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Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
#3028291 02/10/20 01:36 PM
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A Seattle band scoured thrift stores for old 8 track cassettes to repurpose and install tape of their albums. They created a limited edition of box sets. The thought occurred to me that if these limited sets of tapes are unplayable by most folks, this might give them the ultimate hipster cred.

Sounds like a lot of wasted effort to me.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/7/21110785/5seven-8-track-tapes-thee-oh-sees-music

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028300 02/10/20 02:43 PM
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Just in time for National Eight Track Tape Day!

The article is wrong, though, that 8-track tapes preceded the cassette. The cassette was introduced in 1963.

It really seems to me that venture was more about an art project. Can anyone even find a way to play them back? Besides, I'm pretty sure all 8-tracks self-destruct after a while, when the lubrication in them wears out.

If we're going to bring back anything...bring back the CD!

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028306 02/10/20 03:48 PM
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Bring back the Edison cylinder!!!! It does not suffer from the tracking and uneven centrifigal force that vinyl discs have so it's better.

8 track was a "built in doom factor" format. They failed all the time when they were new.

In some dark, forbidden corner of Hell, tortured souls are trying to remove all the snarled up tape in old 8 track Muntz players!!! :- D


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028312 02/10/20 04:29 PM
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Please...no... shudder pop

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dB

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
KuruPrionz #3028358 02/10/20 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
They failed all the time when they were new.

In some dark, forbidden corner of Hell, tortured souls are trying to remove all the snarled up tape in old 8 track Muntz players!!! :- D
Every now and then, by the side of a highway, you'd see 8-track road kill where some frustrated soul threw the thing out the window, and its tape unraveled all over the pavement...like some weird kind of mylar intestine.

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028364 02/10/20 06:39 PM
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No, I don't believe it will become the next hipster thing. It might make a funny art project, but hardly anyone can play it, fewer people ever had any experience with it, and the abrupt changing to another track mid-song would annoy most people, including DJs. Added to that the fact that there are not really a lot of interesting recordings on 8-track floating around still, and it's just not going to happen. As it is, cassettes are a small minority, and that's something that people are at least somewhat familiar with and possibly have a boombox lying around somewhere.

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028409 02/11/20 12:12 AM
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Ken, you're so wrong. What makes you think that





abruptly changing to another track





in mid-song would annoy most people? smile

Last edited by Anderton; 02/11/20 12:12 AM.
Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028419 02/11/20 02:41 AM
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Ate tracks?

Once the tracks have been eaten, the results are invevitable...


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028438 02/11/20 04:11 AM
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Purchasing an 8 track tape does not give the buyer cool cover art or printed lyrics to the songs.

This means no one is ever going to sift through a collection of old 8 track tapes in your home, and exclaim how cool they are.

And if the audio fidelity of prerecorded 8 track tapes is similar to what existed for those of us who ever bought an album in the form of a prerecorded cassette tape, that would be pretty bad.
I used to record my albums from LP to high quality blank cassettes (Maxell or TDK), and the resulting audio quality was pretty good.
But when I bought an album in the store as a prerecorded cassette (in the 1970s) it sounded like crap.

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
harmonizer #3028444 02/11/20 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by harmonizer
Purchasing an 8 track tape does not give the buyer cool cover art or printed lyrics to the songs.

This means no one is ever going to sift through a collection of old 8 track tapes in your home, and exclaim how cool they are.

And if the audio fidelity of prerecorded 8 track tapes is similar to what existed for those of us who ever bought an album in the form of a prerecorded cassette tape, that would be pretty bad.
I used to record my albums from LP to high quality blank cassettes (Maxell or TDK), and the resulting audio quality was pretty good.
But when I bought an album in the store as a prerecorded cassette (in the 1970s) it sounded like crap.


8 track sounded like crap too, believe me!!!! Plus sometimes it would "skew" and you could hear the ghost of a different song.
Part of it was the speakers of course, we had the Craig 2-way 6x9 "system" in the rear deck. Crappy tape, crappy player, crappy speakers.
But, we had Whos Next blasting away so there was joy in all the land!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028461 02/11/20 09:06 AM
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8 Tracks are like a B school lesson in finding the "almost good enough" solution to a problem. A combination of ingenuity, hustle, self-deception and fatal compromise. Funny and failed like a leisure suit. As an art project, though, funny and obsessive. Designers love this stuff. And those green 8 track shells mentioned in the Verge article were because the label was "Chrysalis". Dig it.

ArsTechnica did a capsule review of the hardware history of the 8 track. Carts - in the sense of the NAB cartridge, both preceded and survived the 8 track.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/01/forgotten-audio-formats-stereo-8/

But the 8 track was the 8 track because of the people who cobbled it together and could look you in the eye and tell you that the 4 track tape is dead and the Philips cassette is a toy and if people are driving with the windows down they might not even notice that the song faded out weird.

Everything 8 track over here - http://www.8trackheaven.com

In the suburbs just west of O'Hare in one of the first industrial parks was the home of Ampex. There is a first person account from a guy who worked there in 1971.

http://www.8trackheaven.com/archive/ampex.html

The brief success of 8 tracks also played a role on reshaping the record business. Ampex had successfully negotiated distribution deals with many labels at a time when distribution was still mostly small labels with independent distributors servicing territories. The Ampex model of a national organization was influential when labels started consolidating and moving to branch distribution (CBS, WEA, MCA, etc.) in the 1970s.

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
spokenward #3028503 02/11/20 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by spokenward
A combination of ingenuity, hustle, self-deception and fatal compromise.


That is a GREAT line!! Applies to more than 8-tracks.

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
harmonizer #3028504 02/11/20 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by harmonizer
I used to record my albums from LP to high quality blank cassettes (Maxell or TDK), and the resulting audio quality was pretty good.
But when I bought an album in the store as a prerecorded cassette (in the 1970s) it sounded like crap.
That's because you were recording in real time. The pre-recorded cassettes were duplicated at high speeds. I forget the exact multiple, but it was a lot faster.

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Anderton #3028566 02/12/20 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
They failed all the time when they were new.

In some dark, forbidden corner of Hell, tortured souls are trying to remove all the snarled up tape in old 8 track Muntz players!!! :- D
Every now and then, by the side of a highway, you'd see 8-track road kill where some frustrated soul threw the thing out the window, and its tape unraveled all over the pavement...like some weird kind of mylar intestine.


HAW HAW, Beavis, you said "mylar intestine!" sick laugh


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Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Anderton #3028575 02/12/20 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by harmonizer
I used to record my albums from LP to high quality blank cassettes (Maxell or TDK), and the resulting audio quality was pretty good.
But when I bought an album in the store as a prerecorded cassette (in the 1970s) it sounded like crap.
That's because you were recording in real time. The pre-recorded cassettes were duplicated at high speeds. I forget the exact multiple, but it was a lot faster.
...and the tape used in pre-made cassettes was...not top quaity. idk shudder

dB

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Dave Bryce #3028582 02/12/20 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by harmonizer
I used to record my albums from LP to high quality blank cassettes (Maxell or TDK), and the resulting audio quality was pretty good.
But when I bought an album in the store as a prerecorded cassette (in the 1970s) it sounded like crap.
That's because you were recording in real time. The pre-recorded cassettes were duplicated at high speeds. I forget the exact multiple, but it was a lot faster.
...and the tape used in pre-made cassettes was...not top quaity. idk shudder

dB
Oh, so now you're too good for Radio Shack C-120 cassette tapes? Well lah di dah. smile

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028591 02/12/20 04:34 AM
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The eight-track tape actually started out (at a considerably higher speed and fidelity) as a radio broadcast device for the playing of "spots" (commercials and promos). That tape was generally in a lot shorter windings, and one track was used for the audio, another for the signal to stop the playback. It did not have to switch to another set of tracks since the usual material was 15, 30, or 60 second length.

It was popular in radio stations because the mechanism used for playing had a lever that put the tape into position, push buttons (which could be remoted) to start playback (and to stop before the recorded stop if needed), and it produced a much easier method of running a bunch of short "spots" than the previous use of small reels on reel-to-reel tape recorders. Long life was not a requisite for this use, it was possible to reload the cartridge (although not the easiest thing to do).

The consumer 8-track was much slower playback speed, not as good fidelity, and generally had a number of tracks on the 1/4" tape, for L & R channel playback. Track Switching was done by moving the head relative to the tape itself vertically.


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Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
MoodyBluesKeys #3028609 02/12/20 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by MoodyBluesKeys


The consumer 8-track was much slower playback speed, not as good fidelity, and generally had a number of tracks on the 1/4" tape, for L & R channel playback. Track Switching was done by moving the head relative to the tape itself vertically.


Earl "Madman" Muntz slowed the Fidelipac down to 3-3/4 IPS, changed the format to 4 tracks, and sold it as the Stereo-Pak system that offered twice the playing time of a cassette. It eventually evolved to the Stereo-8 with the help of Bill Lear, of LearJet fame. Before the tape cartridge, in the late 1940s, Muntz was reverse-engineering the RCA 630 television chassis and selling television sets for $100. He was also the first to popularize "TV" as a shortened form of "television."

Could Uli Behringer be our generation's Earl Muntz?

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028629 02/12/20 04:40 PM
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Today's trivia: Shanda Lear is Bill Lear's daughter. Yes, Shanda Lear. Say it fast.

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
David Emm #3028679 02/12/20 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by David Emm
Originally Posted by Anderton
Every now and then, by the side of a highway, you'd see 8-track road kill where some frustrated soul threw the thing out the window, and its tape unraveled all over the pavement...like some weird kind of mylar intestine.

HAW HAW, Beavis, you said "mylar intestine!" sick laugh

I call band name.

The best use of an 8-track tape was for the Evolution Control Committee's cassette album Gunderphonic, which was packaged inside an 8-track shell that had been cracked open and emptied of tape, with the album label graphics pasted over the old ones in such a way that you could still see what the 8-track used to be.

This release is of great historical significance, as it is the first-ever recorded instance of what we would today call a "mashup". Mark Gunderson got his grubby little hands on isolated vocal rap tracks from a Public Enemy album and laid them perfectly over two songs by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, creating an entire genre of music in a few hysterically funny minutes.

Oh, and you can download the whole album for free if you want. It's very primitive-sounding by today's standards, but for 1994 it was groundbreaking:
Gunderphonic by the Evolution Control Committee



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Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Anderton #3028681 02/12/20 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Today's trivia: Shanda Lear is Bill Lear's daughter. Yes, Shanda Lear. Say it fast.


As I remember it, her first name is Chrystal, and that was from before the Internet, so it must be true.

Some famous country musician has a daughter named Amanda Lynn.



Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
KenElevenShadows #3028705 02/12/20 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
As it is, cassettes are a small minority, and that's something that people are at least somewhat familiar with and possibly have a boombox lying around somewhere.

Friends, please join me in a collective shudder of horror at the apparent resurgence of cassettes as a popular medium for releasing recordings. It's the new thing among a lot of the kids. Wha-a?


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Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028714 02/13/20 12:52 AM
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Talk about redundancy. During last five decades I bought the same albums on vinyl, cassette, 8 track, CD and mp3. And somehow the music industry couldn't figure out a way to survive. I suppose "The Internet" is the obvious reason for the music industry's demise.

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Dr Mike Metlay #3028730 02/13/20 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
As it is, cassettes are a small minority, and that's something that people are at least somewhat familiar with and possibly have a boombox lying around somewhere.

Friends, please join me in a collective shudder of horror at the apparent resurgence of cassettes as a popular medium for releasing recordings. It's the new thing among a lot of the kids. Wha-a?



It's not very popular at all. It really isn't. And the people releasing it know this, but do so as a novelty. There are also some DJ nights where people play cassettes, which i think is kinda funny. But no, cassettes are not a thing. And 8-tracks will NEVER be a thing. Seriously.

Vinyl, I get. Cassettes and 8-tracks...not a thing.

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
SteveCoscia #3028731 02/13/20 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by SteveCoscia
Talk about redundancy. During last five decades I bought the same albums on vinyl, cassette, 8 track, CD and mp3. And somehow the music industry couldn't figure out a way to survive. I suppose "The Internet" is the obvious reason for the music industry's demise.


Yes, that and releasing crappy corporate music.

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
KenElevenShadows #3028740 02/13/20 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
As it is, cassettes are a small minority, and that's something that people are at least somewhat familiar with and possibly have a boombox lying around somewhere.

Friends, please join me in a collective shudder of horror at the apparent resurgence of cassettes as a popular medium for releasing recordings. It's the new thing among a lot of the kids. Wha-a?



It's not very popular at all. It really isn't. And the people releasing it know this, but do so as a novelty. There are also some DJ nights where people play cassettes, which i think is kinda funny. But no, cassettes are not a thing. And 8-tracks will NEVER be a thing. Seriously.

Vinyl, I get. Cassettes and 8-tracks...not a thing.


What he said. I did a analog to digital conversion for a friend from his Tascam Portastudio 424 Mk II and since he now has clean digital files to work with, he gave me the unit and some NOS unopened cassettes.
As soon as I can test everything and confirm operation, I am selling it. Too much big ol' clunky for 4 tracks of pretty OK sound and at some point it will need maintenance (hopefully not yet!!!).
If it sells as-is that's fine, I just want the buyer to know what is and is not working. I try to be fair. At the same time, can't stop people who want it. Ugh, cassettes. Better than 8 track cartridge but not by much...


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Mike Rivers #3028750 02/13/20 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Anderton
Today's trivia: Shanda Lear is Bill Lear's daughter. Yes, Shanda Lear. Say it fast.


As I remember it, her first name is Chrystal, and that was from before the Internet, so it must be true.
It is true, but I knew her as Shanda...the Lears had an apartment above my family's in Geneva. Good times smile

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
SteveCoscia #3028753 02/13/20 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by SteveCoscia
Talk about redundancy. During last five decades I bought the same albums on vinyl, cassette, 8 track, CD and mp3. And somehow the music industry couldn't figure out a way to survive. I suppose "The Internet" is the obvious reason for the music industry's demise.
Well, that's what they want you to think smile I think the music industry was responsible for its demise. It was an industry that stuck its collective fingers in its ears, and said "I can't hear you nah nah nah nah."

The internet was inevitable. When change happens, it's better to stake your own claim, rather than pretend an issue doesn't exist. The record industry thought they could do business as usual.

At a trade show when Peavey introduced their software-based MediaMatrix system, Hartley was talking about how great software-based processing was, while standing in front of a bunch of rack-mount hardware processors. I said that was kind of a disconnect. He said "Craig, someday all of these are going to be obsolete. I'd rather put myself out of business than have someone do it to me."

True that.

Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
Strays Dave #3028764 02/13/20 06:49 AM
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OK, cynical skeptics - here are five reasons why cassettes were the best playback medium ever.

1 Cassettes used tape. Everyone (yes, everyone) knows that suspending a bunch of teeny-tiny little magnets in plastic, blasting them with supersonic energy, then making them line up using a method that resembles herding drunken and disorderly cats is the surest way possible to create a peachy-keen sound.

2 Cassettes were designed for low-fi dictation applications, not music. Being perversely contrary is in a musician’s DNA. So of course, upon first seeing the cassette, musicians realized immediately that this was clearly destined to be the playback medium of the future. Even better, cassettes distorted like crazy!

3 The format was ahead of its time. The widespread adoption of low-bit-rate MP3 formats, played through earbuds from China, proved that what people really wanted was not incremental, but excremental, changes in sound quality. The cassette delivered on that promise long before digital technology figured out how to take truly bad sound to a hitherto-uncharted level of wretchedness.

4 Cassettes had little reels that rotated. Back in the ’60s, if people had communed sufficiently with a mind-altering substance, they could be amused for hours watching the little reels go around—even if the music wasn’t any good. Decades later, music videos would exploit this very same principle by making elaborate videos for forgettable music.

5 They made spectacular road kill. When people got frustrated with cassettes jamming in their car stereo and threw them out the window, the tape would unravel like some strange kind of post-industrial intestine, literally spilling its guts all over the interstate. Can a CD do that? A download? Vinyl? No! Need I say more?

Last edited by Anderton; 02/13/20 06:50 AM.
Re: Will 8 track tapes become the next hipster thing ?
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