Thursday, May 05, 2005

Remembering an Old Friend
Posted by Sam at 10:51 AM

Remember the audio cassette? I know you're trying to forget it, but you know you remember... that rectangular chunk of plastic filled with furlong upon furlong of magnetic media? You know what I'm talking about. Remember what it was like to hear your favorite tape get garbled up by Mom's car cassette deck? That gasp of horror as you realize that your one-of-a-kind Sam's Super Driving Mix is about to be lost forever? Remember pulling the cassette out only to find that there is still tape wound intricately around the play mechanism... and the more you pull, the worse it gets? Yeah, I remember the audio cassette. Good riddance.

Considering my loathing of magnetic tape, it's interesting how I become filled with nostalgic glee while taking a virtual stroll through Project C-90's audio cassette museum. I'm delighted when I stumble across an audio cassette that I remember. "Oh! I had a TDK Super D. Side A had Slayer's 'Reign In Blood,' and side B had Bad Religion's 'Suffer' and most of 'Against the Grain!'" or "Yep. The Fuji JP-II. I made a mix on that tape for a girl (what was her name?) that I had a monstrous high school crush on. I think I titled the mix, 'Songs that make me think of you' or something equally as lame. As I recall, it was filled to the brim with the likes of Suicidal Tendencies, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, probably some Cannibal Corpse thrown in there for good measure... in retrospect, I might have liked to have thought through my musical selections prior to adhering them to a mix tape whose very creation was intended to instill a sense of romance within the recipient... don't get me wrong, nothing is more romantic than Maiden's 'Die With Your Boots On,' but... nevermind." Or, my personal favorite, the Memorex dBS (see photo). Nothing screams late 80's (early 90's?) like the superb graphics on this audio cassette. Man, that brings me back...

Want more? Remember... Tape hiss? High bias? Those little tabs that you pull off to write protect the cassette? Remember discovering that you can put a piece of scotch tape over the write protection holes on your sister's Paula Abdul tape so you can record your friends new Megadeth tape over it... on a dual cassette deck, with high speed dubbing? Auto reverse? The yellow Sony Sport Walkman? Remember having to press the play and record buttons simultaneously to begin recording? Remember pressing the play and record buttons accidentally when you just wanted to press play... and recording 3 seconds of empty space in the middle of your favorite Black Flag song? Remember that non-recordable bit of tape at the beginning of every blank tape, that you forget about every time you go to make a copy, as you cut off the first 10 seconds of the first song?

So many audio cassette memories... what are yours?

Comments: 4 | Post a Comment | Permalink

When I was 11 years old, I bought Slick Rick's album, "The Adventures of Slick Rick." This album had the "explicit lyrics" sticker on it, but the teenage boy that sold it to me at our local Strawberries music store could have cared less. With songs titled "Treat Her Like A Prostitute" and "Lick The Balls" I was in for a real treat. I brought it home and I had the tape for a few days before my mom got a listen and insisted that I give the tape to her. Thanks to high-speed dubbing, I was able to record the whole album on one of the very same cassettes you have shown in your post in a matter of minutes. I couldn't label the tape, so I took an eraser and rubbed it on the front of the tape so I would know which one it was. Now that I'm graduating, getting married, ect, I've been going through all my junk at my mom's house and I found that tape. I immediately knew what was on it and played it for my mom.

Comment By Anonymous on May 05, 2005 12:43 PM

Sam, this is by far and large the nerdiest thing I have ever seen you write about.

And that is saying a lot.

But man...mix tapes. Trying to find the right number of songs that would fit on one side without leaving too much blank space at the end or ruining the flow of the music. Learning how to calculate base 12 math in your head to add times and then learning to discern track lenghts on records by looking at the width of the groove.

Nerds unite!

Comment By Dr. Kennedy on May 06, 2005 10:04 AM

You might want to check the link that goes to the Project C-90 site. It runs off into a russion hosted website, that seems to contain garbled english, and no pictures of any cassettes. I don't know if the site has been relocated or is now out of date. Thought I just let you know.




Yeah... you're right. That link is deader than doornail. It's too bad too. Project C-90 was a very cool site. Oh well... these things happen in the unpredictable world of the internet. Anyway, thanks for the heads-up and thanks for reading!

Blog on!

P.S. Oh... can I post this as an update to that entry?


Yep, go right ahead! It's a fantastic sight, and it seems to be the only one of it's kind.


Hi Sam,

Yeah, that's what I thought. Your one of about seven sites that suggest it. Anyway, here's another good link you might be interested in.

It shows quite a few old style maxell tapes from the 80's. I was a strict user of the Maxell UD 90 (second row) and the XL II 90 (eleventh row). When my parents bought my first recorder from National Panasonic, the first cassette I ever used was the Maxell LN 90, just like the one at the top in the orange case. Kind of brings back many memories of my first tapes, when I taped songs of radio from Donna Summer, Lipps Inc, The Vapors and the Village People.

Here's another page, full of TDK Tapes.

Scotch Tapes:

Damn, hell, this is one good site, I'm just discovering them for the first time. I'm still finding more links:

Sony Tapes, these were good tapes too.

Hitachi Tapes

Oh, if you really wanted to screw up a cassette deck, just chuck in a BASF tape.
Over the years, I've had to throw a few boxes of these out.

Fuji Tapes, these were also crap.

Philips Tapes

That's basically it. Excellent site, but the navigation is nasty, as there is no index to the site, and most of it is in Slovak. Has many great pictures though, and i'm adding them to my retro links page.

Hope it brings back some memories for you, good or bad.

Have a nice day.


Comment By Sam on March 09, 2006 8:25 PM

Hi Sam,

Here's another good cassette link from Russia,



Comment By Sam on March 16, 2006 10:52 PM

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