The Five-Tape Session: on cassettes and why I still use my tape deck

Weapon of Choice: “Little Jake”, 1933 Monarch (Remie Scout, 10cpi Art Gothic face)

Last week’s session with The Brother took up 5 tapes, two 90’s and three 60’s, total 6 hours, enough that I had to dip into a fresh tape pack!

Example: “Swing World” uses a sample snippet of The Brother in a song about tape loops, Steve Reich and a swingin’ society.

The Kiwi recorder bag that came with my old Superscope, now serves as the PMD-201 grab-n-go-record-something kit.

Main bag contains PMD-201, microphone and mic stand, plus some cabling odds-n-ends.

Front pocket contains 4 fresh cassette tapes and spare AA batteries for the microphone.

Side pocket: spare batteries for the recorder and a wall wart for when an outlet is handy.

I’d photograph on the Bar, but it’s being used as a staging area for scanning the service manuals sent in this week by John Dillingham from the ATC group. Will soon be adding service manuals for the TA-Adler-Royal SE 1005/1030/5005/5030, Olivetti Linea 98, Olivetti Editor 2/2c/3/3c and Olympia Electronic Compact 2 to the OOPRAP Project.

Oh, and since Joe asked; I get my tapes from thrift stores. Always check the record/tapes section of the stores for un-used *bricks* of blank tapes. Goodwill seems to price them between $3-$6 a brick, without regard to the number of tapes in the brick, but never more than $6 for some reason. I’m down to about 55 remaining, so I suppose I’ll need to cruise some thrifts this fall and re-stock.

Updated: April 11, 2024 — 12:17 pm


Add a Comment
  1. “Swing World” is really cool. You, Sir, are an energetic and creative man.

    1. Yes, I am quite amazing. This hobby does attract amazing people, though, so I feel like I’m in good company. (:

  2. We’re sitting in bed and I read this blog article to my wife. When I get to the part about recording an hour of the fridge kicking on and off, she says “you need to get a life”. Then I remind her that this sounds like a pretty lively life, one I wouldn’t mind having!

    Thank you for this article. And I’m wondering, where do you get your blank tapes? Man, The Brother can eat up some footage, eh?

    1. Added an edit answering this. Basically thrifts, where i get all of my obsolete tech supplies. :D

  3. Talking of “bricks” its good to see the TA Adler SE series get a mention. And an AEG Olympia compact is yet to cross my path (blog post ready and waiting for one)

    1. yeah, I actually bought the Olympia Compact service manual because I someday hope to find an early 80’s Compact 2 with the Centronics input port. Still looking for a machine I can use as a daisywheel printer. :D

  4. Gotta love those PMD machines. They were the work horses of all the news departments at the radio stations where I worked. Some had real XLR Lo-Z inputs and the 400 series is stereo. I still have one packed away some place.

    Recording the refrigerator for hours?!?!?!? (sorry no interrobang)

    1. Yep, the Superscope, metal tapes and a pair of PZM’s set at either end of the house so that i could hear what it sounded like if the walls had ears and the house could hear what was happening within it. I had a thing for playing with interestingly placed stereo separations.

  5. I really enjoyed “Swing Time,” too. (I was a fan of early Steve Reich. “Come Out” was the ear-opener, but “It’s Gonna Rain” remains my favorite.)

    Back in the day I used TDK tapes: different grades depending on the audio quality of whatever I was recording. D for voice, AD for tape-to-tape dubs or old vinyl, SA for new vinyl, and MA for archival quality. I always read that because magnetic storage isn’t stable, my tapes would eventually degrade and become unlistenable, but 35 years later I haven’t noticed any such degradation. Of course, I don’t listen to them very much. In the ’80s I used to demagnetize the heads of my Pioneer tape decks to keep them from doing damage, the same way I’d brush the turntable needle after cleaning the record and before starting to play it.

    1. Hmmn, all I find these days are the Sony HF and Maxell UR. Metal and Chrome are hard to get and expensive. I do have to admit that I lost my demagnetizer wand years ago. ):

  6. I still use tapes for recording music. Before, I used to get it from the radio, vinyl records, other tapes and CD’s. Now, I get it from the Internet. xD

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.