Philips Cassette Deck
Everyone at school seemed to get portable cassette decks around the same time, or in the same scholastic year anyhow. As my birthday was late on in the school year I was a little behind in getting mine, though I am not bitter and have now completely recovered from the deep trauma my diminished social standing caused me. Honestly.
We borrowed albums from each other and recorded them with the microphone stuck up against the grille of the Dansette.
I also (though I didn't know it at the time) did experiments with Found Sounds and Musique Concrete, recording the mad sounds you can find with a short wave radio. Never assembled anything meaningful, just gathered the raw material.
It was a revelation when I discovered you could connect things electrically and bypass the microphone. I knew it was possible but always figured you'd need to buy loads of matching appliances from the hi-fi shop. Then one day I heard you could solder wires into the volume control of a radio and use it as an amp…and discovered you could also get signals out the same way, and record them.
Later we got a record player with a DIN socket on the front and I bodged up a lead to record from it, and, later still, plug a guitar into it.
My cassette deck was pretty unhip, all the trendy kids had piano key controls but mine had a kind of gear shift lever. The power supply transformer and a massive battery compartment were built in. Looking to see how the whole thing was put together I decided these were surplus and cannibalised my beloved tape deck. Didn't actually improve it in any useful way but learned a few things.
Years later, when the first Portastudios started to appear in adverts I bought two cassette deck circuit boards and a naked cassette deck chassis and tried to build a four track (using a four channel head intended for an auto-reverse deck). Unfortunately the thing never worked properly as (I think) the bias current from the recording channels swamped the signal in the replay channels. Couldn't work out how to make the replay circuitry deal with this unexpected HF interference as I'd done things the lazy way and bought ready made boards.
Though I don't remember clearly I probably settled on using it as normal cassette recorder and added it to our cassette deck farm that was used for recording our released material.
For a while I was buying second hand tape decks from anyone who would sell me one, as they got worn out with all the tape copying we were doing…
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