Showing posts with label COMPACT CASSETTE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label COMPACT CASSETTE. Show all posts

13 November 2015

The VU meter

The VU meter

A volume unit (VU) meter is a device found in analog recording equipment displaying a representation of the signal level. In more modern equipment there were peak meters usually made up of a series of LED or fluorescent displays to indicate the highest output level at any instant.  They are used during recording to an analog tape or cassette to set the maximum recording level without distorting the signal. 

As a general rule you have to set the recording in such a manner that the loudest part of music does not exceed the 0 VU (100%) marking on the meter. That's when it enters the red area where the music might get distorted. There are a few exceptions however where you can push the level into the red zone when using Type II or Type IV tape in a compact cassette. Here are some examples of various VU meters found on some of the recorders found in our collection:

FISHER CR-4150 (aka SANYO RD-880)

TASCAM 112B - The Classic

SIEMENS RC 555 display


AIWA AD-F660 using a Type II cassette

JVC PC-D5L - basic on a portable unit

WEGA C120 - a SONY in disguise 


Lenco Italia MC 70
Lenco Italia MC 70




PIONEER CT-S88R - a programable cassette deck 

JVC KD-V35 spectro
JVC KD-V35 - with added spectrum analyzer

You can see detailed description of each presented unit here.

19 October 2015

PCM digital audio Compact Cassette

At the Tokyo Audio Fair in 1981 there were no more than 16 companies showing CD players before the official launch in 1982. On the other hand the same companies - JVC, PIONEER, SANYO, SHARP, SONY - demonstrated PCM tape decks that were using normal Compact Cassette. The only problem was that there was no standardization of the recording format. The cassette were not interchangeable, each company using a different recording format, track layout and tape speeds. The result is as we all know that only the CD was succesfull and the Compact Casssette remained as an analog audio recording format....or the storage device of the world first Digital Photo Camera.


JVC digital compact cassette 1982 (not the later DCC)


In 1985 SHARP presented the: "PCM digital audio compact cassette deck RT-X5 OPTONICA" This was made by SHARP as an early PCM system using a "16-track integrated head system" using a regular "Compact Cassette". 
                                     Here are some technical data for the SHARP RT-X5 :
14 bit / 44.1 khz sampling frequency
Frequency response 2 - 20.000 Hz +/- 0.5dB
Tape speed 9.5cm/s
...and 10kg

SHARP RT-X5 1985

It was only in the late 1992 that PHILIPS presented the DCC (Digital Compact Cassette) a backwards compatible format that allowed to record in digital format to the new DCC cassette but also to play back your old Compact Cassette. But this was too late and it is known as one of the biggest failure in audio history.


18 March 2015

Cassette winding device (and it's not a pencil)

You probably have seen many times  a picture of a compact casssette and a pencil followed by the question: What's the link between a cassette and a pencil? Many people think that is about writing the artist name on the label and nothing else. That's partially true but those who post this kind of picture usually see the pencil as a tool used to forward the tape without inserting the cassette in your player.

There was however a better method to fast forward your cassette without using your player. It was a hand winder made by japanese company JEWLTONE, model CT-406J. This device could be usefull if you are using a battery powered player (to save battery) or you simply need to quickly wind a cassette while another one is playing. 

That's pretty cool, isnt't it ? Some think that cassette can still Rock You.

03 March 2015

Compact Cassette and the Digital age

The history of the Compact Cassette begin in 1963 when PHILIPS presented the first compact cassette recorder, the EL 3300 as a dictation machine. This format quickly became very popular and soon the Compact Cassette became a competitive Hi-Fi stereo audio format. Being so popular and widely available there were other technological fields that choose the Compact Cassette for various purposes. Here are some examples.

In 1975 a KODAK engineer, Steve J. Sasson builds the World first still image Digital camera. It had a resolution of 0.01 megapixel captured by a CCD image sensor and stored on a Compact Cassette. It took 23 seconds to record a black and white photo. Images were played back from the Compact Cassette into a computer and displyed on a television set.

In 1985 the same Compact Cassette was used, this time by TOSHIBA under it's japanese brand name Aurex to store digitized images captured by a video camera. The picture below shows the two components of the digitising-storing equipment. At the bottom is the digitising unit and on the top is a regular cassette deck from the Aurex/TOSHIBA range (Aurex PC-X66AD) using a Compact Cassette as storage. 

The last model we see here is again an audio equipment, but this time it's a digital audio recorder that is using a Compact Cassette. This OPTONICA by SHARP unit was made by SHARP in 1985. The OPTONICA RT-X5 model was using a 9.5 cm/s speed to record digital audio in 14 bit / 44.1 kHz sampling frequency format. Aparently it was only a prototype.


The shown equipments only made it as prototype units but, the Compact Cassette was fairly popular in computer data storage systems, such as military aircrafts.....and that's classified information. 
(Hush hush, you haven't heard it from me)

Discover more about the Compact cassette reading the history of the first 

09 February 2015

Compact Cassette Changers

Before playlist existed there were compact cassette changers. Juke box heroes. They didn't seem to catch on like record changers or CD changers however from time to time a manufacturer made such a unit. Here are some of them and the various concepts they used to implement the ideea.

PHILIPS N2502 (1969)

This cassette changer is from 1970 and is one of the first models. 
It used a slide mechanism for 12 cassettes.

Panasonic RS-296US
This Panasonic is a 20 cassette carousel changer from 1972. 
Advertised as the cassette player that can play up to two and a half days of music.

This PHILIPS is 6 cassette changer from 1976. The first version of this model dates back to 1969. It uses a funny accesory to flip the casssettes to play both sides of the loaded tapes.
This also makes it one of the first autoreverse cassette decks as well.

The SONY MTL-10 is a 10 cassette cartridge format cassette changer from 1982. They were available in several colours - for supermarkets as advertised in the brochure. It has Laser-Amorphous head and on the slide out cassette compartiment there are preset switches for each cassette for tape type and dolby on/off preselect.

5 cassette changer from 1985 in a dual well construction where cassette compartiment 1 is the cassette changer for playback only.

The PIONEER CT-M601R is a 6 cassette changer from 1992. It is one of the last models that was also available as a dual well construction just like the previous AIWA.

You can read more about the (PHILIPS) Compact Cassette format here.

18 July 2013

PHILIPS N 2408 vintage audio cassette changer

Recently one of our visitors at asked me the following question.

"I have an audio equipment question that has been bugging me for years, and one that you very well might know the answer to. When in college in the mid/late 70s, I saw a bizarre tape deck that automatically flipped the cassette out, up, around, and back into its well via a strange external track system--a Weird-O-Rama kind of early auto-reverse."

From our research at The Stereo Museum results that such a cassette deck was made by PHILIPS in 1976. It was the PHILIPS N 2408 - 6 cassette changer - with built in 2x15 W (music power) amplifier. For the changer mechanism there were 2 types of accesoires sold for the 6 cassette compartiment. In this picture from 1979 german catalog you can see the    N 6711 type. The other model was a simple transparent box that you put on top of the cassette compartiment loaded with 6 compact cassettes. After the cassette finished playing it was translated to the right in the empty box at the right side of the cassette mechanism.

More intresting cassette recorders you can find if you follow this link.

20 February 2013

50 years of Compact Cassette

The Compact Cassette (called Musicassette - MC - when it came with prerecorded material) is an analog magnetic tape sound recording format. It all began with the invention of the magnetic tape in 1928 which led to the first reel-to-reel recorder made by AEG in 1935. These were big machines used in recording studios, radio stations and later by Hi Fi enthusiasts at home.

To make home recording more popular, with smaller machines, there were a few cartridge type tapes introduced to the marked but they all failed in short time. 
It was at the Berlin Radio Show on 30 August 1963 that this new cartridge format was presented by PHILIPS.......Read Full Story Here

 compact cassette