Happy 30th, Sony Walkman: Your Memories and the Best of Cassettes on CDM

The once and future Walkman. Photo: FaceMePLS. July 1, 1979: it was thirty years ago today that the Sony Walkman went on sale, launching mobile music for the first time. Wait – rewind (so to speak). That honor really belongs to the portable transistor radio – and, indeed, part of the reason America already knew and loved Sony by the time 1979 rolled around, having embraced their pocketable radios as early as the 1950s. In fact, if you want to blame a device for degrading audio fidelity, you should again look not to MP3s and iPods but back to — …

READ MORE →

Project C-90: Insanely Huge Cassette Tape Collection Site Expands

The middle child of audio technology, neither as hip as vinyl or as modern as the MP3, the cassette lives on in a massive online shrine called the C-90 Project. Odds are, if you’ve ever seen a blank cassette, it’s stored in here or soon will be. We saw its colorful compact novelties back in 2005. Now, the site has grown and added features, including bi-lingual discussions in both English and Russian, plus organization by format (compact cassette, the standard size, as well as microcassette and minicassette) and brand. If you want to add to this collection, they welcome participants. …

READ MORE →

Cassette Change Purse; Choosing Cassette Decks with Pitch Control

Now, cassettes hold spare bills — you know, the things you used to save up to buy tapes. Continuing in the spirit of cassette tapes, here are two more cassette items. Cassettes that Hold Your Change Completely useless, but somewhat amusing: Designboom’s Cassette Wallet recycles old cassette shells into zippered money holders. If you’re looking to get your retro chic on, they’re $43. Or, if you find some lame tapes as you’re rooting throw your collection for the Cassette Jockey Competition at Maker Faire, you can try to figure out how to recycle it into something like this and sell …

READ MORE →

Call for Cassette Jockeys @ Maker Faire, Cassette Tech Roundup

Photo credit: DG Jones. Leave the Marantz at home, and fire this one up in your homebrewed tape mangler. No laptops. No CD players. No turntables. The Cassette Jockey World Championships will be cassette tape only. And the rules are tough: store-bought, commercial cassette tapes only. (Dig that Paula Abdul out of your closet — you know you want to.) Sounds dull? Think again: how you play those tapes is entirely up to you, and from what we’ve seen insane circuit benders and mad scientists of circuitry do to tape machines, that could get real interesting. Mark Gunderson, aka Trademark …

READ MORE →

Homemade Cassette Tape DJ Mixers + Max/MSP PC

Russian DJ Artyom has built his own DJ audio hardware out of wood and electronics, complete with dual cassette playback boxes. The cassettes feature pitch control (fine and coarse), pitch bands, a motor off switch, and more, and he’s custom-built mixers, cross-faders, and EQ. Then, he hooks these boxes up to his PC and relaxes — wait, no he doesn’t. His PC is packed with custom DJ patches built in Max/MSP. Full hardware and software details at Artyom’s site, including downloadable Max patches, in English (see also Russian content — I’m sure someone out there speaks Russian): Self-made DJ equipment …

READ MORE →

International Mixtape Project Sharing Tapes, CDs Worldwide

At two years old, the International Mixtape Project now features Israeli microhouse, Nova Scotia neo-soul, Bay Area hip-hop, and Congolese electro-folk, exchanged among 500 participants in 30 countries. Efforts like these fly in the face of both the recording industry’s lockdown on copying and the free-for-all digital filesharing services, neither of which, let’s face it, does much for broadening your musical horizons. IMP is just one of a few services, but it’s unusually accessible. You can sign up on MySpace: Mix Tape Project You send one compilation CD-R or (for street cred) cassette, and you get one in return. It’s …

READ MORE →

Warhol for TDK Tapes

It’s two, two, two times the nostalgia, as Warhol shills for TDK analog cassette tapes: Warhol Japandering for Cassettes [Dailymotion video, via] I love his trademark wooden speech as he struggles through the Japanese. Remember a world in which you could advertise for cassette tapes? Sigh. At least Japan is still hip, jamming on marimbas and analog synths in other news.

READ MORE →

Build Your Own Game Boy-Synced Hardware Sequencer Machine

Gijs Geikes has been hard at work since we last saw his latest bizarre Walkman Tape Player / Game Boy Sequencer. A new model sync with the Little Sound Dj cartridge: plug in a Game Boy, and other goodies (like a Walkman tape player and Stylophone keyboard), and you can create wild, screaming patterns like this. (A must-listen, experimental punk/hip-hop chiptune creation.) Gijs has schematics up, so adventurous makers, you can make your own. Or you can just go buy one of those nifty Stylphones. SEQ05 Pictures, Sounds, Schematics [Gieskes.nl Instruments] Updated: That link exceeded its bandwidth restrictions, but you …

READ MORE →

Obsessive Cassette Tape Collection

Okay, which is scarier — the fact that someone obsessively photographed hundreds of cassette tapes, or that you remember almost each individual design variation and are looking through them, feeling waves of nostalgia for mix tapes past? Cassette Jam ’05 (via Make: Blog See also the somewhat befuddling Project C-90 (see sam bot). I can’t wait for the “Vintage Blu-Ray Disc Graveyard” in 2046.

READ MORE →

Free Retro/Tape Delay Effects (Windows VST; Mac AU)

In follow-up to my story Tuesday about the new Dubstation from Audio Damage (and other assorted Dub links), ever-vigilant reader Adrian Anders is here with a couple of free VST alternatives. I still think the Dubstation may be worth US$40, but there’s no reason not to check these out, too, if you’ve got a PC. I’ve used the Retro Delay on my PC laptop; it’s fantastic. Take it away, Adrian: ConcreteFX’s Tape Delay [Download ZIP] This SOB packs some major punch and has such original features as bit-crushing, distortion, 2 flutter LFOs, 2 multi-mode filters, and ducking, all inside the …

READ MORE →