Welcome to Hell, here's your 8-Track

Neil Postman once said, 

"Anyone who has studied the history of technology knows that technological change is always a Faustian bargain: Technology giveth and technology taketh away, and not always in equal measure. A new technology sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it destroys more than it creates. But it is never one-sided."

I'm pretty sure that we know that the 8-track was more bad than good.

Question for audiophiles here who might know -- was there anything good about 8-track technology that was lost when it went extinct? And what was that good, audio-wise, specifically?




Your "clarinette" post just jogged my mind and I think that my 8-Track was branded Clarion (new model in the summer of 1971).

I sold the 67 bug to a distant cousin in the early summer of 77 and when he brought it back Aug/Sept so that I could teach him how to set the timing (trial and error by driving/adjusting it as it no longer performed optimally when set to spec with a static light) he had an 8-Track "convertor cartridge" for the player that accepted cassette tapes.

I had purchased a new Honda Civic with radio only (just sold my 69 Opel GT that had a cassette deck as I needed a "bigger" car to move to the West Coast) and gave him all of my "road" cassette tapes.

We didn't realize that we were "distant kin" until he came back and we hung out talking for 2-3 hours (I also polished/reset the valves and showed him how to clean/oil and reuse the gaskets).

It turned out that we used to visit his parent's farm when I was very young to purchase and cut our X-Mas tree (some 16 years prior).

I told my father about it and he replied "your'e shitting me - really?".

Many of my family "relationships" have always been a mystery to me in that when little I thought that my great and great/great grandmothers on one side were sisters.



Also, 8 tracks played at 3.75 ips technically making them better than cassettes. My first player was a Pioneer. It made a loud "clicking" sound when I changed tracks. I remember pushing the button late into the night (I was 15 years old). My Dad yelled from his bedroom "STOP IT ALREADY"! Now I'm feeling sentimental. I wonder if they make bell bottom pants in my size???

Over the course of my audio existence I’ve had Reel-to-Reel, Four Track Cartridge, Eight Track Cartridge, Cassette, CD, and Direct-to-Bits recording media. I’ve spent more than my share of time making recordings off the radio, and off of various borrowed LPs & Singles. I also made recordings of records I’d gotten sick of and wanted to sell for pocket cash. Anyway, of the bunch, in terms of SQ I gotta tell ya that Eight Track was the proverbial ugh-o-rama.

And oh yeah. over the years I have made many live recordings of me and my musician mates.