About George

George Frehner started the company in 1989 with a small handful of real-time cassette duplicators, and quickly grew into the expanding CD pressing business as well as vinyl pressing and blank media supplies for recording studios and DIY publishers.

How to record on tabs out cassettes

Many of our cassettes are made without the record-inhibit tabs! If you have a professional duplicator that won’t be an issue because pro duplicating machines do not check for the record tab.  But home recording decks will not record on tabs out cassettes. Fortunately, it isn’t too difficult to fool your cassette deck so it records even when the tabs are out.

Method 1: put scotch tape over the hole on the top of the cassette.

Method 2: put duct tape in the upper left corner of the cassette well to block the pin from coming down.

Method 3: Open the cover and find a way to stop the pin from going down, or short-circuit the contacts on the sensor. A toothpick or wire can be used to keep the pin up.

If you’ve modified your cassette deck, just don’t forget that it will now record on any cassette even if the record tabs have been punched out.

 

Cassette Tape Recording and Playback EQ

In another post we discussed how to record on high bias tapes in normal bias shells. One issue is to have the proper playback EQ so the person listening to your tape won’t find it too dull nor too bright. Many cassette decks have a button to choose either 70 (chrome) or 120 µS (normal) EQ on playback, but this button was done away with on many later generation decks.

Tape EQ selector

Tape EQ selector

High bias tapes are traditionally recorded with 70 µS EQ. If you play them back with 120 µS EQ they will have a 4.5 dB high frequency boost .

If you cannot choose the recording EQ on the machine you can adjust the audio input by applying a high-shelf EQ filter to cut 4.5 dB:

cassette recording EQ compensation filter

EQ compensation when recording high bias tapes with 70 microsecond chrome EQ but playback will be at 120 microsecond normal EQ

Tape Types

Cassette tapes come in several types:

  • Type I, normal bias tape made with ferric oxide, brown colour
  • Type II, high-bias tape made with chromium dioxide and/or cobalt particles, with blue or black colour. This tape is no longer manufactured but we still have some new tape in stock.
  • Type IV, metal tape needing even higher recording bias, black colour, with extremely loud output levels but also higher tape hiss. There is practically no more new Type IV tape left in the world.

How to use Chrome and Cobalt high-bias tape in normal cassette shells

Many clients buying blank tapes want high bias tape loaded into the funky coloured cassette shells. Here’s some background info and an explanation of the challenges you have to overcome.

In the early days of cassettes the tape hiss was quite bad. Chrome tapes had less hiss and a much greater ability to handle high frequencies, but the tape engineers decided to change the EQ curve from 120 µS to 70 µS (microseconds) to give an additional 4.5 dB reduction in tape hiss instead of better high frequency performance. That was great for classical music but not much use for high energy rock and electronic music. With improvements in tape and the advent of Dolby B which gave a 10dB reduction in hiss, the engineers regretted the move to 70 us EQ.(1)

The EQ used to record and playback can be separate from the recording bias, as on many Nakamichi decks we’ve seen – on this model we can choose Type II bias and 120 µS EQ:

Bias and EQ buttons on tape recorder

Bias and EQ buttons on tape recorder

On some models there is no separate EQ button and the recording will be with 70 µS EQ if you use Type II high bias.

Some cassette decks have no buttons and instead use sensors which detect notches on the top spine of the cassette:

Tape Bias and EQ detector slots

Tape Bias and EQ detector slots

Then there are the record-inhibit tabs which you can knock out to prevent accidental erasure. All the funky colours come with the tabs already knocked out, saving the duplication company a lot of labour.

If you want to use Type II tapes in coloured Type I shells you have to overcome several challenges:

  • You need to fool the machine into recording when the tabs are already knocked out. This is easy to do by placing scotch tape over the hole or by a simple modification to your deck to prevent the sensor pin from going down into the hole.
  • You must have a button to select TYPE II or HIGH BIAS when recording. If you don’t have the button you could drill out a hole on the top spine of the cassette (not really something we recommend). You’ll notice some cassettes are molded with the chrome notch cavity covered by a thin plastic roof. You could try punching out that roof to turn your normal-notch cassettes into chrome-compatible cassettes.
  • If you use normal-notch cassettes with high bias tape, you need to figure out the record and playback EQ. See the next blog post

 

1 Terence O’Kelly, “EQ”, The Inventor’s Notebook, Technical bulletin #4 (BASF technical bulletin)

Some 💚 For Cassette Buyers: 10% discount on CDs!

A special bonus for our many cassette clients!

10% Discount on CD/DVD Pressing and Duplication

We’re so happy we’ve been able to gain so many new cassette clients across North America! As a special Thank-You we’re offering a 10% discount on our CD pressing and CD duplication services (DVD too) to all our cassette clients. If you’ve ordered any cassettes (blank or duplicated) from us since 2013 you qualify for the discount. The offer is valid until March 31, 2016.

Terms: discount applies to regular pricing with standard turntime for quantities of 50 to 5000 pieces.

CD Pressing Calculator

CD Duplication with Carboard Jackets Calculator

CD Duplication Bulk or and Paper and Plastic Packaging

Mention coupon 10FORCD2016 to your rep for the 10% discount.

(Only 1 coupon can be redeemed per order)

Cassette Tape Track Formats and Recommended Tapes for Tascam Portastudios

Image

Tascam made the popular Portastudio 4 track cassette recorders. Clients often ask us what tapes should be used with these machines. Well first of all, you need the record tabs to be IN so look for tabs in cassettes (C0-TI). Once you have your final mix you would punch out the record tabs to prevent accidental erasure. The 414 and 424 machines need high bias tapes like TDK SA, Maxell XLII, or BASF Chrome Plus. These tapes came in C-60 and C-90 formats. The C-60 tapes are preferred for the thicker base film and slightly better overall performance. Keep in mind these Portastudios run at double speed (3.75 inches per second) and record all 4 tracks in one direction, so a 60 minute tape only gives you 15 minutes of recording time.

The Portastudios used a propietary track format laying down all 4 tracks with even spacing between all tracks. Regular cassette decks have a larger space between the A and B side, and a narrower gap between the left and right channels of each side. Here’s an illustration from Tascam’s manual:

Tascam Portastudio cassette track widths

Tascam Portastudio cassette track widths

Tape recommendations

Tape recommendations for Tascam Portastudio 414 and 424

Tape recommendations for Tascam Portastudio 414 and 424

Butterscotch/Camel Brick Pattern Cassettes In Stock

A new colour for your 2016 tape projects – butterscotch / camel cassettes! A great colour that goes well with all sorts of artwork. These cassettes also feature a swank brick pattern and debossed A/B side markings. The record tabs are OUT so if you’re recording on home cassette decks you need to put scotch tape over the holes.

Butterscotch cassettes with brick pattern

Butterscotch / camel cassettes with brick pattern

See the complete list of our cassette inventory.

Discogs Turns Record Collectors’ Obsessions Into Big Business

Interesting article about discogs found via slashdot

HughPickens.com writes:Ben Sisario writes at the NYT that Discogs has built one of the most exhaustive collections of discographical information in the world, and with 24 million items for sale, (eBay’s music section lists 11 million) Discogs is on track to do nearly $100 million in business by the end of the year. One of Discog’s secrets is the use of Wikipedia’s model of user-generated content with historical data cataloged by thousands of volunteer editors in extreme detail. The site’s entry for the Beatles’ White Album, for instance, contains 309 distinct versions of the record, including its original releases in countries like Uruguay, India and Yugoslavia — in mono and stereo configurations — and decades of reissues, from Greek eight-tracks to Japanese CDs. “There’s a record-collector gene,” says Kevin Lewandowski. “Some people want to know every little detail about a record.”

http://www.discogs.com/

http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/15/12/29/1818241/discogs-turns-record-collectors-obsessions-into-big-business

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/30/business/media/discogs-turns-record-collectors-obsessions-into-big-business.html