[access-uk] Re: BBC NEWS | Technology | Not long left for cassette tapes (I feel no pain)

  • From: "Ray's Home" <rays-home@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 12:37:33 +0100

Well Colin, if the cassette does live on then it will be as a niech market as 
in the case of the LP.  Sure one sees them in limited numbers in shops but 
that's only because there is a die-hard community of vinyl nutters out there 
who have convinced themselves of vinyl's superiority.  (All due respects to you 
Colin if you are a believer.)  Certainly true that, at their best, LPs could be 
superb, if you could keep them that way.

I was very interested and intrigued to hear of your Nak 680 machine.  Shame 
Philips took that attitude with the Compact Cassette, although I guess the 
patents have run out by now, so the likes of Sony sell the slow speed 
radio-cassette box.  Maybe if Philips had given more leeway then we might have 
had books on a couple of cassettes by now as a format for spoken word could 
have grown up around a slow speed cassette.

As things are, I hope that MP3-DAISY will become the norm for distributing 
books;  but I think that piracy will be very much in mind and be a possible bar 
to this happening, or if it does happen, some copy limiitation scheme al la 
Sony MD will be in force.  Maybe MD itself missed the boat there, but that's as 
much to do with Sony becoming a record company and getting between the sheets 
with the RIAA.

In a  rapidly changing technological world it may be the future is with much on 
the cards.  America is to adopt a card based system for talking books, and 
maybe we will follow suit eventually.

In the meantime, I very much wish that companies developing and selling DAISY 
players would bring something out like the APH machines, with an inbuilt 
speaker and intuitive cotrols, along with seemless upgrading of firmware.  
Having an in-built speaker need not detract from a devices portability.


Personal emails:  Email me at

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <chairman@xxxxxxxxx>
> Greetings Ray,
> Whilst I agree the cassette has only a short life to live, I do not think
> it will totally die.  I mean, the same has been said about vinyl and now,
> the market in vinyl is certainly on the up at present.  There are new
> turntables coming out according to both my own contacts in the business and
> what I have been reading in the hi-fi press.
> It was said 78 rpm would die, well, for the mass market, this has certainly
> been true but there is still a large minority who regularly play at this
> speed.
> I believe the cassette will always be around in some form but as for the
> mass market, yes, much simpler and supposedly intelligent systems are
> likely to be much more in evidence.
> Ray, I was interested to read in one of your messages of your recent
> purchase of Nakamichi and Revox cassette equipment;  I have two Revox r/r
> machines and three Nakamichi cassette machines.  I have two BX300E machines
> purchased in 1985;  they've both now recently had new heads (about three
> years ago), new transports (about the same time) and are on their third set
> of motors but they've proved to be excellent workhorses, without masses of
> bells and whistles but what they do, they do extremely well.
> The third Nakamichi machine is the 680ZX which is a dual-speed machine, no
> longer available due to court action, it was discontinued in 1982.  This
> machine gives an extremely commendable recording quality far and away above
> what might be expected at the slower 2.375cm/s and, in fact, setting up
> properly, I have easily fooled a person who reckons to be an "audiophyl"
> comparing the cd of Peter Herford playing the Sydney Opera House Organ in
> Bach's Tocata and fugue in D, against a metal tape, no dolby, recording the
> same piece at 2.375cm/s  and they've opted for the tape over the cd.  The
> hiss level on cassette *can* be reduced substantially if you set the
> machine up properly , use good and well maintained equipment (my 680ZX was
> cleaned, demagnetized, fully up-to-spec, being just about at the end of
> their production).  
> I've heard some absolutely revolting computerized material, but then I've
> heard some really fantastic sound too.
> All the best
> from:
> Colin R. Howard.

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