Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Aiwa AD-F800, my old friend

The cassette tape deck, like the record turntable, is like an old friend. You always appreciate an old friendship.

And today, I decided to look through my collection of old cassette tapes and insert it into my Aiwa AD-F800 stereo cassette deck. This was a collection of assorted songs that I had asked a music shop at KOMTAR in George Town, Penang, to compile for me way back in March 1983. That was a time when record shops were still flourishing. And they had no qualms about transferring music from their records to cassette tapes, customising them according to their customers' requests. So I'm guilty of music pirating, like hundreds or thousands of other music lovers then, ignorant of violating music copyright.

Initially, I wasn't expecting too much from an old tape that hadn't been played in a very long while. I half-expected the audio quality to have degraded. Maybe the spool would get stuck inside the machine or the magnetic tape would unravel. Maybe there'd be a lot of distortion in the music.

But I was surprised. The audio quality on this particular cassette tape seemed quite intact. The music that came out from my sound system sounded remarkably fresh. Of course, what couldn't be eliminated were the faint pops and crackles - the background noise - as these were picked up from the records during the taping process and not an inherent quality of the tape I used.

I feel encouraged. Perhaps I should bring out more of my old cassettes and see how they sound today. I'm sure to find a few more in near-pristine condition.

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