Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Listening to Music in classic cars

Cars from the 70ies and 80ies, and partially the 90ies, were equipped with radios with compact cassette players. That was a good thing then different to the time period before the driver could pick the music he liked and he was able to listen to music in a tunnel even.
Some of my cars actually still do have one of these radios in the dashboard. Given my old compact cassettes suffered over time (most of them are now 10-25 years old) I decided to record some new ones.
Surprise - it's actually not at all easy to find and buy compact cassettes these days. At the end of the day I found exactly one brand and one type (TDK IEC I / Type I, C60 to C120) in a really quite large shopping mall. I remember that they stored at least three different types (Normal, CRO2, Metal) in the past and that at least ten or more brands competed against each other. Also, it's quite different today to record a compact cassette compared to 20 plus years ago. In the past you selected a pile of longplays (33 RPMs) and listened until you found a song you liked, then you turned the tape recorder on and transfered this song. It took you some 80 to 120 minutes to record a 60 minutes compact cassette. Of course you were making sure that there was a nice break between the songs and that at the end of the tape the music didn't just stop in the worst possible way. I recorded very many compact cassettes this way. Today, of course, everything is different. Your music sits on a computer, you use most probably Apple's iTunes software to manage it and therefore you can select your favorite songs and store them in a playlist that you for example can call "classic car audio - songs from the 80ies". With this most of the work is done. Now you only need to transfer the music to the compact cassette. Well, yeah, first I needed to find my old cassette tape deck (a Denon with direct drive and three heads!) in the basement and connect it with my home cinema receiver. Either your computer can now be connected to the receiver of you go through an MP3 player or you burn a CD to transfer the music from the computer to the stereo equipment. All of these ways work and are pretty convenient, as you don't need to care anymore about breaks and only worry about the end of the compact cassette. So, at the end, after more than 10 years I had recorded a compact cassette again. It probably is the last one, as when I make a similar decision next time, I might not be able to find another new compact cassette anymore. It's a pity!

I know, I know there are more modern ways to listen to music even in a classic car. I could have connected my iPod MP3 player to the radio using a FM transmitter or found another way to send the signals to the stereo in the car. But it wouldn't really feel right, would it?

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