What's so bad about 8 track tapes?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by youraveragevinylcollector, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!

    Location:
    NYC

    I mean the tapes themselves. They went with cheap tape formulas and low speed.
     
  2. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    They had to, tapes were expensive to make. Did you want to pay $16 for a pre-recorded tape?.
     
  3. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Three chords and an attitude

    Location:
    Colorado foothills
    Sorry, substantially incorrect. RCA tapes used Tarzian Industries tape, Capitol used Audiotape, and Columbia used Reeves Soundcraft. As for Ampex? Well, ya got me there...they used Irish, never an upper rank brand.

    Speed? 3-3/4 ips was the standard, twice the speed of cassettes. Remember, they were meant for car use, not really for home playback.
     
  4. Kevin j

    Kevin j The 5th 99

    Location:
    Seattle Area
    8 tracks made you really appreciate the music, because you never knew if it would be the last time you heard it before the player ate the damn tape.
     
  5. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!

    Location:
    NYC


    I'm noticing none were using Scotch, considered the best tape on the market.......point made.
     
  6. clhboa

    clhboa Forum Resident

    Classic!
     
    sunspot42 likes this.
  7. Brodnation

    Brodnation The Future Never Dies because Tomorrow Never Knows

    Location:
    Canada
    More like what’s so good about 8 Track tapes? A format of the then current limitations and one which offers no benefits.
     
  8. shnaggletooth

    shnaggletooth Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    8-tracks were really the main things I listened to before moving onto cassettes at age 12. My first Columbia House deal was a bunch of 8-tracks. To this day, I can't hear the Doobie Brothers - "Steamer Lane Breakdown" and Styx - "Boat on River" without expecting them to fade-out and then fade back in in the middle of the songs.
     
    clhboa likes this.
  9. Lincoln79

    Lincoln79 Active Member

    Location:
    Halifax
    Didn't Ampex tapes start to disappear or completely by the late 1960's?
     
  10. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    This forum needs a laugh out loud option not just a like.
     
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  11. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    8-track was before my time but Compact Cassette could sound quite good and I see some of the prices rising for the tapes in China. I found the store bought recorded tapes to sound pretty terrible BUT that was not the case when I made mix tapes from CD. You would be hard pressed to tell them apart and in some cases the Tapes sounded better. How can it sound better than the CD in the CD player? That truly baffled me. I would play the CD - then I would record it on a pretty high end Pioneer CTS-709 three head deck (this was a Pioneer Elite dressed down). I used metal tapes I foget the brand but they were pretty expensive as I recall. Then I would play both the tape and the CD level matched and people including me preferred the tape a fair chunk of the time.

    I put that down to some pleasing distortion of the tape heads but I regret selling that tape deck. Plus I thought it was a sexy player.

    [​IMG]

    from the sounds of it 8-track died and deserved to die but PERHAPS the Compact cassette will find a renaissance - I doubt it. The mix tape thing unfortunately can't even be the appeal these days as you can set your phone to play music in any order and create a 1000 song mix tape.

    While I personally like the idea of calculating how much time I get per side and selecting album themes back in the 1980s - the world went and got itself in a big hurry.

    FWIW - Reel To Reel is coming back - but you better have $10,000 sitting around.
     
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  12. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Ampex used Ampex tape. Irish was never used by Ampex for tape duplication.
     
  13. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Cassettes for me are not there. Not reliable enough, nor consistent enough from machine to machine. And changing belts on a cassette deck is like neurosurgery, and many machines go out of their way to make repairing them as difficult as possible. I prefer open reel at home, and prefer 1/2 track on broadcast grade or better machines. With cassettes, who's making new quality machines. There's some new tape made, but Type 1 only, and the Recording The Masters Fox K7 is the best of it currently made.
     
  14. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Three chords and an attitude

    Location:
    Colorado foothills
    Irish became Ampex in the early '70s. So, Ampex used Ampex....which was made in the former Irish facility in Opelika, Alabama. The Irish brand disappeared when Ampex bought the company, but the product remained the same...until Ampex changed the formula - becoming the poster child for SSS.
     
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  15. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Three chords and an attitude

    Location:
    Colorado foothills
    Ampex the brand, or Ampex the duplicator? Both were active until mid-'70s (the duplicator), and early '80s (the blank tape brand).
     
  16. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Three chords and an attitude

    Location:
    Colorado foothills
    Scotch was a RETAIL brand - in fact, THE retail brand - and had no interest in selling a "duplicator" grade tape. 3M (the elephant of tape companies in the USA) wouldn't even have taken notice of the pre-recorded market (the flea).

    And then of course, TDK and Maxell started eating everybody's lunch.

    Just to throw out some more names - BASF made decent reel tape but, again, no interest in the duplicator market. Memorex entered the market with cassettes, but also decent reel tape. Again, no interest in duplicators. Have I forgotten anyone? GRT mostly used a west coast manucturer with no retail presence, but I've forgotten their name.
     
  17. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I doubt the Compact Cassette (CC) will have a renaissance due the entire CC Infrastructure being basically gone. Few, if any, new decks are being produced. Likewise with portables (although Ana[dia]log on YouTube recently reviewed a new portable that appeared to be better than the commonly available portables). Finally, it's the same with blank tapes, with few new blank tapes being produced.

    It seems that all that is left is only used decks and portables, and few new tapes. Although some new albums (and older albums) are be released on CC, it seems to be more of releases by local bands where they can make their own tapes for sale.
     
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  18. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Try 1959, when Ampex bought the company from Orradio, Inc of Opelika, Alabama. Irish became the Ampex Magnetic Tape Division. Ampex bought Irish when they also started the United Stereo Tapes company, later Ampex Stereo Tapes.
     
  19. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Location:
    Golden Gate
    Ka-CHUNK ! ! !

    Yeah, 8-track was terrible, on several levels.

    But when ya got nuthin' else...

    1970. I was newly onboard my Navy ship. Didn't know anybody or anything. I wasn't uncomfortable really, but I did crave a lifeline in the form of music. Didn't have any money either, but I did manage to buy the exact player shown below. (Good ol' Google Images.)

    Uhh, yeah, not exactly Audio Note. But ya know what – taking uneducated ears into account – it sounded very good. Clear and full-bodied*, to the extent that it could be. Or at least it sounded better than any other portable thing I'd ever heard. Speakers and headphone jack. AC adapter for car cigarette lighters. Never ate a tape. Probably accumulated a whopping 20 8-tracks over my 4 years. Played it constantly.

    *These are the only audio descriptors I ever use. Sue me.

    Proudly made by Elgin.

    Wasn't that the name of George Jetson's son?

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Location:
    Worcester, MA, USA
    Never owned an 8track as always had a cassette deck in my cars in the 70's.

    I apologize if this was already discussed, as I am too lazy, to read every post in this thread, but did some 8 tracks have different versions of songs from the LPs and cassette version of an album?

    I have seen bootleg CDs offered that were advertised as transfers from the 8track version of the album for some reason.
     
  21. stax o' wax

    stax o' wax Forum Resident

    Location:
    The West
    Some of the main investors in this format were automobile manufactures Ford and GM... which that alone should be a big enough red flag.
    From a mechanical standpoint it's a horribly flawed tape playback design that favored convenience over audio playback integrity.
    Mainly because you have the tape head moving 4 different times during a cartridge playback.
    The last thing you want with any tape machine is the head moving around which will inevitably cause it to fall out of alignment with the tracks.
    That "Ka chunk" sound you hear is the tape head moving to the next set of stereo tracks (4 stereo tracks = 8 track).

    This format, unlike other tape formats, features a movable head with four positions. Among audio service technicians, there used to be a joke that "the eight-track is the only audio device which knocks itself out of alignment four times during each album."
     
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  22. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Yes, but cassettes were not universally supported in this era by the major labels, and tape duplication companies. And required far more precision to perform well than even Stereo 8. Bear this in mind. Philips in that time frame by way of Mercury Records was the big company then which offered MusiCassettes. And they also duplicated cassettes for others. In Europe, then, MusiCassettes were far more prevalent and offered by more labels, and car players by then were available.
     
  23. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    No man. Not 8 tracks. Lol
     
  24. Fahzz

    Fahzz Forum Resident

    Location:
    Outside Providence
    Couldn't make Smoke on the Water play loud enough in my brother's Cougar...
     
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  25. steve phillips

    steve phillips Forum Resident

    Location:
    NC
    I remember sometimes having to stuff things either above or below the cartridge to keep it from playing two songs
    at the same time. Matchbooks worked well. Cassettes were so much better.
     
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