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Squeezing Fidelity out of a Sony HF Type I


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#1 Transistorized

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 11:10 PM

My wife left this morning to head over to her parents house and spend the night tonight.  :hmmm: This gives me uninterrupted time to spend with my Sony TC-K850ES. I decided to come up with a challenge today. 

 

I purchased a great big box of Sony HF Type I new blank cassette tapes a while back for cheap. I had a set I found at my Goodwill prior to these that recorded quite well. To my surprise they changed the formula. My last box of Sony HF Type I tapes were a darker color and this new eBay purchase was poo poo brown tape  :thumbsdown:  I never have been a fan of light brown tapes. It has been my experience that they don't record very well. Sure enough the last recording I did a while back using this different version of the Sony HF tape suffered slightly on the high end compared to the other HF tapes I had. As we all would expect, it thunders away well at the low end as most type I tapes do but not so much on the top end.

 

So, I set a challenge for myself. Can I get this cheap poo poo brown tape to not sound like poop? I have full control over bias, the bias record current, right and left balance and input record level. Also, my Sony deck is a 3-Head, HX-Pro and Dolby B/C unit so I can monitor my recording in real time. I also have a full spectrum audio EQ in the loop so there should be no reason I can't get a decent sound.

 

Yes I could throw in a XL-II Maxell or IV (Metal) and move on but I like a challenge and if I can get the bias and sound stage (mastering) just right, I can save lots of money when making tapes for others or have a cheap tape that if it gets damaged or lost, no big deal  ;-)

 

I started out using my decks calibration meters to adjust the bias but quickly ended up bringing up the bias to improve treble. I used more positive bias to get the tape to produce a fairly crisp high end and used my EQ to help equal out the rest of the spectrum for the music and source I was recording from. Dialing in the bias to my ears must've worked quite well as I was able to push the tape to +4db with no issue at all. Due to this tapes notorious hiss levels I did use Dolby B. I could've used C but I wanted this tape to be compatible to all players with NR.

 

I am happy to report that I can get this tape to sound (almost) as good a CrO2. The treble is good and the bass is strong, hiss is at a minimum and +4db is quite impressive. So with a little time and effort you can polish a t**d :-)



#2 goodman

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Posted 10 February 2019 - 08:05 AM

This is good news. Please, upload pic of this Sony cassettes.

I remember, that last sony cassettes are bad copies of original Japan cassettes and made in Mexico or Taiwan...



#3 Transistorized

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 07:30 PM

Here are the two different tapes. The one on the left is the new set I got and the one on the right is the better one. What fooled me was the exterior wrap was identical but once you peel off the wrapper the j-card and tape was different. 

 

Attached File  20190214_202807.jpg   88.22K   5 downloads



#4 goodman

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 01:04 AM

Thanks for picture.

On the left is bad copy made in Mexico. On the right is real Sony made in Japan.

Look carefully reels on new Sony and you will see that looks like yellow / pink  reels on cheap cassette:

 

29091356887_9d0528c5e8_c.jpg

 

more info here:

 

http://www.45spaces....php?r=aud076877

 

http://www.tapeheads...ead.php?t=16665

 

----

 



#5 Transistorized

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 08:38 PM

I appreciate you verifying that. My Sony TC-K850ES is able to push the sound onto these tapes surprisingly. I guess the only thing that has me puzzled is how to detect these lower end copies. When they are sold as new and still have the wrapping they look identical to the Japan models.

I'll have to only purchase new cheap cassettes that maybe they picture an open one so I can see the actual cassette inside.

#6 goodman

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 03:34 AM

There is many for sale in ebay.

Sony Made In Japan - 

https://www.ebay.com...mCondition=1000

 

Sony Made in Mexico, but looks like original -

https://www.ebay.com...mCondition=1000