Tascam makes brand new cassettes for its old four-track recorders

Tascam knows that some musicians crave the “warm” quality of cassette recordings, and he’s willing to effectively bring dead technology back to life to meet their needs. The company has introduced a 424 Studio Master High Bias Type II Cassette designed for the brand’s decades-old Portastudio four-track cassette recorders. Artists can record analog samples and tunes without looking for rare tapes and worrying about degradation.

The cassette is not a perfect match. Tascam said it is using existing magnetic oxides to produce tape that is “as close as possible” to the material Portastudios should be using, but recorders owners may need to do some “fine tuning” to adapt for cassettes from the 2021 era.

This isn’t just an appeal to nostalgia, though – to some extent it’s about preserving analog cassette recordings. Cassette production has been struggling with oxide shortages since 2019, years after a (still ongoing) tape revival. Tascam noted that it is now the only company making High Bias Type II cassettes. Although tapes are already on the market, they are both rare and expensive.

Availability is only listed as “coming soon”. Tascam’s cassettes also won’t satisfy makers who really want new recorders to replace a dwindling stock of old hardware. This just might be for the best though, and a breath of fresh air for Portastudio fans who don’t want to take a full leap into the digital realm.

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