The Cassette thread


Just throwing the thread a curveball … for those struggling to get access to cassette tape - rather than limiting the search to spendy cassette decks, if you’re looking for ways to work in your studio rather than scoring a device to release tapes with then you might consider a VHS recorder as an option - I know i did a few radio recordings direct to VHS when cassette tape length was not good enough, some of the Panasonic VHS machines were high quality and offered audio i/o (probably noise reduction options) and iirc the ability to record/play at different speeds - these will be cheap as chips, though rather large and may be hard to find


When starting a proper recording session, I always prefer new tapes. But for experimenting, used are okay. I have lots of old ones… some are tapes I bought in the 80s and recorded albums on for listening in the car.


We used to mix down to VHS tape in ye olde dayez. :grinning: (and then along came DAT, ADAT and Hi-8 - the latter of which I still have and sometimes use, in the form of the Tascam DA-38. But that’s another story,)


Maxell UR90 cassette tapes are as far as I know still in production and readily available as are Recording the masters Fox tapes, both are ferric but with care can sound great. Incidentally almost all cassette releases are ferric and no noise reduction (mostly). As long as you get a good level on tape for most music ferric with no NR will sound great, it is after all cassette we are talking about, so a less than pristine but still very musical sound is to be expected. I think they sound great :wink:


There’s a denon near me for 200 I might check out, though I got my soma ether email so that may take priority…


I had a Tascam 688 (I think it was) back in the 90’s… the mack daddy. Had a serious mixer section, midi sync and all kinds of advanced stuff I never bothered to figure out.

Used to master to a portable DAT and my dad’s high end Nakamichi deck.


Oh, man, I used to dream of getting one of those. It was HUGE. Eight tracks crammed on to a tiny cassette and with surprisingly good quality (listen to Andy Pickford’s awesome Terraformer album to hear what could be done with that thing). Heck, I still wouldn’t mind getting one…


Great thread!! I am definitely a Walkman kid. I remember my first Walkman like it was yesterday :slight_smile: My parents bought me a WM-F18 in '85 or so and ever since I’ve had portable music on me. Probably the reason I have a “touch” of tinnitus.

I started playing guitar when I was 6 or 7 but never got into recording. I had friends with 4-track recorders but I’ve not once had access to one. Over the years, my tastes shifted to electronic music. For the last 3 years I’ve been working in Ableton trying to find my “voice”. Just this year I’ve wanted to go DAW-less and purchased a nice all hardware setup.

Recently, I’ve seen some lovely YT vids from Jogging House where they are recording to tape. I would love to find a tape deck to record to but know next to nothing about what to look for. Could you much more learn’ed folks recommend something for recording? Does not have to be a multi-track though I am certainly open to one. I double deck unit would be perfectly fine. Cruising some local ads and there’s loads to choose from for $100 or less. Some upwards of $600 as well (Nakamichi)!

Thanks! :smiley:


I still have my last Walkman I bought off a coworker at a summer job at a bookstore in NYC in 1996 for $10. I was buying mixtapes from Fatbeats in NYC up until I moved to Japan in 1999, but everyone here was rocking Minidiscs at the time.

I wish I had a decent cassette 4-track.


I have a question…I see in the Yamaha mt4x manual that you can rec a sync (FSK?) to the 4rth track…and then have your machines synchronized…Have someone used this functions, on this or other multi track machines? Do you think I can use RYTM out sync to do that, or I need another vintage device? Thanks!
Edit: I have a Volca beats…maybe better with this little one?


FSK and SMPTE were the main two methods to sync hardware sequencers and so on to tape, you can sync things like Monotribe or Volca to tape, then if you have midi out mod sync midi gear to them.


If you have midi out mod (very simple to do) then you will be able to use the Volca as a go between.

To do it:
Slave Volca to a midi sequencer, record sync signal from Volca to track 4, when done, sync Volca to TR4 sync, sync midi gear to Volca.


@darenager Thanks for the confirmation…I don’t have the midi out configuration, but just be able to put some percussive sound to some tapes it’s nice…

What easy means to you? :wink:
…mind to explain?


Edit: I just see some info on internet…i’m going to take a look to that…


Read his message till the end, he explained how to do it


Hee hee! I got a Yamaha MT400 when I first started out because I needed a mixer for my MC505 and Bass Station. I had no idea. Still have the MT and BS. Those days were fun, no internet, no help. Crash and burn or travel the stars. Oh and then a Boss202 Dr whatsit that I took to all my friends places and stole sounds from them. Bunged then in the tape machine and messed with speeds and Dolby and re-sampled. Tape is good. Even just listening to silence overdubbed.


I thought he was explaining the method to sync the yamaha multitrack with the volca modified, but not how to modify the volca to midi out…or I didn’t understood nothing…:face_with_raised_eyebrow:


To do the mod you need a 5 pin din connector, 2 resistors, some wire, wirecutters, soldering iron, solder, drill. The mod is easy to find online just search volca midi out mod, I think you can also buy a kit but since it is just midi out I’d personally do the mod myself.


Profile pic confirms you are telling the truth. Headphones are connected to a player, I presume.


It was decided last night that we won’t be using the tape audio for our video jobs. It’s too time consuming and we won’t get paid for the extra effort anyway.

Back to first 4track machines, which was a Tascam porta 5, the first recording I made was a major failure. I gave it to my love crush at school. Told her I made it especially for her :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:
The next day she approaches me with dissatisfaction all over her face and says how awful it was :cry: On the plus side she thought it was some actual band, not me.
Back then, giving a mix tape to your love crush was a standard courting procedure. I should have stuck with Bannanaramma and Spandex Ballet, not my crappy cover of a Warsaw bootleg album using just a Bass guitar and Dr Rhythm. I even recorded my vocals in the bathroom :rofl: I’ve not done vocals since


Loving the idea behind this thread. I want to buy a portable cassette player so I can listen on the go. Any recommendations that is around $100 or below