Minidic, man, minidisc. Cassettes are quite inferior.
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I'll leave the tape formulations to the recording engineers, but my guess is that they have not changed so much in the last ten or fifteen years and you should try to find TDK or Maxell metal.
A well set up cassette deck using metal tape can do a surprisingly good job, but very importantly, you can't rely upon the stock alignment or bias settings -- you need to have the heads realigned and bias reset. Labs like Analogique in NYC do this and it makes a huge difference.
I have to agree with UraniumCommittee on this.
You should try to transfer your tapes to minidisc!
I had a Sony JA20ES unit that worked nice for this
This way you can listen to the Minidiscs,
anytime you want, WITHOUT the fear
of WEAR AND TEAR! OR EATEN TAPES!
PLUS, you can add TEXT to Minidisc!
I currently have 2 Sony JA3ES units right now,
AS well as a Pioneer DIGITAL 616 cassette
player, to play into Minidisc recorder.
NOW, as far as tapes are concerned,
go with Maxell Metal!
Why would you put anything on mini-disc?!! It was great in it's day, when one couldn't record CD's. Having owned a few mini-disc recorders/players, I seem to recall that mini-discs are only 14 bit, compared to redbooks' 16 bit.
And if you want to record vinyl, I certainly would want to record them on an analog medium.
But you are right about tape wear, and eaten tapes, not to mention stray magnetic fields. Pre-recorded cassette tapes are quite inferior to mini-discs, but home recorded cassettes on a good machine will blow away a mini-disc.
cassettes were in the grave for five years TEN YEARS AGO.
I threw out my tape player and the cassettes back then
Around the time the recordable CD became popular.
The main reason to abandon cassettes is the restricted timing factor. It was a P.I.T.A. to arrange music to fit the cassette. With CD it is never a problem. Ditto accessing a track.
I suppose you still use VHS too..