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603490 Posts in 24450 Topics by 3470 Members - Latest Member: Janice Summers March 27, 2017, 01:37:10 AM
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Author Topic: When was Pet Sounds out of print?  (Read 1462 times)
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2017, 07:41:19 AM »

I've noticed lately that people are admitting to collecting cassettes. I was a late convert to cd, so I have some unusual cassette releases in my collection, including Ultimate Christmas, Summer in Paradise, Stars and Stripes, I Just Wasn't Made For These Times, Orange Crate Art, and Imagination. I've also got the 1972 CATP/PS release on a double play cassette.

Yeah, cassettes are the new trendy, indie, hipster thing. Indie bands *today* are releasing their albums on cassette, and in some cases putting exclusive stuff onto cassettes. Cut to a bunch of people confusingly trying to track down a cassette player.

I've never been shy about buying cassettes over the years. I never "collected" them so much as basically bought "portable/on the go" listening copies of stuff.

Vinyl has turned into a trendy thing that has little to do with sonic quality, and certainly cassettes fall even more into this category.

Nailed it. There was an article which I shared with friends, it had to be a year ago or so, which highlighted one of the only if not the only cassette manufacturing companies still active, and they were busy as all hell due to the demand from indie bands. They were not only busy, they were making crazy profits because cassettes are and were very inexpensive to make, and indie bands hopped on both the underground and retro appeal of the format, as well as the lower price point for getting their music duped and available for their shows and other merch marketing.

Then it caught on.

At that time, I was talking to another fellow flea market/yard sale attendee who like me goes out looking for audio gear. I said at that time "buy cassette decks" because I knew there was a market that would be needing decks to play these now hip tapes. I don't know if he did or not at that time, but I was able to score a few Pioneer, Sony...etc. Decent decks, used, for a buck up to 5-10 bucks usually in a box along with old radar detectors and cordless home phones. If I took them to a college area of Philly or some similar area, I could sell them for at least 50 bucks if I wanted to.

Look for these decks, trust me - It's like the stock market and the demand is there.

Now onto my opinion piece which may ruffle some feathers.

Cassettes sucked, quality wise. The decks - even some of the better ones - tended to suck and were not reliable in terms of tape speed for playback. In a studio setting, I and some other fellow music and audio geeks ran a test with a rack full of various Sony decks. Out of 5 decks, at least 3 of them ran at a different speed than the others, and therefore that affected the pitch of the music being played. Plus, the cassettes themselves were made for pennies on the dollar, and marked up by the labels to 8-10 bucks per album. So it was not a good format for quality audio.

But they were portable, and *that* was the killer app of the format. You could take your music anywhere and make your own custom mix tapes. Boom - That was the appeal, not the sound quality. That was the tradeoff. Portability versus quality.

Now onto the vinyl - Again, another opinion that may inflame...but consider this.

There are records being pressed ostensibly for critical listening, on heavy vinyl, special 180g versus 160g vinyl, etc. So you're paying well over the cost of a normal pressing in some cases to get this audiophile experience from vinyl records.

But...what are these people playing this vinyl with? Look at how many turntables and retro 'record players' are being sold and bought which have low-quality plastic tone-arms, little to no tracking control, and a stylus and cartridge which would cost perhaps 3 dollars to manufacture in total, made of low grade plastic and the styli made of who knows what composite.

What it amounts to is if you pay bigger bucks for a 180g audiophile pressing, and play it on a 75 dollar rig with a hollow plastic tonearm and a low-grade stylus, you're going to ruin the record every time you drop the needle on that vinyl.

To me the whole deal is guerrilla marketing personified. Get the buzz going around a retro-themed concept and use that buzz to sell inferior products needed to be bought to experience the buzz everyone is talking about. That is how I think it was pure genius marketing how lower quality turntable makers were able to rebrand and relaunch a product that was dead in the water, and which is actually doing potential harm to the very vinyl people are buying these decks to play. And the sound just isn't there.

Now cassettes - which were a horrible format when I used to buy them at Sam Goody for ten bucks a pop (7.99 on sale) - are "cool". OK.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 07:43:04 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2017, 11:53:53 AM »

The only thing that's less annoying about the cassette trend versus the vinyl trend is that I don't *think* anyone is trying to argue cassettes sound better. It's more of novelty thing.

More annoying is that people just dive into vinyl and immediately claim their rig sounds better. I think a redbook CD played through a standard run of the mill stereo system (or car, or whatever) still sounds better than most home turntable rigs, especially the folks that buy a $100 turntable at The Sharper Image and then go spend a grand on vinyl at Barnes & Noble.

Vinyl, even fancy pressings, are often cut from the same digital master used to cut CDs, defeating much of the purpose/reason vinyl *can* sound great under the right circumstances.

And then yes, most record players have a cheap stylus, and it all doesn't sound that great. With more vinyl production, more pressings are noisy, etc.

I think under optimal circumstances with a nice turntable (no, it doesn't have to be a $5,000 stylus or anything), and a nice vinyl pressing actually cut from a good source, vinyl can sound amazing.

But it's a pain in the ass and too expensive for most folks to piece together what they need to optimize this.

To me, and this isn't just me being old and lazy (I have vinyl, 4-tracks, 8-tracks, pre-recorded open-reel, cassettes, CDs, an iPod, high-rez files, SACD, DVD-Audio, Blu-ray audio, and so on), good ol' Redbook CD, mastered well, is the perfect sweet spot of good sound quality, ease of use, and affordability.

That cassettes are trendy again isn't a big deal; it's annoying sometimes, and sure, nostalgia kicks in and it's kind of cool to see here and there. The same way it's now a hipster thing to have a flask that looks like an NES controller, or a pixelated Sonic the Hedgehog mug, so too are cassettes now trendy.

McCartney is doing a cassette-only thing for Record Store Day, and at least it has a bit of novelty to it in that he's taking three songs *originally* cut on cassette with Elvis Costello and kind of reproducing that. It's a piece of memorabilia more than a viable listening medium. If I saw that in a store for five or ten bucks, I might even buy it. But I'm going to listen to the CD/download versions rather than get my old 1989 Walkman out.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 12:00:34 PM by HeyJude » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2017, 07:17:32 PM »

I've always liked cassettes as a convenient format to carry around with me; and in the old days, many of us recorded our albums onto cassette so as not to wear out the vinyl with overplaying. As for the new vinyl, the fad has worn off for me. Some of the pressings are bad, and the price keeps going up. 10 years ago, I could buy a new vinyl album for around $15. Now they are up around $25. Why spend that much when I can get the cd for around $10? I still buy vinyl, but it is mostly vintage vinyl. NM pressing of a lot of older albums are not hard to find, and I find that original pressing generally sound better than the new stuff. Of course it may cost you in some cases...and sometimes not. It helps that my tastes are eclectic, i'm not necessarily looking for the same records everyone else is. A couple weeks ago, I picked up good copies of several albums at a thrift store: Burton Cummings (solo debut), Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds "Fallin' In Love", The Who "Who's Next", and "The Blue Ridge Rangers". Was very happy with my purchases.
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« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2017, 12:58:24 PM »

You have to add one thing: many of the vinyl reissues are cut from digital masters, even more, the same digital masters used for CD,, which means you end with the sound of the CD stuck inside a piece of vinyl, kind of worst-of-both-worlds.

Many jazz albums which have become liberated in terms of copyright are reissued this way (ie. you can reissue Ellington records from the 50's, but you can't use the original masters), but, when it comes to "protected" works this is way down outrageous.

Now onto the vinyl - Again, another opinion that may inflame...but consider this.

There are records being pressed ostensibly for critical listening, on heavy vinyl, special 180g versus 160g vinyl, etc. So you're paying well over the cost of a normal pressing in some cases to get this audiophile experience from vinyl records.

But...what are these people playing this vinyl with? Look at how many turntables and retro 'record players' are being sold and bought which have low-quality plastic tone-arms, little to no tracking control, and a stylus and cartridge which would cost perhaps 3 dollars to manufacture in total, made of low grade plastic and the styli made of who knows what composite.

What it amounts to is if you pay bigger bucks for a 180g audiophile pressing, and play it on a 75 dollar rig with a hollow plastic tonearm and a low-grade stylus, you're going to ruin the record every time you drop the needle on that vinyl.

To me the whole deal is guerrilla marketing personified. Get the buzz going around a retro-themed concept and use that buzz to sell inferior products needed to be bought to experience the buzz everyone is talking about. That is how I think it was pure genius marketing how lower quality turntable makers were able to rebrand and relaunch a product that was dead in the water, and which is actually doing potential harm to the very vinyl people are buying these decks to play. And the sound just isn't there.

Now cassettes - which were a horrible format when I used to buy them at Sam Goody for ten bucks a pop (7.99 on sale) - are "cool". OK.
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