The Last Of The Great Wild Analog Devices – The 8 Track Player

Much the same as I bought “Pink Floyd – Meddle” before I even had a CD player… I have purchased some 8-tracks over the past 2 years from various sources, largely garage sales and Half Price Books. I managed to get some Clapton, and some Pink Floyd and some Rush on 8-track. They were cheap ( a whole box full for a buck at one garage sale, and at Half Price Books they are usually only 50 cents each. As an artifact collector, I had to have a few. At one time I had a reel-to-reel tape player with an 8-track built-in. I bought a Rory Gallagher 8-track to try it out with, but alas that unit wound up dead. I have always toyed with buying an 8-track player, but they aren’t easy to come by for cheap. I mean, I really only have about 10 decent tapes, so my top dollar for a player was not that high. I needed one that connected to the stereo too. So my wants were simple: component style and cheap.

I fully admit that this would be a novelty purchase. I have no intention on getting into 8-track collecting, but it would be nice to be able to play the few I have. I mean if I were to find some David Bowie on 8-track I think I would be almost obliged to buy them at this point. I mean how cool would they be!?

At any rate, every once in a while I would check Craig’s List, usually finding nothing in the area and checking less and less frequently. Recently though, on a whim I was searching again and… surprise! I found a small little one for sale. It was a Broadmoor. Not a brand I had ever heard of, but he only wanted 30 bucks and he had some tapes, including a head cleaner, so I knew he took care of it. I noticed that the date on the ad was almost a month old, but, what the heck. I inquired.

A couple of days later, I was surprised to get a call. He still had it!

So we made arrangements for me to come and pick it up and on Saturday Joey and I went to pick it up. The seller lived in a spectacular house on Madison’s West side and I looked through the tapes which were a weird mix of things and picked out  4 to take with me. My haul:

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The player itself has a track button and a fine tune dial. Ooh la la. The tapes are:

Head Cleaner

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“Alice Cooper – School’s Out”

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Note the weird inset picture (drawing) of what may supposedly be Alice Cooper, but it’s impossible to know for sure it’s so generic. I’m sure they felt that this odd clip art style pic really represented the album.

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Yeesh.

“Black Sabbath – Paranoid”

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Now you’re talking! On the mighty Media 2 label. Oops.

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Media 2 must stand for worst cover picture ever. They weren’t even trying on this one.

“Ramsey Lewis – Back To The Roots”

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This is a jazz pianist album from 1971. Who knows. Could change my life.

The player itself is a Broadmoor model 1470.

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Evidently you could get it for a song back in the day.

Broadmoor 1470

This one looked to be in good shape and he had said that he had used it recently and he knew that it worked. I plugged it in and was saddened to see that there was no power light shining. I checked the plug and confirmed it was in. Then it occurred to me that there was also no power button. I looked it over and double confirmed. No power button??!

There was a palpable dismay in my face.

Then a tiny little remembrance of the old days came back to me and I grabbed the Alice Cooper tape and pushed it into the tape door flap. As it went in I heard the Broadmoor fire up. Excitement! Then I heard the sound. Devastation! It was completely horrible. I changed the track, and again, and again, and again. All four tracks were sounding like they were underwater. I was bummed. I pulled it out and tried to shake it off.

I grabbed the Black Sabbath tape and put that one in expecting to hear the same. Whoa! The sound was crystal clear and jamming! So it wasn’t the player that was bad, it was the Alice Cooper tape. Ahhh….

I changed the tracks on the Black Sabbath and the sound stayed true on each. Success!

Then I went to the basement and rounded up all the 8-tracks I had bought. I took a moment to toss all the recorded over and blank tapes, leaving only the good stuff. The moment of truth had come for “The Beatles – Abbey Road” which I had had for a while now.

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There is tape over the end of the tape that made it look like someone recorded Johnny Horton over it. Who would perpetrate such a horrible thing. I had to believe it was a mistake. Please?

I gently put in the tape and was immediately assaulted with NOT BEATLES. Ugh. What a tragedy. Truly. Sigh…

Anyway, I now have a working 8-track and a handful of tapes to play on it.

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Some quiet night I may put on my “Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon” 8-track and sit back with a drink and absorb the analog washing over me. The last time I listened to an entire album on 8-track was in the apartment mom and I lived in, in Mishawaka Indiana. That was her collection of Chicago 8-tracks. Probably why I have a soft spot for them and own many on vinyl.

I think this purchase may definitively have concluded my hunt for analog equipment.

I think.

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