Who knew. Back in 1958 RCA released along with new Stereo LPs, a reel to reel that was in a cartridge. Very few albums and hard to get players killed off the format, that along with not so hot sound quality and mechanical issues with the player. Still, an interesting footnote before the 8-track and compact cassette came along.
The RCA tape cartridge (also known as the Magazine Loading Cartridge and Sound Tape) is amagnetic tape format that was designed to offer stereo quarter-inch reel-to-reel tape recording quality in a convenient format for the consumer market.It was introduced in 1958, following four years of development. This timing coincided with the launch of the stereophonic phonograph record.
The main advantage of the RCA tape cartridge over reel-to-reel machines is convenience. The user is not required to handle unruly tape ends and thread the tape through the machine before use, making the medium of magnetic tape more friendly to casual users. The same design concept would later be used in the more successful Compact Cassette which was invented by Philips in 1962. Because of its convenience, the RCA tape cartridge system did see some success in schools, particularly in student language learning labs.
The RCA tape cartridge format offers four discrete audio tracks that provide a typical playtime of 30 minutes of stereo sound per side, or double that for monophonic sound. Some models can also play and record at 1.875 IPS, doubling playing time with a significant reduction in sound quality. This speed is not practical for music, but fully acceptable for voice recording.
With two interleaved stereo pairs, the track format and speed of the RCA tape cartridge is fully compatible with the slower 3.75 IPS speed of consumer reel-to-reel stereo tape recorders. It is possible to dismantle the cartridge, spool the tape onto an open reel, and play it on such a machine.
Unlike the Compact Cassette, the RCA tape cartridge incorporates a brake to prevent the tape hubs from moving when the cartridge is not in a player. Small slot windows extend from the tape hubs toward the outside of the cartridge so that the amount of tape visible on each spool can be seen.
Despite its convenience the RCA tape cartridge was not much of a success. A factor in the mostly failure of the system was that RCA was slow to produce machines for the home market. They were also slow to license prerecorded music tapes for home playback. The format disappeared from retail stores by 1964.
The physical track width and speed of the tape and even the size of the RCA tape cartridge is similar to, though incompatible with, Sony’s Elcaset system, introduced in 1976. That system also failed to achieve much market acceptance and was soon withdrawn.
“Every Lover’s Sign” by The Lover Speaks. One of those cool songs that slipped away. Annie Lennox covered their ‘No More I Love You’s’ from the same LP as ELS. From what I could gather, she had toured with them at one time so obviously knew the song.
Spandau Ballet: True
Of course the title track has been a staple at about every wedding for the past 3 decades, but that does not diminish this EuroPop meets Calypso music LP. The old Chrysalis cassette I had never did the album justice, the CD really did show what a great sounding collection of songs this is…..yeah, some of the songs are a bit dated, but still fun, and admit it, you know all the words to ‘True’.
I have been slowly going thru the LiveAid DVD I got a few years ago, and their performance of ‘True’ is over at youtube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a92WWnehXes
Remember buying this album [or was it cassette, both are long gone, replaced by CD] at Wal-Mart of all places in early 1983. Never heard of them, but liked the name and the cover. “Seconds’ and ‘New Years Day’ got me hooked, and by the time that ‘Live At Red Rocks’ came out, I was a fan. They held me until ‘Joshua Tree’ but after that I kinda lost interest. Strange how you remember things, I also bought a copy of Alan Parsons ‘Tales of Mystery and Imagination’, the Edgar Alan Poe album at the same time.
Worked the concession area at the U2 concert in Denver in 1992, selling t-shirts, etc, [hi Tina] I think it was the ‘Pop’ tour. Got to see some of the band live here and there, a fantastic show.
Abba: The Singles: The First 10 Years
It would become their last 10 years, only releasing a few items after this compilation. I never had any Abba LPs, just a lot of 45’s, so this double LP was quite the experience. Mainly to get better pressings of those worn out singles, this album showed me just how many great songs they had, and I do mean a LOT. 23 tracks and not one bad one in the mix. Yeah, some of them are a bit silly now, but that is part of the fun. Later it morphed into the Abba Gold CD that sold about a billion copies a decade later. Wonderful photos on the album sleeve, not sure if I still have it around……
Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams
Another record I had to hunt down before it went global. ‘Jennifer’, ‘This City Never Sleeps’, ‘I Could Give You A Mirror’, and more. Just one of those albums I could listen to every week or two and still never tire listening to it. This was one [if not the first] CD I ever purchased, but of course still have the vinyl. Also, there was a Video Album released on VHS, with claymation Annie and Dave interspersed with concert footage and music videos. Surprisingly, this was re-released on DVD, will have to get that since my VHS is showing its age 🙂