back to article Home taping revisited: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

I once tried to do it standing on one leg, arms pressed against the wall for stability. On other occasions, I would do the business with arms and legs akimbo. In fact, I have variously tried it huddled in a corner, sitting on a ping-pong table, at both ends of a teak sideboard, straddling the back of a leather sofa and even …


      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Vinyl to Digital

        Indeed, my vinyl to MP3 rips are just one mp3 file per side of the album.

        .. Gives you that same vinyl experience when playing them back, listening to a side at a time.

    1. Peter Galbavy

      Re: Vinyl to Digital

      I bought Vinyl Studio and have recorded exactly two records so far, mostly through a lack of time. The first was really fiddly and I was very careful with the bit depth, sampling rate etc. The second (Monyaka, who remembers them?) was much quicker and spent most of the time setting the track start and end points carefully - I let the automation do the rest. Sound absolutely fine in the car and over headphones.

    2. Michael Strorm

      Re: Vinyl to Digital

      I'd assume that one way to differentiate pops and clicks from legitimate content would be to find two different vinyl sources.

      You'd then have a piece of software that matched up the corresponding waveforms recorded from each source. This should be doable almost automatically, though it might have to ask you to make decisions or confirm its assumptions occasionally.

      The software then determines whether a noise appears in one or both sources- since it's very unlikely that major pops or clicks would appear in *exactly* the same point in both cases- and uses the "clean" one as the basis of a repair (even if that's not necessarily the "master" copy you want to use as the basis for your remaster).

  1. frank ly Silver badge

    Pics, or it didn't happen!

    "... while I was a mullet-coiffed, pixie-boot attired student in the early 1980s."

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Pics, or it didn't happen!

      Let's hope it didn't happen.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Pics, or it didn't happen!

        It was the 80s. Of course it did.

        I had light grey leather shiny slip-on loafers, with tassles. Because, erm, I... erm, had no taste? Oh, and wore them with white socks, naturally. At various times I had white jeans, yellow jeans, and wore purple and orange shirts.

        Although I refuse to apologise for wearing flourescent yellow socks.

        [note to self: Must remember to hit anonymous button]

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pics, or it didn't happen!

          1970s - green velour flared loons (trousers) with a bright orange shirt and tie in same material - and light brown suede Desert boots. I suspect there were fluorescent green socks too.

          Finished off with Fabergé Brut*** shower gel, deodorant, and aftershave. On a Saturday night my pals made me stand outside the car for a few minutes to let the wind disperse some of the miasma.

          ***The real Brut - not the down-market "Brut 33" advertised on TV by boxer Henry Cooper.

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            Re: Pics, or it didn't happen!

            Student me in the late 1960s:

            • black crushed velvet flares
            • flowered shirt
            • bright-coloured nylon scarf worn as a neckerchief
            • black hat with a wide brim
            • short green military-style coat that I was told originated with the Women's Fire Brigade*
            • best of all, a pair of zip-up chukka boots that I had personally re-coloured purple
            *I now doubt that there ever was such an organisation, but the surplus store had dozens of these coats.

            1. BongoJoe

              Re: Pics, or it didn't happen!

              I tried the black velvet jacket, denim shirt and neckerchief approach but couldn't manage the mustache.

              I thought that I looked like Jon Lord. Jon Lord perhaps would have thought that I looked like a knob.

          2. Pedigree-Pete

            Re: 1970s - green velour flared loons (trousers)

            @AC. Ah! A dedicated follower of fashion. PP

            >>No "whistles tunelessly" icon and...well Friday. Cheers.

          3. davidp231

            Re: Pics, or it didn't happen!

            Brut... you didn't have High Karate?

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Pics, or it didn't happen!

      He's still waiting for the pics being returned from the shop...

      (no, you didn't leave them in the coat pocket)

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Pics, or it didn't happen!

      @frank ly

      "... while I was a mullet-coiffed, pixie-boot attired student in the early 1980s."

      Will this do? Post-student Dabbsy on The Computer Channel in 1997

  2. kryptonaut


    What about the home-made compilations when the tape ran out part-way through the last track, and 35 years later whenever you hear that song you *still* expect it to finish there?

  3. LDS Silver badge

    "trying on shoes in a shoe shop"

    If all your shoes are the same type of sneakers you buy over and over probably you don't need to. Or if you buy only hand-made shoes from shops where the shoemakers have a 3D-printed model of your feet from a high-res laser scan.

    Don't know onepoll which kind of shoe-buyers interviewed - if they were software developers or their Sillycon Valley CEOs.

    Otherwise it's a basic safety precaution to avoid to curse the day you bought them every time you have to wear them and suffer the pain of hell.

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: "trying on shoes in a shoe shop"

      I'd only ever buy DMs without trying them on. Anything else, fitting is a must.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "trying on shoes in a shoe shop"

      "[...] If you buy only hand-made shoes [...]"

      Once had a pair of shoes custom made in an Italian shop in Luton. The idea was to get a good fit. They were the most uncomfortable ones I ever wore. Never did manage to soften them to less than toe pinching "style".

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: "trying on shoes in a shoe shop"

        I had no idea that might be old-school. What do modern people do instead? Guess?

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "What do modern people do instead?"

          Order twenty-four pair on Amazon and then send back the whole lot because they couldn't find the right one.

          Still better than those who try them in a shop, don't buy them and then order them on Amazon or Yoox.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "trying on shoes in a shoe shop"

        Well, my grandfather never tried a suit in a shop. The tailor had his various sizes. He would come home with some cloths to choose from, my grandfather chose which one(s) he liked, than the tailor came back with an unfinished, custom-made suit to try and then made any required changes for the finished one. They fit perfectly, of course.

        So, really, nothing new. You just need to be able to afford it. It means you are rich enough, or workers are poor and cheap enough they have to accept this to make a living.

        It's just like Uber, Deliveroo, and the like - one century ago and until about the 1960s you had the same services - grandmother too didn't need to shop for food, she ordered it from the various shops and had it delivered home - as long as delivery boys where cheap it worked.

        I'm not sure if getting back to those low-paid jobs is "disruptive" and "innovative". You can make a lot of money when you're at the top of the pyramid, though.

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: "trying on shoes in a shoe shop"

      This became an issue for me after losing weight. I had fat feet, it seems. Even now, I'm not sure what size shoes to buy. My boots are size 8. My gym shoes are size 11. It makes no sense at all.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: "trying on shoes in a shoe shop"

        Different manufacturers use different sized lasts. And plants on different continents belonging to the same manufacturer use different sized lasts. The only the only good way to purchase shoes is to physically try them on.

        Last time I bought "walking the dawgs" shoes, I tried on four identically labeled pairs. One pair was too small, one too big, and two fit. I bought the two. They were made in Mexico, the large pair was made in Malaysia, and the small pair was made in Taiwan. Caveat emptor.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "trying on shoes in a shoe shop"

          "[...] and the small pair was made in Taiwan."

          Reminds me of the Temple Street night market in Hong Kong on a trip in 1993. My UK size in shirts was "small" - possibly "medium". The market stall suitable offerings turned out to be marked as "XL".

          My host had to import a bed long enough to accommodate his 6' (1.8m) length. In England his HK born wife had to go on a fattening diet if she wanted to wear the smallest size UK adult clothes. Her husband complained about being seen with an apparent 12 year old - but at least the children's sizes were vat free.

          My holiday partner was delighted that for the first time in her life she could see over people's heads in crowds.

          However - at dinner in the Imperial Hotel all the serving staff of both sexes were in the order of 6' (1.8m). Apparently always recruited from northern China.

  4. Fihart

    Cassettes -- sheer modern luxury !!

    When The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" came out in 1964 I had just received a miniature Japanese reel to reel tape recorder. Naturally I took it with me to the nearest record shop.

    Results weren't bad but the machine had a fatal flaw -- instead of the tape being driven directly by a pinch-wheel (as per every serious tape deck including cassette) it relied on friction drive to the tape reel carrier. That meant that the speed of the recording would vary according to the ratio of tape on the take-up spool. Not crucial so long as the tape was played back on the recorder but potentially ghastly if transferred to another machine.

    But for me it was the beginning of a lifelong involvement in recording -- with a Grundig dictaphone and then cassettes -- and graduating to a Ferrograph, Revox and Studer machines when making radio ads professionally.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cassettes -- sheer modern luxury !!

      "Grundig dictaphone"

      The valve one in a beige plastic box - with a glowing blue light for the record level?

      1. Fihart

        Re: Cassettes -- sheer modern luxury !!

        "Grundig dictaphone"

        The valve one in a beige plastic box - with a glowing blue light for the record level?

        The very same.

    2. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Cassettes -- sheer modern luxury !!

      Yeah, I fell victim to the variable speed reel-to-reel recorder. Back when I lived on the opposite side of the pond from my Kentucky cousins, we would get nice taped greetings from them which we attempted to play back on the borrowed Grundig portable. And yes, they recorded with a nice constant speed recorder, and so the voices were unusually looowwww to start with and got hiiiigherrr and faaaster as the tape wound on the reel.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cassettes -- sheer modern luxury !!

        "I fell victim to the variable speed reel-to-reel recorder."

        Working abroad in the 1970s I borrowed a cine camera from a colleague to make a travelogue film to send home to friends. After editing the film - a cassette tape commentary was recorded to accompany it in real time.

        The colleague's cine camera was Standard 8 - and my friends had a combination Super 8/Standard 8 projector. It transpired that their projector gate used the Super 8 frame speed of 18fps for both types of film. My carefully crafted commentary was therefore soon out of sync with my film which would have been shot at 16fps.

        I still have the film - transcribed to VHS and then DVD. Unfortunately the original commentary tape had been lost - so I had to record a new one for the DVD version.

  5. Dabooka Silver badge

    So CDs...

    Couple of months ago I re-ripped all of my discs from cruddy MP3 to FLAC and have them all storted nce on safe on my NAS.

    So what do I do with the CDs? They aren't going anywhere but I do want to chuck out the cases due to the dpace they take up. I'm after an archive file that can accommodate both the discs and the insert and rear cover, preferably with the disc touching the printed material.

    Any ideas? Found loads of 'DJ' files and wallets but no space for the inserts etc.

    1. Peter Galbavy

      Re: So CDs...

      Been down the same route. Went with - but they are mostly out of stock now. Still only about 1/3rd through moving the CDs (and DVDs and BluRays) over to slightly more compact storage - only 1/2rd to 2/3rd volume saving at most - but I'll get there.

    2. TheProf

      Re: So CDs...

      I bought a CD wallet from The Works in the late nineties. It holds 32 removable sleeves and can hold 32 discs and the CD cover or 64 discs and no insert. Of course being sold by The Works means it was a remaindered product then so it's probably only available to archaeologists these days.

      It has one major flaw. The sleeve pockets are square in shape and so won't accommodate the rear CD case insert. You know, the one with all the useful stuff like track listings and err, the bar code.

      1. Dabooka Silver badge

        Re: So CDs...

        Thanks for the replies chaps.

        The SLAPPA link is better than anything else I've seen, but looks similar to the same problem TheProf references regarding holding the rear case insert?

        It really shouldn't be this difficult...

    3. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: So CDs...

      Mine are all stacked up in boxes in the loft.

      One day I will re-rip them to higher quality/flac but the size of the job is putting me off.

  6. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    It's a mystery (Toyah Wilcox 1993)

    I thought home taping killed music...where are all these streaming services getting it from.

  7. PaulyV

    Home Taping is Skill in Music

    Oddly enough only yesterday did I get sent WAV's taken from a cassette of our 1980's Lincolnshire band. My Dad recorded us in the living room using a decent Technics deck (Dolby C no less!) and a crossed pair of AKG D90 mics. Despite being carted around the country in the bottom of various boxes for the past 30 years the quality of the audio held up well enough to rekindle many memories. The quality of the music itself however...not so much. Thank god dance music came along.

  8. WaveyDavey

    Pixie Boots

    I still rather miss them!. Was very embarassig the time I dropped a lit fag-end in the top of them in a crowded pub though.

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: Pixie Boots

      If that made you dance around on one leg then you're Ian Anderson and I claim my five pounds!

  9. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Speccy owners will also fondly remember the days of fidding with the VOL button to get "just the right volume" for loading games.

    R Tape loading error was the result if the volume was too high or too low. Fun, especially if you're playing around with a lot of BASIC code you've just typed in from a magazine, and wanted to save it...

    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      I used to have a weird problem loading gunship on Spectrum. If I tried to load it all the way it would fail, but I found if I played the tape until there was a pause. Loaded that bit. rewound to start and load the rest it would work.

      Also The more expensive the tape deck the less chance of loading. Speccies loved cheap mono tape decks.

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        spectrum games tapes

        Also on most tape players the read head was mounted on two screws, one of which was spring-mounted, providing some adjustment of the angle of the head through a hole that you could poke a small screwdriver into.

        Adjusting this was often necessary to get it to load, in my experience.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: spectrum games tapes

          Vertical tape deck. Front window glass slid off its mounting rails. Tiny screwdriver wedged precariously under the transport roller's carrier bridge, resting on the lip of the window opening, lifting the bridge ever-so-slightly by its sheer counterbalanced weight alone. I swear it was the only way to get that particular tape to load...

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Also The more expensive the tape deck the less chance of loading. Speccies loved cheap mono tape decks."

        Yeah, Automatic Level Control on most players above the bargain basement price was the bane of 8-bit tape loading until you reach the even more expensive ones which had the option to turn it off or multiple settings.

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Myself and my mates were all keen bedroom DJs back in the 90s and the only way of recording our mixes was on cassette tapes. I also use to tape a lot of DJ mixes from the likes of Pete Tong, Stu Allan and Andy Roberts from the radio which I still have on cassette and I doubt these recording exist anywhere else these days. I dug all my tapes out a few months ago to digitise them and they are still waiting for me to hook up my Technics tape deck to record them onto my computer.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Just get one of these and plug right into USB.

  11. agurney

    A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

    The biggest problem with doing it that way was that many portable cassette recorders had Auto Gain, resulting in horribly loud hissing for quiet bits such as the lead-in lead-out and gaps between tracks, never mind the enhanced rumble, rumble, clunk from the turntable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

      Don't forget the permanent magnet erase that rendered tapes very noisy after a few re-records.

    2. Michael Strorm

      Re: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

      That happened on my portable Kisho deck even if you were recording via leads rather than the built-in microphone.

  12. HFPlane

    Gatefold sleeves

    This was their first real use: positioned around the microphone and radio to minimise the noise from domestic life. Futile though - somewhere I still have a Can In Concert tape where a Dixon of Dock Green police car nee-naws through the quiet bits.

    1. agurney

      Re: Gatefold sleeves

      In Dixon of Dock Green's time it was bells .. nee-naw was more like Z-Cars or the Sweeney

  13. bofh1961

    I still have a record deck for some of the old stuff and a cassette deck for demo tapes that are possibly now unique. I still use an FM tuner because I don't like the sound of DAB or online radio - a radio should sound like a radio! I know longer own a CD player. Mostly I listen to FLAC files using a modern(ish) PC and DAC through an ancient amp and speakers. It works for me.


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