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Thread: Currently made cassettes?

  1. #1
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    Currently made cassettes?

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    Where to find new tapes?

    As far as I can see, the only cassette tapes manufactured now in 2019 are the C456 Type I cassettes from National Audio Company as well as the Fox tapes from Recording the masters. These tapes being ferric, I doubt we would want to use them in our portastudios if we had alternatives. But do we?

    The way I see it, there are two problems with NOS Type II tapes:
    1. Prices. Here in Norway, I have an offer to buy NOS Maxell XLII 60's for $16/£12.50 a piece.
    2. Ageing. Recent reports on this and other sites mention ageing effects on old Type II tapes. Why would I want to pay that much for a product I'm not certain will work?


    Preferably, we should have currently produced Type II tapes, but I can't find any. If there aren't any, it would be nice to know if the NAC C456 or Fox C60 tapes are usable even if they are Type I. If any of you have checked the mentioned Type I tapes, or know about currently made Type II's, I think many here would be happy to know. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by frilyd; 09-18-2019 at 05:31. Reason: Added Fox cassettes

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    I haven't checked out the type I tapes you mentioned but thought I would mention that I use type I on my Tascam 244 recorders. Maxell type I C90s are fairly easy to get in the UK still and cheap. I posted quite a bit here about re-biasing for this and have to say that results are superior to type II in terms of freedom from drop outs. The Freq response is pretty much identical too.

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    Thank you very much! This is very useful, and will help me (and others) to continue using portastudios as long as new tape is still made, even if it is "only" type I.

    You are referring to eg. this post, perhaps?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Findlay View Post
    I haven't checked out the type I tapes you mentioned but thought I would mention that I use type I on my Tascam 244 recorders. Maxell type I C90s are fairly easy to get in the UK still and cheap. I posted quite a bit here about re-biasing for this and have to say that results are superior to type II in terms of freedom from drop outs. The Freq response is pretty much identical too.
    The problem is that the Tascam/Fostex portastudios are setup from factory to run on High bias/type ii tape. As the name suggests, it requires a higher bias frequency than type I tape so you get a more muffled sound running type i tapes. People on this forum have posted positive results rebiasing their 4 track machine to type i tape.

    I actually just bought a bunch of brand new type ii tape from dupeshop.com.au right here in Melbourne, very reasonable price as well ($4AUD per 90min tape in a custom colour shell and case) as I've had to bring out my trusty (dusty) Fostex 4 track cassette recorder for the first time in over a decade!

    These guys are great, you can get any type of tape in any length in any colour of cassette shell. They also do professional label printing.

    Further note, they source their tapes (type ii chrome) from a supplier in Canada.

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    Still, we have to face that there is no endless supply of Type II tapes. No new tape has been made for years, and the market has been drying up for a long time. The prices I have to pay for Type II show that, even though people elsewehere may be luckier. Also, we face the mentioned problems with old tape. The situation is very probably not going to improve. Type II may well disappear completely.

    My conclusion is that we are lucky to even have two factories supplying new Type I tape, and we should to a larger extent be prepared to recalibrate our portastudios to it. Which brings me to a more technical question:

    Quote Originally Posted by Findlay View Post
    I posted quite a bit here about re-biasing for this and have to say that results are superior to type II in terms of freedom from drop outs. The Freq response is pretty much identical too.
    I read how you adjusted the bias - you used the VU meters to record different frequencies at 0dB. Did you also use the same VU meters to read the playback levels after each adjustment?

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    Yes that was the post I meant. I put a few more up after with a Freq response curve. I did use the same VU meters to measure the playback levels. Purists will howl but it worked pretty well. It helped that I had a batch of frequencies recorded on my first new 244 30 years back that helped me to check the replay levels were reasonably in trim.

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    Is that new that NAC isn't making other types of cassettes?

    I have a decent stash of Studio Master C-90 Type II High Bias and C-60 Type II High Bias. Glad I loaded up on (fear they're go out of production!) them if they're not offering them anymore. From what I understood, they had a huge supply of NOS. They ran out??

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    Frilyd, only a couple of weeks ago I bought a Maxell UR type 1 tape from a "Rock Bottom" type shop for a pound.

    I have not done any measurements on it but did record a jazz Bach essemble CD on it using my Sony Dolby S machine (but using D B) and it sounded very good over my Tannoy 5As and in the car! (yes! my car is THAT old!)

    The box label says...Maxell Europe Ltd www.maxell.eu.com I would be happy to post you a sample.

    "But, it is type 1" You say? Now, a looooong time ago a very emminent chap called J Lyndsly Hood did a series of articles (wireless world?) about constructing a stereo cassette deck. He did tests and found that bog S t1 tape was sufficently improved that it worked BETTER at the T2 70microsecond EQ.

    I can also offer you and a few others another possible lifeline? I have a shedload of cassettes, many are TDK SA, a tape so good that I never saw the point of "metal"! In a week or so I am going in for a major operation and will then be on light duties for at least a month. I might just spend some time dubbing SAs to hard drive and offereing a few to peeps in the **** such as yourself. These are almost all once only recorded cassettes.

    Dave.

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    ecc83,

    This is thoroughly heartwarming. Your offer is a stellar example of "random kindness to strangers" that makes me want to contribute back to this place if I can. I cannot possibly ask you to take the trouble (and cost!) to ship tape to Norway - after all, Norwegian raids on England ended nearly a thousand years ago (the vikings surely came for the tape, as supplies were scarce in their homeland), and I don't wish to reestablish that tradition - but I am very much uplifted by your offer. And touched. Thank you very, very much. And all the best of luck with your operation.

    Also, the information that Type I sounds good with 70 µs EQ is equally (got that?) uplifting. That should mean that it is sufficient to re-bias a portastudio to make it fit for Type I, and that it won't be necessary to readjust the EQ. Findlay's experience also seems to indicate this. Opinions on this topic may vary, but I think I may go the route of trying to make my portastudio work with Type I.

    Nola: The NAC website only mentions their own Type I nowadays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frilyd View Post
    Nola: The NAC website only mentions their own Type I nowadays.
    Dang. That is really unfortunate and might kill the resurgence in tape recording.

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