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Settling an old argument about Tapes and Cd's
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #31
FAT
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➑️
I hate to say it-- I'm just full of hatred here-- those dang-blessed Memorex tapes, 'specially the 'blue' ones they eventually came out with, sure had a sheen on playback that was pretty fancy. Maxell of course was the thinking man's tape-- and if you went whole hog with 'metal' tapes and dbx noise reduction... you weren't doing too shabby!
He he - Maxell 'the thinking man's tape' - I like it!!
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #32
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
CD's which I find thin, cold and sterile.
No you dont. You've simply read too many articles which have told you to think that.

CDs sound like the music that is put on them for the most part - good, bad and sometimes indifferent. Cassettes on the other hand sound more like cassettes than the music that is on them: Wow, Flutter, Noise, Limited Frequency Response, etc.

I agree a little grunge can be nice occassionally, but you dont use a grungey medium as your primary listening medium, you use an almost perfectly transparent one, such as CD.

If there is grunge on a recording I want it to be because somebody decided it should be grungy and is using it as an effect for the sake of art, not because my listening system isn't capable of tansparency.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #33
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulbrother ➑️
No you dont. You've simply read too many articles which have told you to think that.

CDs sound like the music that is put on them for the most part - good, bad and sometimes indifferent. Cassettes on the other hand sound more like cassettes than the music that is on them: Wow, Flutter, Noise, Limited Frequency Response, etc.

I agree a little grunge can be nice occassionally, but you dont use a grungey medium as your primary listening medium, you use an almost perfectly transparent one, such as CD.

If there is grunge on a recording I want it to be because somebody decided it should be grungy and is using it as an effect for the sake of art, not because my listening system isn't capable of tansparency.
Wonderful reply - and true.

Going to analogue tape you add modulation noise, drop-out, wow, flutter, mis-traching, azimuth alighment, dolby alighnment, etc...

You can improve things with a properly aligned machine, but it's still much worse than the CD.

Yes, a hicg quality DAC will be better than the cheapo pne in the portable. But you will be adding so much more crap in the tape medium that listening to the CD on the portable is much the better option.

If you enjoy all the grunge and distortion of the tape medium - then that's your decision. But it's much worse.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #34
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
does Sony EL-cassette qualify?

I just traded in my subaru outback with factory cassette player for a volvo suv with 6 disc cd changer and I have to tell you, I'm going to miss the cassette player a bit. I don't think the average cassette is HiFi, but it sure is fun.

If you're talking about cassette with Dolby-S, you're talking about dynamic range that is quite good, perhaps in the same league as CD, but something else to consider is the improvement that CD offered in the mass production of media... cassette was always a cheap medium, the mass duplicators were certainly not always a fitting signal chain for the content. I figure if you're talking about home taping from a nice source, like a 1/4" master to a really nice Dolby-S deck, why not? The results will be technically / sonically good and the recording will be a lot of FUN to listen to. However, the same level of attention put to a digital medium would trump it, and to be fair, since were going through the trouble, let's not forget HDCD and with the new possibilities of home brew DSD discs, there are non 16bit options, even 24 bit WAV on DVDs or data CDs.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #35
Lives for gear
 
vincentvangogo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulbrother ➑️
No you dont. You've simply read too many articles which have told you to think that.

CDs sound like the music that is put on them for the most part - good, bad and sometimes indifferent. Cassettes on the other hand sound more like cassettes than the music that is on them: Wow, Flutter, Noise, Limited Frequency Response, etc.

I agree a little grunge can be nice occassionally, but you dont use a grungey medium as your primary listening medium, you use an almost perfectly transparent one, such as CD.

If there is grunge on a recording I want it to be because somebody decided it should be grungy and is using it as an effect for the sake of art, not because my listening system isn't capable of tansparency.
With all due respect that is bullsh*t. I have been telling people CDs sounded thin since the first one I heard and long, long before I heard anyone else say so. I spent about ten years being laughed at and told I was being ridiculous before I heard other people start to say the same thing as me. I have never owned a CD player in my life for that reason or bought a CD. So please don't accuse me of doing so because it's currently fashionable.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #36
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Aiyn Zahav's Avatar
 
11 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo ➑️
I have been telling people CDs sounded thin since the first one I heard and long, long before I heard anyone else say so. I spent about ten years being laughed at and told I was being ridiculous before I heard other people start to say the same thing as me. I have never owned a CD player in my life for that reason or bought a CD. So please don't accuse me of doing so because it's currently fashionable.
I agree I think your above comment "no you don't you've just been told that" is presumptuous.

When you consider the subjectiveness of human hearing you can't really bring it down to specs. You should take into account psycho-acoustics. Now to me, of course I do appreciate Cds alot, they are better than cassette tapes in many ways, technically. But as you can see from this thread they are not always preferable.

Anyway, I guess I could rephrase my question this way

Top DAC>Top analog signal path>Top cassette deck>top Cassette
VS
Garden variety cd player DAC & signal path (Not talking about the higher quality CD players like Marantz or what have you)
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #37
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Some of the first vinyl to CD transfers that the major labels put out were just dreadful.

However, even mp3s sound better than cassettes these days.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #38
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq ➑️
just checking back in on this thread...

is it settled yet?
Yes.

Soulbrother's grandmother is hotter that Carmen Elektra.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #39
Lives for gear
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiyn Zahav ➑️
What I am looking for is some kind of objective information, I know some tape recorders have a fr of 20hz-20Khz and so on, but who here would say that high end conversion would still come through if it was recorded on to tape?
As you can probably tell from all the posts here, there is no "objectivity" on this issue. Cassettes are inconvenient in the modern world. But a CD on a good converter sounds great. I didn't really enjoy CDs until I got a Benchmark D/A converter. A good clock will also make a difference.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #40
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doorknocker's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➑️
I hate cassette tapes - always have, always will! Hiss, wow and flutter...plus poor frequency response.
Me too!

But anything 'old' will turn into 'vintage' at some (price) point. Cassette is suddendly cool because it is 'tape' and 'tape' is great and so much better than Pro Tools and anyway, I hate all music made after 1979.....
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #41
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Aiyn Zahav's Avatar
 
11 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Honestly I have no qualms with recording on pro tools and the digital revolution, I just don't like grainy scratchy violins, I dont think I need to apologize or defend such a position.

As I said previously, I am not even sure if this is inherently the problem of digital media, in fact I know it isn't because I have heard very nice audio but it was through the expensive banchmark dac.

For all I know my problem with my cd player etc could be the analog stages anyway and not the DAC.

I also happen to enjoy the artifacts the tape brings to the equation, you cannot say that if one media format is very transparent and that another has many flaws or colourations that the transparent one will be favoured by everyone, otherwise why is reel tape and tube equipment so popular?

There is far more to it than being in vogue.

I just wish I could get some objective and helpful answers, I have had one or two, thanks for your inputs.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #42
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiyn Zahav ➑️
Its not settled until the question is answered.

Basically, sometimes I wonder if the difference between the different outputs I have heard has not been the converters but the analog signal path.

but there have been some good posts. I think a lot of people don't realise how good tape can sound either, it can actually sound pretty good, if you make your own tapes on your stereo of course it wont be what I am talking about. But I find the topic very interesting thanks for the good information guys.
I've owned ten reel-to-reels and I honestly do not know how many cassette decks -- certainly over twenty.

My last cassette deck (I'm seriously hoping) cost the equivalent of about $1100 in today's dollars when I bought it around 1995. It's a "professional" model. (Arf!)

Cassettes were crap when I first heard them back at the end of the 60s. They're crap now. And they were crap in between. Crap, crap, crap.


Screw frequency response. Screw various forms of distortion. Those are not the big problem for me. Hiss was not even the biggest problem -- though I thought it was at the time.

But how could any sane person prefer the horrible speed flutter that has marred every 1-7/8 ips cassette recording ever made? The first time I made a recording of an acoustic guitar to a cassette deck and a DAT simultaneously and compared them I just went, Oh yeah. Finally, I could hear a guitar without a lot of weird flutter. (Flutter that, for sure, was there in my reel recordings as well, to varying degrees on various decks. But nothing like on cassette recordings.)

People's preferences
are just that, of course. No one can tell you what you actually prefer.

But sometimes I think some people are simply being perverse and contrarian out of some weird sense of self-identity or a romantic notion of being a 'rebel.'
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #43
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Aiyn Zahav's Avatar
 
11 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Well you'd have to define better, like I said before, it is clear to me that cd's are better in terms of what they do, I like cd's, but I am saying that there are certain sounds that are more preferable by some, some like me like the crackling of vinyl, I dont mind the noise of tape, but I cant stand hearing noise on cd players etc, I hate digital noise, such as what you might hear coming from your computer output, grainy sound, but I dont mind analog noise etc
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #44
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiyn Zahav ➑️
Well you'd have to define better, like I said before, it is clear to me that cd's are better in terms of what they do, I like cd's, but I am saying that there are certain sounds that are more preferable by some, some like me like the crackling of vinyl, I dont mind the noise of tape, but I cant stand hearing noise on cd players etc, I hate digital noise, such as what you might hear coming from your computer output, grainy sound, but I dont mind analog noise etc
No question that digital distortion is one of the ugliest sounds ever. But it's eminently avoidable. One should never have to hear it. Pretty much.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #45
Lives for gear
 
dougb415's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulbrother ➑️
Next you'll be saying my 80 year old grandmother is hotter than Carmen Elektra cause "at least her boobs are real."
Gram would be so proud of you
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #46
Lives for gear
 
Aiyn Zahav's Avatar
 
11 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Now dont get me wrong, I have no problems at all with recording digitally, since in my mind I am thinking about classical recordings where they usually have very good equipment, no I am just talking about personal listening, I dont think music should be recorded to cassette from the beginning! that would be a loss, but that I was just wondering if a high quality recording was played through top end equipment and recorded to tape.. ah whats the point, I dont have high end dac anyway, I was just wondering if someone had tried this.

Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #47
Lives for gear
 
Empire Prod's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hey man...Whatever floats your boat. If you like cassette Walkmans better than CD players, then go for it. For every fat ugly wife there is a husband out there that probably screws her, so I suppose one mans dog crap is another mans steak.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #48
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
I have an early 70's casette version of the album Sounds Of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. I'm not sure what the cassette mastering engineers and the duplicators were doing back then, but this cassette still sounds INCREDIBLE. I've compared it to a reissued CD version - the CD is pathetic.

This is interesting. I had the same experience with Elvis Costello's 'Get Happy' cassette I had when I was a kid. I played the tape up to about three years ago when it finally self destructed. I bought the remastered CD shortly after that, and it sounded thin and flat compared to the old cassette. The low end especially suffered. There was just something about the sound on the tape, even though the noise floor was through the roof and the flutter progressively worsened the more the tape was played over the years. That being said, I don't ever really listen to cassettes, but I do understand why there is a thread on the subject...
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #49
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiyn Zahav ➑️
Now dont get me wrong, I have no problems at all with recording digitally, since in my mind I am thinking about classical recordings where they usually have very good equipment, no I am just talking about personal listening, I dont think music should be recorded to cassette from the beginning! that would be a loss, but that I was just wondering if a high quality recording was played through top end equipment and recorded to tape.. ah whats the point, I dont have high end dac anyway, I was just wondering if someone had tried this.

Virtually every classical recording made in at least the last 10 years has been digital...apart from some of the Harry Potter scores (film #2 was definitely to analogue 48 track, don't know about the rest) anyway.

What "speakers" are you considering for personal listening? I'm assuming nothing less than a decent pair of hi-fi speakers? because if we're talking headphones, I'd assume they'll have much more of an effect on the listening experience than any converter.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #50
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo ➑️
Yep, cassettes are better.
Aw, c'mon! 8-track cartridge just kills cassette! Everyone with a decent pair of ears knows that!
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #51
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulbrother ➑️
Next you'll be saying my 80 year old grandmother is hotter than Carmen Elektra cause "at least her boobs are real."
Yeah, but presumably your grandmother hasn't snogged Dennis Rodman.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #52
FAT
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 ➑️

But sometimes I think some people are simply being perverse and contrarian out of some weird sense of self-identity or a romantic notion of being a 'rebel.'
You're missing the point: cassettes don't sound crap - they simply sound like cassettes. If you and I went for a cruise in my old Jag, and I put on my cassette copy of Talkin Blues, Bob Marley and the Wailers - you'd just say, "That actually sounds really good". You wouldn't say "Hey, a DAT version would sound better". Well you could, but you wouldn't need to - the tape sounds great.

It's not romantic, or rebellious - it's just a cassette, they got used for ages, and did their job well.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #53
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FAT ➑️
it's just a cassette, they got used for ages, and did their job well.


Still a good recording tool in the constant search for variety in the mix........maybe not for full range audio though.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #54
Gear Addict
 
A4722's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
listening enviroment, etc.

I just experienced the contrast in mediums the other day while driving, realizing that for certain types of music cassette tapes can be a very good thing...not saying better.

In a car that is moving there is usually a lot of noise. If you are trying to listen to something that has quiet sections, the tape hiss will be noticable but really not that bad considering the wind and engine noise etc. of the car. The tape I was listening to, Bjork Telegraph, has songs that are mangled with distortion effects on everything including vocals and also songs that have intimate vocals with string quartets, quite a variety.

I liked what the cassette tape was doing especially in the low end. The high end wasn't as clear as FM or CD, yet the string sections and vocals had an enjoyable quality that translated well, even in the noisey car. When I used the noise reduction the sound seemed to lose most of the unique qualities that I was digging about tape. I turned the noise reduction off again.

Once I stopped driving (making the listening enviroment quiet) I continued to listen and found that the spatial effects included in some of the tunes were discernable but not as out front sounding (as on the CD) which changed the vibe slightly, creating more of a pulsing mass with little details around the edges type mix ( I wonder if that's what the artist intended ? ). It felt different than the CD. I liked it.

I think, as others have stated, that there are pluses to each format, providing that the tape or CD was recorded and reproduced well.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #55
Lives for gear
 
Aiyn Zahav's Avatar
 
11 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➑️
Virtually every classical recording made in at least the last 10 years has been digital...apart from some of the Harry Potter scores (film #2 was definitely to analogue 48 track, don't know about the rest) anyway.

What "speakers" are you considering for personal listening? I'm assuming nothing less than a decent pair of hi-fi speakers? because if we're talking headphones, I'd assume they'll have much more of an effect on the listening experience than any converter.
Well I travel on the bus everyday to work, so I was thinking about some nice headphones like grados or something, its just that my portable Cd player just doesnt sound that nice, I might get a nice mp3 player, for home listening im thinking of the new genelec 6010 and maybe just leave it at that or try that $79 DAC that was mentioned on another post, id love a lavry but of course thats far too much money for me to spend considering my other responsibilities.

I never use Dolby Noise reduction either!

What I think I like about tape, is perhaps that there is less detail, it is kind of like condensing the story into something more manageable, just giving you the most immediate and important parts but told in a very colourful and entertaining manner.

Well thats how I think of it sometimes.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #56
Gear Addict
 
A4722's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiyn Zahav ➑️
......

What I think I like about tape, is perhaps that there is less detail, it is kind of like condensing the story into something more manageable, just giving you the most immediate and important parts but told in a very colourful and entertaining manner.

Well thats how I think of it sometimes.

very well put, that's what I'm noticing also.

The cassette tape can make an album a different, yet equally valid, experience.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #57
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Can we at least agree that the acronym for Compact Discs does not require an apostrophe?

That's it...I'm starting my own thread...
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #58
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vernier's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Got cassette and CD versions of some of my fave albums, and its a treat hearing the cassette versions.

'
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