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.

31 January 2015

SONY ELCASET and other prototypes

Here are a few of the ELCASET prototypes presented in Japanese magazines and hifi shows between 1976 and 1979.

SONY ELCASET preproduction/ prototype from 1976.
With minor changes this became the SONY EL-7 model in 1977.

Technics ELCASET prototype as seen in a 1976 Japanese magazine.

TEAC ELCASET prototype as seen in a 1976 Japanese magazine.

SONY ELCASET EL-D9 presented at a Hi-Fi show. If I understand correctly the model now belongs to a collector.

Technics RS-7900U ELCASET prototype from a private collection in Germany.

SONY ELCASET as envisioned by a SONY fan. This is not a real model, not even a prototype just a fun project by member Vincei from the Audiokarma forum.

You can see all the manufactured ELCASET models in this previous post.

10 January 2015

ELCASET, rise and fall of a Hi-Fi tape system

ELCASET was an analog cassette tape based audio format developed by SONY in cooperation with Matsushita (Panasonic) and TEAC in 1976. It was intended to offer a reel-to-reel system sound quality in a convenient cartridge format. The name comes from the expression "large cassette" or "L-cassette". Although the ELCASET used a 6 mm (0.25 in) wide tape running at 9.5 cm/s (3.75 ips), twice the width and twice the speed of a PHILIPS Compact Cassette it became a complete failure in the marketplace and by 1978 it completely faded-out from the market. This happened mainly because Compact Cassette had a more compact format and the dramatical improvement with the introduction of new tape formulations such as chromium dioxide and lower noise with the introduction of the Dolby B noise reduction circuit.

The revolutionary SONY ELCASET system

SONY introduces the ELCASET system

Below in this SONY advertisement you can see a side by side comparison of an ELCASET (the large cassette) and a Compact Cassette (small cassette introduced by PHILIPS in 1963)

elcaset tape

Below you can see al the ELCASET machines that were manufactured between 1976 and 1979.

SONY EL-4 from 1977 (left) EL-5 from 1976 (right)

sony elcaset

SONY EL-7 from 1977 (left) EL-D8 FROM 1978 (right)

sony elcaset

SONY EL-D8 from 1978

sony elcaset

WEGA E4950 and Lo-D (HITACHI) D-9000 from 1979 - both sony EL-7 rebadges


JVC LD-777


Technics RS-7500U from 1976



For more info about some of the ELCASET prototypes read this post.