My wife left this morning to head over to her parents house and spend the night tonight. 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 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