Bad rap for cassettes?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio' started by Rob Adelman, Aug 10, 2003.

  1. Rob Adelman

    Rob Adelman Guest

    I know many here sneer at them. The other day at Walmart I saw a 5 pack
    of Maxell XLII tapes for about 6 bucks. (Do they still make the XLIIS?)

    So I just recorded Abraxas and DSOTM off of SACD's onto these cassettes
    and I am listening to them on my 20 year old Sony walkman. Even through
    this crude chain I would listen this way over CD's all day long.

    -Rob
     
    Rob Adelman, Aug 10, 2003
    #1
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  2. Rob Adelman wrote:

    >I know many here sneer at them. The other day at Walmart I saw a 5 pack
    >of Maxell XLII tapes for about 6 bucks. (Do they still make the XLIIS?)
    >
    >So I just recorded Abraxas and DSOTM off of SACD's onto these cassettes
    >and I am listening to them on my 20 year old Sony walkman. Even through
    >this crude chain I would listen this way over CD's all day long.


    Do you consider yourself to have a good sense of pitch?

    My major complaint with the Philips cassette format is its poor wow-and-
    flutter performance that drives me nuts because I am continually aware of
    the pitch variations! Add the format's unit-to-unit absolute speed issues,
    and I don't understand how anyone with an even moderate pitch sense can
    prefer cassettes over CD's!

    --
    ========================================================================
    Michael Kesti | "And like, one and one don't make
    | two, one and one make one."
    | - The Who, Bargain
     
    Michael R. Kesti, Aug 10, 2003
    #2
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  3. Rob Adelman

    Rob Adelman Guest

    Michael R. Kesti wrote:

    > Do you consider yourself to have a good sense of pitch?


    Yes, I can tell if it is off. The walkman plays back slightly from my
    recording deck (Denon) and of course when the batteries are getting low
    it doesn't sound so good. The car players usually seem to be pretty
    close. But it sounds less harsh. I can turn it up and listen for hours
    without the fatigue I get from CD's.
    >
    > My major complaint with the Philips cassette format is its poor wow-and-
    > flutter performance that drives me nuts because I am continually aware of
    > the pitch variations! Add the format's unit-to-unit absolute speed issues,
    > and I don't understand how anyone with an even moderate pitch sense can
    > prefer cassettes over CD's!
    >
     
    Rob Adelman, Aug 10, 2003
    #3
  4. Rob Adelman

    Arny Krueger Guest

    "Michael R. Kesti" <> wrote in message
    news:

    > Rob Adelman wrote:


    >> I know many here sneer at them. The other day at Walmart I saw a 5
    >> pack of Maxell XLII tapes for about 6 bucks. (Do they still make the
    >> XLIIS?)


    >> So I just recorded Abraxas and DSOTM off of SACD's onto these
    >> cassettes and I am listening to them on my 20 year old Sony walkman.
    >> Even through this crude chain I would listen this way over CD's all
    >> day long.


    Given the choice of available opportunities, a fast CD rip onto my NJB3 as a
    wav file would hit the spot. Sounds like an idea! I think I'll do it right
    after I push "Send".

    > Do you consider yourself to have a good sense of pitch?


    To say the least. Or a sense of noise, or a sense of FM distortion, or a
    sense of gratuitous dynamics corruption. Furthermore, the only thing worse
    than how cassettes sound is how they measure.

    > My major complaint with the Philips cassette format is its poor
    > wow-and- flutter performance that drives me nuts because I am
    > continually aware of the pitch variations!


    Agreed.

    > Add the format's
    > unit-to-unit absolute speed issues, and I don't understand how anyone
    > with an even moderate pitch sense can prefer cassettes over CD's!


    Agreed.

    IME & IMO cassette never sonically measured up to LP. My opinion of LP
    playback is neither much of a secret nor could it possibly get much worse.
     
    Arny Krueger, Aug 10, 2003
    #4
  5. Rob Adelman

    Stephen Sank Guest

    If you own a Nakamichi Dragon or Revox B215/A721, with quartz locked capstan
    servos & 0.015% or less wow/flutter, then you'll get along with cassettes
    just fine, even if you have the ultimate perfect pitch.

    --
    Stephen Sank, Owner & Ribbon Mic Restorer
    Talking Dog Transducer Company
    http://stephensank.com
    5517 Carmelita Drive N.E.
    Albuquerque, New Mexico [87111]
    505-332-0336
    Auth. Nakamichi & McIntosh servicer
    Payments preferred through Paypal.com
    "Michael R. Kesti" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Rob Adelman wrote:
    >
    > >I know many here sneer at them. The other day at Walmart I saw a 5 pack
    > >of Maxell XLII tapes for about 6 bucks. (Do they still make the XLIIS?)
    > >
    > >So I just recorded Abraxas and DSOTM off of SACD's onto these cassettes
    > >and I am listening to them on my 20 year old Sony walkman. Even through
    > >this crude chain I would listen this way over CD's all day long.

    >
    > Do you consider yourself to have a good sense of pitch?
    >
    > My major complaint with the Philips cassette format is its poor wow-and-
    > flutter performance that drives me nuts because I am continually aware of
    > the pitch variations! Add the format's unit-to-unit absolute speed

    issues,
    > and I don't understand how anyone with an even moderate pitch sense can
    > prefer cassettes over CD's!
    >
    > --
    > ========================================================================
    > Michael Kesti | "And like, one and one don't make
    > | two, one and one make one."
    > | - The Who, Bargain
     
    Stephen Sank, Aug 10, 2003
    #5
  6. Rob Adelman

    Mike Guest

    Rob Adelman <> wrote in message news:<v6uZa.76663$-kc.rr.com>...
    > I know many here sneer at them. The other day at Walmart I saw a 5 pack
    > of Maxell XLII tapes for about 6 bucks. (Do they still make the XLIIS?)
    >
    > So I just recorded Abraxas and DSOTM off of SACD's onto these cassettes
    > and I am listening to them on my 20 year old Sony walkman. Even through
    > this crude chain I would listen this way over CD's all day long.
    >
    > -Rob


    Hey that analog compression from tape saturation sounds good period.
    Thats the way it is.

    Mike http://www.mmeproductions.com
     
    Mike, Aug 10, 2003
    #6
  7. "Arny Krueger" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > My opinion of LP playback is neither much of a secret nor could it

    possibly get much worse.
    >

    Ah, thanks for that information- I now know I need never waste time reading
    your ill-informed posts ever again.

    I'm reminded of an LP connoisseur who likened the listening experience
    (complete with surface noise) to that of drinking Grange Hermitage- would
    you forgo that sublime experience because there was sediment at the bottom?

    (Arny to wine waiter- "send this rubbish back, there's dirt in the bottom!")
     
    Kieran McCoey, Aug 11, 2003
    #7
  8. Rob Adelman

    Arny Krueger Guest

    "Stephen Sank" <> wrote in message
    news:bh6av6$3e5$
    > If you own a Nakamichi Dragon or Revox B215/A721, with quartz locked
    > capstan servos & 0.015% or less wow/flutter, then you'll get along
    > with cassettes just fine, even if you have the ultimate perfect pitch.


    How did they avoid tape slip?
     
    Arny Krueger, Aug 11, 2003
    #8
  9. Arny Krueger wrote:

    >"Stephen Sank" <> wrote in message
    >news:bh6av6$3e5$
    >> If you own a Nakamichi Dragon or Revox B215/A721, with quartz locked
    >> capstan servos & 0.015% or less wow/flutter, then you'll get along
    >> with cassettes just fine, even if you have the ultimate perfect pitch.

    >
    >How did they avoid tape slip?


    How does owning an overpriced, although very nice, deck allow me to play
    them with this accuracy in my car or anywhere away from my home? How does
    it help playback tapes recorded anywhere other than in such a deck?

    Since I began using digital media, I find that cassettes suck. YMMV.

    As for Rob's CD listening fatigue, I feel that the strident high end that
    probably causes this is the result of poor production rather than a fault
    in the medium.

    --
    ========================================================================
    Michael Kesti | "And like, one and one don't make
    | two, one and one make one."
    | - The Who, Bargain
     
    Michael R. Kesti, Aug 11, 2003
    #9
  10. Rob Adelman

    Mike Guest

    "Jay Levitt" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In article <%tyZa.5502$>,
    > says...
    > > I am, fortunately, blessed with a superior sense of pitch that adjusts
    > > continuously to sense an enjoyable performance all but the bare bottom

    end
    > > of tape and vinyl technology.

    >
    > Lucky you! In the days of vinyl, I used to get mightily annoyed when
    > radio stations would speed up songs slightly to get more commercial
    > time, because the songs were no longer in their original key...
    >
    > --
    > Jay Levitt |
    > Wellesley, MA | Hi!
    > Faster: jay at jay dot eff-em | Where are we going?
    > http://www.jay.fm | Why am I in this handbasket?


    The only really good advantage of perfect pitch is tuning a piano. After
    that
    it is right up there with having tinnitus. The whole idea of music is the
    relative
    relation of notes to each other. Otherwise we wouldn't have keys or
    differing
    numbers of intervals in different cultures (i.e. there have been systems
    with as
    many as 24 intervals in an octave).

    You go up to a higher octave and your ear has to hear the ratio relationship
    between
    notes to hear them as the same not an octave up. Another relative
    adjustment.

    Mike http://www.mmeproductions.com
     
    Mike, Aug 11, 2003
    #10
  11. Rob Adelman wrote:

    >I'm only concered with the end result. Does it sound good?


    I couldn't agree more, Rob. IMO, CD's, unlike cassettes, are capable of
    good sound.

    --
    ========================================================================
    Michael Kesti | "And like, one and one don't make
    | two, one and one make one."
    | - The Who, Bargain
     
    Michael R. Kesti, Aug 11, 2003
    #11
  12. Rob Adelman

    Stephen Sank Guest

    Evidently, you have never owned a high-end Nakamichi or Revox cassette deck.

    --
    Stephen Sank, Owner & Ribbon Mic Restorer
    Talking Dog Transducer Company
    http://stephensank.com
    5517 Carmelita Drive N.E.
    Albuquerque, New Mexico [87111]
    505-332-0336
    Auth. Nakamichi & McIntosh servicer
    Payments preferred through Paypal.com
    "Michael R. Kesti" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Rob Adelman wrote:
    >
    > >I'm only concered with the end result. Does it sound good?

    >
    > I couldn't agree more, Rob. IMO, CD's, unlike cassettes, are capable of
    > good sound.
    >
    > --
    > ========================================================================
    > Michael Kesti | "And like, one and one don't make
    > | two, one and one make one."
    > | - The Who, Bargain
     
    Stephen Sank, Aug 11, 2003
    #12
  13. Rob Adelman

    Arny Krueger Guest

    "Michael R. Kesti" <> wrote in message
    news:
    > Rob Adelman wrote:
    >
    >> I'm only concerned with the end result. Does it sound good?


    > I couldn't agree more, Rob. IMO, CD's, unlike cassettes, are capable
    > of good sound.


    The CD format is capable of subjectively facsimile reproduction, and
    delivers it quite consistently. I can't imagine any reasonable listener
    having trouble detecting the sonic impact of a single generation of cassette
    duplication.

    I think that just about everybody knows that the cassette format is
    congenitally colored. A more probable interpretation of "cassettes sound
    better than CDs" would be that it's been a slow weekend and someone wants to
    try to make the Usenet juices run. Hey, if it worked for Mark Levinson, it
    might work for them!
     
    Arny Krueger, Aug 11, 2003
    #13
  14. Rob Adelman

    Arny Krueger Guest

    "William Sommerwerck" <> wrote in message
    news:

    >> The CD format is capable of subjectively facsimile reproduction,
    >> and delivers it quite consistently. I can't imagine any reasonable
    >> listener having trouble detecting the sonic impact of a single
    >> generation of cassette duplication.


    > It depends on the program source. With a direct mic feed, the
    > difference between even the best cassette, and open-reel or even
    > mediocre digital, is plainly audible.


    As it has been for decades, it really depends on the music itself. There's
    quite a bit of latitude for the original source format.

    In this day and age there's nothing magical about direct mic feeds. Good
    digital transcriptions of them are readily available, and not that hard to
    make.

    > But most commercial recordings -- including CDs -- are so bad, that a
    > good cassette deck can copy them with little or no subjective loss.


    That hasn't been my experience. But, here's a great opportunity for
    interminable arm-wrestling about what constitutes a *good* cassette deck.

    ;-)

    I'd like to see (and listen to) two .wav files in any common format from
    16/44 to 24/192, one of being the original source, and one of which has been
    round-tripped through the cassette machine of anybody's choice.

    Let's see if they can be distinguished via a PCABX test. I'll bet they can!

    One little hook - most of the program material is up to anybody to choose,
    but it has to include every *reference* .wav file posted at www.pcabx.com.
    The compendium I contributed to the last RAP CD suffices.

    > I might point out (and I'm deliberately poking my elbow in Arnie's
    > intellectual ribs) that these differences are easier to hear when you
    > play back substantial chunks of each recording, rather than making a
    > rapid input/output comparison with the tape monitor.


    Poke as you will Sommerwerck, it doesn't change reality.

    Reality is that for the more subtle differences, trained listeners can
    listen to the wrong music for a year and get nowhere, and listen to the
    right music for 10 seconds and wrap it up.

    The *magic* of long term listening tests has been pretty thoroughly
    deconstructed. It's like the benefits of talking to plants, every time
    someone tries to pin it down, it's suddenly not there.

    What long term listening IS good for is finding the *right* 10 or less
    seconds of music that makes the difference clear, if such a thing is
    possible. With loops through cassette land, it's always possible if the
    music is reasonably challenging, and mostly even if it isn't.

    However, if you loop some music through a cassette machine to make your
    reference tracks, then it might be pretty hard to hear the next generation
    of degradation. That's not really fair play, right?
     
    Arny Krueger, Aug 11, 2003
    #14
  15. Rob Adelman

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    Rob Adelman <> wrote:
    >Michael R. Kesti wrote:
    >>
    >> As for Rob's CD listening fatigue, I feel that the strident high end that
    >> probably causes this is the result of poor production rather than a fault
    >> in the medium.

    >
    >I'm only concered with the end result. Does it sound good?


    Mine do.
    --scott
    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
     
    Scott Dorsey, Aug 11, 2003
    #15
  16. You should be ducking your head after such an outdated opinion about cubic
    inches in engines being the primary performance spec. I've brought it up
    before, but there are easily 4 cylinder Hondas out there producing 700 hp
    with 2000 cc engines. Hell, crate Chevy engines only run about 330 hp for a
    350 HO Chevy, and that's certainly over 5 liters (60.2 CI per liter, I
    believe). So we're talking a 700 hp engine with 2 liters vs a 5+ liter
    engine at only 330? Sometimes size doesn't matter! <g>

    The point being that there's always an exception that proves the rule, which
    I never understood while I was growing up. Either it fits, or it don't fit.
    If it's not true one hundred percent of the time, then it's not true. But
    American know-how and production capabilities somehow made this statement a
    theorem.

    Cubic inches don't make horsepower, and tape, in and of itself, doesn't make
    sound quality. I offer a couple of George Massenberg produced Lil' Feat
    albums on cassette that will knock your socks off as "the exception" (not
    ANYTHING reproduced by Bill Payne and Paul Barerre).

    However, I'm only offering up exceptions as the proof that a generalized
    statement doesn't work. Tape merely sounds like it sounds. It's up to the
    individual to enjoy the content, and when one tries to put sound quality
    above the content, they've lost their advantage. A little $25k Subaru WRX
    with a 3 liter engine runs the quarter at 5 seconds off the showroom floor.
    A $60k Corvette runs the quarter at 5 seconds. Apples and oranges, Arny.
    Which one's the apple and which one's the orange?

    --


    Roger W. Norman
    SirMusic Studio
    Purchase your copy of the Fifth of RAP CD set at www.recaudiopro.net. See
    how far $25 really goes.




    "Arny Krueger" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > "Scott Dorsey" <> wrote in message
    > news:bh8d0b$khq$
    > > Stephen Sank <> wrote:

    >
    > >> Evidently, you have never owned a high-end Nakamichi or Revox
    > >> cassette deck.

    >
    > > I have. It's certainly a huge step up, but it's still no Ampex.

    >
    > IME, ditto for a wide range of other great open-reel machines.
    >
    > I've seen some high end Nak cassette machine owners diss the best that
    > Studer, Ampex and Otari pushed out the door.
    >
    > Just as surely as there is no substitute for cubic inches in engines,
    > there's no substitute for tape speed and track width in tape recorders, at
    > least up to half track and 15 ips.
    >
    > <shaking head>
    >
    >
     
    Roger W. Norman, Aug 11, 2003
    #16
  17. Rob Adelman

    Mike Guest

    Jay Levitt <> wrote in message news:<>...
    > In article <>,
    > says...
    > > The only really good advantage of perfect pitch is tuning a piano.

    >
    > Actually, not even there. Pianos are "stretch tuned", so that lower
    > octaves are slightly flat, and higher octaves are slightly sharp. It's
    > a compromise - the fundamentals are out of tune so that the harmonics
    > can stay IN tune. Only on a theoretical string can the two be true
    > simultaneously; real strings have thickness or some other property that
    > prevents it, I forget what exactly.
    >
    > I suppose the only perfectly-in-tune instrument is a synth, or a
    > xylophone...



    I use to learn songs on guitar from what was within my head. Not
    sitting down listening to the record. A lot of times I didn't have the
    record. I would find out later that I had learned them quite closely
    except I had learned them in a different key than the original. Really
    relative pitch on my part.

    Mike http://www.mmeproductions.com
     
    Mike, Aug 12, 2003
    #17
  18. Rob Adelman

    Roxbrough

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    They are back boys.
     
    Roxbrough, Aug 10, 2017
    #18
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