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Author Topic: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes  (Read 1174 times)

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Offline Harry

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Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« on: March 31, 2010, 08:43:07 AM »
As you all know some of the best recorded sound is on old cassette tapes. I taped some skip james, robert johnson on cassette and the sound is surprisingly better than on cd. Especially when for example on, what to me is a masterpiece of the 20th century I'm So Glad, when skip goes in to the high register vocal parts on cd it starts to rattle or squeak.
on tape you don't have that at all.

same for robert J. I recorded RJ on tape from different sources and I found that I got the best sound from the columbia box set 1996. It just sounds amazing. I always thought the remastering on the king of the delta blues singers releases were wrong in some way. It "looks" likes it sound better and less surface noise but it seems like the life is being sucked out.

I haven't tried this with the patton's or white's or house's but I may start building a cassette collection of country blues. Any thoughts on what's the best medium for listening to country blues?

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2010, 09:03:43 AM »
The strange case of the cassette reappears after twenty five years! Yeah, as a veteran of certain audiophile magazines, I saw much ink spilled on this subject. The mystery of why cassettes sound as good as they do, when by all the laws of physics they oughta sound like shit. I don't know what the answer is, but there is definitely a certain quality to good cassettes that is very satisfying. One line of reasoning is that we develop emotional attachments to the sonic signatures of mediums like 78s, LPs & cassettes. I don't buy it. There is a certain quality to the sound. I share your liking of them.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Richard

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Re: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2010, 09:16:44 AM »
Agreed, very strange but true  :o
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Stuart

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Re: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2010, 10:56:25 AM »
I agree. I have a bunch of cassettes that I recorded 35+ years ago that I still listen to. I had (and still use) an AR turntable that only played one side at a time, so I would record my LPs to cassettes for the sake of convenience and primarily because of pure laziness. But there is just something about the way they sound.

As an example, back in the late 60's or early 70's I picked up an Otis Spann LP (Everest FS-216) and it has always been one of my favorites. I recently got the CD ("Good Morning, Mr. Blues"?it's great?highly recommended), which has a few extra cuts. But when I listen to the CD, even though it's a cleaner recording, it seems that there's something missing.

Offline whigski3

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Re: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2010, 07:28:31 PM »
The strange case of the cassette reappears after twenty five years! Yeah, as a veteran of certain audiophile magazines, I saw much ink spilled on this subject. The mystery of why cassettes sound as good as they do, when by all the laws of physics they oughta sound like shit. I don't know what the answer is, but there is definitely a certain quality to good cassettes that is very satisfying. One line of reasoning is that we develop emotional attachments to the sonic signatures of mediums like 78s, LPs & cassettes. I don't buy it. There is a certain quality to the sound. I share your liking of them.

Well, since the cassette technology is not based on digital, it may offer more opportunity to capture a "continuum" of sound whereas digital is inherently discrete.  Of course, I have no qualifications to to assert anything about either technology except what an end-user knows.  Maybe someone can either support or show me the error in my first statement.

Bill
I'm sitting here wondering, will a matchbox hold my clothes...

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2010, 08:36:15 PM »
The upshot of all that spilled ink was that nobody knows.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Stuart

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Re: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2010, 08:41:39 PM »
The upshot of all that spilled ink was that nobody knows.

Nobody knows what?

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2010, 01:10:53 AM »
I've heard of analogue freaks over here in the UK paying about ?30 for an unused metal cassette on eBay. I still have two cassette recorders, including a Sony Pro Walkman (much desired by the analogue fans), but rarely record anything. However, I also have a drawer full of cassettes, including many recordings of radio broadcasts, usually pertaining to blues, which I still listen to.

The LP/digital question came up the other day in another thread. In that instance, all the information goes into the groove of the records, whereas in the case of CDs, certain parts are removed.

As I understand it, the difference is simple - analogue retains all the information, whereas digital modifies/dispenses with some of the information. Therefore analogue sounds more natural to our ears.

The trouble with cassettes is that they are essentially quite a temporary medium, as the tape stretches, the mechanism jams up, etc.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 01:25:01 AM by Parlor Picker »
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2010, 06:37:44 AM »
Nobody knows why cassettes sound as good as they do.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2010, 06:40:46 AM »
Nobody knows why cassettes sound as good as they do.
I'll bet the cassette fairy does!
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline LD50

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Re: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2010, 08:27:38 AM »
I once knew a record dealer who swore the best possible sound was to be found on VINYL 78s, which existed for a couple years in the 1950s.

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Country blues recordings on cassette tapes
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2010, 03:21:40 AM »
Having worked briefly part-time in a second record shop, run by a friend and now managed by my son, I know the classical audiophile nuts crave British Decca pressings from the 1960s, claiming they are the best made. These people have ?25,000 valve(=tube) amplifiers and very, very expensive turntables and arms. They despise CDs and especially "digitally remastered" LPs.

I recall hearing a Bukka White 78 was akin to being in the room with the man, as you could feel the whole ambience.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

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