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 Post subject: RCA Victor large cassette?
PostPosted: Dec Wed 13, 2017 10:41 am 

Joined: Aug Thu 23, 2012 5:25 am
Posts: 266
I saw a YouTube video of what was called an "rca high-fidelity" tape player that was made in the mid to late
1950's. Anyone here have one of these or hear of one...the tapes for it are huge :D

 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor large cassette?
PostPosted: Dec Wed 13, 2017 10:39 pm 

Joined: Sep Thu 20, 2007 3:16 am
Posts: 974
Location: Winter Park, Florida
I have one along with a few prerecorded tapes and a few blanks. They sound pretty good, but head alignment on these is absolutely critical or you won't get any highs.

Audio magazine tested one in 1959 or so and had the same conclusion about head alignment and that all of their samples were not aligned properly as bought.
The reviewer removed the tape from one of the cartridges and played it on an open reel deck to check the quality of the pre recorded tape and found it to be
excellent for 3 3/4 ips.

 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor large cassette?
PostPosted: Dec Wed 13, 2017 10:48 pm 
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Joined: May Wed 03, 2006 4:47 am
Posts: 5454
Location: Radio Heaven, North Carolina, near Charlotte, 28106-3015
I have 3 of them, one big home unit that stereo and 2 smallish ones
that are mono.
I also have 2 demo tapes.
When I get a chance I snap a photo of the big one that's
in the display room.

Here's a bunch of videos on youtube about them; ... e+cassette


73, Ron w4ron

 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor large cassette?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 08, 2018 2:34 am 
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Joined: Jun Wed 08, 2011 2:33 am
Posts: 10349
Location: Ohio 45177
How about Sony Elcassettes, I think they were called. Larger tape carts that played at 3 3/4 but I don't know that it really made a mark in the market, competing against the more refined regular cassettes with Dolby, DBX and Chromium or high output low noise types.

Reddy Kilowatt says; You smell smoke? Sorry about that!

 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor large cassette?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 08, 2018 3:19 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1504
Location: Bend OR 97703
Anybody remember the 4-track player?


 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor large cassette?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 08, 2018 5:05 pm 

Joined: Mar Tue 03, 2009 11:12 pm
Posts: 1615
Location: Hutchinson KS
Of course! I bought a Ranger Brand that played both 4 and 8 track tapes. I installed it in my brothers '63 Chevy back in 1968 while he was overseas. He still has the tape deck, but unfortunately not the car!

 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor large cassette?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 08, 2018 11:03 pm 

Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2720
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
RCA Sound Magazine a/k/a/ Scotch Quick-Load Cartridge
I still have my original Bell Sound/TRW monaural player before I inherited the stereo Executronic one in the wood case w separate external speaker some years later.

Interesting tidbit about that format is related to the number of tracks and track configuration on quarter-inch tape.

As everybody knows, when the format debuted, reel to reels were still only 2-track stereo. Not only were they only 2-track single-direction (a rewind-and-play affair as they were always sold tails out like a studio master) by 1958 they were still fighting the war over Staggered vs Inline - and IIRC the last Staggered tape was released in early 1959. In addition to that, commercially recorded tape was still being released only on 7-1/2 IPS.

Enter the Sound Magazine/QLC. Engineers sallied forth with this ``cheap'' (by reel to reel standards) format merely to test out whether they could get an acceptable sound on the same quarter inch tape, using half the speed and twice the tracks.

Reporters bought the monaural versions first for the ``portability'' noted as such because even though they weighed around 20 lbs they had a handle on them - like ``portable'' 19-inch TVs of the same period.

The additional feature for those, both in the mono or stereo versions was the fact that they could double the time by running at the same 1-7/8 IPS that cassettes would later use. The fidelity was fine for field reporters, who pretty much kept on using `em for the next five or six years til the Norelco CompactCassette we know today was perfected.

One of the reasons field reporters kept using the battery versions of these even when e.g. Uher 5-inch versions were out already by the early 60s is simply the fact that you didn't have to thread it - handy in the dark or other less than optimal operating condition.

Another nail in the coffin was the fact that like the ensuing Elcaset but unlike reel-to-reel which released a number of 2-track mono titles for those with half-track players, with no 4-track monaural titles being released by the record companies, those soon got downsized to young boys like yours truly to put all their raggedy old inherited 45s in the playroom banging around in a bag all on one or two tapes.

By the time the stereo versions were out, the price points for those weren't that much different from low-end two-speed and three-speed 4-track stereo reel to reels - the kind that would end up in stereo consoles along with FM stereo simulcast/multiplexing decks a couple of years later.

So people opted for that instead since they could get 6 hours on one tape at 3-3/4 instead of an hour (sometimes 75 mins if you were lucky with 3/4 mil tape since the half mil triple play tape would get eaten up by the transport).

I have two of the who-knows-how-many SM/QLC titles released in the 1-7/8 IPS format. Even though decent reproduction cannot be had on even the top line series of original players, mounting it onto e.g. a Norelco 401 Continental yields a pleasant-enough experience at that speed and a more-than-pleasing fullness of sound with the 3-3/4 tapes.

Once people defected onto low-level reel-to-reel in place of the SM/QLC - a number of labels released the prerecorded 6-hour 3-3/4 IPS background music tapes people would have recorded on their own to go on them - and then for a couple years even released TWELVE hour tapes at 1-7/8 so you REALLY didn't have to bother with it during e.g. an event.

I have one dubbed for Philips in Holland that's QUARTER MIL TAPE i e 7200 ft on a 7 inch reel recorded at 15/16 IPS that plays TWENTY FOUR HOURS IN A ROW IN STEREO no less and even THAT doesn't sound horrible on the Continental 401 deck it was intended for.

Yes I transferred it over about a week several years ago since it was so fragile you couldn't fast forward or rewind it without damage. I keep meaning to put it up on YouTube with all my other oddities but I never get time.

With none of the tape or head formulation improvements that would be necessary for the CompactCassette to take off from a commercial standpoint having been perfected yet, critical listeners (stereo reel to reel and stereo LP fans) wouldn't be able to listen to such `aural effrontery' on a SM/QLC - perfect head alignment or not - but for old mono LPs and 45s wel loved and well-worn - it was fine. As was a great many of the pre-recorded tapes available therefor - all but a very small handful dubbed 2:1 to play back at 3-3/4.

Reader's Digest (subcontracted to RCA Records) also issued their first two box sets of classical music excerpts released in 1959 on the format, their only tape release to date - and those have a very good sound for what they are.

This success gave steam to the later developments of both 4-track stereo open reel recording as well as releases in the 3-3/4 IPS format. First budget releases were produced and then full-price commercial releases were produced in the format until the end of reel-to-reel and 8-track in 1985

Like my Stereo-8 and Stereo-4 and Quad-8 dubbing mistakes I discuss below that I inherited from a truck stop as leftovers from a blowout of distressed mdse, I have an RCA sampler tape that is mis-dubbed to play back at 7-1/2 - as in `somebody forgot to switch the dubbing machine from 1:1 for conventional reel to 2:1 for these - and - played on a normal deck - it sounds terrific.

The fact that these Sound Magazines/Quick Load Cartridges - like the Muntz 4-track and later Sony Elcaset are in the exact same configuration as any normal 4-track reel-to-reel means that whoever doesn't have a player - or whoever wants to transfer these to digital for posterity and wants to use a higher quality deck - can do so by unwinding the carts onto a 5-inch NAB (large hub) reel and using a modern player.

The only difference is the fact that the Muntz (Fidelipac etc) needs a 4-channel 4-track player or else you need to record the other side backwards into a digital audio workstation and then reverse it later in the computer. But I like just playing them on an old quadraphonic home reel deck better.
Sony Elcaset
By this time a great many improvements in technology had been perfected, and high-quality background music had been able to be released to stores and transportation for a few years already.

With the introduction of chrome tape in 1970, the possibility arose for being able to get near 7-1/2 IPS fidelity at 3-3/4 - so with the polished higher-density - and particle-aligned - tapes of the mid 70's coming online, (originally developed for Sony's Betamax video recorder and subsequently copped by Akai for its' 11-1/4 IPS quarter-inch classroom video recorder) a decision was made to try out this new ``reel to reel sound inside of a cassette'' idea.

Between the fact that other than the demo tapes, no prerecorded albums were ever released and the fact that there was never a quadraphonic version released - which was all the rage in the mid `70s it's no wonder that the format was only around for a couple years.
4-track and 8-track combi-players
A few of those were built like a tank and had better sound than you'd think. I have a Pioneer (supplied Craig among others) that is also two SPEED in addition to two CARTRIDGE types.

I forget where on here I talk abt that one but suffice it to say the Cliffs Notes version is these were made before Fast Forward circuits were included in a number of automobile tape players - which - being without a Mute Circuit like on the newer ones - allwed me to play all these mis-dubbed Stereo 8 and Stereo 4 (Muntz) tapes from the truck stop haul.

My Technics 858 Q8 recorder takes care of the mis-dubbed quadraphonic 8-tracks after I adapted the MUTE circuit to be optional.

Music I would never have paid attention to otherwise made it into my older brother's inherited Woodie two-tone neon green and orange station wagon.

Whoever has these kinds of tapes needs to transfer theirs as well - especially in cases of the sampler/demo tapes that can't be had elsewhere - or send `em to me to transfer here in the studio.

I'm doing the same for a Revere Cartridge player as we speak and then loading in ``modern'' (10 year old) short-ends off of several chrome cassette duplication pancakes I inherited from a dubbing house when they closed so that I can dub vintage stereo programming onto them, recreate the original album covers off of slicks available around the web and sell them as ``functional reproduction art'' like the cylinder guys do for e.g. Maroon 5 or Alicia Keyes.

Regarding whoever invented this: which is an 1/8 inch by six inch 1-13/32 IPS reel to reel unit that was out for awhile during the same period - I can start in on this if you want (just kidding) onto which I also load short-ends of chrome tape.

Loads of fun anyway you look at it.

(singing along) (electronic beeping and booping)
I know where several are.
Guy's dream was real bizzare
Cuz he thought he'd make the market dance.....

But he said he'd take a chance
Put in all the cash from his pants
But all he got was stuck up in side a jar
(at a museum)

2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.

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