Audio Cassettes tribute – Welofi Showtape 01

Explore our network of trails that lead through a variety of electronic woodland habitats and observe the diverse flora that call this area home.

Recently we published Various Artists audio cassette compilation from our podcast series «Welofi – ShowTape» with our St. Petersburg based friends TapesTM (aka GoTape). Full digital release available on streaming platforms since May 17. Moreover, this compilation has audio cassette release. Each cassette is charged with the creativity of different people and ideas. Artists who are scattered across the country are now on one tape, in a transparent case and white wrapper, with good sound.

Buy the release through VKontakte products now, at the pre-sale price, the price after the release will be higher due to the commission of the sites.

A1 The Machine Method – Annabelle
A2 Stomer – Ниггером Быть (Stomer Edit)
A4 Твоё лето – Bring it back
A5 Volkorezov – jungle
A6 mac passion – 5tv

B1 samaraxpress feat. Yasashi – b3rega
B2 1prfct.smpl – dead pumping folks
B3 djzik – hut
B4 dan PM – Blow
B5 Loophie – Onnyk
B6 under the weather – Spider Friendship pt1

History and development of cassette players

The cassette has gone through a lot to regain its place on record store shelves in modern times. It all started thanks to the Dutch engineer Lodewijk “Lou” Ottens and the Philips company – Philips EL3300. In the 1960s, he was the head of the company’s new product development department and spent several years secretly inventing the portable cassette recorder. For this, it was necessary to re-invent the audio cassette formats that were already available at that time, which were too bulky, which made it impossible to use them on the go, and this was precisely the main idea.

«Less than a pack of cigarettes!» – this was the advertising slogan of the new invention. In 1963, at the international radio exhibition in Berlin, a new device for storing information was presented – the compact cassette. At the same time, the first player-recorder was shown to the world. The original Philips EL3300 prototype, invented by Ottens’ team, was created so that journalists or simply lovers of the peaceful sounds of nature could make audio recordings outside the home.

Thus, for the first time, the average user had the opportunity not only to independently save an audio signal to a medium, but also to re-record it many times. Later, in the 1980s, because of this, a pathetic attempt would be made to stop piracy. «Home recording is killing music,» the propaganda slogan said, but this only added fuel to the fire.

Cover: Philips EL3300 cassette recorder, 1963

Another key moment in this history was the release of the Sony Walkman TPS-L2 player in 1979. Thanks to a Japanese company, the audio cassette has finally become a truly mass product. After 5 years, Sony was able to raise the level of its technology so much that its portable players were able to compete with some stationary cassette players in terms of sound and recording quality. Here it is worth noting the well-known Henry Rollins from the group Black Flag, who recorded his solo album «Sweatbox» on the Walkman Professional WM-D6C.

Already in the new millennium, the leader of the audio race was Steve Jobs, who always admitted that at the beginning of his journey he was guided by Sony. The first iPod was released in 2001, and in 2004 the latest cassette player model under the Walkman brand was released. This is roughly how the end of the compact cassette era happened, but we inherited an impressive legacy.

The anatomy of the cassette has evolved in such a way that both the casing and the tape itself have changed over time. All this was done to reduce the noise level they were producing. The general concept of the changes was that it was necessary to dampen vibrations inside the cassette. So, for example, we came to tape stabilizers and ceramic plastic housings.

Cover: Sony Walkman TPS-L2 cassette player, 1979

In the 1990s, the pinnacle of audio cassette development with all sorts of bells and whistles was the Sony Super Metal Master model. If you have one of these lying around on your mezzanine, it means you have saved yourself at least 10 thousand rubles. Apart from the ceramic composite body, another feature of this cassette is the metal band. Initially, cassettes contained tape of the first type (normal), which was made of iron oxide.

Afterwards, various components were added to it: chromium dioxide for the second type (chrome), iron oxide and chromium oxide for the third (ferrochrome) and metal for the fourth type (metal). For the latter, we even had to slightly change the design of the tape recorders – as a result, the metal tape made it possible to make loud recordings without unnecessary interference and with the widest range of reproducible frequencies. Therefore, it is important to understand that a lot depends on the cassette used.

Cover: sony super metal master 90

Field sessions. There is nothing more peaceful and addictive than taking field notes. There is always a chance that in a few years you will be recording parrots in the rainforest. But for now, just take any cassette recorder into which you can plug a microphone, and sit down on your favorite tree stump for at least 20 minutes. After all, this is precisely why the cassette was invented in the first place.

Cover: Zoom H5 – Transom

DJing. Once you get really into film collecting, you can get yourself a couple of players. Then you’ll be able to record mixes and play full-fledged DJ sets.
Many will already know this, but maybe not everyone: the DJ’s of the original 1980s Goa scene like DJ Laurent mixed EBM, Cold Wave, New Beat and Techno on a dual-Walkman (with pitch control) setup, since vinyl was way to fragile for the local heat, humidity and sand.

Cover: RA Sessions: Kerri Chandler – Reel-To-Reel Session | Resident Advisor

A vinyl release run of 200 copies at a European plant will cost you, if you’re lucky, about a thousand euros, and that’s without any special features in the design. Let us remind you that in Russia there is a real problem with the production of vinyl, so people who understand have been publishing in Europe for a long time. But in the current situation it is not at all clear how to do this. And this is not to mention the delicate moment of importing the entire shipment into the territory of the Russian Federation.
It becomes clearer why so many labels have long focused on audio cassettes. It is worth noting that this happens not only among Russian musicians. Now cassette culture is gaining momentum, almost like in the golden times. If you want to capture your music on a physical medium and leave a mark beyond the cloud, doing so using cassette tapes isn’t all that difficult.

Try to act on enthusiasm

This is where you should start boldly – and then, perhaps, move deeper into vinyl. Thanks to the St. Petersburg manufactory TapesTM, you can make an edition of even 5 pieces with any design options. It’s no wonder that the company has literally become a monopolist in the production of cassettes: the price tag is really very low. On the manufacturer’s website there is an extremely simple calculator with which you can estimate your budget or immediately place an order for this whole undertaking in 10 minutes.

It is necessary to choose this strategy due to its simplicity and financial component. Their copier is not designed for exorbitant quality, but if your main goal is to graduate, you won’t find a better option anywhere, and probably never. You can also buy cassettes without recording from them, and this may be useful for subsequent points. Of course, you can immediately go to a foreign factory, which will immediately provide better quality, but then you will again have to spend a long time converting rubles into foreign currency.

DIY manufacture

Don’t forget that you can make a circulation yourself – just push the red REC button. To try it, buy any cassette recorder with a working recording function on Avito. Of course, it would be good to find the device after preventive maintenance by a specialist, since all tape recorders have parts that sooner or later fail. Spice it up with a bunch of tapes from someone’s older brother’s collection – that’s all. There’s no point in talking about quality here at all, but with this set you can already start making at least some attempts at home recording. A great example of a DIY approach is the domestic label карта скважин or Factura. In addition to interesting musical content, the culture of unique piece products and reasonable consumption is regularry confidently promotingthere. There is something to look at, and the entire crowd close to the label makes truly original music.

If you want to jump straight to the top of the tape connoisseur food chain and talk sound with serious cassette geeks, then prepare a lot of money and time. The promised entry threshold for building such equipment from scratch will cost from couple of thousand rubles and till infinitum. But you will fully feel the difference in quality, because factory copies cannot compare with truly high-quality manual recordings.

A cassette deck, amplifier and speakers of this class will allow you to independently make a batch of very high-quality cassettes. So high that you won’t be able to listen to anything else. This is how people multiply cassettes «the right way». Then you can dive into the technical aspects of the recording, which we can’t describe here for obvious reasons. Tuning a tape deck is a complicated science, but it’s worth a try. Although serious rewriting of tapes can be compared to joining a sect.

Audio Cassettes Tribute Welofi ShowTape [May 17' 2024]

Audio Cassettes Tribute Welofi ShowTape [May 17′ 2024]