#937: Bop Was Right: The Best Cassette I Ever Heard

“I agree that most cassettes and decks were crap, but the high end ones such as Nakamichi, Tandberg, Revox, Luxman etc. sound awesome and make great recordings.  The other thing is you can get decent audiophile quality cassette players for a good price, and the cassettes are cheap.” Boppin, August 13 2015

 

I recently purchased a couple cassettes from Drew Masters of M.E.A.T Magazine, from a band he was involved with at the time.  A band I like a lot called Russian Blue.  It’s a demo they recorded at Cherry Beach Sound studio in Toronto in November of 1991.

Even on my Technics RS-TR272 tape deck that badly needs a servicing, I can hear that it’s the best cassette I’ve ever played.

It’s loud.  Much louder than any other cassettes.  And it’s clear.  Barely any hiss even on this machine.  The dead spots between songs are quiet.  I’ve never heard a tape like it.

The reasons for this are two-fold.  One is that the cassette is a Sony Metal-SR 100, Type IV.  Not top of the line but not a bad tape at all.

Second is that this tape comes direct from the desk of Cherry Beach Sound, a professional recording studio.  Noise reduction set to “B”.  Their recorders are far better than anything I’ve had access to in my life, and certainly superior to the stuff they make mass-produced commercial tapes with.

What can I say?  Bop was right all along.  Cassettes don’t have to sound like shit.  I’ve been schooled.

57 comments

      1. He won’t be able to change my mind. I hate to think that every time I use something it gets closer to death and worse in quality. The only thing that should make me re-buy an album is bonus tracks/discs.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Lol this cassette doesn’t even have art! It’s the same as anything we collect. Why? Because it’s fucking cool! This is a tape that went right from the mixing desk 30 years ago into my hands. The tape that my original commercial copy was dubbed from. Has the studio clerk’s writing on it. Once belonged to the band. Why collect anything at all if not history?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I was talking more about cassettes in general. Yes, historic ones are good to have because of the history, but since the beginning of these comments I’ve been referring to the format itself rather than any one cassette.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I just wanna be clear — mass produced tapes are not what I’m talking about. This is a very special very awesome sounding tape from a recording studio. It’s like nothing you can buy in a store. I was lucky that Drew was selling his collection. He had a lot more but I could only afford this. I wish I could afford the rest as it would be the best sounding versions of those bands I’ve ever heard. This is from 1991 and these songs have never been released on any format other than tape. I’m lucky to have a tape that sounds almost as good as a CD.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I have records from the 1950’s, reel to reel from 1960’s and cassettes from the 70’s that sound wicked. They may have a finite life, but if looked after they will outlive my life, plus they are analog and awesome.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. My suggestion is do some routine service to your deck.
          It’s as simple as getting q tips and rubbing alcohol and clean the heads. Youtube should have some tutorials. Then if you want to go all out get a head demagnitizer
          One time should be fine though.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s just the thought that with every listen it gets worn down or stretched out a little (no matter how small) that makes me feel icky. CDs offer peace of mind. Plus they’re easier to rip to a hard drive.

        I personally dislike analogue. Every LP I’ve heard gives me a weird feeling. There’s something about it that doesn’t feel right. I like the crystal clear and sterile clarity of a CD.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. But that isn’t a forgone conclusion as far as I know. And it isn’t something that happens bit by bit with each successive listen.

          Like

  1. I don’t know if i can buy cassettes other than to maybe buy the Kiss ones just so I have any version of an album I can find. Outside of that, no reason to get them as I’ll stick with the LPs and CDs and heck even streaming.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Any enthusiast with a quality 3 head deck and higher end tape(type 2 or better) can make a great recording that sounds better than store bought cassettes (that record companies used the cheapest cassettes to record on to for cost savings).

        The one you have Mike is straight from the board, but had to be recorded on to a cassette. The deck they used to record it is the key. Not the source.
        Cherry Beach is still in business and I went on their equipment list. No mention of cassette. Not surprising.
        Actually in 1991 DAT was all the rage so surprising this is on cassette.
        More than likely they had a high end 3 head deck

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know you are on a sabbatical Mike, but if you ever have John’s brother-in-law back, I would love a debate with him about pros and cons of digital and analog. Newer vinyl recordings sourced from digital. How the recording process has changed through the years etc.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well it went OK for 10 minutes and then the video froze! I struggled with it but couldn’t fix it so I had to drop the idea.

          But Meat and I have been working on some new ideas and if you stay tuned, there might be a test run of that happening very soon.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Break is going great, thanks for asking! I needed to get to a point where I look forward to doing the show again, and I think with Uncle Meat’s help, and some assistance from Tee Bone and Harrison, I’m getting there.

          In fact, if you go on Instagram…I may already have posted a teaser.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Relaxing a little but mostly trying to do more listening and writing. That has been working out very well.

          Yes and yes. At least, we’re going to try it. Harrison is skeptical about lists of five, but we need to try something new that can get the show under two hours again. I can’t do three every week anymore.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Oh yes, I’ve noticed you’ve been writing more posts recently. And i’m guessing a lot of Disney+?

          I think lists of five would be a good challenge. Since it was hard for you guys to put together lists of 11, five would be even harder to do.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Yeah, I think that’s a great idea because 1) you won’t have to edit 3 hour long shows anymore, 2) the lists would be more challenging, insightful, and fun (hopefully), and 3) it’ll give you guys more time to chat if the lists are shorter.

          Like

Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s