Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tape Decks I Have Known

And, now while we change servers, we'll hear this lovely organ interlude...

[Update: the move went almost perfectly. It was eerie. Anyhow... no music this post. Your ears needed the rest.]

Nostalgia: Tape Decks I Have Known

Yes, before women and the bottle... I had another love...

I'll spare y'all the 3340-S's and 3440-S's, the Series 70 1/2" 8, or the 40-4 that is, I think, my last remaining reel machine. (All those were TASCAMs by the way.)

We've all seen our share of most of those, probably.

But yesterday I was pondering this picture I'd earlier stumbled across on the web of (an instance of) the first tape machine I did an overdub on, circa 1964, Sony TC630. (It belonged to my "rich" cousin and it was an object of great envy on my part. But he was also generous enough to loan it to me a few times, including to do the preprogrammed music for my grandparents' 50th anniversery party, for which I also recorded my mom dueting with herself on "The Anniversery Waltz" -- my first overdub.)

While I pondered the glory that had been the TC630, half-watched on the TV was the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 DVD of The Crawling Hand.

I looked up from the photo of the TC630 just in time to see one of the characters in the movie opening a small tape recorder... it took a second but I realized it was a copy of the same, no-name, no-capstan $20 battery powered tape recorder I got for Christmas in 1962 -- my very first tape recorder.

The Machine That Started It All for Me

About halfway through the message he's taping to tell his girlfriend and her professor uncle that he's turning into a monster he goes into monster mode and smashes the poor little machine (How poor was it? So poor it couldn't even afford a capstan. Buh dum.)

Or tries to smash it. The plastic top goes flying right away -- but it was made during the waning days of the overbuilt-metal era of Japanese transistor consumer electronics -- and no matter how the teen-monster kicks and stomps it, it remains amazingly intact...

Around the beginning of my senior year of high school I pulled my savings together and bought my own stereo 7" reel deck, a Sony TC-250a... it was $119, fair trade, IIRC -- and it was NO TC630... you couldn't even record a single track at once -- just what was effectively "joint stereo," so there was no overdubbing possible. That would have been nice but I didn't play an instrument then and I mostly wanted to make my own mix tapes and... you know... stuff.

My first plug in tape recorder, also a Sony, a little hazy on the number, was a 5" reel transistor-tube hybrid machine (transistor recording preamps and tube power amp). I HAVE seen a picture of it on the web but foolishly didn't save it -- and haven't seen one since. It had a molded white heavy styrene top and a coral colored grill and underpan. I really loved that thing but sold it for something like $3.50 at a yard sale in the early 70s. I guess sometimes you gotta let go. The kid who bought it probably had a lot of fun. I hope.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

<< Home