An Analog medium that was popular during the latter half of the 20th century to record audio.Introduced in 1964 by Phillips in the U.S. Compact cassettes became the standard up to the end of the 20th century and can still be found today in some retail outlets.
Cassettes were considered at the time to be a far easier method by which to carry music about and thus gained popularity amongst younger peoples especially due to the need to create “party mixes” of music recorded from FM(Frequency modulated) radio.
It should be noted however that on occasion some people did in fact record AM( amplitude modulated) broadcast on them as well as doing vinyl, 8track or reel to reel copies to cassette tape.
Cassettes are composed of two spools supported by a plastic case. Inside you will find rollers and a simple metal part with a felt pad that presses the part to be read or recorded against the play or record heads of the device… Like a reel to reel player. One spool would take up the magnetic tape from the other spool until it ran out of tape. In which case one would take the cassette out of the player/recorder and then flip the unit over to play or record on the “b” side. Recording and playing is done via a small piezo electric head(s) when the when the fero-magnetic tape was passed across record or play heads at a certain speed it’s content would be electronically reproduced or one could record sound to the tape provided that the recorder was in record mode.
It should also be noted that quite a few computer owners of the late 70s and early 80s used cassettes as secondary storage media for their various computers. Ranging from the apple II to the Timex Sinclair 1000. Cassettes could store programs quite well despite the load times for programs that sometime could require more than half an hour. Some computer software companies sold commercial grade software on cassettes.
Software such as chess, spread sheets, word processes and graphics were not uncommon as well as sequential company records. Back ups were relatively easy and of course so was pirating software as well. For those interested. There are quite a few simulators for Apple 2 and Sinclair and one could review quite a few titles that were once on cassette tape.
Write protection was done by removing the small plastic notches from the bottom of the tape which prevented the mechanical record button to be depressed unless one were to cover them with tape (such as scotch tape or even filling the empty holes- there were 2 of them)
Playback length: typically 30 minutes per side.
In the 80s quite a few companies marketed portable players. Most notable was the Sony walkman. These personal players at the time were the “ipod” if you will of that era…By today’s standard. Even the simplest and cheapest mp3 player can play quite a bit more than 30 minutes of music or course. a few of the portable units had am/fm stereo radios as well. These players could cost at the time more the $80 which was considerable if you keep in mind that jobs in that time paid far less money and the economy was controlled by a wealthy few who’s trickle down theory made it hard to make ends meet for the lower classes.
Cassettes are plagued with problems such as wear and noise. Which is common for analog recording devices that use magnetic tape. In addition to tapes being bound up inside players “a tape player eating a tape” they also were susceptible to magnetic fields that could erase them....Listening to a specific recording meant you had to search for it via tedious fast forwarding or rewinding the recording. Some tape players had a search function that would search through the tape till it found a pause and then would start at the beginning of the next song.
By contrast cassettes compared to memory players or cd/dvd are like comparing pen and ink to stone and chisel. We must conclude that cassette tapes and the like (reel to reel, vinyl, micro-cassette and 8track) are primitive by today’s standards and akin to stone knives and bear skin- technologically speaking as opposed to more modern refined audio technology of this age.
An ancient form of audio used by primitive man to record information. Very noisy and highly susceptible to magnetic fields, Often they were subject to extreme physical damage wear and tear.
Hey Joe, look at that aoler over there listening to a Sony walkman!
Joe : dang where does he buy cassettes?
Sally: go figure.