Analog Man, Analog

This picture really struck me the other day.

The picture was from The Isthmus, a free local Madison weekly paper. The article was interesting, but what really struck me was the picture. Not only was there a reel-to-reel tape player, that I’m guessing he was using for recording; there was also, a portable cassette recorder.

The picture is particularly poignant since I have recently unearthed my reel-to-reel, and have been converting all my friend Jeff’s cassette tapes to digital (for preservation) most of which were recorded on a cassette recorder very much like the one pictured.

So people are still using this stuff. Hmm….

I was curious and Googling how much reel-to-reel tape went for these days and quite by accident ended up on a site called:

Now these people are serious about analog. I was in awe of all the posts about reel-to-reels and different types of cassettes and stories of folks finding reel-to-reel players at flea markets and resale shops. I looked through the images of different types of cassettes and found myself saying “I recorded on that!” and smiling. The site is fantastic if you have now, or are nostalgic for the analog formats, including vinyl. I highly recommend you check it out.

I recently stopped at the St. Vincent De Paul in Waunakee and was surprised to find that they had tape decks for less than 15 bucks (even a dual tape deck). I was distraught when my dual tape deck died. I only have 30 or so tapes that I cannot part with even though I have digitized them and there was no way I was going to spend over a hundred for a new one. Dalton gave me one of his 3 (thanks dude!) so I’m covered, but it never occurred to me to look for a used deck. I also saw something there that I had to buy. It was a big old school portable cassette recorder/player. Just like the old days of taping for Jeff.

This was a steal. And it works.

We started making tapes for each other when Jeff moved from Ann Arbor to Denver when we were in Middle School. We sat around one day making a goofy tape where we pretended we were wine critics drinking wine and just being silly. It was fun to listen back to. When he moved away, we were both skilled recorders and decided that we would make tapes instead of writing letters. We would keep these tapes as little pieces of history. These are the tapes I am digitizing now (along with my huge bootleg tape collection) and storing in plastic bins for eternity. I will never give them up, these analog tidbits. In the beginning we had old clunky big button tape recorders. They recorded and had a built in speaker for playback. I would take this crazy thing everywhere. I took it to school. I took it bike riding. I took it with me when I went sledding… everywhere. I once took it with me when I went to see “The Spy Who Loved Me”  a James Bond movie at a theater in Indiana one summer when I was staying with my dad. It wasn’t until many many years later that I got a compact, slightly larger than a walkman size, tape player that recorded too. This was heaven, no more lugging the bigger model around. This portable actually went on to be my bootleg device. I added a big Radio Shack external microphone and that is how I recorded Buddy Guy and Paul Black and Lonnie Brooks, plus a few others.

Over the years we have used lots of different types of cassette tapes. Some were crap tapes because we were poor and bought 6-packs of blanks in cellophane wrappers with no covers from Walgreens. Others were good quality TDK’s or Memorex. We used tapes that we got from the Salvation Army store, or we recorded over self help tapes we found in our parents stuff or even out of the trash. We weren’t always proud. Sometimes the name of the tape would be whatever the owner scrawled on it before we got it from the resale shop.

Jeff made me this one:

This is the way the tape looked when he got it, so he left it and Emanuel D. P. became the name of the tape.

Just bought this at a garage sale last weekend for a buck. With a tape include. Mystery tunes? Talking?

It turned out to be blank and it didn’t even work. Ah well.

The bigger one, despite upon closer examination clearly being somewhat slightly melted… worked and worked well. Joey seemed to be fascinated with it. Wanted to record himself beatboxing. Hmmm…

At any rate.

I am packing the old school tape recorder/player in with the tapes that I am keeping forever.

Analog fans… make sure to check out

P.S.    I also picked up this.

I was able to power it up. Seems promising. Could be well worth the price. We shall see.

Small appliance. Not sure JVC would appreciate that label.

Posted In

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s