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Settling an old argument about Tapes and Cd's
Old 30th January 2009
  #1
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Aiyn Zahav's Avatar
 
11 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Settling an old argument about Tapes and Cd's

Okay, so a while ago I was debating with a colleague about my walkman, he just couldnt accept that I enjoyed listening to my music on tape, but I had a theory that I put to him which non of my colleagues (all amateur producers) even took me seriously on.

So I figured it would be good to get the opinions of people with real experience, here was my idea

Cd players (home stereos, portable etc) unless they are very expensive usually have poor DAC in comparison to things like the Benchmark DAC and lavry.

So my theory was that if you recorded your CD onto a high quality cassette tape, like the ones I used to buy from sony, chrome and so on, playing in an ordinary walkman (forget the built in amp as a factor) using something like the Lavry Gold for example (using a hi end tape recorder like they used to use for making tapes for release, Nakamichi?) would sound better than listening to the CD going through your cheap hi-fi.

No one would consider the idea, but what do you think?

The plus is that you are not having the very poor DAC process, which is so much of what I hate about digital recording.

Hope for some answers soon.
Old 30th January 2009
  #2
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
One day my brother brought a CD of the La's first album which I had on cassette, so I did an A/B test and he picked out the cassette version every time as the better sound. I can't remember the make of the players, (not that expensive,) but you couldn't miss the difference, the CD sounded thin as p*ss in comparison. Don't know if that helps at all.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I hate cassette tapes - always have, always will! Hiss, wow and flutter...plus poor frequency response.

By your example, why do you think a pocket Walkman will have a transport and playback system capable of reproducing the cassette tape faithfully? Its not exsctly a nagra is it...just like a home hi fi doesn't have a lavry converter.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiyn Zahav ➑️

(forget the built in amp as a factor) .
why should your friends 'forget' this when you are not willing to 'forget' the cheap converters on the CD player?


great thread title, though!

this one should be 'settled' in a jiffy!
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Aiyn Zahav's Avatar
 
11 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I guess I should rephrase it this way.

Who thinks the better DAC will offset the poorer medium of cassette?

I do, but its just my theory, I have no experience.

And forget about the walkman, it could be a nice high end studio cassette player.

and I love tape by the way.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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Aiyn Zahav's Avatar
 
11 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Or to try to be more specific, I think the inherit flaws of tape, would not outweigh the benefits of having the music recorded through a top DAC

In other words, yeah it would be noisy, but you wouldnt have screetchy grainy violins anymore would you?
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Who cares about noise floors, life's got a noise floor.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
80425
Guest
I have to agree here and say that Tapes or just bad and a royal pain in the ass, no TRACK changing capabilities, and that hiss and lower quality the more you listen to it.....

Cd's anyday.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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oudplayer's Avatar
If you think band-limiting your source material through the non-linear procedure of transferring to cassette, reducing the dynamic range of the source material, and adding wow/flutter/hiss into the mix in sum equates with "better," I don't think many people here will be able to dissuade you.

Doing the same with a better medium, such as 1/2" 2-track or L-Cassette, could be an interesting experiment...
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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Sqye's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
.

settling an old argument?

itb vs. otb?

hw vs. sw?

digi vs. analog?

instruments vs. plugs?

pt vs. daw?

pc vs. mac?

digi vs. tape?

neve vs. api?

tube vs. solid state?

cardioid vs. condenser?

active vs. passive?

wireless vs. wired?

humbucker vs. single-coil?

strat vs. tele?

fender vs. marshall?

rock vs. disco?

stones vs. beatles?

britney vs. christina?

back street vs. 'n'sync?

jay z vs. 50?

fox vs. cnbc?

o'reilly vs. olberman?

**** vs. reps?

libs vs cons?

gas vs. bio-deisel?

mcd's vs. bk?

parkay vs. butter?

lees vs. levis?






yikes....too much to deal with...

ROCK ON!

.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
vegemite v marmite
porn v the real thing
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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Sqye's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo ➑️
vegemite v marmite
porn v the real thing
.

file sharing vs. home taping...heh

.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
My God

Have we reached the point, where the tiny difference between one convertor and another, is being so overexaggeratted, that somebody is actually willing to consider a cassette tape better quality than a C.D. cause its "analog"?

My God.

Next you'll be saying my 80 year old grandmother is hotter than Carmen Elektra cause "at least her boobs are real."
Old 31st January 2009
  #14
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiyn Zahav ➑️
Okay, so a while ago I was debating with a colleague about my walkman, he just couldnt accept that I enjoyed listening to my music on tape, but I had a theory that I put to him which non of my colleagues (all amateur producers) even took me seriously on.

So I figured it would be good to get the opinions of people with real experience, here was my idea

Cd players (home stereos, portable etc) unless they are very expensive usually have poor DAC in comparison to things like the Benchmark DAC and lavry.

So my theory was that if you recorded your CD onto a high quality cassette tape, like the ones I used to buy from sony, chrome and so on, playing in an ordinary walkman (forget the built in amp as a factor) using something like the Lavry Gold for example (using a hi end tape recorder like they used to use for making tapes for release, Nakamichi?) would sound better than listening to the CD going through your cheap hi-fi.

No one would consider the idea, but what do you think?

The plus is that you are not having the very poor DAC process, which is so much of what I hate about digital recording.

Hope for some answers soon.
If one likes the sound that cassette tape imparts to a signal, that is, decreased HF, decreased LF, and uneven response in between -- with flutter thrown across it, there's really only one good way to get it.

Is that what you're asking?

Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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audiofreeek's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulbrother ➑️
Have we reached the point, where the tiny difference between one convertor and another, is being so overexaggeratted, that somebody is actually willing to consider a cassette tape better quality than a C.D. cause its "analog"?

My God.

Next you'll be saying my 80 year old grandmother is hotter than Carmen Elektra cause "at least her boobs are real."



That's scary! (no offence of course!)
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 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."
That's what your gran tells you.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
When we used to get a new vinyl record, the first thing to do would be record it onto cassette before it got a bunch of scratches on it. Then we'd just play those cassettes to death. I never had more fun listening to music. That combination KILLS cassettes made from CDs (and MP3s too) in terms of musicality and fun.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
FAT
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 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. Clearly, the engineers working on this cassette release put in the hours to perfect it. And the engineers working on the CD reissue just didn't give a toss.

So the moral of the story is: An expert and dedicated engineer working with a flawed reproduction medium with always outclass a mediocre uninterested engineer using a superior reproduction medium.

It's pointless to HATE one particular reproduction medium - these older technologies simply make up the large tapestry of recording history.

I think it's essential for engineers to understand and respect all the technologies - from wax cylinders, to wire recorders, tape, MP3. Afterall, they were all adopted on mass for the particular technical innovations they gave to audio producers and consumers. Regardless of what you think of the performance of cassettes, their introduction made music portable - this was the real innovation, which paved the way for all portable devices after it.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Honestly, cheap converters will always more faithfully reproduce what is recorded than 1/4" cassette tape. The track width is too small, and the tape speed too slow to even convey what is good about "real" tape.
Cheap converters will have a greater bandwidth, and likely be within a couple DB of flat for almost all of that bandwidth anyway.

Oh yeah, of course as mentioned above, noise floor and Dynamic range!!!
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
But people talk about tape compression as a positive, maybe that's one reason why cassettes can sound good. Tbh I don't care about frequency response, bandwidth etc nearly as much as whether the overall effect is pleasing which is why I would rather hear anything on cassette (assuming it was mastered through an analogue chain) than on CD's which I find thin, cold and sterile.
Rewinding and fast forwarding is another issue.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
just checking back in on this thread...

is it settled yet?
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
vincentvangogo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq ➑️
just checking back in on this thread...

is it settled yet?
Yep, cassettes are better.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
This is neither here, there, nor anywhere, but it used to be that every so often, SOMEONE would want a cassette tape of these concerts I record instead of a CD-- hopelessly quagmired in the past, obvously. So, yeah, I would find a cassette that would fit (you used to need to order blank cassettes to specific lengths of the program, or more accurately to specific lengths where half the program would fit cleanly on one side, so I had all kinds of 64 minute blanks or 72 minutes, whatever)...

And damn... the cassette always had a blended, more "rich" and ballsy sound than the CD. The swelling crescendos would have a real powerfulness and expansiveness, due plainly to the "distortion" or "mangling" effects of the medium... you lost crispness and clarity, but overall the "musicality" was enhanced, the experience of listening to it and soaking it in.

I just hated it. Glad those days are gone.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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FireMoon's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
One of the problems with Cassette tapes was that. All Cassette decks were biased, in the factory, to work with a specific tape formulation... Usually, either Maxell or TDK if you had no knowledge of this, you were never going to extract the best performance from a deck unless by blind chance you happened to use the right tapes. If you took the door off a cassette transport mechanism the bias control could be manually tweaked to the correct setting for whatever tape you used from choice.

The Sony WDM6 was a fine little machine that could, if used correctly, give sterling service and was perfectly listenable even in some pretty critical situations.

Plus, if you have never heard a properly calibrated Nakamichi cassette deck, you have no real idea of just how good a cassette tape could sound..
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
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!
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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Aiyn Zahav's Avatar
 
11 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
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.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
This was one of the most ridiculous excuses for not letting go of the past! I suppose that black and white TV in my attic is better then my HD flat screen because it has an antenna and it's not digital. Cmon now!
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I had a nice CD player and really nice professional tape deck when I was a Senior in High School. I remember doing a test with my friend to see if he could pick out which was tape and which was CD. At first he was getting all of them right because the CD sound was louder if I didn't touch the volume knob. Then I started turning the volume knob up so that the tapes where as loud as the CD's or a little louder and he started picking the tape as the CD. Back then this was pretty funny to me because it was always assumed that of course CD is soooo much better sounding and obviously sonically superior because it's like the latest digital technology, dugh?
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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Chaellus's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
i had a cassette tape with Yes- Owner of a Lonely heart that i loved to death...when i heard the CD equiveelent i prefered the one on cassette....thats a rare example of where i found cassete was great....but i have to say CD's are Better....
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
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Aiyn Zahav's Avatar
 
11 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Im only 22, its not that I grew up without Cds, I genuinely enjoy listening to music on tape, even if cd's are clearer.

I also find tapes less fatiguing to listen to.

Anyway, I am not sure exactly what it is about cds I dont like so much, as I said it could be converters or it could be an analog path issue.

Anyway it doesnt matter since I dont have the equipment needed to carry it out, I used to think of finding a studio with some top grade equipment to do this with my favourate tracks, I like classical music.

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?
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