have you heard the word? the word is "tape"


Double Platinum Member
After multiple yappings here about the constipation of wanting to release new music but not wanting to see a CD release die on arrival because CDs "dont sound good" according to the cognoscenti and even though we're on a small (very small) indie label, no stores will even stock CDs here anymore. Vinyl fascists snuff it all. And I'm not doing a run of 1,000 records and have over half of them sit in my basement. I'm not delusional about my draw or sales strength. Who is these days? But the current laugh is that somehow, tapes are now "punk" enough to be allowed to exist. Set aside the obvious inferior sonics; I've lost count of how many bands I see having high profile tape release shows. It does seem like the return on costs would be quick in a tape scenario but the gag is that I have 2 Onkyo cassette decks in storage and even if I did release a tape, they'd stay there.

So - any tape releases from TGPrs with experiences to share? Good dupe houses to check out ?

Tom CT

Old Supporting Member
I worked at a cassette dupe plant for several years as a young man, but that was 35 years ago. I spent most of my time in QC spot checking 1/8" tape (both before and after winding into cassettes), but as Motown was one of our clients, things could have been worse. The machine upkeep was non-stop, from mastering, to the high-speed dupe line, to winding machines and labeling/shrinkwrapping. I wasn't aware that dupe houses still existed for CC (compact cassette). Maybe some smaller outfits? I know this doesn't help answer your question - I'm just having some flashbacks.


Double Platinum Member
Cassettes are the "hot topic" ... and possibly my only means for releasing music. Bewildering innit?


Silver Supporting Member
I work at a music store that up until August 2014 still sold CDs. People still ask and special order for them. We still sell vinyl because it is the only thing that makes money. Pretty trendy right now... For how long who knows. HD digital downloading is getting on pace but still is small... Where was I going with this... Oh yeah...

Two record stay days ago along with the release of guardians of the galaxies mix tape release, on cassette tape, people came in for the first time in over a decade asking for tapes... Most of us laughed. There is no reason for it. They are inferior in every way. From reliability to sound quality there's no reason to bring these back that I can see.

Brian D

I blame Guardians of the Galaxy.



Silver Supporting Member
Most cassettes I've seen recently for sale include a download code. Not sure that every cassette sold is actually played, it seems like more of a novelty item.
On one hand, I think it's dumb and a waste of resources(as folks will most likely listen to the download). On the other hand, people buy them.

My band did a rarities/covers cassette and it sells alright.

As a waste of resources, it's probably no worse than a tour program from an arena level act.


The idea of sound quality being "inferior" is a misnomer. Tape has it's qualities, they typically include higher bass content, lower high freq content, a degradation over time that (certainly initially) inhibits clarity or detail, but over time that degradation slows and settles. I have tapes over 30 years old that I can still play. I have CD's that are 10 years old that won't, so in terms of how long tapes last they cannot be considered inferior to CD's despite what the marketing might say.
And in terms of the "quality" of sound that comes from tape. I also prefer it to CD. It would generally be genre specific tho. Minimal techno is designed to be heard from a digital medium due to the detail required but rock and blues? Give me tape over CD every time. Jazz I prefer vinyl. Call me a snob, I won't lose any sleep, but I'm glad the medium is being revived. People are too quick to throw away something as soon as the next new thing comes along. I've always hated CD's from the moment they came out. Terrible packaging, cheap plastic feel and (yes, actually) I never liked how they sounded. I always preferred vinyl, but I grew up with vinyl. Nothing wrong with releasing or buying music on Tape. Just another format to be embraced when the music suits it.


I find this beyond amazing"............

The only format worse than cassettes were 8 Traks for sound quality and longevity.

Thinking about it, I'm starting to understand. Modern digital recordings, and mastering for maximum loudness mostly sounds like shite. It's hard, brittle and in your face.

Perhaps that is why young artists are using tape again because it truly is a softer and rounder sounding?

The truth is that digital recordings can sound 10 times better tha tape or vinyl if recorded and mastered for sound quality and not for ear bud/iTunes play


Is tape inferior? Yes, but if I remember correctly from my peak '80s taping days, there's tape and then there's tape. Back then we wouldn't waste our time on the woefully inferior tapes issued by record companies, or the cheaper blanks you could buy everywhere - those sucked and would degrade fast. We always bought the top-of-the-line blank tapes from BASF and Maxell (and others), and recorded onto them from records or dubbing from other tapes or the radio. They were far superior to the cheap tapes; I have and still play lots of multi-track band cassettes from the '80s and early '90s that were recorded on a Tascam Porta-Studio cassette deck. They still sound really good, especially when you consider that they're more than 20 years old.


So does a new generation have to learn how to extract tape from their deck after it's "eaten" it? lol


The only thing worse than cassette tapes are the tape decks. I have had so many die over the years. I have a few radios still that have cassette tapes, and none of them work.


Unrepentant Massaganist
I still have a few hundred tapes from the 80's and routinely listen to them. Most of them sound fine--a few have degraded.

Some of the stuff isn't available any longer in any format so that is cool--try finding Ric Ocasek's first solo album.


I had to transfer what was left of my master cassettes to .wav because they were deteriorating, developing wow and flutter even wrapped correctly. All I have left are the stereo mixes.

At least Library of Congress has original safeties of like 21 songs.

Reel to reel 1/4" mono or stereo, sure!!!! Good luck hunting down a working Studer or Ampex.
2" of course if you're going to a pro studio.

Now that I'm more comfortable with my DAW, digital makes it easier.
You just need a strong analog front end going into your computer.

You can still track on tape and save it to your DAW.
so really, you only NEED mono or stereo.
Lots of people doing that experimentally.

This way you get tape headroom, but the convenience of digital editing and storage.

You can bounce back and forth infinitely.


Trying is the first step towards failure.
Gold Supporting Member
The benefit of tape as a medium is that it strongly encourages the linear consumption of a whole product. Listening to full albums beginning to end is such a forgotten joy.

It's easier to bounce around and create playlists in the digital realm, sure, but I still typically do listen to whole albums even when I use Spotify or my iPod. It's funny because one of the things I loved about CDs when I first started getting them was that I didn't have to turn the tape around to get from the A to B side.

The only really good argument I've heard in favor of tapes is for audiobooks for visually impaired people. Since tapes will always start wherever they were last stopped, it's a good medium for the visually impaired who don't have an easy way to keep their place in an audiobook in a digital format.

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