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 Post subject: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Tue 10, 2018 3:38 am 
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Did the audio quality of 8 track tapes vary album to album?

I've always thought 8 track tapes were a little lacking in the highs, but tonight I listened to the Brother to Brother 8 track by Gino Vanelli and it sounded quite good.

Was it as good as other media?

Not quite but close and it sounded better than a lot of other 8 tracks I've heard.


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Tue 10, 2018 3:48 am 
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They varied big time. Some were passable and some were just atrocious.


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Tue 10, 2018 3:52 am 
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Indeed. A few years ago I bought some items from a man, including an 8-track player-recorder and some tapes. I'm surprised how good the ABBA tape sounds, and that is with my Magnepan speakers.

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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Tue 10, 2018 4:21 am 
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ndiamone once mentioned that he would sometimes mod a player/recorder that had fast forward to where it would play and record in fast forward which was 7 1/2 IPS and made better sounding 8 track tapes, albeit at half the length and could only be played on a modded machine.

I honestly think if an 8 track tape were made today with the better tape formulations one could get much better sound quality.

Also I've learned that the 8 track player and its condition can have a big effect on the sound quality.

I've used various 8 track machines throughout the years and the best sounding one is the JVC 1250 I currently have. I did fully recap it and I think that made a difference in the sound quality.


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Tue 10, 2018 5:43 pm 
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Location: Fayette County, Pa
There were a couple factors that entered into the quality issue. First is the tape itself. Most carts used a low end tape which had numerous imperfections. In addition there was the dry graphite lubricant on the reverse side of the tape that made it difficult to keep heads clean. graphite had a way of building up. The solution was to make the gap wider on the head. this lowered high end response. But it didn't "clog" the gap as frequently.

Keep in mind though the potential was there. Compare a cassette tape with an 8 track of the same era. The cassette generally sounded better even though the tape speed was half that of an 8 track. Head gap however was much closer which accounted for the improvement. Plus there were several alloys used in the head core as cassette technology advanced. 8 track never had these advances applied before it went out of favor. Improvements such as chrome was also available on cassette; I know of no such advanced tapes in 8 track.


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Tue 10, 2018 5:53 pm 
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Agreed.

When figuring that if the cassette tape width was doubled to fit 8 tracks the tape would have been smaller, hold more music and sound much better.

I think the fact that there was no rewind and that fast forward was only around double the normal running speed were two factors in its demise.


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Tue 10, 2018 7:10 pm 
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It's demise came about simply because it was an imperfect technology. You had tape rubbing against tape, susceptibility to players eating the tape, cartridges not always fitting correctly and requiring something like a matchbook underneath to compensate, and as mentioned, no rewind ability.

That said, I have liked the tech. As far back as the mid-sixties, I remember a friend of mine taking 45's to a small shop that would record them onto an 8 track cartridge, so he could play them in his '63 Chevy.

I have a player and stack of tapes in my laundry room, which I listen to while working in there.

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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Tue 10, 2018 8:32 pm 
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I have my 8 track player/recorder connected to my smaller stereo system in the house. Even got a record out from the preamp going to it should I ever want to record to a tape.

In a way I'm thinking about modding mine to where it can play and record in fast forward just to see if the quality really does improve any.


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Tue 10, 2018 10:28 pm 
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In the mid 1970s I acquired a Wollensak 8075 8-track record/play deck. The Wollensak was as good an 8-track deck as any available at the time. I used it mainly to record my LPs to 8-track to play in the car. I could get two to two and a half LPs on a 90 minute cartridge. I didn't buy many pre-recorded tapes, so I can['t speak to their quality. I found the audio quality of the tapes I recorded and then played back on the Wollensak to be as good as tapes made on my mid 60s Viking open reel tape deck at 7 1/2 ips.

I still have the deck, but it doesn't get much use these days.

Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Tue 10, 2018 11:52 pm 
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At the time the 8-track tape cartridge was introduced, its sound quality was far superior to Philips' "Compact Cassette". Cassettes, at that time (circa 1967), were only considered useful for voice and dictation purposes. Tape formulations improved dramatically in the 1970s, and that's when the cassette became useful for high fidelity reproduction.


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Wed 11, 2018 12:51 am 
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jeffs01879 wrote:
In the mid 1970s I acquired a Wollensak 8075 8-track record/play deck. The Wollensak was as good an 8-track deck as any available at the time. I used it mainly to record my LPs to 8-track to play in the car. I could get two to two and a half LPs on a 90 minute cartridge. I didn't buy many pre-recorded tapes, so I can['t speak to their quality. I found the audio quality of the tapes I recorded and then played back on the Wollensak to be as good as tapes made on my mid 60s Viking open reel tape deck at 7 1/2 ips.

I still have the deck, but it doesn't get much use these days.

Jeff


My suggestion is to completely recap it unless of course it still sounds just as good as it did when new.

That's what I did with my JVC and I can't help but think it at least made it sound like it did when new.


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Thu 12, 2018 11:36 pm 
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I've seen a huge difference between playback decks too, some just don't have good high frequency compared to others. Like most other media, I think the limiting factor was the quality of the cartridge shell, tape itself, and duplication process.

If you really want to see how good the format is, I suggest either getting a Dolby B pre-recorded tape, or get a good quality home recorder, a good name brand blank (like Ampex for example), and record something from CD or some other source with good frequency range.


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Fri 13, 2018 2:59 am 
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Agreed.

Wonder if AKAI made an 8 track player/recorder with a GX head?

If so that might be the ultimate one to have far as sound quality is concerned.


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Fri 13, 2018 3:26 pm 
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Good point. The 1800 series was the first that came to mind, I even found mention of them on the forum:

http://antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtop ... 3&t=196398

I have no idea how good the rest of the transport or electronics are.

Of course if you're a quadraphonic fan then the Akai CR-80D-SS is pretty much the ultimate 8-track deck (one of about 3 or 4 models that actually record).


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Fri 13, 2018 6:19 pm 
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classicelectronicsguy wrote:
Good point. The 1800 series was the first that came to mind, I even found mention of them on the forum:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=196398

I have no idea how good the rest of the transport or electronics are.

Of course if you're a quadraphonic fan then the Akai CR-80D-SS is pretty much the ultimate 8-track deck (one of about 3 or 4 models that actually record).


Cool. I might have to try and fine one of those AKAI decks.

At the moment my JVC serves me well.

Some 8 track decks take a few seconds before the electronics are ready to play the tape so that's a few seconds of music not heard.

The JVC starts playing immediately upon insertion of a tape. Perhaps the tape triggers the power switch a little earlier than in most decks.


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Fri 13, 2018 7:38 pm 
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Why mess around with anything but an 8 track carousel? :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Fri 13, 2018 8:39 pm 
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You gotta be kidding me, I though I'd seen everything. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Fri 13, 2018 9:43 pm 
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Location: Metzger Oregon
I have a robot that plays my tapes for me...


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Fri 13, 2018 11:58 pm 
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Forgot about my '70's Panasonic 8 track player;


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 Post subject: Re: 8 track tape sound quality
PostPosted: Apr Sat 14, 2018 5:12 pm 
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I still have an Ampex 8 track recorder, does a great job last time I used it, which was only a year or so ago when I made a few tapes for an antique car collector friend of mine. Trouble is he has problems finding blank tapes that haven't deteriorated. Last time about half of them came apart after a few passes, sensing foil was bad,etc. One advantage the Ampex recorder has is a larger capstan than most It turns slower than most and allows a more precise surface for the pinch roller in the cart. Also the flywheel is heavier which makes speed more stable. AC synchronous motor instead of those little DC motors with the governor inside. Back in the day I made a lot of my own tapes. Still sounds good though!


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