Taped Up Ears

I can't listen to music on tape anymore. It's muffled, distorted and lacking in dynamics. Even with surface noise removed and top-end partials extrapolated, it's still pretty rough. How I spent my teen years listening to cassettes I'm not sure - and how I spent them listening to cassette copies of vinyl I really don't know.

Now, when I make music, I feed the sounds through a device which combines a lowpass filter, amplitude compressor, and harmonic exciter - it reduces digital harshness, creating a warm, mellow, slightly fuzzy feel. In other words, it recreates the classic sound of...analog tape.

There's some songs I grew up with hearing them only on cassette, or MW radio. Now after twenty years I get to hear them on CD - or MP3 ripped from CD - and it's like...

You know when you get water in your ears after going swimming? And you spend the rest of the day walking around thinking you can hear perfectly, until suddenly there's a pop and all the muffledness you didn't even notice has gone? It's like that.


  1. I still have my old cassettes!!! Although some of them are getting worn out.

    Some songs just don't sound the same on CD or mp3...perhaps it's the muffle that adds character...

  2. When CDs first came out, you probably remember, a lot of music fans called their sound "soulless" and "mechanical". So yes, the smearing and muffling does add a character - and maybe I've just got used to the CD sound by now.

    One additional irony. When old songs are remastered onto CD, they're remastered from the original studio recording which are on...a form of analog tape.

  3. Cast out those tapes and while your at it cast off those cardigans and join the 21 st century boys :-)

  4. What is Beast doing here?

    Honestly. Do you open your doors to just any old riff raff?

  5. Beast:
    Mother's knitting me a new cardigan. She made one for dad's 73rd birthday last week - and it makes him actually look seventy three.

    It would only make me look nineteen seventy three.

    Give us your poor, your riff raff, your disposessed, and we'll sink to their level.