cassette deck, player or Walkman and she recently purchased a cassette from Fall Out Boy, not because she intended to listen to it, because she wanted to support the artist. She said it was like buying a tour poster, just another form of merch that was tactile, that she could pick up and look at and read the J card. I love my cassettes. I know that they aren't the best format for fidelity, however, you can get some excellent results if you set up your deck properly. I also use MD, vinyl, digital downloads from Bandcamp and CDs and enjoy all as each has its merits and shortcomings. I gravitate towards the older formats because they are tactile in nature. Downloads are not cuddly. If cassettes aren't dead, thay are gravely ill in hospital, much to my disappointment.

@poofygoof:  The tragedy is that there is no cassette deck produced today (in 2023) that can reproduce the audio quality of what was produced decades ago in the 90s. It's not like humankind has lost the knowledge to physically produce type II or IV tape stock or a cassette deck with Dolby C or S, but the borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered 80s has reduced the majority of cassette releases to the noisiest (cheapest) type I tape with no noise reduction because that's the current lowest common denominator of available playback units.

The cassette format has limitations, but currently available releases demonstrably do not reflect the state of the art, and that's tragic.

Kudos to the indys still releasing with XDR and Dolby B.

@poofygoof replies to @poofygoof: @Glade Swope it would be neat to compare current releases with decades-old DIY!

It seems weird to me that could overdub existing commercial releases on my mid-80s tape deck from the digital sources and have them sound better. Is the poor quality an aesthetic choice?

@johnpajestka5022 replies to @poofygoof: I wish a company like Sony would just do 1 run of new cassette decks with all the bells & whistles. Bet you they could charge a high price and they would sell out.

@realsomething2981:  Cassettes not dead... they just leave this planet.

@cliz3059:  I do have a nakamichi, so…

@spacedogsuk3789:  no soul tho you audiophiliac ......blimey .....base stuff miserible sod! ...just enjoy all formts in there own way n let live huh my friend

@sexytasmin:  What a load of unadulterated rubbish. My fully maintained Nakamichi Cassette Deck sounds better than any streaming service period!!

@OSXMan:  Yes, cassettes are a "dead" medium. What that means however, is where we may disagree. For me, it means that all of the time I'm putting into "fiddling" with cassettes, is actually worthwhile. I'm extending the life of some really excellent recordings. I'm listening to mixes and releases that aren't available in other formats. Every form of storage has it's achilles heel. Even the ultimate winner, digital. Hard drives fail, and sometimes it doesn't take much, or give any warning! I'm buying old commercial cassette releases and transferring them to newer tapes. I'm not bothering to import them into the computer as there's not going to be any gain in quality. I do also record digital sources to tape. That works amazingly well. As far as robust longevity, you'll be hard pressed to beat tape. I've got commercial CDs from the 80' and 90's that are rotting right away. They're dying, and there's no way to restore them. The foil is flaking right off. Cassettes ten years older than that, often play just fine. They can also be repaired pretty easily. A 40 year old HDD? You probably won't be able to read it, if it still functions at all.

@andrewmah2962:  I got Metallica's newest album, 72 Seasons on cassette tape

@greenjelly01:  ...and to think I used a CASSETTE ADAPTER in my first (second-hand) car because it didn't have a CD player!

@Daijyobanai:  It's worth noting that a lot of new cassette sales come with a digital download included.
So when you buy the tape, and some bloke freaks out about "you could have better sound quality", you are getting a FLAC DL in the package, as I did with Wet Leg's release and others.
I've bought CDs with the same deal, CD plus zip file to dl.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @Daijyobanai: It raises the question whether when you're out and about you listen on your Walkman or phone. I suspect Walkman for swag. DM

@Daijyobanai:  audiophiles won't understand, but cassettes are FUN. They''re an enjoyable physical product.
Stop gazing into the dark void created by your over-priced gear, and try enjoying something!

@AudioMasterclass replies to @Daijyobanai: DM

@MrStewbee:  Just repaired my Revox B215 for $750. Plays great.

@rcary:  Home recording on pro 4 track cassette machines are getting more popular. Cassette blanks are getting quite expensive now.

@elkartian:  I have 3 superb cassette decks, a Nakamichi BX 300E,a Sony professional Walkman DC 6 with amphorus head ,and Bang & Olsen Beocord 5000 all brilliant decks and most importantly with easy access for cleaning the heads ,my cassettes sound fantastic especially the pre recorded Cassettes on Chrome

@johnballentine282:  Cassettes are pretty much all I buy now...

@philfrank5601:  Has anybody seen what they're charging for new cassettes? Lady Gaga's reissue 10 year anniversary of Born This way was a double cassette thay sold for over $50...just craxy.

@martinfederico7269:  I would love to get back to cassettes, the only reason I don’t is because they’re not easily available be it the players or the tapes and the troubles of maintaining and repairs. But I would love that it catched on again and anyone could buy a new casette deck or walkman.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @martinfederico7269: I'll have a new video coming out about cassettes soon. You may possibly get your wish. DM

@bletheringfool:  The right choice is digital but its also the boring choice. Not everything is about the shiniest and newest thing out there. By ignoring that fact you are missing the point. Tapes aren't for audiophiles. So they are going to tell you they hate them. Because many people are insufferable about it all. Nobody is going to come along and get rid of digital but why not have fun making your own tapes? Not everything has to be qualified by how one group of people perceive it. You are allowed and have the luxury of enjoying multimedia formats in this day and age.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @bletheringfool: Apparently cassettes are fun. That's why I'll have a video out on this exact topic soon. DM

@shangyien:  There are twenty or so CD player models from the mid-eighties that have the option to record and play back at twice the standard speed, bringing a very noticeable improvement in sound quality. I use a couple of these machines to copy my records and move them between my house in Australia and my flat in Spain. So cassettes still have some niche uses.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @shangyien: The Dual C844 is a double speed cassette deck. One would expect the higher speed to be better. Info at DM

@erwinvb70:  Cassettes are just perfect. I have acquired quite a stack of new blank ones and use them to record music from my vinyl collection on it to listen in the car or Walkman when I’m out of the house. Yes I could stream via my phone or even use an old iPod, but it’s not just about the music.

@charlieyang2613:  I thought Paul (McCartney) is dead😅

@marsu37de:  Okay, cassettes are dead for multiple reasons (and right so). But I still haven't found a new medium giving me the good mix of advantages that the cassette had. A cassette may not have the dynamic range of a CD (although with a good chrome dioxide or pure iron ("metal") tape, DOLBY C or DOLBY S and a well-adjusted bias and head position you could come very close to it), and a streaming service with more than 128 kbps mp3 may produce a better sound, a vinyl record may have nicer cover arts to display and give room to the nostalgic and meditative ceremony of unwrapping, cleaning the record and watching the stylus touch down on the beginning of the track... But until today, I haven't found a medium that gives me the following advantages simultaneously:
- a physical device that I can handle myself, present to others, share with others,
- easy recording and playback with the same device (no need to burn disks or use the PC to build my own collection),
- easy handling, compact casing, small overall dimensions,
- robust against dropping down (maybe the outer case would break, but never the cassette itself)
- no need to care for scratches or fingerprints on the surface, decent robustness to dusty or dirty environment,
- easy identification of its content by looking at the inlay sheet (which can be replaced/corrected anytime),
- some place for cover art, even not quite as nice as on the 12" vinyl record covers
- affordable price per piece...
No "newer" media show all of these advantages at once. Maybe it's a sign that today's users do not need or value them, maybe it's a different way how (esp. young) people today "consume" music... I am 58 now and I want to listen to music consciously, with affection (if it is good music, not the mass products for a broad market), I would even say today I listen to it even more attentively and consciously than in my younger days, discovering more and more details in the music. Of course, I do not use cassettes anymore, too, but more because a good, affordable cassette Tape deck is hard to find (and quality cassettes as well). But I will never forget the countless nights with my earphones on in my student's apartment, listening to my recordings (some of which I copied from CD from my friends, admittedly) and diving deep into the details of the arrangements and lyrics...

(Edited because I had written "record player" instead of "cassette tape deck")

@950kid:  A good Cassette Recording sounds Exellent and full of character

@ciocanxxl:  Well my primary and favorite source is still the cassette. The only streaming service for me is youtube and i use it to find new music and occasionally make a mix tape from youtube. I don't listen CD, if i have a CD i rip it and copied on the cassette. A new vinyl i listen one or twice and i copied on the cassette.
So my preference are:
1. cassette
2. youtube
3. vinyl
4. VHS Hi-Fi mix tape (maybe i'm crazy 😋)

@michaeldickson9876:  I had Akai and Pioneer 3 head Dolby 3 head decks with HX pro and they sounded pretty close the the original Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs UHQR LPs played on a Technics Turntable with a Shure V15III Cartridge.

@bmmaaate:  I listed my cassettes on a popular music selling site and they are selling quite well. People seem happy to pay £10 each for them.

@ion-shivs:  I was just thinking... I literally have not owned a cassette player since the '80s. Haven't used a cassette since. I got my first CD player. (the original Sony DiscMan) in 1990. And, now, I haven't listened to CD's in over 20 years. (Thanks to MP3s...)

@cajonosaurus:  His attitude is almost as miserable as his face..

@jacopovilla1590:  I do buy cassettes. I’m fascinated by their peculiar random noises, and by the object itself. What I don’t understand is why people like Kerri Chandler are still using tape to play their perfectly hi-fi mixes. Does anyone have technical explanation for this?

@editingsecrets:  In high school in the 80s, pretty good quality blank tapes were cheap enough to copy a few music highlights and give them to a friend. And to make an easier to use good quality backup of a vinyl record for everyday listening, limiting potential damage to the vinyl. All without concern for the expense of the blanks. Also, cassettes were good to assemble favorites to take along in the car.
CD took a while to have affordable car players & changers without skipping. Even longer to have affordable recorders and blank discs.
Minidisc a nice idea a few years later but expensive, hard to find, and very short recording time per disc if you wanted to stay at full CD quality.
At home, I couldn't afford the ultimate, a Nakamichi cassette deck, but had a pretty good Sony deck. I always let it do its 30 second calibration run on a new blank tape.
Today, I share a music playlist by emailing just the links, or parking the mp3's (good enough) on a shared drive.
Lots of room for hours of mp3's on any phone, with an app that lets you enjoy a playlist without needing the cell data plan while taking a walk. I miss my Sports Walkman's waterproof feature and satisfying physical buttons, easy to use by touch to skip a song ahead or back without having to stop what I'm doing to take it out and look at it, unlike any touchscreen phone app. And I also miss the teeny tiny ingenuity of my pop-out mini Walkman, I forget the model number now, that wrapped around half of the cassette. Those gadgets randomly left my life many years ago.

@JorgeEM1995:  Streaming is compressed music... unless we pay for the lossless audio Premium Plan. Bluetooth doesn't support lossless audio either.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @JorgeEM1995: This is true. I look forward to a world where lossy compression is entirely a thing of the past. DM

@jarrahdrum:  I like the hiss/nosie of tape, the same as old radios, the noise. these days says, people download noise apps to help them relax. Analogue sounds relax me

@markjamesmeli2520:  Stop it. They're dead.

@retrorambles517:  Yes cassette is dead

But over the last year I've been buying tapes and making my own and buying Walkmans

I need a new deck at some point

But it's making a slight come back in terms of a bit of fun and nothing serious

@bobsbits5357:  hi very good point about the cassette
note i know you are very hot and know what you are talking about why i watch

note i am a format king and i have tryed them all over time
the thing is there's alot of old formats that have there fan clubs and cassette is on i done some digging in to it it is best to keep away from any new cassettes
as are run of on recorders with very high hrs on the decks and the head line up is just not right

i know a man his mate was in to cassette dubbing game the thing is alot are getting alot older now there are one's in the usa that are still
running of cassette gear i have otari DP2700 units so i can fill all my cassette bodies to the size i need

i payed very little for them be cause they are juck to a ,lot out there

loop bin cassette dubbing is a right pain in the back i been down this road big money pit

note i been looking in to old video decks there was a vhs hi-fi crazy (not good keep away as the decks are wearing out)
i have had some

note the best recording format for my money at this time (and they are wearing out alot slower is betacam hi-fi)
yes i know they are very heavy decks and the fans are not quiet and the face panels need little work
on the bvw 75 decks there are alot of good decks out there in need of homes

and there are 1000's of tape still and some are sealed new bo of 10 for £20 30min tapes some time turn
alcaste was a big no no once look at prices now

betacam could be the alcaste you never know think for your self

@bobsbits5357:  yes is the word i said to my old mate that on line will change the market place i saw about it on a tec show on c5 we know the one
and later came on line video in HD and incoded 5'1 sound as well

@Bishka100:  Well, I'm still using minidisc, but only because my DCC recorder is broken. 🙂

PS. And I don't see what all the fuss is about anyway. I still have my trusty old 5 transistor porable reel to reel.

@Roger_Gadd:  I believe that several years ago, Disney was playing mind games with people when the opening sequence of a Guardians of the Galaxy movie had ELO's Mister Blue Sky with, according to the story, it being played from a cassette tape. I suspect that on the basis of that some people may have even dusted off their old cassette decks, but only to find that the rubber capstan roller had indeed perished.

@monzarace replies to @Roger_Gadd: Having had cassette decks since childhood, I have never personally experienced that. I do not have the very first decks that I used to have. But the rollers in the Pioneer CT-91a, the Beocord 8000 and the Tandberg TCD-3014a that I have had for years and years, are the original ones, and they work well. In fact all 3 decks sound great. Only regular cleaning and now time for a quick belt change on the Beocord 8000, is the level of maintenance I have had to do so far. That is by far lower maintenance than I have had to do on my pc, router etc, as well as on my cd-player and LP player as well. Just my own experience.
Kind regards.

@Roger_Gadd:  I think that this video is a good summary. As it pretty much said, there isn't a single performance attribute of cassettes that isn't beaten by some other format. Well, I can't think of one.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @Roger_Gadd: It's been pointed out to me that, despite their shortcomings, cassettes are fun. I'll have a video out on this soon. DM

@Roger_Gadd replies to @Roger_Gadd: @Audio Masterclass I look forward to it.

@tdunph4250:  I had plenty of tapes in the 80's up to mid 90's. Got rid of then because the older they got, and the least amount played, they were of lesser quality of sound and in some cases, the tape suffered from being "sticky" CD and vinyl never presented this kind of a problem. Personally, with my large quantities of CD's and vinyl, cassettes be damned. I could care less in terms of usual listening.

@seacampal1425:  4:00 I disagree, vinyl records can reach only 60DB of SNR they are wobbly, there is rumble, click's, pops... Ewww.. . 72 DB of signal to noise ratio is feasible with Dolby B only (on many Akaï decks). 94DB is possible with DBX. My Harman Kardon CD 491 vith a Metal tape has a 20Herts to 26 Kiloherts bandwidth. I stopped buying new vinyls! To expensive, poor pressings... One of my hobby is to make a recording on cassettes that actually has better sound quality than CD. To acheive this, i use Super Audio CD as a source and record it to a good cassette. This is my favorite prank on my studio partner. Every time i make a blind test between an original CD and a recorded cassette made with Dolby B, he chooses the copy and not the original: "Why does this copy has a better sound than the original? Why the bass is warmer and the highs are more delicate? I have the impression of listening to the original reel of the album in the studio and not a copy". It must be said that to achieve this result, the deck's are restored, calibrated and of course, these processes require time, money and effort... Just like the original reels of the majority of classic recordings! I'm not talking about the specifications of reel-to-reel tape recorders, which are disastrous to say the least at the W&F level... Apart from the Nagra. :-) Sometimes, i don't use noise reduction and i use a double layer super ferric cassette ( TDK-AR X ) to restore the background noise removed from digitaly re-mastered CD'S; i don't like to hear the pumping effect of the noise gate to remove hiss in quiet passages. I prefer my copy with a constant background noise ( the brain is dealing with) and a clear sound. It's like a time machine to go back in the 60's studio recording console! I hear every detail with the original noise restored. Nature is analog. Long live to analog cassette tape!

@roytofilovski9530:  Back in the "olden days" I liked cassettes a lot. Cheap, portable, and much easier to maintain than vinyl records. I loved them. But today I would never consider listening to music over cassette. I listen to vinyl because I enjoy the ritual involved, as well as the album art. But for sound quality vinyl absolutely sucks, worse than even cassette and that is saying A LOT.

@roytofilovski9530:  Kids are buying music on cassettes, and new albums to boot? Why? If it's about cost, streaming costs around 10 bucks a month, 15 or so for CD quality, and you have every song on Earth at your fingertips. I don't stream music from a service. I like listening to FLAC files from a hard disc, and also vinyl. But if I could not afford that, then I would sign up for a streaming service before I would ever listen to cassettes. Frankly, even listening to songs over YT is better than cassettes.

@talltodd:  I prefer to buy digital downloads. How does that quality compare to streaming?

@editingsecrets replies to @talltodd: Depends on the quality level of the download and the stream. Generally the download is higher quality because it doesn't have to be compressed enough to reach you in real time over a limited network. But a deluxe stream might have a higher data rate than a dirt-cheap download.

@talltodd replies to @talltodd: @Editing SECRETS revealed! just from Amazon, 256kbps Mp3 files I believe.

@editingsecrets replies to @talltodd: @Todd Hartle You've got a number for one side. Then you'd need to compare that to what your streaming provider offers you. Also 256k? Better? Worse? Mp3 or some other type of codec? Does it vary based on moment to moment network congestion, with no guarantees? Finally, how does the same song sound to you from either source, after matching the overall volume level?

@expgretaillegacy:  Young people? I'm 18 and I LOVE cassettes!

@AudioMasterclass replies to @expgretaillegacy: That's what I said in the video. DM

@ThomShivers:  Audio cassettes are far from dead. Check out successful cassette artists such as Amulets and Hainbach and initiatives such as Cassette Store Day. You would be surprised of the number of specialised cassette labels worldwide with a wide and eclectic range of music styles only available on cassette!

@AudioMasterclass replies to @ThomShivers: Considering it costs next to nothing to release on Spotify and the other digital services, I have to think that cassette releases are a marketing gimmick. There's nothing wrong with that if people enjoy it and I might look into it in a future video. DM

@editingsecrets replies to @ThomShivers: @Audio Masterclass Do it yerselfers might make a lot more money from just a few cassette or vinyl sales than from a million plays on Spotify, if they can even get them.

@svenschwingel8632:  There was no need for a Nakamichi deck. They were excellent machines but others also knew how to get good high frequency reproduction out of the compact cassette.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @svenschwingel8632: I use Nakamichi as an example because I've heard them and considering the limitations of the format the sound is amazing. I've also used both Revox and Studer cassette decks and they were very good but no more than that. Of course, there may be other decks as excellent as Nakamichi but I haven't heard them (yet). DM

@editingsecrets replies to @svenschwingel8632: Overkill for people who cherish precision engineering at the top of the line, the same way that after a certain point a Swiss watch isn't about knowing what the current time is.

@stevengagnon4777 replies to @svenschwingel8632: Well it is a good standard, they put a lot of engineers to working overtime so they could meet that standard. Thankfully many came close in the eighties. My JVC DD-7 an excellent example. Three heads. Direct drive single capstan, and good electronics to back it up. Could be bought new about 1982 for 600$. Yeah that was the draw back in 1982 for less than 300$ you had a Technics direct drive turntable and a really good cartridge. That JVC I put 15 to twenty thousand hours on since I found twenty years ago. It's also when I discovered that a cassette could sound very good and it's didn't need to be metal or so called chrome. And that the TDK D series was actually a decent cassette close to 60 Dbs dynamic range and flat out 17K with room for good bass. Everything is fine with it... well after I recap it , can't say enough about those Sendust Alloy heads,they still look new.

@svenschwingel8632 replies to @svenschwingel8632: @@stevengagnon4777 Etsuro Nakamichi was a brilliant and visionary engineer who pioneered a lot of beneficial developments we took for granted later on. And up to the mid-eighties, I'd argue that his cassette decks were the reference. But after that, development stopped and others caught up.

@thvsch8381:  I love audio cassettes and i still have lots of fun playing tapes and recording. I have a Denon 3-head deck and a fully operational Tascam 246 4-track recorder, both in excellent condition. I still buy pre-recorded tapes these days, because some artists only release their music on tapes. Maybe not everybody’s piece of cake but the audio cassette surely has not died in several underground music scenes.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @thvsch8381: It strikes me that an upcoming band might release an album on cassette because there are people who will specifically search for albums that are only available on cassette. Possibly. DM

@thvsch8381 replies to @thvsch8381: @@AudioMasterclass The cassette artists i’m interesting in are mostly artistic, creative musicians. They experiment with loops and speed modulation, even degradation of the tape itself. I have always loved the mechanical part of cassette operation. Actually, i bought two simple but decent quality new portable Sony cassette players for my kids to experiment as well and they love it! Audio isn’t always about sound quality, it’s about interaction and excitement!

@Atownpicker:  Cassettes need more love ❤️ I don't care what anybody says about Cassettes and Cassette players.😅I enjoy playing all my cassettes and I take very good care of all my cassettes. I love recording and making mix tapes still in 2023 # It's all about choice ! I say like what you like.Streaming sucks !

@editingsecrets replies to @Atownpicker: Just like model railroads are a very inefficient way to move stuff around the room, there will always be people who find it a joy to have a tinkering hobby.

@markkilley2683:  Most technology has it's day sadly. But I don't think streaming is a good solution. My only problem with cassette player with belts in them they fail.

@stevengagnon4777 replies to @markkilley2683: That's why they started using direct drive capstans in the eighties.

@Jordan-fn5rj:  yes tape are DEAD!!! we dont use them anymore

@editingsecrets replies to @Jordan-fn5rj: Pretty clear from the comments that a lot of people still find it a lively enjoyable format.

@Wildknaap:  It’s about owning a physical copy of your favorite music. Most people don’t give a rats a* about sound quality (whatever that may be these days with blue tooth equipment). Btw, reel2reel should have been an option. :) To my ears, a master tape played on a Revox PR99 has sound more convincing than the same album played digitally via a Bryston BDA 3.14 DAC.

@MichaelGraves3304:  Cassettes in 2023 are a novelty driven by nostalgia alone. They're not being made. People are paying serious $ for new, old stock cassettes. They were once very popular, which is the only reason there is still a small amount of old stock hiding in corners.

@johnballentine282 replies to @MichaelGraves3304: They actually are being made still.

@musicalneptunian:  OK, as an 80's generation kid I have a stack-load of cassettes. But I have no cassette player. The last one that worked I dropped about 10 years ago and the player broke. One area that you forgot was in education; cassettes dominated universities until the mid 90's. Needed a recording of the lecture because you missed it? It was on cassette. An audio assignment was handed to every student? You all got a cassette copy; I still have my 1993 linguistics transcription assignment cassette tape on my shelf. Need to go to the language library and learn a language? They were all on cassettes. Incredibly CDs didn't get a look in at universities for over a decade despite the CD format being invented in 1982.

@editingsecrets replies to @musicalneptunian: The format was originally for speech transcription and information. That it was made stereo and fairly high fidelity was amazing engineering after the introduction. My family had a Norelco Cassette-Corder taken along for music lessons to hear the practice exercises. Today it would be captured on the kid's phone.

@ericberger6966:  I ever used cassettes only as "backup" of vinyl, radio and CD, longest for car, walkman and the famous '"girl friend compilations". I bought music I like most as Vinyl and/or CD. I used cassettes for "common" music and mainly for old recordings from older music lovers or musicians. In late 70s and early 80s, Jazz and Blues recordings of the 50s and 60s were hard to find. Original releases of Verve, BlueNote, Impulse etc have been suspended and the back catalogs were only available as compilations, mostly in bad quality. Only Atlantic, later WEA, as major lable was still publishing new recordings. Beginning in the early 1980s the re-releasing of old recordings was boosted by the CD and their possible profit for the lables. Unfortunately with less experience in digital audio and no effort in transfer or remastering. And there the market for used records started tiny and slow. So, the cassettes were needed until CD-burners and AD-/DA-cards for PCs get common.

Beside the hybris of the music industry with streaming, there are good remasters today, also for HighRes-download, and the market for used records is strong. I'm buying older, used vinyl only, and the quality of orignal Vinly from the late 50s to the late 70s on a modern HiFi-set floors me, even if the condition of the copy ist not so good. And I buy used CDs because there are enough releases until the 2020 not avaliable as new CD today, nor as streaming or download. I recovered a lot of my Cassettes content. For the rest, I use my used Denon DRM-800, bought for 200 EUR, for playbak only until the deck or I will die. Cassettes are only sastisfying with CrO2- or Me-tape, Dolby and a maintained Cassettes-Deck, but only Fe2O3 tape is in production today, because for reel-to-reel other tape types never get real common. The development of digital audio started in the late 60s and the development of analog-tape in professional audio came to an end then. Yes, so early. Beginning in 1978 Classical music recordings were made digital, and since 1980-81 all major lables are using digital only for the production masters of all music. Good cassette-decks with noise reduction are also no more in production since 20 years. For me, Cassettes is alive only 2% in deed.

@editingsecrets replies to @ericberger6966: One thing to add I lived through at the time: CDs were often excessively bright for the format's first few years, as mastering engineers didn't realize they no longer needed the high frequency boost to overcome the high frequency rolloff response of an analog master tape.
I understand the appeal of importing your content only available on cassettes. But what's the advantage of continuing to use it for playback, instead of capturing it all into computer for instant random access and no degradation from repeat plays?

@ericberger6966 replies to @ericberger6966: @Editing SECRETS revealed! Cassettes can last very long and their content is not so special to spend the effort in capturing as digital transfer until now, despite the fact, that I have two good Audio Interfaces and a DAW.
I also replace releases of the 80's to mid 90's with digital remasters because of the harshness of the orignal release. I think, it had not only been done to overcome issues in the production chain or due to traditional workflow. The quality of control rooms acoustics and monitor speakers was not as today. Only a few studios were using LEDE-design i.e. as standard, and the monitors where no good in the higher bands because it was not needed with analog tape. My most extreme example is 'Tug Of War' by Paul McCartney. Original release as Vinyl recorded at AIR Studios. Cuts your eardrum out. The famous Dire Straits recordings from there, that time, have similar problems. The second issue was "optimization" for car audio and disco in using Exciters excessively. The US productions from that time are more friendly but same sound design.

@editingsecrets replies to @ericberger6966: @Eric Berger That all makes sense.
"I think, it had not only been done to overcome issues in the production chain or due to traditional workflow." Exactly! To get high frequencies back from vinyl, you have to boost them in the master recording. Took a while for some mastering shops to realize you don't need to do that any more on digital, so some of those early digital releases were too bright.

@bikdav:  I must be a odd man out. For now, I discover lots of music on YouTube. I’m relooking at my cassettes again. Back then, cassettes were the most convenient way to play music in cars and other “mobile” devices.

@editingsecrets replies to @bikdav: If you mean enjoying music recorded to cassettes many years ago, I can see the point of revisiting old cassettes. I can't imagine any benefit today to recording a cassette mixtape, instead of transferring mp3's to a phone to take with you.

@mathumphreys:  I see the cassette resurgence as just another fad. Cassettes are a novelty to those that didn't grow up with them and that's fine. There's no logic in buying new music on cassette, but I can understand the novelty in making a mixtape. Now, excuse me as I go back to listening to a mixtape I recorded off the radio (in mono) back in 1980.

@musicalneptunian replies to @mathumphreys: When I was a kid in the 80's my local book library had an upstairs section where you could borrow cassettes. Music, audiobooks etc. Of course now there's no cassette tape to be seen.

@Anybloke:  After your video on cassette the other week I dug out my Yamaha KX200 and put it back in my system. The heads have been regularly cleaned and demagnetised. I recorded the CD of Space Shanty by Khan (sans Dolby) onto a CrO2 to compare the two. It sounded surprisingly good. Better than I remember in fact. I've also dug out a box of dub reggae tapes and listened to those too.

@DavidMorley:  Cassettes are fine. They get a bad rap. I’ve mastered releases from cassette. Nobody complained or noticed. Well recorded and well maintained decks can sound excellent.
My bigger problem is the quality of what people are listening to music on these days.

@nicc5122:  Well reasoned but as a greying old music (or sound) fan here's my perspective. I disliked the high speed duplicated cassettes and the 'Dolby out' trick compensated for the losses even on a well maintained deck. But I also had some non dolby cassettes (tubular bells being one) and despite the hiss, sounded very good. My prime use of cassettes was RECORDING, one off radio programmes, field recordings (the sound of a JT9D engine as a rear passenger in a BAC 1-11), personal life moments, concert bootlegs, Tony Blackburn unable to pronounce "Duran Duran". The only medium available to me. I even blocked off the permanent magnet erase head from engaging on blank tapes on portable recorders. Eventually I bought a Sony D6C. We cannot rewind those times, so the cassette is all I have, to the best recording at the time, no Dolby, an Altai electret one point stereo mic powered by a 1.5V button cell. It definitely is not about the quality, it is not even the nostalgia for the medium, it is the only thing I have, and the original source is just that, and it is cassette. You'll not be surprised to learn I also have DAT recorded in the field as well as later solid state recorder balanced mics with phantom power, but they hadn't been invented when the JT9D jet engine was making its classic sound taking holidaymakers to far off destinations. I've boxes and boxes of the things, and a lot I have 'ripped' to compressed digital format for ease of access cataloguing and listening convenience. Those old ILR commercial - LOCAL - radio stations (remember those?) had some unique output and adverts. Even the BBC local stations, even national output. Preserved (in part) on cassette. You mentioned demo tapes, which were on cassette, never made it to vinyl or CD. Unique, and highly valued by the artists most dedicated fan base and essential inclusion on CD box sets, hiss and all. YouTube, Mixcloud and Soundcloud are sources for others' recordings of rare and unique material, personal recordings when radio really was national or local with character we do not hear today, so I would cite any of those as a source, because it is all we had, all we have, unless I went along to the provider of the material to listen with them, but I am eternally grateful, and humbled that someone else took the time to make a recording, no matter how poor the quality (many of medium wave!) available to a wider audience. If we had waited around for "something better" and simply not used the medium we had, those sounds would have been lost forever, hiss, HF loss and all.

@guitarzanbikes1862:  Bands doing limited release cassettes is making a comeback, just like the diy punk days of 70's & 80's, I'm involved with some bands doing this using portastudios etc, part of the appeal is the lofi diy ethic, same as back in the day, photocopied inserts etc, some amazing stuff being produced!

@jamescarter3196 replies to @guitarzanbikes1862: Reminds me of around 1990 when samplers started getting really good and could do CD-quality sampling, and acts like Beck and Cypress Hill used them to make these grainy-sounding creations which sounded awesome with basically 'bad sound quality' used strategically in the mix.

@xanataph:  I think I get it. They are doing it for the same reason that teenagers & young adults in the 1970s and 1980s bought originals on cassette rather than vinyl, even though they knew that records were patently better and also knew about dubbing from record to cassette.

It's because they wanted the *original copy*, but they wanted it in a format that is more convenient to carry around (and possibly for storage purposes as well). They were prepared to accept the inferior quality in return for these benefits. Plus, a lot of people's music centres etc didn't do particularly well with the dubbing from record to cassette.

I think it is much the same now, but with the added dimension that they want to be a little bit "hipster" and have their music on an analogue medium, like a record, rather than a digital one but don't want the bulkiness of vinyls. I believe just like back in the day, cassette releases also tend to be a little cheaper than the vinyl versions.

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Thursday April 20, 2023

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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