Cassette = MP3 = ?

Is the MP3 the new cassette tape? The lowest resolution of its generation used by everyone for its easy transport.

I’d say no. It’s much worse.

The cassette was a tactile experience, too. The MP3? Nevermind having to tighten the mini tape reels in order to prevent various storage or playback nitemares. The cassette had a level of warmth that sounded analogous to vinyl with a tad more noise (i.e. hiss) and a little less fidelity. But the right tape formula, in the hands of an audiophile, on the right tape deck…

Cassette versus the MP3The technology bred devotees of the process. I was probably one. And in my comparison, I have to wonder if the MP3 has created this type of passion and commitment? I set the rate, maybe check off my VBR and enter… Is there a sweet spot? Magic combination? All of the work is usually done beforehand. I won’t get into pre-rip strategies because this is about the music fan, not the music pro. In the copy & share world we live in, is there a MP3 aesthetic? 320 kbps/VBR the equivalent of 70 ┬ÁSec / hi bias tape stock? Don’t head into the lossless territory either. The average music consumer is NOT buying and trading FLAC or broadcast wav files. It’s an MP3 world right now.

So I’ll stand by my old-school position, cassettes are better. The conversion does require the right settings but the art of recording becomes more about taste than drudgery. How “hot” do we set it? What stock are we using? Matching the tape with the genre of the music you were recording was not overly geeky, it was common practice. No one says anything about their digital file conversions. Maybe its time we talk?


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