Talk:Cassette tape

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September 14, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
October 8, 2006Featured article candidatePromoted
April 20, 2009Featured article reviewDemoted
Current status: Former featured article

Requested move 21 June 2020[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review after discussing it on the closer's talk page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The result of the move request was: Not moved. (closed by non-admin page mover) Calidum 04:39, 28 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cassette tapeAudio cassette – The original name of the product is Compact Cassette, and would prefer it to be the title of the article, and all other names redirecting to it, but if this is not possible then let us at least rename it to "Audio cassette". The "Cassette tape" seriously irks me up, it is revolting. The "Audio cassette" name is common enough, recognizable, and it also was used by cassette manufacturers on the packaging, see the image above with three cassettes labelled as "Audiocassette", "Audio cassette" and "Audio Cassette". Everyone knows what audio cassette is, it is (was) a de-facto standard, so if people do not want to refer to a proper name given to the format by Philips, let us at least use a recognizable name that does not scream "illiterate". Mikus (talk) 22:31, 21 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There was already a discussion encompassing that back in April. While I personally prefer "audio cassette" or "Compact Cassette" to "cassette tape" (which I would have opposed strongly had I been aware of the original move proposal), I don't think the discussion should be reopened after just two months. Ubcule (talk) 22:52, 21 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Two months ago people did not want to use the original Philips' name, so I am proposing a middle ground. And, I have three manufacturers to back me up (see the photo with Fuji, Sony and Maxell audio cassettes).Mikus (talk) 23:03, 21 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One problem with the "audio cassette" title is that this tape format was used for more than audio, for example Cassette tape#Data recording. -- Netoholic @ 12:18, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is just a medium and as such can have different uses. Video 8 cassettes were used to record DV video, which Sony called Digital 8. VHS cassettes were used to record computer data and HD video. But the original usage of compact cassettes was audio, hence audio cassettes, and this is how they were marketed, see the packaging above. Mikus (talk) 18:10, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per all the reasons in the previous very recent move request.--☾Loriendrew☽ (ring-ring) 23:06, 21 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose - there was ample evidence provided in the prior RM to show this article is at the WP:COMMONNAME title already. -- Netoholic @ 02:22, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per above and per the recent RM. Randy Kryn (talk) 11:48, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Certainly oppose audio cassette. This "middle ground" is not much better than current "cassette tape", being a collective name for all sorts of audio cassettes. DAT, Microcassette, Stenocassette u.v.a. they're all audio cassettes. Retired electrician (talk) 12:44, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Did you look at the photo above, where cassettes are called "audio cassette" by the manufacturers? Mikus (talk) 15:05, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Random-picked commercial packaging blurbs are not an acceptable source for naming. Retired electrician (talk) 15:36, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not random, WP:CHERRYPICKED. -- Netoholic @ 19:01, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I picked those that (1) I have, and (2) had anything about what is inside the packaging at all. Many packagings do not even specify what is that inside having "Type II" and "High bias". Mikus (talk) 21:02, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All three were end-of-the-line, bottom-of-the-line products from the era when all three companies quit manufacturing and subcontracted to Korean, Indonesian etc. plants... Good luck trying to find same audio cassette in the products from the golden 80s. This won't be easy. There will be Dynamic cassette, Acoustic cassette, Acoustic Dynamic cassette, even a Stereo cassette and a Recording cassette ... what makes audio any better? Retired electrician (talk) 20:53, 24 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support This proposed title is less historically ambiguous than the current title and the article as written applies to the only cassette for audio in substantial current production and usage. The packaging blurbs further support the rename. Tom94022 (talk) 15:46, 22 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per the condescending and inappropriate request Red Slash 07:55, 24 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose - "cassette tape" is the common name. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 15:15, 25 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Without actually modifying the discussion, I will write this so that archive bots don't archive it. Gah4 (talk) 21:09, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Requested move 18 August 2021[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review after discussing it on the closer's talk page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The result of the move request was: not moved. This has been discussed numerous times. I actually think some new arguments were made here, that were not fully encapsulated in past discussions. Unfortunately, it seems those arguments were not convincing enough to editors, and the policies (e.g. COMMONNAME/PRIMARYTOPIC) are not on the side of moving. As a separate matter, it seems a few votes here are from very new users to this space. I would encourage anyone coming here to vote on a move discussion to read past discussions before voting. Let's not reinvent the wheel, folks. (non-admin closure) — Shibbolethink ( ) 22:16, 25 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cassette tapeCompact Cassette – The term "cassette tape" is a broad term that is used to described any type of cassette or cartridge that holds magnetic tape in it. While this format is the most well known, it does have a specific name which is "Compact Cassette". The term cassette tape doesn't just get used for the Compact Cassette but it also gets used for other audio formats like Digital Audio Tape, Microcassette, Elcaset, and DC-International just to name a few. It is also used to refer to video formats like the VHS, Betamax, Video8, and DV. Considering that there was an official successor to the format, Digital Compact Cassette, and a resurgence in old formats and new music being released on those formats as seen here (Video 1 Video 2 Video 3), I think it would be more appropriate to change the page name to the official name of the media format and not use the generic term. Naming this page "Cassette tape" is like naming the page for "Tissue paper" to "Kleenex" since it's the most well known. Suriwashi (talk) 06:40, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • For reference, /Archive 4#Requested move 6 April 2020. No such user (talk) 09:03, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. Nothing has changed since the last RM discussion. Clear common name and primary topic. -- Necrothesp (talk) 09:44, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose I've literally never heard of it called "compact cassette", so there is no way that is the common name.ZXCVBNM (TALK) 11:38, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per all the reasons in the 2020 RM. Randy Kryn (talk) 11:47, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Since this cassette type does have an exact name, it makes more sense to change the name on that alone. There are more than one cassette tape format. Alexaclova112330 (talk) 14:45, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support The current title fails the precision test in deciding on an article title and is not in accordance with the common name policy in that Compact Cassette is one single obvious name that is demonstrably most frequency used for this topic alone. Cassette tape is ambiguous as shown by the hatnote while Compact Cassette is the most frequently used unambiguous title for the contents of this article. Tom94022 (talk) 17:02, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support per Tom94022. The current title is far too ambiguous. BilCat (talk) 18:59, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose The last move discussion is still here, and previous ones not so long ago, presumably in the archive. Compact Cassette is the Philips trademark. As well as I know, companies had to pay to call them that, so most of them didn't. While it was patented, they would have to license the patent, and the license likely required them to use the TM name. Unlike Kleenex, the TM name doesn't seem to have been popular with the general public. (I am trying to remember, is it actually CompactCassette, with no space?) Now, if Elcassette ever got popular, then there would be a reason to distinguish it. As to data, the most common data use stored it as an audio signal on audio grade tapes. There might be some that used special data grade tapes in the same shape, but that was rare. Gah4 (talk) 21:07, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose move. Your "Kleenex" argument is backfiring hard, because it shows exactly why the page shouldn't be moved. "Compact Cassette" is the trademarked name, just as "Kleenex" is. O.N.R. (talk) 22:32, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The US Trademark Electronic Search System shows no current registered trademark for "Compact Cassette" and all similar names are DEAD! It may have been trademarked at some time in the past but it is not so in the US at this time. The lack of a registered trademark likely makes it a common name. @Gah4: @Old Naval Rooftops: While u might still oppose you probably should clarify your opposition since your facts do not appear to be current. Tom94022 (talk) 00:43, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
P.S. "Kleenex" has a live trademark. Tom94022 (talk) 00:45, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My argument is based on it ever being a trademark. I am not so sure about the patent/trademark laws, but in any case it seems that Philips was licensing it for no charge. I believe, though, that it still needed to be licensed, and that the license might have required that name. Once the patent runs out, there is no need for licensing it. In any case, the only reason for calling it Compact Cassette is because Philips called it that. I believe that the C in C-90 comes from the C in compact, not the C in cassette, but that might not matter much. There is pretty much no competition, so no need to distinguish from anything else. It might be the common name, but I suspect not the WP:COMMONNAME, mostly because it is too long. Reminds me of the common use of the verb to tape for any digital (tapeless) recording system. Gah4 (talk) 20:21, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Gah4:I suggest you are mixing up patents and trademarks - patents expire after a fixed interval while trademarks can be continued until they are allowed to expire. It may be that the Philips license required the use of the trademark which would no longer be enforceable after the patent expired and a license would no longer be required. There is at least one RS that the common name changed from Compact Cassette to Audio Cassette and not the more generic Cassette tape, namely:

Gradually, manufacturers dropped the Compact Cassette logo in favor of a simple “audio cassette” label — by the end of 20th century compact cassette had become a dominant audio tape cartridge format.

The origins of a hinged cassette box and Compact Cassette logo

I'm not sure what evidence there is to support "Cassette tape" as the common name - it does have more hits on Google (16M) than "Audio Cassette" (7M) but that is OR and not particularly good OR since the term is admittedly by all as ambiguous. Tom94022 (talk) 21:44, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not necessarily mixing it up, but understanding that it is complicated, and we really don't know. We don't know the licensing conditions. When this started (some years ago) I looked at the ones I have, and very few say Compact Cassette on them, mostly in the 1980s. Is there a record for when the trademark was active? In any case, even when they did say Compact Cassette, I never knew anyone to call them that. Well, my uncle had the RCA predecessor, so he might have. And then there was Elcassette, which I even looked at in the store, and had a tiny thought about buying. Gah4 (talk) 11:50, 23 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Considering that the links in the page refer to the format as Compact Cassette including the different types, I agree to changing the name. Per Tom94022, they are right with the reason. AquilaXIII (talk) 02:58, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose - COMMONNAME, no new convincing argument presented to the contrary. -- Netoholic @ 15:06, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support - There's no good argument that's been made yet to justify using the generic name for the Compact Cassette. The VHS isn't called a Videocassette since there are different types. JAMendoza (talk) 16:41, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose as per other arguments put forward, specifically those put by Netoholic for commonname, and Gah4 referencing that the last move request is still visible, and no new arguments have really been put forward. Chaheel Riens (talk) 16:56, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose There has been no new compelling reason given to change the title, just the same arguments as in the above and previous move requests. COMMONNAME is there for a reason, to place articles at not an official or legal name but at their most used/popular name. All "official" names are included in the lead, with redirects of those to here. Upon the inventor's death earlier this year, news–based obits refer to him as the inventory of the cassette tape Google search.(personal commentary: I never recall anyone ever asking me to copy an album onto a "compact cassette". Most of my cassette tapes do not even have the word "cassette" on them or the case, those that do mention the cassette mechanism. Oh memories.)--☾Loriendrew☽ (ring-ring) 22:26, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


I was trying to find the original, or some of the original, patents for the Philips cassette. Especially with the note above that Otten is the inventor, I thought that would help, but so far didn't. It would be both a useful reference for the article, and interesting related to the above discussion. Gah4 (talk) 07:31, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Gah4: Take a look at US 3394899. Filed Oct 1964 with a priority to 1963; it is about the right time and it looks like the CC but it has Schoenmakers and not Otten as the inventor. See also EP0120518B1 also by Schoenmakers. Elsewhere is says, " Lou Ottens, was the team leader in Belgium. Involved in the team were J.J.M. Schoenmakers and Peter van der Sluis (the cassette PHILIPS EL 1903, the mechanism, the Recorder EL 3300)." At this point if we consider the "inventor" to be the person named on a patent. I think we have to remove Otten as the inventor and go with Schoenmakers. Or if we can find an RS (I'm not sure about for the team then we can go with the team, the patent and Schoenmakers as the "inventor." Tom94022 (talk) 02:47, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Reminds me of all the discussions about the invention of the transistor, and especially Shockley. When it is not a lone inventor, it is harder to figure out who to name. But Ottens does have some patents, which was part of what confused me. Gah4 (talk) 21:17, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Same discussion exists as to the inventors of the disk drive and there was quite a lawsuit over the invention of the computer. However, when there is a patent, legally all the inventors must be named in the disclosure and then they are listed on the patent when issued. Even then there can be an issue because the the object may consist of a number of innovations, not all of which are patented inventions. So one usually looks for a reliable source, sometimes a court of law, to figure who really invented the object. To me, at first glance, claims 2 and 3 of US 3394899 appear to claim the CC. I haven't looked at the Ottens patents to see whether what they claim is all or part of the CC, but even if I did this might be OR. I think the best approach is to try and find an RS along the lines of but better than If I have some time I will poke around. Tom94022 (talk) 06:11, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here is another source that has Ottens as the leader of the team that came up with the CC but not necessarily its inventor:

Philips R&D leader, Lou Ottens, was inspired by the success and wanted to make an even smaller version. His motivation eventually sparked the release of the world’s first audio cassette.
The makers consisted of a Philips team of about 40 designers and engineers lead by Ottens.


Tom94022 (talk) 21:10, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are zero relevant patents by Ottens assigned to Philips with a priority date prior to 1965 which makes it hard to call him the inventor. It looks like all of his recent obituaries confused his management position with the invention. Tom94022 (talk) 21:20, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just to be sure, since I made the mistake of calling him Ottens instead of Otten, and that seems to have been repeated. Gah4 (talk) 11:39, 23 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Apparently this is a common mistake, so I went back to Google patent and find zero patents by Otten of Philips in the relevant time period. Makes it hard to call him the inventor. Tom94022 (talk) 23:01, 25 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suppose, but the one you found is from Philips Netherlands. I suspect I don't know patent law all that well, but in the case of a corporation, where the invention is by a research group, or even more, the collective work of more than one group, it is less obvious who gets there name on it. As well as I remember from last week, he does have some patents later. But again, is it the person who sits at the bench, or the manager that gets the group to do what they do? (and don't forget Shockley.) Gah4 (talk) 07:04, 26 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As Tom94022 says above, anyone in the group who contributed to the invention is legally required to be listed as an inventor on the patent. Otten still may have contributed to critical aspects of the cassette that were not patented and so could still be considered an inventor if that is the case. ~Kvng (talk) 13:48, 31 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For some definition of anyone and contributed. Otherwise in many cases it would be the whole company. As you note, there are critical aspects and presumably non-critical ones. But the patent seems to belong to Philips Netherlands, even though we (supposedly) know it came from Belgium. Gah4 (talk) 20:16, 31 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe Gah4 started this thread looking for one or more Otten patents to go along with Otten's purported "invention" of the Compact Cassette. Yes sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the inventors of a patented innovation from those who helped reduce it to practice, but it is the legal requirement in US patents that all inventors be named. Clearly there are no such patents by Otten and clearly Otten lead the team that developed the Compact Cassette. Schoenmakers, a member of Otten's team is the named inventor on one patent that has claims which at first glance appear to cover the Compact Cassette. There may be other patents; if we had a copy of Philips' license agreement we would know all the patents that Philips asserted claiming some aspect of the Compact Cassette. Where the patents were issued is irrelevant; Schoenmakers is in at least two jurisdictions. So in the end we are left with "Otten led the team that developed the Compact Cassette with a member, Schoenmakers, patenting one aspect thereof. Tom94022 (talk) 21:29, 31 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Another wiki is not a RS, but here is what it says:

Lou Ottens sees himself as a team player: "I always worked with other people when developing new products."[2]Drew for the construction of the original cassette and the drive Jan Schoenmakers responsible. He also had the idea of ​​locking the cassette in the drive by inserting the tape head and the erase head. The cassettes could not be removed from the drive during playback. It was precisely to this detail that the later compact cassette patent registered under the number 1191978 on January 31, 1964 at German Patent and Trademark Office in Munich has been registered.[3] Peter van der Sluis developed the corresponding recorder. The magnetic head specialist Herman Cornelius Lalesse had the idea of ​​dividing the 1.5 mm wide mono track on a playback side into two tracks for stereo.

BNM Wiki - Compact cassette - KompaktkassetteEncyclopedia

This supports Schoenmakers as the inventor of the CC in that the primary innovation was using the recording mechanism to lock the CC to the recorder. Whether this is enough to put it in the article is another question. Tom94022 (talk) 23:54, 31 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hmm. My first thought is that the head locking the cassette is the least important part. I might have thought the tape width or speed, both of which allow for the small cassette, were the important ones. But then again, are those patentable? Probably not. I don't know patent law all that well, but I suspect that shrinking something but otherwise the same isn't enough. So, ok, the head lock system is the patent. I thought stereo came some years later, at least it was a lot later when I knew about it. We had a Sony (mono) reel-to-reel recorder when I was young, mostly to send tapes to/from my grandparents. I knew early that stereo tapes were not compatible because of the track arrangement. The in high school years, I got a stereo reel-to-reel (as above, with 1.875, 3.75, 7.5 in/s), and about then knew that cassettes used a different track system, because Philips required. Reminds me that I also knew that Philips required CD (and CD-ROM) players to only run 1x. The others only came after the patent expired. In any case, the article credits the two-hole cassette to Belgium and Ottens. Gah4 (talk) 08:48, 1 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The head locking the cassette is one known invention - the may be other patents we haven't found and/or everything else could be known public art or licensed prior art. The parent allows for other known two hole cassettes known in the art that didn't lock. The question now is what changes if any do we make to the article. For example, do we add the two patents? Tom94022 (talk) 21:10, 1 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

in the "mixtape" doc, there is a scene with ottens & three members of his team; I would recommend finding this on a platform of your choice & hearing the story from the man himself.

duncanrmi (talk) 11:40, 18 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dimensioons of the RCA cartridge[edit]

The metric length of the cartridge (20cm or 7.87 in) is incompatible with its imperial length (7 in or 17.8 cm). Which is it? A similar error is in the RCA Tape Cartridge article --Hugh7 (talk) 07:54, 3 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Technicially, they are correct. 7in, to one significant digit, converts to 20cm to 1 significant digit. Now, maybe it should be known to more than one digit ... Gah4 (talk) 08:53, 3 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I tried to find size with more precision, but didn't find it. There are pictures, which you could measure, though without a good reference. I didn't find the patent, white might not have the dimensions, anyway. Gah4 (talk) 09:43, 3 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Uncited material in need of citations[edit]

I am moving the following uncited material here until it can be properly supported with inline citations of reliable, secondary sources, per WP:V, WP:NOR, WP:CS, WP:NOR, WP:IRS, WP:PSTS, et al. This diff shows where it was in the article. Nightscream (talk) 16:07, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Extended content



In 1935, AEG released the first reel-to-reel tape recorder with the commercial name "Magnetophon". It was based on the invention of the magnetic tape by Fritz Pfleumer in 1928. These machines were very expensive and relatively difficult to use and were, therefore, used mostly by professionals in radio stations and recording studios.[citation needed]

The cartridge was large at 5 x 7 1/8 x 1/2 inches (127 x 197 x 13 mm), and few pre-recorded tapes were offered. Despite the multiple versions, it failed.[citation needed]

Consumer use of magnetic tape machines took off in the early 1960s, after playback machines reached a comfortable, user-friendly design. This was aided by the introduction of transistors which replaced the bulky, fragile, and costly vacuum tubes of earlier designs. Reel-to-reel tape then became more suitable for household use, but still remained an esoteric product.[citation needed]


The Belgian team created a two-spool cartridge similar to an earlier RCA design, but much smaller.[citation needed]


By the early 2000s, the CD player rapidly replaced the cassette player as the default audio component in the majority of new vehicles in Europe and America.[citation needed]

Most of the major US music companies had discontinued production of pre-recorded cassettes by 2003.[citation needed]

Many out-of-print titles, such as those published during the cassette's heyday of the 1970s to early 2000s, are only available on the original cassettes.[citation needed]


Cassette types[edit]

Inexpensive cassettes commonly are labeled "low-noise", but typically are not optimized for high frequency response. For this reason, some low-grade IEC Type I tapes have been marketed specifically as better suited for data storage than for sound recording.[citation needed]

Simple voice recorders and earlier cassette decks are designed to work with standard ferric formulations. Newer tape decks usually are built with switches and later detectors for the different bias and equalization requirements for higher grade tapes. The most common, iron oxide tapes (defined by the IEC 60094 standard,<ref name=IEC/></nowki> as "Type I") use 120 microsecond ([[µs]]) equalization, while chrome and cobalt-adsorbed tapes (IEC Type II) require 70 µs equalization. The recording bias levels also were different. BASF and [[Sony]] tried a dual-layer tape with both ferric oxide and chromium dioxide known as [[ferrichrome]] (FeCr) (IEC Type III), but these were available for only a short time in the 1970s. These also use 70 µs, just like Type II did. Metal cassettes (IEC Type IV) also use 70 µs equalization, and provide still further improvement in sound quality as well as durability. The quality normally is reflected in the price; Type I cassettes generally are the cheapest, and Type IV are usually the most expensive. BASF chrome tape used in commercially pre-recorded cassettes used Type I equalization to allow greater high-frequency dynamic range for better sound quality, but the greater selling point for the music labels was that the Type I cassette shell could be used for both ferric and for chrome music cassettes.{{fact|date=July 2022}} Notches on top of the cassette shell indicate the type of tape. Type I cassettes have only [[Write protection|write-protect]] notches, Type II have an additional pair next to the write protection ones, and Type IV (metal) have a third set near the middle of the top of the cassette shell. These allow later [[cassette deck]]s to detect the tape type automatically and select the proper bias and equalization.{{fact|date=July 2022}} An exception to this standard were mechanical storytelling dolls from the 1980s (e.g. [[Teddy Ruxpin]]) which used the Type IV metal configuration cassette shell but had normal Type I voice grade tape inside. These toys used the Type IV notches to detect that a specially coded tape had been inserted, where the audio of the story is stored on the left channel and various cue tones to tell the doll's servos how and when to move along with the story on the right channel.{{fact|date=July 2022}} Most pre-recorded chrome cassettes require 120 µs equalization and are treated as Type I (with notches as Type I ferric cassettes), to ensure compatibility with budget equipment.{{fact|date=July 2022}} === Tape length === However, C180 tapes were extremely thin and fragile and suffered from such effects as [[print-through]], which made them unsuitable for general use.{{fact|date=July 2022}} 150 minute length cassettes were available from Maxell (UR 150), Sony (CDixI 150) and TDK (TDK AE 150, CDing1 150 and CDing2 150), only in Japan. All of these were discontinued - Maxell simplified its cassette offer to 10, 20, 60 and 90-minute lengths,{{when|date=May 2021}} Sony exited the audio cassette market globally,{{when|date=May 2021}} and [[Imation]], licensee of the TDK trademark, exited the consumer products market.{{when|date=May 2021}} Most manufacturers load more tape that a label indicates, for example {{convert|90|m|ft|abbr=off|sp=us}} rather than {{convert|86|m|ft|abbr=off|sp=us}} of tape for a C60 cassette, and {{convert|132|or|135|m|ft|abbr=off|sp=us}} rather than {{convert|129|m|ft|abbr =off|sp=us}} of tape for a C90 cassette, providing an extra minute or two of playback time per side.{{fact|date=July 2022}} Some companies included a complimentary blank cassette with their portable cassette recorders in the early 1980s. [[Panasonic]]'s was a C14 and came with a song recorded on side one, and a blank side two. Except for C74 and C100, such non-standard lengths always have been hard to find, and tend to be more expensive than the more popular lengths. Home taping enthusiasts may have found certain lengths useful for fitting an album neatly on one or both sides of a tape. For instance, the initial maximum playback time of Compact Discs was 74 minutes, explaining the relative popularity of C74 cassettes.{{fact|date=July 2022}} 150 minute length cassettes were available from Maxell (UR 150), Sony (CDixI 150) and TDK (TDK AE 150, CDing1 150 and CDing2 150), only in Japan. All of these were discontinued - Maxell simplified its cassette offer to 10, 20, 60 and 90-minute lengths,{{when|date=May 2021}} Sony exited the audio cassette market globally,{{when|date=May 2021}} and [[Imation]], licensee of the TDK trademark, exited the consumer products market.{{when|date=May 2021}} === Head gap === The head gap of a tape recorder is the space, along the tape path, between the ends of the pole pieces of the head. Without a gap the head would produce a "closed" magnetic field and would not interact enough with the magnetic domains on the tape.{{fact|date=July 2022}} However, such limitations can be corrected through equalization in the recording and playback amplification sections, and narrower gaps were quite common, particularly in more expensive cassette machines. For example, the RP-2 series combined record/playback head (used in many Nakamichi cassette decks from the 1980s and 1990s) had a 1.2 µm gap, which allows for a playback frequency range of up to 20 kHz.{{citation needed|date=April 2019}} A narrower gap width makes it harder to magnetize the tape, but is less important to the frequency range during recording than during playback, so a two-head solution can be applied: a dedicated recording head with a wide gap allowing effective magnetization of the tape and a dedicated playback head with a specific width narrow gap, possibly facilitating very high playback frequency ranges well above 20 kHz.{{citation needed|date=April 2019}} Separate record and playback heads were already a standard feature of more expensive reel-to-reel tape machines when cassettes were introduced, but their application to cassette recorders had to wait until demand developed for higher quality reproduction, and for sufficiently small heads to be produced.{{fact|date=July 2022}} ===Write-protection=== Most cassettes include a [[write protection]] mechanism to prevent re-recording and accidental erasure of important material. There are two indentations on the top of a cassette corresponding to each side of the cassette. On blank cassettes these indentations are protected with plastic tabs that can be broken off to prevent recording on the corresponding side of the cassette. Occasionally and usually on higher-priced cassettes, manufacturers provided a movable panel that could be used to enable or disable write-protect on tapes. Pre-recorded cassettes do not have protective tabs, leaving the indentations open.{{fact|date=July 2022}} If later required, the cassette can be made recordable again by either covering the indentation with a piece of [[adhesive tape]] or by putting some filler material into the indentation. On some decks, the write-protect sensing lever can be manually depressed to allow recording on a protected tape. Extra care is required to avoid covering the additional indents on [[tape bias|high bias]] or metal bias tape cassettes adjacent to the write-protect tabs.{{fact|date=July 2022}} ===Tape leaders=== In most cassettes, the magnetic tape is attached to each spool with a leader, usually made of strong plastic. This leader protects the weaker magnetic tape from the shock occurring when the tape reaches the end. Some leaders are designed to clean the magnetic heads each time the tape is played. Leader also enables to record over an existing recording cleanly, without a blip of sound that otherwise would be left from the previous recording.{{fact|date=July 2022}} Cassette tape users would also use spare leaders to repair broken tapes.{{citation needed|date=April 2020}} The disadvantage with tape leaders is that the sound recording or playback does not start at the beginning of the tape, forcing the user to cue forward to the start of the magnetic section. For certain applications, such as dictation, special cassettes containing leaderless tapes are made, typically with stronger material and for use in machines that had more sophisticated end-of-tape prediction. Home computers that made use of cassettes as a more affordable alternative to floppy discs (e.g. [[Apple II]], [[Commodore PET]]) were designed to not start writing or reading data until leaders had spooled past.{{citation needed|date=June 2020|reason=My C64 definitely starts writing as soon as Play is pressed, with no regard for leaders}} ===Endless loop cassette=== {{See also|Endless tape cartridge}} Some cassettes were made to play a continuous loop of tape without stopping. Lengths available are from around 30 seconds to a standard full length. They are used in situations where a short message or musical jingle is to be played, either continuously or whenever a device is triggered, or whenever continuous recording or playing is needed. Some include a sensing foil on the tape to allow tape players to re-cue. From as early as 1969 various patents have been issued, covering such uses as uni-directional, bi-directional, and compatibility with auto-shut-off and anti-tape-eating mechanisms. One variant has a half-width loop of tape for an answering machine outgoing message, and another half-width tape on spools to record incoming messages.{{citation needed|date=April 2019}} ===Optional mechanics=== [[File:Compact_Cassette_BASF_SM_Security_Mechanism_guided_tape_IMG_8286.JPG|right|thumb|upright|Tape Guide via Security Mechanism (SM)]] The competition responded by inserting additional deflector pins closer to the coils in the lower plastic case half. Some low-priced and pre-recorded compact cassettes were made without pulleys; the tape is pulled directly over the capstan drive.{{citation needed|date=April 2019}} For the pressure of the tape to the head there is a thinner felt on a glued foam block instead of the usual felt on a leaf spring.{{citation needed|date=April 2019}} ===Flaws=== {{More citations needed|date=April 2019}} Cassette playback has suffered from some flaws frustrating to both professionals and home recording enthusiasts. Tape speed varies between devices, resulting in pitch that is too low or too high. Speed often was calibrated at the factory and could not be changed by users. The slow tape speed increased tape hiss and noise, and in practice delivered higher values of [[Wow (recording)|wow]] and [[Flutter (electronics and communication)|flutter]]. Different tape formulation and noise reduction schemes artificially boosted or cut high frequencies and inadvertently elevated noise levels. Noise reduction also adds some artifacts to the sound which a trained ear can hear, sometimes quite easily. Wow and flutter, however, can be added to recordings intentionally for [[Lo-fi music|aesthetic reasons]].{{fact|date=July 2022}} A common mechanical problem occurred when a defective player or resistance in the tape path causes insufficient tension on the take-up spool. This would cause the magnetic tape to be fed out through the bottom of the cassette and become tangled in the mechanism of the player. In these cases, the player was said to have "eaten" or "chewed" the tape, often destroying the playability of the cassette.<nowiki><ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Trends in Technology: Recording Sound|author=Steve Fluker |archive-url= |archive-date=23 September 2004}}</ref>[failed verification] Splicing blocks, analogous to those used for open-reel 1/4" tape, were available and could be used to remove the damaged portion or repair the break in the tape.[citation needed]

Cassette players and recorders[edit]

were simple mono record and playback units. Early machines required attaching an external dynamic microphone. Most units from the 1980s onwards also incorporated internal electret microphones, which have extended high-frequency response, but may also pick up noises from the recorder's motor.

A common portable recorder format is a long box, the width of a cassette, with a speaker at the top, a cassette bay in the middle, and "piano key" controls at the bottom edge. Another format is only slightly larger than the cassette, known popularly as the "Walkman" (a Sony trademark).[citation needed]

The markings of "piano key" controls soon converged and became a de facto standard. They are still emulated on many software control panels. These symbols are commonly a square for "stop", an upward-pointed, underlined triangle for "eject", a right-pointing triangle for "play", a rightward-facing pair of triangles for "fast forward" with leftward-facing doubled triangles for "rewind", a dot, sometimes colored red, or, occasionally, a red LED, for "record", and a vertically divided square (two rectangles side-by-side) for "pause".[citation needed]

Stereo recorders eventually evolved into high fidelity and were known as cassette decks, after the reel-to-reel decks. Hi-Fi cassette decks, in contrast to cassette recorders and cassette players, generally omit built-in amplification or speakers. Many formats of cassette players and recorders have evolved over the years. Initially all were top loading, usually with cassette on one side, and VU meters and recording level controls on the other side. Older models used combinations of levers and sliding buttons for control.[citation needed]

The 3-head closed-loop dual-capstan Nakamichi 1000 (1973) is one early example. Unlike typical cassette decks that use a single head for both record and playback plus a second head for erasing, the Nakamichi 1000, like the better reel-to-reel recorders, used three separate heads to optimize these functions.[citation needed]

Other contenders for the highest "HiFi" quality on this medium were two companies already widely known for their excellent quality reel-to-reel tape recorders: Tandberg and Revox (the consumer marque of Swiss studio equipment manufacturer Studer). Tandberg started with combined-head machines, such as the TCD 300, and continued with the TCD 3x0 series with separate playback and recording heads. All TCD models used dual-capstan mechanisms, belt-driven by a single capstan motor and two separate reel motors. Frequency range extended to 18 kHz. After a disastrous overinvestment in colour television production, Tandberg folded and was revived without the HiFi division that made these recorders.[citation needed]

Revox went one step further: after much hesitation about whether to accept cassettes at all as a medium capable of meeting their strict standards from reel-to-reel recorders, they produced their B710MK I (Dolby B) and MK II (Dolby B&C) machines. Both cassette units employed dual-capstan mechanisms, but with two independent, electronically controlled capstan motors and two separate reel motors. The head assembly moved by actuating a damped solenoid movement, eliminating all belt drives and other wearing parts. These machines rivaled the Nakamichi in frequency and dynamic range. The B710MKII also achieved 20–20,000 Hz and dynamics of over 72 dB with Dolby C on chrome and slightly less dynamic range, but greater headroom, with metal tapes and Dolby C.[citation needed] Revox adjusted the frequency range on delivery with many years of use in mind: when new, the frequency curve went upwards a few dB at 15–20 kHz, aiming for flat response after 15 years of use, and head wear to match.[citation needed]

A last step taken by Revox produced even more-advanced cassette mechanisms with electronic fine tuning of bias and equalization during recording. Revox also produced amplifiers, a very expensive FM tuner, and a pickup with a special parallel-arm mechanism of their own design. After releasing that product, Studer encountered financial difficulties. It had to save itself by closing its Revox division, thus discontinuing all its consumer products other than their final reel-to-reel recorder, the B77.[citation needed]

This advanced method is called Dolby HX Pro in full and is patented. HX Pro was adopted by many other high-end manufacturers.[citation needed]

As they became aimed at more casual users, fewer decks had microphone inputs. Dual decks became popular and incorporated into home entertainment systems of all sizes for tape dubbing. Although the quality would suffer each time a source was copied, there are no mechanical restrictions on copying from a record, radio, or another cassette source. Even as CD recorders are becoming more popular, some incorporate cassette decks for professional applications.[citation needed]

Another format that made an impact on culture in the 1980s was the radio-cassette, aka the "boom box" (a name used commonly only in North American dialects of English), which combined the portable cassette deck with a radio tuner and speakers capable of producing significant sound levels. These devices became synonymous with urban youth culture in entertainment, leading to the nickname "ghetto blaster". The boom box also allowed people to enjoy music on the go and share it with friends, contributing to cultural practises such as breakdancing.

A head cleaning cassette

Although the cassettes themselves were relatively durable, the players required regular maintenance to perform properly. Head cleaning may be done with long swabs, soaked with isopropyl alcohol, or cassette-shaped devices that could be inserted into a tape deck to remove buildup of iron oxide from the heads, capstan, and pinch roller. Some otherwise normal blank cassettes included sections of leader that could clean the tape heads. One of the concerns of the time however was the use of abrasive cleaning tape. Some of the cleaning tapes actually felt rough to the touch and were considered damaging to the heads. Similarly shaped demagnetizers used magnets to degauss the deck, which kept sound from becoming distorted (see cassette demagnetizer).[citation needed]



News reporting, documentary, and human interest broadcast operations often used portable Marantz PMD-series recorders for the recording of speech interviews. The key advantages of the Marantz portable recorders were the accommodation of professional microphones with an XLR connector, normal and double tape speed recording for extended frequency response, Dolby and dbx noise reduction systems, manual or automatic gain control (AGC) level control, peak limiter, multiple tape formulation accommodation, microphone and line level input connections, unbalanced RCA stereo input and output connections, live or tape monitoring, VU meter, headphone jack, playback pitch control, and operation on AC power or batteries optimized for long duration. Unlike less-expensive portable recorders that were limited to automatic gain control (AGC) recording schemes, the manual recording mode preserved low noise dynamics and avoided the automatic elevation of noise.[citation needed]

Home studio[edit]

Beginning in 1979, Tascam introduced the Portastudio line of four- and eight-track cassette recorders for home-studio use.[citation needed]

Although professional musicians typically used multitrack cassette machines only as "sketchpads" to create demo recordings, Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska was recorded entirely on a four-track cassette tape.[citation needed]

Home dubbing[edit]

Albums in this format were prerecorded on one side and the other was left blank for the purchaser to use, another early example being the 1980 "C·30 C·60 C·90 Go" cassingle by Bow Wow Wow where the b-side of the tape was blank, allowing the purchaser to record their own b-side. Cassettes were also a boon to people wishing to tape concerts (unauthorized or authorized) for sale or trade, a practice tacitly or overtly encouraged by many bands, such as the Grateful Dead, with a more counterculture bent. Blank cassettes also were an invaluable tool to spread the music of unsigned acts, especially within tape trading networks.[citation needed]

Institutional duplication[edit]

Educational, religious, corporate, military, and broadcasting institutions benefited from messaging proliferation through accessibly priced duplicators, offered by Telex Communications, Wollensak, Sony, and others. The duplicators would operate at double (or greater) tape speed. Systems were scalable, enabling the user to purchase initially one "master" unit (typically with 3 "copy" bays) and add "slave" units for expanded duplication abilities.[citation needed]

Data recording [edit]

The Hewlett-Packard HP 9830 was one of the first desktop computers in the early 1970s to use automatically controlled cassette tapes for storage. It could save and find files by number, using a clear leader to detect the end of tape. These would be replaced by specialized cartridges, such as the 3M DC-series. Many of the earliest microcomputers implemented the Kansas City standard for digital data storage. Most home computers of the late 1970s and early 1980s could use cassettes for data storage as a cheaper alternative to floppy disks, though users often had to manually stop and start a cassette recorder. Even the first version of the IBM PC of 1981 had a cassette port and a command in its ROM BASIC programming language to use it. However, IBM cassette tape was seldom used, as by 1981 floppy drives had become commonplace in high-end machines.[citation needed]

Nintendo's Famicom had an available cassette data recorder, used for saving programs created with the hardware's version of BASIC and saving progress in some Famicom games. It was never released outside Japan, but the North American versions of some of the compatible games can technically be used with it, since many early copies of two of the games (Excitebike and Wrecking Crew) are actually just the Japanese versions in a different shell, and Nintendo intentionally included compatibility in later prints of those titles and in other games since they were planning on releasing the recorder in the region anyway.[citation needed]

The typical encoding method for computer data was simple FSK, typically at data rates of 500 to 2000 bit/s, although some games used special, faster-loading routines, up to around 4000 bit/s. A rate of 2000 bit/s equates to a capacity of around 660 kilobytes per side of a 90-minute tape.[citation needed]

Among home computers that used primarily data cassettes for storage in the late 1970s were Commodore PET (early models of which had a cassette drive built-in), TRS-80 and Apple II, until the introduction of floppy disk drives and hard drives in the early 1980s made cassettes virtually obsolete for day-to-day use in the US. However, they remained in use on some portable systems such as the TRS-80 Model 100 line—often in microcassette form—until the early 1990s.[citation needed]

The use of better modulation techniques, such as QPSK or those used in modern modems, combined with the improved bandwidth and signal-to-noise ratio of newer cassette tapes, allowed much greater capacities (up to 60 MB) and data transfer speeds of 10 to 17 kbit/s on each cassette. They found use during the 1980s in data loggers for scientific and industrial equipment.[citation needed]


The PXL-2000 was a camcorder that recorded onto compact cassettes.[citation needed]

Rivals and successors[edit]

Size comparison of Elcaset (left) with standard Compact Cassette

Elcaset is a short-lived audio format that was created by Sony in 1976 that is about twice the size, using larger tape and a higher recording speed. Unlike the original cassette, the Elcaset was designed for sound quality. It was never widely accepted, as the quality of standard cassette decks rapidly approached high fidelity.[citation needed]