Music on cassette tape made easy

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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Post by Dr Huge Longjohns »

Surely somebody has made a cassette tape simulator vst..

Of course. I have one and it's really good...https://aberrantdsp.com/plugins/sketchcassette/ I bought this because the UI was such fun to be honest, but it sounds fab too. There are free ones out there too which a quick Google will supply.
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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Post by ef37a »

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
Surely somebody has made a cassette tape simulator vst..

Of course. I have one and it's really good...https://aberrantdsp.com/plugins/sketchcassette/ I bought this because the UI was such fun to be honest, but it sounds fab too. There are free ones out there too which a quick Google will supply.

So, what does it DO? Add hiss, W&F and some harmonic distortion?

But then I am a cynical old sod...

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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Post by Dr Huge Longjohns »

So, what does it DO? Add hiss, W&F and some harmonic distortion?

Yes. And it doesn't unravel all over the floor of your car.
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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Post by ef37a »

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
So, what does it DO? Add hiss, W&F and some harmonic distortion?

Yes. And it doesn't unravel all over the floor of your car.

Joo know! I have never had one do that! But then I never bought ***t cassettes!

Ok, sorry, it is just that I come from the era when there was great competition between just a few top companies to make THE best cassette decks and a few diehard reviewers like J L Hood kept the buggers on their toes!
Now! We have a recording system that is all but perfect and the ability to store zillions of albums on something the size of my little finger nail but we hanker after a technology that was basically imperfect to start with (dictating machine) and only by supreme effort was made about as good as a top FM broadcast! Except the latter did not have W&F if live!

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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Post by Dr Huge Longjohns »

Yes it's a funny old world but I don't believe it's all hype when people bat on about old analogue gear and distortion and the rest of it.

Character and atmosphere can transform a boring, perfectly recorded performance and give it an extra something for your ear and emotions to latch on to. The same way a slightly out of tune upright piano in an echoey church hall can sometimes sound sadder and more evocative than a perfect Steinway recorded in a perfect studio with mics costing as much as my car!

I think the hiphop innovators recognised this early on, when sampling old records was all they had. There's something about a gritty old LP and limited bandwidth sounds that are intrinsically atmospheric perhaps?
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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Post by nathanscribe »

Can't remember who said this or where I read it, but the conversation was about vinyl, and on being asked "why would you want to listen to something with all that surface noise", the response was "life has surface noise".

I'm on board with that. I think there's value in imperfection, and especially at a time when recording clarity is easy to achieve, compared to say the 90s or the 70s or the 50s, embracing some of the imperfection and instability and noise is part of the character of the experience.

Horses for courses, mind. I wouldn't go back to loading software from a C15 shoved in my Dixons cassette recorder. But I did buy an album on cassette from someone on Bandcamp a while back, and played it on an early 80s Technics component, and... it sounded, really, really good.
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Re: MUSIC ON CASSETTE TAPE MADE EASY

Post by James Perrett »

ef37a wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Yeah, one of the Tascam semi-pro decks would be cool, I’ve got a Tascam 3 head job, very reliable. Or grab yourself a Nakamichi...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NAKAMICHI-BX-2-Dolby-B-C-2-Head-Cassette-Deck-Working-Good-Condition/154032680436?hash=item23dd102df4:g:-6kAAOSw-OpfKH9K

Yes, nice. But the problem with buying a second(?) hand deck privately is that you have no idea of its state of wear. Cassette decks rely on precision head structures and alignment. Drive belts can stretch or go hard and lead to wow and flutter and accurate Dolby* replay depends critically on a flat frequency response and aligned levels.

The seller of that one strikes me as someone who knows what they're on about. The rubber idlers are a weak point of the cheaper Nakamichis with the Sankyo mechanisms and are a bit of a pain to replace (I need to do it on mine by haven't plucked up enough courage to take everything apart) so it is good to know that they've been replaced.

Normally I'd echo the suggestion to buy something used but many cassette deck drive belts seem to have a lifetime of only 15-20 years so you may well need to be prepared to replace the drive belts if it hasn't been done already.
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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Post by muzines »

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
Surely somebody has made a cassette tape simulator vst..

Of course. I have one and it's really good...https://aberrantdsp.com/plugins/sketchcassette/ I bought this because the UI was such fun to be honest, but it sounds fab too. There are free ones out there too which a quick Google will supply.

There's quite a few tape/cassette simulation plugins in various flavours. u-he's Satin will do it, and this one is quite nice:
https://www.wavesfactory.com/cassette
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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Post by ef37a »

I know what you mean about "courage" James. About two years ago I found the capstan belt on my Sony had 'melted'. Got a set no bother at all but the job of fitting them was MUCH trickier than I remembered when I did it for a living forty odd years ago!

I almost got to the point where I would have to take the 'bag of bits' to a hi fi shop and grovel. Fortunately, one last stupendous effort got the job done.

My stance on "imperfections" and grunge are that I doubt Bach would have been happy playing a harpsichord recital accompanied by the equivalent of half dozen chaps hissing on a tin roof!
And why do even Heavy Metal producers spend hours making sure of tunings if it is ok played on a wowing cassette deck?

But, there's no accountin'f folk!

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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Post by Dr Huge Longjohns »

"why would you want to listen to something with all that surface noise", the response was "life has surface noise".

I like that a lot! :thumbup: We all know how sometimes you can make a positive difference to a mix by putting an almost inaudible background pad or sound fx underneath everything. It's like that room tone thing that some engineers swear by. Just an almost imperceptible little bit of sonic filler that our ears seem to like. Glue reverb etc etc. Maybe, as the quote suggests, we're so used to the surface noise of life that it sometimes seems unnatural to hear something without it? My personal view is also that our brain craves movement in sound, as it does in vision. So tiny bits of wow or flutter or hiss that come and go stop our attention switching off. We're programmed by evolution to notice change, sabre-tooth tiger twitching a leaf in our peripheral vision and all that. Nothing more boring than a perfect sine wave.
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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Post by Dr Huge Longjohns »

I doubt Bach would have been happy playing a harpsichord recital accompanied by the equivalent of half dozen chaps hissing on a tin roof

But I doubt he would have been happy playing it in an anechoic chamber either!
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Dr Huge Longjohns
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Re: Music on cassette tape made easy

Post by James Perrett »

ef37a wrote:I know what you mean about "courage" James. About two years ago I found the capstan belt on my Sony had 'melted'. Got a set no bother at all but the job of fitting them was MUCH trickier than I remembered when I did it for a living forty odd years ago!

I've done an Aiwa ADF450 and a Tascam 112 recently - the Aiwa was easy while the Tascam was a bit more complicated and a Youtube video helped. The Nakamichi seems more difficult than those. I've got a couple of others that need doing too.
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