For reasons of personal nostalgia, we would like to take a little technical side glance at the turn of the year, because the following news will surely awaken pleasant memories in many an older "creator": Tascam wants to bring brand new cassettes for its old Portastudios on the market again!
Many a reader may have made his first musical steps with an analog four-track studio in the last century. These devices recorded four separate audio tracks onto a compact cassette, which could be used for this purpose in one running direction only. The better devices doubled the tape speed compared to a standard 2-track stereo recording, which shortened the recording time of a "normal" 60-minute cassette to 15 minutes.
Quality and dynamics were below the large, professional 8- and 16-track tape machines, which were, however, prohibitively expensive for "home recording". The 4-track recorders, on the other hand, allowed semi-professional recordings in the home room for far less than 1,000 D-Mark.
Similar to Super8 cameras, this technology was very quickly superseded and almost wiped out with the advent of digital recording options. And now, in Tascam&s estimation, it too is on the verge of an analog revival.
This should come as no surprise, because for the past two years, more records have been sold in stores than CDs. The last time this happened was in 1986 - but it can also be explained to a large extent by a sharply shrinking CD market.
We have also heard similar revival chants a few times regarding Super 8. But the comeback waves have been smaller with each revival.
As sad as it is, analog 4 track recording will not come back except for a very small niche market. That&s because the digital options are a significant expansion of creative possibilities compared to the analog tape machine classics, while also providing a true democratization of music production through their affordable entry-level prices.
In our eyes, the marketed analog authenticity of the TASCAM 424 Studio Master Cassette can by no means outweigh the digital post-processing possibilities - and these ultimately ensured the digital replacement of all analog formats in the film sector as well.