Adventures In Audio

Did that Dolby thing ever work?

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I gave the width of cassette tape as an eighth of an inch, which is probably too much of an approximation. It should be 0.15 inches. Wikipedia states "The tape in a compact audio cassette is nominally ⅛ inch but actually slightly wider (3.81 millimetres (0.150 in))" DM

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BATMAN DESTROYS:  It worked great!

Dale Boylen:  I sold high end audio for a bit. Our shop would run cassette deck clinics where customers would bring in their deck and we would clean the heads, pinch roller, capstan and demag them, align the heads properly, then measure them, give them a print out of those measurements. All for free. I seen every brand and model cassette deck under the sun come through that store. The brands that performed consistently better were Nakamichi, Harman Kardon and Tandberg. Most others had top end roll off's of between 12K and 14K. Dolby is a calibrated noise reduction. I believe the standard back then was 250 nanowebers per meter, which was zero vu. Sadly, many decks put the double dolby markers (Zero vu) at + 3 VU, so the dolby circuit didn't work properly. Dolby C was better (20 db noise reduction), HX pro better still. IF properly calibrated. Still, it's 1/8th inch tape with stereo front and back. Alignment, bias changed with each tape brand used.

David Tennien:  It didn't work. The high frequency roll off killed the airyness.

Dad4:  Whatever…. In a professional sense Dolby Absolutely worked. There’s a ton of albums recorded on tape with either Dolby A or Dolby SR, that wouldn’t have sounded as good otherwise. The consumer version…. who cares…. Most consumers reflexively throw a smiley curve onto any consumer graphic EQ they find. In short, they can’t hear.

Jacek Schneider:  To make things worse, there were different dolby chips (licenced of course) Difference between new Sony chips and old Hitachi version i 've found on Akai cheap deck are huge. Hitachi version was clearly superior for unknown reason. And every maker (Sony, Pioneer) had different idea how to setup dolby level in their electronics. Most stupid idea was to skip dolby regulator and require to properly setup everything else to get a match...

Turrican 4D:  7:00 I cleaned our tapedeck once a week and demagnitized it once a month.

George Paxson:  I read about this as a middle aged adult recently and understood it. Would be interested to hear the difference with the proper tape and other conditions met. I won't be dealing with cassettes probably ever though.

Rich Sherman:  Thank You Sooooo much. Finally the missing tutorial on Dolby. Again, thank you!

Melanie Zette:  It worked for me with Dolby C on the same machine, when I could afford metal type cassettes nr was useless to my ears

CrueLoaf:  Yer…but…You don't do heavy metal in Dobly!

mixville2:  In the 80s the studio I worked in used had dbx noise reduction rack units for each track on both 2 track and multitrack machines - lots of rack units. We thought that worked very well. At home on my cassette deck, I never used Dolby B - even tapes recorded and played on that machine sounded dull to me. But the deck also had Dolby C, and I actually thought that worked well for my own recordings. I used it all the time. Not sure the difference between B and C. Will have to look it up. Thanks for the memories!!! No wonder we were so happy to get DAT! :) Love your videos!

cjay2:  I used my Nakamichi ZX7 with metal tapes, usually TDK, and the Dolby C switch in the 'on' position always, for about 20 years. I don't use the deck or the cassettes anymore, but it worked great through the 80s and 90s. Still have the vinyl records and the CDs I bought in the 90s and 2ks. The vinyl records are the best in the end.

Glade Swope:  It worked when recording, as a high-end enhancer.

CathodeRayTube99:  Good video. Agree with everything, and I think I understand. However, I only record cassettes for playback in my car and my car cassette player has no Dolby. (Yes, I play cassettes in my car in 2023!) So if the playback machine has no Dolby, am I right in saying there's no point in recording with Dolby?

Mark Philpot:  You can believe what you want. I could care less about this noise reduction as it took the life out of recording. I used to use it, but it took out more than it opened up. Most could care less about recording analog regardless which tape format they use. I choose not to use it anymore. More circuits used equals more chance of noise introduced into the signal path. You choose what suits your situation and needs. Your ears are the only ones that matter in this hobby.

Sparky 18:  I own some Nagra recorders including a IV-S. (2 in fact) Some time ago I found this Bryston 280B noise reduction unit with 2 Dolby SR cartridges in it. Its very hard to hear any difference in the recordings with or without. But I am almost 67 now. So it must be my hearing! The Nagra has always sounded good to me. Yes at 15 inch.

JayTemple:  I've known almost since "She Blinded Me with Science" that Thomas Dolby wasn't related to Ray. What I only learned a few years ago is that Dolby was a nickname that Thomas acquired because of his interest in recording technology, including the eponymous NR system.

BATMAN DESTROYS replies to JayTemple: Ray Dolby, did not want him to use their Dolby name! The matter went to Court! The Court decided Thomas Dolby, could use the Dolby name, but he could not release any electronic equipment using the Dolby name!

Audio Masterclass replies to JayTemple: I seem to remember that at one point Dolby Laboratories tried to stop him using it. DM

Nick Wallette:  IMO, who cares? Embrace tape for its deficits. :-) If you want noiseless recordings, there are other forms of media that are better suited. There's no need to archive on compact cassette anymore, so the use of tape these days is a conscious choice. Ergo, why worry about a few dB less hiss?

J.T. Cooper:  A CD recorded on High Bias or Metal tape and Dolby C made for the best sounding cassettes back in the mid 80's when I still had a use for them.

Cyto Wing:  When making my own recordings I don't use Dolby, I just don't have enough noise to justify it. On tapes encoded with Dolby I turn it on and if it is dull I turn it off . That doesn't happen often, usually on old wore out tapes. I used to be an electronics tech and I have the gear to keep my tape decks calibrated properly. Proper calibration is a must for Dolby to work.

Bill Mulvihill:  We played rock music and used dbx noise reduction.
No stinkin’ Dolby!

Andrew Hollis:  You don’t need Dolby on Type II or Type IV cassettes.

Steffen Mathiasen:  It depends on which tapes I use. I never use Dolby on type II cassettes. Never needed to. Some type I yes. SONY tapes as an example. Great tapes but noisy.

Merc Fredis:  I like your channel mate, I know you're getting started... but as soon as the AI digital assistant came on, all I wanted to do was punch my monitor. I didn't, only because I knew then I wouldn't know how to click off fast enough. Just explain it yourself mate, we like listening to you. ;-) Thanks for the video, though, seriously.

RR Channel:  Additionally the AIWA deck has CD/DAT direct inputs...

RR Channel:  Also the HX Pro & AMTS features really help along w/ metal tape. . I have found that to get the right record levels, it helps-- after recording a track-- to let it play back once all the way through before checking the level. The sound will embed itself onto the tape at a lower level than if one checks it directly after recording. Thanks for you channel..

RR Channel:  My decks are the Denon DRS- 810 & AIWA AD-F700. MO is that using Dolby C actually enhances the sound. See owners manual for DRS- 810 pg 10

Charles Hess:  I had a separate dolby unit for my reel-to-reel deck. My friend had an enormous record collection and I would borrow from him and make a dolbyB encoded reel-to-reel copy at 7 1/2"/s. They always sounded as good as the LP.

Charles Hess:  I used metal tapes. CrO2 didn't do it for me.

MacinMind Software:  If the music you listen to is already noise, dolby doesn't fix this. Seriously, I think of Dolby NR as something like the RIAA curve that goes way back with records. Even reel-to-reel decks without dolby have a curve I've discovered. I thought it would be brilliant to run my reels at double speed and digitally record them at 96 KHz sampling rate and simply change them to 48 KHz in software to save time. But I did a test first with white noise and frequency sweeps to discover that there was a frequency response difference and I assume a type of curve. So I've done all of my digitizing of reels at realtime speed.

dd0ck:  I have a Nakamichi RX-505 that was recently serviced. Both Dolby B and C work great. I feel like Dolby C doesn’t work as well between my deck and WM-D6C, and Dolby B on my WM-D6 sounds great! But I think the head on the WM-D6 is better. So I use Dolby B when recording for my Walkman for playback, and Dolby C when recording for my Nakamichi for playback.

Max Nielsen:  Great explanation. I really like your clear technical approach.

Pengochan:  I've never cleaned any cassette device in my lifetime, and i'd bet that applies to about 99% of people using the things. It's just not how the average consumer used these things. It's more likely they bought a new one. I had no idea about why different cassette types sounded different or which specific type i should buy for any specific device. I also have no idea how much of a difference it would have made for the consumer grade products i used. My experience with Dolby buttons was how it changed the sound when pushed during playback, regardless of how that tape was recorded (how would i remember if i fiddled around with the Dolby button when i recorded that thing?), which is, of course, not how it's supposed to be used.
So when evaluating statements of "the average joe" e.g. about the Dolby button, one should take into account how they used that stuff.

Pengochan replies to Pengochan: @Audio Masterclass I wonder if i would've bothered had i known better. I'm more a "listen to the music" type, and if it's too bad i switch it off. I'm passionate about other things. But i was happy to see cassettes and records replaced by digital. The audio was noticeably better (even for me), and it was much less hassle.

Audio Masterclass replies to Pengochan: This is mostly my point. Non-technical people used the Dolby the way it sounded best to them, regardless of whether it was correct or not. Cleaning the heads, both record/playback and erase, works wonders. DM

William Palminteri:  .....or switch to dbx and get rid of ALL of the noise.
Did I say that ?
Bill P.

Audio Masterclass replies to William Palminteri: Well you did say it. And my cordial response is DM

OrdinaryWorld:  I'm sure it works but there are so many variables that the average user can't be bothered with mitigating. If a friend offered to record something for me, I'd always say to them, "DO NOT USE DOLBY", because YES... I would always get a dull sounding cassette if they did. In addition, many of the "Walkmans" I had over the years didn't have a Dolby switch so it didn't make sense to record with Dolby. Right or wrong, I almost exclusively used BASF Chromdioxide and even Metal tapes and push the levels as high as I could to combat tape noise. No idea if it made that much difference but I'm sure I told myself it did. I recall having a few decks over the years with Dolby C and do remember experimenting with it. Unfortunately, so few decks had it that again, it didn't make sense to use it when recording in case the destination player didn't have Dolby C.

kirkp_nextguitar:  I recorded a bunch of vinyl records using Dolby-B and some using Dolby-S. I’d occasionally A-B a vinyl against the tape I had just recorded and to my critical ears they were quite good.

Mark Wheeler:  The best results I ever had recording Dolby B tapes was in 1980 using a quite expensive Aiwa AD6900 machine that had a pretty involved manual tape tuning facility which - if used properly each time before making the actual recording - made brilliant recordings that would also play faultlessly on other machines too. A couple of minutes well spent each time before making a recording.

Editing SECRETS revealed!:  I was hoping for the clip from Spinal Tap: They used too much Dob-lee on the recording...
I'm one of the ten people who used Dolby B as directed, whenever I recorded anything to cassette. For Walkman listening on the go, Dolby on if in a quiet environment, off if a noisy environment called for high frequency boost.

Douglas Watters:  When I was still using cassettes up to the early 2000s I just used maxell xl-ii with no noise reduction. It seemed to be the best at leaving good response on lows mids and highs. Sure there was some noise, but I could hardly hear it except for maybe the blank spots between songs.

Ignacio Curiel:  I used to think that there was (is) a reason for Type-b to exist. High end tape recorders had it, and when I bought my first Walkman, it also had the option. So, I said, if there is this option, and not all recorders/players have it, then those that do have noise reduction have it for a reason and I should leave it on always. It was kind of a self-delusion because I thought that maybe I was losing something when I didn't use noise reduction both at the recording phase, and then when I played the music on my portables. I did hear the "muffled" sound of NR applied at playback, but then I thought that my ears weren't really trained enough to know if this effect made the music closer to reality or not. So... always on, and when someone told me that they did not like NR, I thought "they don't know what they're talking about" LOL

Kourosh Akef:  Dolby has always worked perfectly for me .

spentron1:  I would add that not only did playback usually sound better with Dolby off, usually it was even better if it was never recorded with Dolby in the first place. Humm.
3:44 no change of transient response? Who claimed that? Compression and expansion doesn't work that way.

Alexander Mikhailov:  It's been working for me on the tapes I recorded myself. The results are mixed on pre-recorded tapes. I used to record with C for years but eventually moved to B, like the overall result better.

James:  NOPE. It would be better to just record a little bit hotter. Spinaltap was right.

Ronald Austin:  I had one that made a big difference. But not on the tape, but on the FM radio. Weird but that model they all did it. Had a friend had the same one. Kenwood, late 70's tuner. It was first came out with digital display. It was a 711 or 721 I can't remember.

JoeJ8282:  Dolby B wasn't really all that great, OR all that effective at actually noticeably reducing the "hiss" noise level on the tape, because it only produced about -10dB of noise reduction.

Dolby C noise reduction was about "twice" as effective as Dolby B, with about a -20dB noise reduction capability, however Dolby C was extremely finicky to get right, and UNLESS everything was totally PERFECT with your deck AND you first recorded the tape with Dolby C "on", then playing the tape back with it on would actually sound worse than just not using any noise reduction at all, so it never became very "popular" to use.

Dolby S noise reduction, introduced in the early 90's was MUCH better AND much more effective than either B type OR C type, and gave an approximate noise reduction of around -30 dB, which actually made cassette recording using the best quality tapes and on a really high quality deck, sound almost as good as a CD, which was awesome at the time!

THELONIOUSMONstertrucK:  My ex-girlfriend liked when I recorded her tapes with Dolby-B so she could play them back without the Dolby... she's way cooler than me. She loved the blistering high-end.
Most professional recording engineers I knew recommended against installing the Dolby-A system. It was just more equipment that had to be calibrated and reduced the number of machines you could playback with. More stuff to go wrong. Better to have a properly aligned Studer A827 without noise reduction.
I had a Technics cassette deck that had Dolby-B, Dolby-C and dbx. Dolby B actually worked fairly well, but it was a nice and well maintained machine. Dolby-C was muddy. dbx (compander) was abysmal.

Mikhail Kulkov:  In USSR there was very bad and dirty tapes, and literally everyone cleaned heads after every playing and, of course, before recording.

Editing SECRETS revealed! replies to Mikhail Kulkov: In Soviet Russia, noise records you!

TeeKay:  "Did that Dolby thing ever work?"

Yes. Dolby C was an improvement though. That said, the decks that would actually automatically configure the Dolby to the tape type were the ones that were most effective.

Commercially recorded tapes didn't use Dolby (because it would have cost money), which of course would make them sound dull if you turned Dolby on.

Audio Masterclass replies to TeeKay: Definitely some musicassettes have Dolby - I can see them on eBay with the Dolby logo. In what proportion Dolby vs. non-Dolby, I have no idea. You're right about making non-Dolby cassettes sound dull. Non-technical people have very little tolerance and when they found that Dolby made a non-Dolby tape sound dull, then they would probably decide they didn't like it and keep it off. DM

vdochev:  Back in the day, I used Dolby B on pre-recorded tapes and on my recordings as well and it sounded good to me. I guess it depends on the cassette deck, if they implemented the system properly.

Paul Bras:  I both agree and disagree.
The fundamental information in this video is correct.
tape music playback is challenged when playback is on a different machine than the recording of the tape and Dolby enhances the challenges
head alignment, azimuth control, demagnetization, head cleaning and more are all maintenance items that when ignored will diminish playback quality and Dolby enhances the problems
cheap non quality equipment is cheap non quality equipment and Dolby can't do magic and make this equipment wonderful
Where I disagree, at least in my experience is with the gist of this video. The 70's boom in Hi-Fi was my era. I grew up in The Netherlands and people were always seemingly upgrading their stereos. There was a lot of magazine and newspaper information, people were conscious and informed and in my circles people did generally know what Dolby was. I used it all the time with great success, I didn't buy pre recorded cassettes, they were trash and I ran into trouble when playing tapes that I recorded on my home deck in the car, or the beach portable radio cassette, or a tape loaned to me by a friend or playing my old tapes when I bought a new deck.
My opinion is that the transition from cassettes being, their intended use machine to record board meetings and other spoken word audio to a worthy music medium, that transition was made possible because of Dolby, in addition to other progresses like separate record and playback heads, head alignment control (either automated or manual) azimuth control, improved tapes like chromium dioxide and metal, later on Dolby C and S and all the innovation that Nakamichi contributed.
Here's the thing though, while Dolby was the best "marketed" noise reduction there were better ones, like HX noise reduction developed by Bang & Olufson and perhaps DBX.

ctrlzyx2:  Had several decks with B and C. They always worked perfectly for their intended purpose, which was to reduce tape hiss. Main problem was many prerecorded tapes were not released using any NR. Some had B and sounded best with B switched on for playback. I had 100's of cassette tapes I recorded from vinyl. 90% were maxwell udxl-ii chromium dioxide, and I always marked whether I used B or C during the transfer. They sounded best both in the home and in the car when I used the proper setting for playback. Sorry, but it worked flawlessly if you followed instructions. Most people don't even pay attention to polarity when hooking up speakers, so how are they going to appreciate 6 dB of noise reduction around 1000 hz, which is kinda the sweet spot for B? Cassettes boomed in the 80's because everyone had a Walkman. The dolby B tapes always sounded tinny on those, which I guess some people grew to like. No surprise.

Mudhar Hadi:  If only we knew then what we know now... And finally, 30 years after the demise of the cassette, I understand how Dolby works & what I should have done with my cassette deck...

jagmarc:  I found not over-biasing and creative use of saturation to be way more important. NR is just a bit of extra icing for dynamic range

John R:  never liked dolby b and c, then in the 90's i bought a sony tc k611s, it had dolby s and that was should i say much better

Matthew Humphreys:  Watching this video has rekindled my interest in my old cassettes (all with Dolby off). I haven't played them in over 20 years, but I've now dragged out over 200 cassettes, cleaned and demagnetized the heads on my trusty old Sony TC-FX510R and here I am happily reliving the past. So, thank you.

Florian M:  Very good description. Since my very first cassette deck i paid attention to have a Dolby level and bias calibration on the front plate, so my recordings always were with Dolby B and for my second deck Dolby C. I went the extra mile to also have a Walkman with Dolby C. I still record mainly in Dolby C. I did also discover DBX (II Type) can sound very convincing too. Pity there was only one walkman ever available with it/ or a external processor for mobile use. As i now have about 100 Tape decks in my collection (also with Dolby S) I'd say Dolby S is one of the best systems for cassette. The only drawback is that it was too late to the party and only a select few decks with good mechanisms were made.

erwin vb:  I leave it of, mainly because my WM-22 doesn’t have support for it and it does sound fine without Dolby as long as you use IEC type 1 or better tape.

Bart Van Leeuwen:  Of course there is also type C and S for consumers, which work better when everything goes well, but also complicate things even more, and require even more accurate calibration and alignment, not to mention, type c especially suffers from compatibility issues between decks even when alignment is as good as technically possible due to being very sensitive to even the smallest differences in calibration of the type c implementation.

I use type B quite a lot for recording and playback because it has good compatibility between all the decks I have. But unlike most consumers back when cassette tapes were in common use, I keep my decks clean, and ensure to demagnetize them regularely (in fact the 2 decks I use most do this themselves, every time they are powered on).

Okaro:  Many may think that the brighter sounding is better even if the dull is more natural.

r3aper233:  Dolby NR has been a 'goto' ever since l discovered it as a late teen many years ago. It worked well for me and was never an issue on any of my recordings. PS Love the channel 👍

sniqers01:  Another problem are prerecorded Tapes with a chromedioxide formular. They loose thair level of Signal over time and they are off from the level that the Dolby Decoder needs to do his job right.
Only Decks with Play Trim could bring the Levels back to it's original state

DJ Yogi:  Nice video brought back alot of memories. I used dolby B when recording CDs. I used high bias cassettes and with dolby B engaged they sounded pretty good. Also the stuff about head cleaning and alignment made me reminisce about the good ole days😁

The Tape Shack:  Of course Dolby works...if all of the planets and moons are aligned LMAO. I frankly couldn't be bothered with it and put up with the hiss as most of the music I listen to masks it out. If I want to listen to bettwer quality and "quieter" music it certainly wouldn't be on a tape. Perhaps you should do another video expanding on all of the other NR types, e.g. DBX, ADRES etc?

Arty F Hartie:  Wrong. The cassette tapes and decks are not noisy. They provide the best sound if you are not lazy and care for your tapes and equipment.And know how to use them. Don't talk BS. The Dolby NR is garbage and destroys the sound.

Kevin C:  I’m sure it works if everything is aligned, cleaned and so on, but in the real world that was never the case. Maybe the heads were cleaned (though probably not in a car deck), but was your Walkman, car deck, home deck and the one at a friends house also in alignment et. al? No, while in the ideal world Dolby may have been the bees knees, in real world it wasn’t. IME, it was always better with it switched off (though maybe I’d have felt different if I’d owned a Dragon.

Audio Masterclass replies to Kevin C: Did anyone ever clean the head in their car deck? DM

David Mander:  Dolby sounds muddy and like the treble has been stripped... I always left it off because the hiss made it sound much clearer!!

Gene Savage:  I tended to turn on Dolby and then turn up the treble to correct for misalignment, wHiCh mEaNt i wAs hEaRiNg oDd dYnAmIc jUmPs aNd dRoPs as the Dolby encoder was switching in and out at one level, and the Dolby decoder was switching in and out and a different level.

I always knew it SHOULD work but rarely had tapes that truly sounded "right" with it in OR out. Out, and the highs sounded compressed. In, and they sounded dull. You couldn't win!

I always wished I had DBX...

linandy1:  Dolby C was better. Remember the hiss on 8 track? Yeah.. 🤓

Albee213:  Dolby B does work, however most pre-recorded tapes sounded better with it off and adjust the treble as needed. With it on you needed to crank the treble to make it sound good. When I recorded cassettes on a good deck it was great. Dolby C with type II or IV was great with a good deck.

ksi:  A Good Alternative in the 70s:
Philips "DNL"

I made the same experience that is described in this video and never used Dolby B on any of my over 600 cassettes since my first Hifi tape deck in the end of the 70s, that was capable of Dolby B. I didn't want to destroy my recordings with this crap, that, when playing back, reduced high frequencies very agressively when using it with playback, too, or made them too shrill, when not using Dolby at playback.

What was very good in my eyes btw. ears, was on my first Hifi tape deck from 1975: "DNL", "dynamic noise limiter" by Philips.

This worked like a charm:

First I did not have to destroy my recordings, as DNL was for playback only. A huge advantage, as my cassettes were recorded neutral and universal.

Second it worked by cutting off some high frequencies at very low volumes, when noise can be heard easily, otherwise it did not filter too much (or nothing?). It is interesting, that in low volume passages I never heard that loss of high frequency, as one could assume. But the noise on the other hand was canceled so much. The handbook of the machine told, that low volume music had automatically fewer high frequencies... I don't know, if this is true (?)

So with DNL there was never the impression of missing high frequencies like with Dolby recordings, while noise in more silent parts was reduced very effectively.

I dont't understand, why Dolby was such a success in opposite to DNL. Maybe, because with cheap chrome cassettes in the end of the seventies the noise was not a real problem anymore for most of us, especially, when the cheap and very, very good tdk sa 90 cassettes came out.

Paul Piacentini:  Dolby S. All I know is that if I flicked the switch (sensibly and unconveniently hidden on the back of my old Fostex G16S) to off. Niagra falls arrived. Over 16 tracks on half inch tape Dolby S was fantastic.

Audio Masterclass replies to Paul Piacentini: I found the Dolby Type C on my E16 perfectly adequate. DM

Daniel Düsentrieb Junior:  Where did you get that female Zombie from?

Red Robbo's Workshop:  Dolby B was only useable with a correctly aligned tape on a calibrated machine, with play and record on the same machine.
In general I would prefer no Dolby with metal tape pushed hard to minimise noise, or genuine chrome dioxide tape (BASF) which had the lowest self noise of any tape formulation.

Bruno Primas:  If your head was not aligned correctly, playback in Dolby B will sound awful.

t0nito:  I never had luck with Dolby B on any tape or any deck, Dolby B switched on always cuts off the treble whether the tape is Dolby encoded or not for me. DBX on the other hand sound really good, pity that most decks don't support it.

Jim Butler:  In 75 I bought a Teac 3340S and a Dolby unit that was recommended to me for quieter recordings. I used it for a week or two making encoded recordings that then had to be played back through the Dolby box to unencode what was recorded. I don’t know if I wasn’t using it properly or what, but it seemed like the recordings just didn’t sound as good compared to not using it in the first place. I returned the Dolby box to the dealer and am glad that I haven’t had to deal with it. I used that deck to record a lot of my original music into the 90s. In recent years I have archived most of my old tapes into my daw and am quite pleased with the quality of my old recordings.

Roy Bixby:  What about type C dolby NR ?

Audio Masterclass replies to Roy Bixby: I'll probably make another video covering Types C, S, and SR at some point in the future. DM

nagy endre:  Dolby: Off!

Electric Earth:  Where can I find that female voice and animation?

tactileslut:  A: never had it. No experience.
C: tolerable. Swishy but better than none. Boost the treble a bit after decoding.
B: my ears remove noise better than that muffled bullshit. Reduce the treble if you must but never play with B enabled.

Graeme Lastname:  I'm just glad dolby is no longer needed.

4Nanook:  Problem is more often than not the recommended tape is shit and doesn't produce good results even with Dolby, so better to get the best performing tape and re-align the machine to use it.

Stuart Sinclair:  Dolby Noise Reduction was great on cassette tapes No Hiss….. I with it cam out when you played a Vinyl to reduce the crackle sound,
Apparently just before you put the middle to the record, put a fine mist spray of water over the face of the LP then play it, 80% of the crackle disappears 😮

organfairy:  I am one those people who tends to switch Dolby off on cassette decks. However, some years ago I made a lot of music on an 8 channel Fostex 1/4'' tape recorder with Dolby C and it worked fine - as long as I used the good Maxell tapes (the machine was probably adjusted for those) and planned which instruments I put on the individual tracks. Since there were only 8 tracks I sometimes had to have more than one instrument on some of the tracks. If I put an instrument rich in treble - like strings - on the same track as the drums, I could hear the strings loose treble when the snare drum was hit and than gain treble again until the next drum beat. But apart from that quirk it worked fine.

Chris Bartram:  I always found Dolby (either B or C) worked just fine with decent tape and a properly set-up deck, even something budget like an Aiwa AD-F270. Worth noting that Nakamichi managed to do self-aligning azimuth, though the price of a deck was eye-watering.

Nic c:  You're correct to talk about alignment, and 3 head decks with fine bias help that by ear. My deck generated tones to assist. I used Dolby C too (a video on that?) and I also used dbx, there's a type 1 and type 2 (my cassette was type 2 I believe) but Dolby A sounds similar (in operation) to dbx or have I missed the point?

martin rose:  40 odd years ago I was very popular with my friends ,I like to think for many reasons but one reason was that I had a very good Scottish record player and a B&O cassette tape deck with Dolby
HX Pro . One of the few decks that had it built in , I made very good tapes for my friends who played them in their cars

mighteee:  never copy a zx spectrum game with dolby on

Richard:  I always used Dolby C NR. I also fine tuned the bias of the tape by recording noise of my FM tuner (finding an empty spot where there is no station). If the noise was identical between recording and playback it was ok for me. This gave me good results with my Kenwood cassette deck.
I once bought a pre recorded cassette, recorded with dolby-B or normal Dolby as I called it, and it indeed sounded dull. That was the first and the last pre recorded cassette that I ever bought.
Of course it is all past tense. I am in the digital age now and relieved of all these goodies I used to love in the past.

Audio Masterclass replies to Richard: Yes I remember the FM noise trick. With my deck opened up and a schematic to hand it was possible to set both level and bias.

Speckles:  We clearly need a Dolby on/off plug in.

Audio Masterclass replies to Speckles: There are Dolby Type-A encode plugins which are used as an effect. As for decode plugins, well I'm still searching on that. DM

tb303:  Look, it might have been better if the album had been mixed right in the first place - you don't do Heavy Metal in Dobly after all.

(Let's not get started on 3" set designs).

Mike Wu:  I always kept Dolby B switched off, because the sound would be dull otherwise. Never bothered with C or S. When I had money, I always bought Sony UX-S cassettes, they sounded beautifully dynamic compared to normal ones. Brilliant explanation btw

Anhedonian Epiphany:  The biggest Dolby type-B issue was with store bought music cassettes. No matter how much cleaning, degaussing, and aligning, of the heads was done, the mastering deficits just wouldn’t allow enough clear signal for the noise reduction to perform its task properly.

5Rounds Rapid replies to Anhedonian Epiphany: @Florian M Yes, they were pretty terrible. I do have some of the “Digalog” tapes, and they have incredibly good treble response.

Florian M replies to Anhedonian Epiphany: That was because the commercial cassettes were high-speed copied (up to 64X normal speed), so very often they lacked treble response.

5Rounds Rapid replies to Anhedonian Epiphany: Most pre-recorded cassettes were horribly mastered. Plus, most pop music at the peak of the cassette era had loads of treble.

Colloidal Silver Water 15 ppm:  Exactly in that manner I used Dolby B , but Dolby C was tremenduous on Pioneer deck, forget which it were. It was good piece of hardware. Then, I made Compander. Bro, it was quantum leap not for one men, but for humanity. Even today, my recordings under compander sounds equally to CD quality. And all of that on , say, maxell normal tape. Repeat: I made that compander, by very well known schematics. Not my patent. But, anyway, it was huge success. Thanks for patience

hoTTsongsdotin at gmail:  No..

Drake Fallentine:  My first encounter with the Dolby Noise Reduction process came in the form of a stand-alone component made by TEAC, the AN-50. It required 4 pairs of stereo patch cords connected between a single tape recorder and the amplifier. The feature that I found most useful was a built-in 400hz tone that I used to set VU levels. The unit did clean up and improve the sound quality to some extent, but I took a different approach to resolve the source of the noise which was to record on higher quality tape to begin with. I still have the AN-50 and use it as a tone generator. I have had no need for the Dolby process all these years with clean recordings across the board.  My Aiwa AD-F770 calibrates automatically for each tape you record onto, very useful. I used Dolby B for tapes to be played in the car (yes, Dolby on the car stereo too, only recently removed it) and Dolby C for home recordings.

watching watches:  I remember pressing that button and noticing the quietness increase I thought it was okay because I only had crap equiptment nothing worth improving on.
I do possess a Philips DCC cassette player but I screwed up and purchased a European model now I have to modify it to play on 120 v u s

summer20105707:  I leave Dolby on and I always try to match it to the correct Dolby. B recordings to B and C to C, etc. Although these days I tend to make my recordings in C. The recommended tape for my deck is TDK D, but I use a wide variety of tapes that work fine. TDK D, Memorex DBS, Maxell XL II, UR, BASF you name it. But my favorites are the D, the DBS and the XL II.

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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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