Cassettes

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Cassettes

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:56 pm

Cassette multitracks have become a bigger part of my workflow than I ever would have expected in 2019. Finding 60min (or shorter) type II tapes a total pain in the butt though. There's a local cassette duplication shop that stocks new, custom wound cassettes and they frequently have what I'm looking for but the tape stock is based on whatever new/old stock bulk tape they can source so you never really know what you'll get. Most of the time it's great but occasionally I'll end up with a formulation that doesn't play nice with my recorder.

Is anybody here still rocking the cassette multitrack? If so where do you find tape?
I've got a tv soundtrack gig coming up. My partner and I did the first season's soundtrack on a 488 and it was great. I'd like to do the same for season 2 so I'm hoarding as many 60 min type II cassettes as I can source.
Help!

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Re: Cassettes

Post by kslight » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:40 pm

I sold my 688 and 238 because i never could get into them like the 388...at the time I bought a whole case of new 60 min (i think) type 2 tapes from delta media. I would say good riddance to them, except I own a few tape based gadgets (Landscape HCTT, Onde Magnetique OM1, and Onde Cassette Echo).

Have you checked delta media? Soundtrack gig sounds cool, although making those sync to timecode sounds tricky?

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markjazzbassist
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Re: Cassettes

Post by markjazzbassist » Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:21 pm

sounds like me and scotch 206 1/4" tape which i hoard and buy up. i'm guessing this is the shop you live near?

https://www.duplication.ca/home.php

here are some other ones, i can't vouch for them personally though

tapes.com
nationalaudiocompany.com
https://tapeline.info/v2/

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Scodiddly
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Re: Cassettes

Post by Scodiddly » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:44 pm

Well dang, I think I threw away a couple of still-sealed CrO2 cassettes recently as I didn't even have a working cassette deck. But I'll go look and see if I've got something still.

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Re: Cassettes

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:10 pm

markjazzbassist wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:21 pm
sounds like me and scotch 206 1/4" tape which i hoard and buy up. i'm guessing this is the shop you live near?

https://www.duplication.ca/home.php

here are some other ones, i can't vouch for them personally though

tapes.com
nationalaudiocompany.com
https://tapeline.info/v2/
That’s the one. They’re really great but they’re scouring the world for tapes just like the rest of us.

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Re: Cassettes

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:13 pm

kslight wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:40 pm
I sold my 688 and 238 because i never could get into them like the 388...at the time I bought a whole case of new 60 min (i think) type 2 tapes from delta media. I would say good riddance to them, except I own a few tape based gadgets (Landscape HCTT, Onde Magnetique OM1, and Onde Cassette Echo).

Have you checked delta media? Soundtrack gig sounds cool, although making those sync to timecode sounds tricky?
No synching required. We never write to picture. We track to the 488 but then transfer to pro tools for edits and mixing. We get together a few times a week, make music and post it on an FTP. The directors pick the pieces they like and then I make alt mixes and edit to the final picture in pro tools.

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markjazzbassist
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Re: Cassettes

Post by markjazzbassist » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:07 pm

i've debated getting into the cassette thing, i've never done it before, well i had cassettes i listened to but i never recorded to them before. I did some basic online reading and some people say the Ferric (Type I i'm guessing) tapes have more low end and less high end contrasted to the Chrome (Type II) which have less bass but more highs. In an already hissy format wouldn't you want less highs? Wouldn't the Type I be preferred?

Please educate me here, i could be totally wrong (not the first time), just trying to get my bearing before i take this leap.

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Re: Cassettes

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:25 pm

I don’t find the hiss unmanageable. It’s there but that’s part of the “charm” or whatever you want to call it. For the soundtrack gig the limitations of the format were a big plus. The sound was a huge part of it as it instantly fits the vibe/aesthetic they’re going for. If we did the gig 100% in the computer I’d be dirtying up clean track anyway. Why not start dirty?

Honestly, the biggest pluses for me as far as the cassette machines go is work flow, not staying at a screen while I’m writing and the relatively cost of the media.

I have a Vestax 6 track cassette that runs type 1 tapes and sounds pretty great. It’s got tons of lows but the highs are a bit rolled off (as your research showed) so I’m frequently jacking them in the way in. The 488 runs type 2 tapes and I don’t have to put tons of high end in to get a decent amount back out. What comes back off of the tape is a little truer to what was put in. The other big advantage of type 2 for me is that it seems to be hotter. Like 499 vs 456. I can hit it a bit hotter and deal with my signal to noise issues that way.

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Re: Cassettes

Post by standup » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:34 am

I've been stockpiling cassettes for a few years, and have enough to last several years at the rate I use them. Then I guess I'll start cannibalizing older recordings, or reach into my trash bag of mixtapes from the 80s/90s to see how those have held up.

I'm in a group that mails cassettes around the country to do collaborative work, which is a ton of fun.

Maybe 10 years ago I bought some TDK Pro SM 20 cassettes, which have room for one song under 5 minutes. Got those off Amazon when they were like $3 each, bought a couple of boxes of them. They are now more like $10+ per tape.

Then I got a box of maybe 20 blanks from Delta Media, 60 minutes, so you can do multiple takes! I think Delta Media may be out of Type II cassettes last I looked.

I prefer Type II. Type I cassettes are useable, sometimes somebody in this group will send one, but they are noisier and more noticeably lo-fi. But maybe that's the point... I use Type I and Type II, but prefer Type II.

I have a Peavey rack-mount 4-track that I use the most. A few years ago we picked up a Tascam 424 because my wife is in the 4-track group too, and it helps to have a spare. Last year I picked up a non-working Tascam 234 pretty cheap and replaced the belts, but it's super wonky and may never work right.

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vernier
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Re: Cassettes

Post by vernier » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:32 pm

I'm still using old tape and hoping to find a source for new ones someday.

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losthighway
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Re: Cassettes

Post by losthighway » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:24 pm

My band's label has released our stuff and several other folks' on cassette. The fact that you can get stuff dubbed professionally, but it's hard to find blank cassettes is pretty weird.

Also, I have no means to listen to the cassettes that have been released. It's kind of catering to a niche hipster market.

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markjazzbassist
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Re: Cassettes

Post by markjazzbassist » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:22 am

losthighway wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:24 pm
My band's label has released our stuff and several other folks' on cassette. The fact that you can get stuff dubbed professionally, but it's hard to find blank cassettes is pretty weird.

Also, I have no means to listen to the cassettes that have been released. It's kind of catering to a niche hipster market.
all of the duplication services out there duplicate to type I ferrite type. none of them are doing it to chrome that i know of. people are just tracking to chrome.

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Re: Cassettes

Post by Nick Sevilla » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:05 am

As a side note, I look forward to USB memory sticks being the new "retro" thing. LOL.

I was just garage sale hunting, sadly, I did not pick up the 5 or 6 blank cassette tapes I saw at one place. I no longer have my
Fostex 4 track, and did not think anyone would use these blank cassettescanymore.

If I do see this stuff in the future, I'll pick them up, and put them on sale here for you guys. We live in an area which has a LOT
of retirees, and thus LOTS of estate sales.
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Re: Cassettes

Post by robbi » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:06 am

Saw a video on these cassettes that are being produced new:

https://www.nagaoka.co.jp/item/ct.html

Different lengths, too!

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markjazzbassist
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Re: Cassettes

Post by markjazzbassist » Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:41 am

https://www.recordingthemasters.com/audiocassettes/

recording the masters (formerly RMGI) is making cassette tape as well. based off their SM900 reel tape formulation. Type I but could be worth a shot.

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