Saturday, July 18, 2015

Whatever Happened To Audiophile Cassette Tape Recordings?

It may seem like oxymoron back in 1995 until today, but was there ever a time where “audiophile cassette tape music recordings” were commercially marketed? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Back in 1995, the phrase “audiophile cassette tape music recordings” may seem oxymoronic and nonsensical to most audiophiles who are bought and sold by the budget CD player wonder called “Marantz CD 63 SE KI Edition”, but there was indeed a point in time where premium audiophile cassette tape music recordings are commercially marketed and can be bought from your nearest music store. Back in 1980, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab president Herb Belkin after introducing Original Master Recording LPs back in 1977 tried to introduce the cassette tape version of his “Mo-Fi” LPs called the Original Master Recording Cassette that were recorded in real time – not via high-speed dubbing – that made available audiophile quality contemporary popular music, hard rock heavy metal and Jazz to almost everyone, including 1980s era budding audiophiles. Later in 1980, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab later released Geo-Tape, an audio cassette tape deck alignment device for consumer use. 

Unbeknown to Mo-Fi president Herb Belkin, cassette tape playing devices on the lower end of the food chain have the propensity to “eat tape” – i.e. their capstans literally pull the tape out of the shell and crumpling the tape forever ruining what audio signal recorded on it. Unlike the advent of cheap boom-box CD playing devices of the 1990s, these don’t have ultraviolet lasers that burn the recorded pits of music CDs. I think the last “audiophile” cassette tape music album sold commercially was back in 1991 when the cassette tape format of Skid Row’s Slave To The Grind album where the tape used was of the cobalt-doped Avilyn type and it even said on the cover “recorded on premium cobalt Avilyn tape. But was it because of the excessive high-frequencies recorded on the master tape of the Skid Row’s Slave To The Grind open reel studio master tape that resulted in too much – and messy – treble? At least you can now listen to the album to freely judge for yourself.