How to Enjoy Cassette Audio
One of the big advantages of cassette audio was the way you could not only make your own tapes but also take them anywhere. You could play them at home, on the go, or even in your car.
What About Tape Types?
One way to enjoy listening to music on your cassette deck is to match the tape type to the music you listen to. Different types feature different formulations, so the choice of medium can actually have a noticeable effect on the reproduction of your favorite music. The three main formulations are:
- Ferric Oxide: Type I features good bass response but does not handle treble as well. This makes them suitable for heavy music with a lot of bass but not as good for something like a soprano solo.
- Chrome: Type II adds chrome to the chemistry and swaps out bass fidelity for treble. This kind of tape is better for the soprano than the bass line.
- Metal: Type IV uses metal oxides for higher fidelity reproduction on all levels. It's the closest to CD quality that cassette tape can get.
What Kinds of Features do Decks Have?
Whether you use a Boombox in your room or a dual cassette deck in your stereo system, there are a wide range of features to look for when comparing tape decks. Some features are technical in nature, but many aim purely to improve the experience of enjoying music at home. Choose your features based on your own needs:
- Wells: Some decks feature dual wells, so you can dub from one cassette to another. They work well for copying but unless you're intending to do a lot of dubbing you may be better off with a something like a Sony single well deck. Some manufacturers even restrict some advanced features to single-well decks.
- Audio: Audio quality comes in various forms, but at the very least you should consider noise reduction if not pitch control. Better tapes and decks also feature better frequency response to put more fidelity in your Hi-Fi.
- Convenience: Auto reverse removes the need to flip the tape after side one, while a remote control lets you manage your tape deck from the convenience of the couch.
Listening to Cassette Decks
The first step to any kind of listening experience is knowing the quality of the recording. This is particularly important with media like cassette tapes where the quality of the medium makes a noticeable difference to the experience. A good Sony cassette deck aims to bring out all it can in a recording. All you have to do is press play.
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