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Re: [ARSCLIST] Risk assessment tool Q2
As they say in the rap world, true that.
Mass-duped cassettes are plagued with Dolby B problems and sound entirely different on different
machines and from batch to batch unless the manufacturer was way above industry-standard in aligning
the duplicators and watching his QC. I think things improved somewhat when duplicators started using
the machines that started with blank cassettes in shells and duped at high speeds but in the shells.
The old way of duping on something like an Ampex 3200 with 14" hubs of 1/8" tape and then loading
into cassette shells was prone to failure. I never liked mass-market pre-duped cassettes and own
very few. I just never had good luck with any of them. When I got to college, circa 1984, cassettes
had already passed LPs in total sales and CD's were about to put both of them in the dustbin of
history. What got me into cassettes and trying to make and have a library of high-quality cassettes
was the invention of the Sony Walkman. I used reel-to-reel until then but when that came out, I
saved my pennies and bought the original and never looked back. Next thing I saved my pennies for
was a decent Teac cassette deck and the goal was to make tapes that sounded as good or nearly as
good on headphones as my LPs did on headphones. Of course the first Walkman devices did not have
Dolby B so most of my early tapes are high bias with no NR, and sound pretty darn good to this day.
I got suckered into the Dolby C trap much later, when I bought a Yamaha deck in the early 1990's
when the trusty old Teac finally died. For CD's, the Dolby C did offer a better level of fidelity
but those tapes do not age well. Once the era arrived where every computer sold had a CD burner and
duping software, I just went back and re-borrowed everything I could and made CD copies. The rest,
alas, doesn't sound as good as it did when it was recorded. By the way, that original Sony Walkman
sold for crazy dollars (twice what I paid for it, in 15-years-later dollars) even though it didn't
work and I was very clear about that in the description. There's apparently a collector cult.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Cox" <doncox@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 11:51 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Risk assessment tool Q2
On 05/01/06, Tom Fine wrote:
Another big problem in my own cassette collection is what I call Dolby
C deterioration. Apparently, Dolby C is very sensitive to level in
order to decode correctly. Level seems to fade over time on many tapes
I made in the early 90's -- generally on Maxell and TDK chrome C-100
tapes. Dolby C is not happy with this and the sound results are not
good. Whenever possible, I have re-borrowed that material and made CD
copies. Dolby B doesn't seem as unhappy by level fades over time.
There is a need for a software decoder for Dolby B and C, with
adjustments for dealing with such problems.
But even in the 1980s, I used to find that a Dolby cassette played back
on a different machine did not always sound right - it seems the
circuits were often badly adjusted in manufacture or had drifted.
C is of course more fussy than B.