When I was young I remember listening to music, recording myself and the radio on cassette tapes. But as I grew up and technology changed they were all sold or thrown away. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I found a blank cassette tape and remembered the analogue format nostalgically.
From then I decided I would try find myself a half decent cassette deck and some more blank tapes to try and record some mixtapes. After two weeks my new old Denon DRM-550 cassette deck arrived after winning it on eBay. I opted for this deck since it was simple with not too many moving parts, in my eyes it meant less parts that could go wrong.
From here it was all gonna be a big experiment. On a tape hiss can sometimes be overwhelming, so much so it can be hard to even enjoy the music recorded. Using the built in noise reduction system for tapes, called Dolby B and Dolby C, as well as recording on a variety of ferric (type I) and chrome (type II) tapes I found the best audio quality I would be able to achieve with what I had. Also bringing the peak levels up so they would just about hit +3 dB, giving me the best hiss/audio ratio I could get out of the tape being used.
After making a few mixtapes and now with my collection growing, I decided I would buy myself a more portable player. This is when I got my first Walkman, the Sony WM-36. After a little speed adjustment it was spot on, with built in noise reduction it sounded good. To make it work with more modern speaker systems I got myself a small Bluetooth transmitter so I could play music just as I would off my phone to my speakers.
I thought about getting bigger and portable like a boom box. They looked awesome, a way of playing music anywhere before phones had speakers and Bluetooth. I ended up sticking with Sony and getting a CFS-230L from eBay. Plays the music with a punch, didn’t come with noise reduction but the EQ adjustment seems to get around the hiss.
My latest purchase was the flagship Sony Walkman Professional WM-D6C. This thing is amazing. The build and playback quality out does everything I have by far! Matched with a good sound system you wouldn’t believe it’s a cassette tape. I am yet to mess around recording audio with it but I’m sure the quality would be high with everything you need to monitor sound built in.
I find something about having the music physically in my hand very satisfying. Yes music on our phones is very handy. But picking up the cassette, slotting it into the rack and pressing the play button is musical bliss.