Electricity to Sound


Imagine singing into a mic while strumming a guitar. When you sing, the sounds in your voice, mouth, and breath cause the particles around you to vibrate. Still, it's these vibrations that create music. Similarly, when a guitar's strings are plucked or strummed, the instrument's wooden body vibrates, allowing the air inside to do the same, producing sound.


The guitar "pickup" (a special sort of microphone for "picking up" sound from an instrument) and microphones both include small magnets that vibrate with air movements and generate an electrical current.

 

A plastic tape gently moves through the tape recorder as the current passes via the microphone and guitar connections. The sound may be recorded because of the magnetic field that the electrical signal induces in the recording head. However, what takes place inside the tape recorder itself throughout this procedure?

What is a cassette player?


A cassette player is a device that plays audio tapes. The term "cassette" refers to the medium recording size, typically 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide and 4mm thick. Cassettes were popular between the late 1950s and early 1990s because they were compact and easy to carry around in your pocket or purse. Today, they are still used by audiophiles who want their music on vinyl instead of digital files stored on an MP3 player or phone memory card.

Cassette Player - We are Rewind

Working of Cassette Player


Two rotating spools are enclosed in a plastic casing that serves as the cassette tape. Around the spools, a further lengthy, thin piece of plastic is wound. The sound is recorded and stored on this thin piece of plastic called "magnetic tape,". This tape is made of a magnetic substance with iron that reacts to magnetic fields when it is near them. Iron oxide, chromium dioxide, or occasionally barium ferrite may be the iron compounds used in making a plastic piece into the magnetic tape.


Cassette players consist of numerous parts and components, but here we will talk about some basic and important parts of cassette player technology along with their working. First, let's understand working with a blank or recordable cassette tape and what happens when this empty cassette is used to record sound. Starting on the supply reel, the magnetic tape is wound past the heads by a motor on the takeup reel. Metal coils are present in each head. The record head's coils produce a modest magnetic field when electricity is applied.

The magnetic particles on the tape align proportionately to the field's strength when it comes into contact with the magnetic field produced by the recording head. As the tape passes through, the magnetic particles align in various patterns depending on the volume and pitch of the sound.

 

When we want to listen to our recording again in the future, we wind the tape past the play head, where the magnetic particle pattern recorded on the tape generates an electrical signal that is then converted back to sound. A tape can be played back numerous times until it becomes worn out since these particles will remain in the same arrangement unless they are subjected to a new magnetic field!

 

The other head is the erase head. Using a steady electrical charge to "reset" the magnetic particles on the tape as it passes through, erasing any prior recordings, allows for removing sound from a tape. To ensure that the tape runs through the heads at the same pace and produces high-quality recordings, the capstan, rollers, and arms all work together to maintain the tape spread out.

 

When it comes down to it, cassettes and vinyl records fundamentally use the same playing technology in a different medium. Vinyl records scrape a needle over etchings in plastic, but cassette tapes use magnetically energized strips of plastic that are passed by an electromagnetic head for playback.


Types of Magnetic Tape and Bias


If we dive deep into the cassette player technology, most high-quality tapes tell about their formulation by describing a type. There are a few types of magnetic tape in common use:

  • Type 0 - This type is original ferric-oxide tape. These days, it is exceedingly uncommon to witness.
  • Type 1 - This tape is typical ferric oxide, commonly known as "normal bias."
  • Type 2 - This tape is "chrome type," or CrO2. Chromium dioxide is combined with the ferric-oxide particles.

The sound quality improves with each variety, with metallic tapes having the best sound. A tape deck must be configured for recording onto metal cassettes to record onto metal tapes using a conventional tape deck. A metal cassette, however, can be used with any tape player. You can use the settings on the cassette recorder to modify the recorder bias and signal power to match the kind of tape you use to achieve the best sound possible.

 

A unique signal known as bias is used during recording. The electromagnet in the head of the original tape recorders was exposed to the raw audio output. This is effective but causes significant distortion in low-frequency sounds. So instead, a 100 kHz signal called a bias signal is introduced to the audio signal. The bias raises the recorded signal into the tape's magnetization curve's "linear part." This change indicates that the tape more accurately reproduces the sound that was recorded on it.

Main features of Cassette Player


Built-in speaker:

There are various cassette players, including walkmans, boomboxes, tape recorders, etc. Therefore, having an internal speaker on the tape player is always advantageous; what kind of cassette player technology you're interested in buying.

 

Record Functioning:

While most of the alternatives on our list can play cassettes, some also offer recording capabilities. In addition to this typical feature, you should confirm whether or not the cassette player has a recording feature. It's a terrific offer to snag if your cassette player permits users to record audio on the cassette.

 

FM/AM Radio:

Even if you may have your collection of cassette tapes, enjoying the songs on the F.M. radio, F.M. is unquestionably a pleasurable experience on a different level. We have listed many cassettes in our list that have an AM/FM radio, so make sure to look for it if you're keen on listening to it.

Brief History


In 1963, Philips, a manufacturer, created the cassette tape. Although recording to tape had been possible since the 1930s, the apparatus was heavy, awkward, and expensive. However, the Philips Compact Cassette could be utilized with basic recording equipment at home or work. It was also affordable and portable. The Sony Walkman, which would forever change how we listen to music, was inspired by Masaru Ibuka, a co-founder of the Japanese company Sony, who sought a device to listen to his favourite music on long trips.


In 1979, the Walkman was introduced, bringing music into every aspect of our life. Not just in our homes or vehicles, but also anytime and anyplace! It is essentially a handheld cassette player with a headphone jack. Since then, portable audio technology has advanced significantly, with the introduction of MP3 players in 1997 and the Apple iPod in 2001.


These days, just recording or playing music doesn't require a particular gadget. Everything is available on our phones! But the first device that made it simple for individuals to record and play music while on the go was a cassette player.

Are cassette players still the same as earlier?


You should be aware that cassette players aren't what they once were if you're looking to buy one for yourself or a loved one. They are superior. They are no longer limited to being used for mixtape creation and cassette tape playback. If you have a lot of sentimental old tapes or even mixtapes? You'll be able to convert every single one into MP3s with these portable tape players! We still remember making cassette tape recordings of ourselves, and now we have those files on our computers!

 

Once portable media cassette players first became available, we referred to them as "Walkman" devices because they could be taken on walks. It was the nearest thing to today's iPods that we had. We would have a Radio and a voice recorder on your gadget, much like we had back then. But not every aspect of modern transportable cassette players is retro! These upgraded Walkman models also feature Bluetooth.

Interesting facts about Cassettes


Following are some of the facts that you may or may not know about Cassettes:

  • Compact cassette tapes were initially discovered for dictation rather than music.
  • More than 3 billion cassettes were sold during the cassette era, which lasted from 1963 to 1988.
  • The magnetic tape inside an audio cassette has a 10 to 30-year lifespan. Therefore, digitization is crucial.
  • The first published music magazine available only on tape was SFX Cassette.
  • The cassette tape partly caused the 80s live bootleg explosion.
  • In 2010, Sony ceased making the infamous Walkman.

Conclusion


Since its invention in the early 1960s, the cassette player has advanced significantly. As a result, the cassette player has drastically changed throughout the years, evolving from a large and unreliable device to the sleek and portable players of today. Even though it may not be as common as it once was, the cassette player is nevertheless a recognizable piece of technology that profoundly impacted the music business.


I'm glad to see the cassette player is making a comeback for whatever reason. Who knows, maybe someday we'll all be putting our old collections back together and listening to them once more! You can check out the updated Cassette players by We Are Rewind in the interim and stay updated. Visit our website to participate in the resurgence of cassettes.