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Encyclopedia > Stereo 8
Stereo8

An 8-track cartridge of Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
Media type: magnetic tape
Encoding: analog signal
Capacity: Four pairs of stereo channels
Read mechanism: tape head
Write mechanism: magnetic recording head
Usage: audio storage

Stereo 8, commonly known as the 8-track cartridge, or eight track tape in popular vernacular is a magnetic tape sound recording technology, popular from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. Stereo 8 was created in 1964 by a consortium led by Bill Lear of Lear Jet Corporation, along with Ampex, Ford, Motorola and RCA Victor Records. It followed the similar Stereo-Pak 4-track cartridge. A later quadraphonic version of the format was known as Quad 8 or Q8. Image File history File links LearJetStereo8Logo. ... Image File history File links Sexpistols8track. ... Cover of US Release Never Mind the Bollocks, Heres the Sex Pistols is a 1977 album recorded by the seminal English punk rock band, Sex Pistols. ... Compact audio cassette Magnetic tape is a non-volatile storage medium consisting of a magnetic coating on a thin plastic strip. ... Look up encoding in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... An analog or analogue signal is an allergy continuous in both time and amplitude. ... A tape head is a type of transducer used in tape recorders to convert electrical signals to magnetic fluctuations and vice versa. ... In physics, magnetism is a phenomenon by which materials exert an attractive or repulsive force on other materials. ... A recording head is the physical interface between a recording apparatus and a moving recording medium. ... Magnetic tape has been used for sound recording for more than 75 years. ... William (Bill) Powell Lear (June 26, 1902 – May 14, 1978) was an American inventor and businessman. ... C-GBFP - Adlair Aviation - Learjet 25 (LJ25) refueling at Cambridge Bay Airport, Nunavut, Canada. ... Ampex is based in Redwood City, California. ... “Ford” redirects here. ... Motorola Inc. ... Sony BMG Music Entertainment is the result of a 50/50 joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment (part of Sony) and BMG Entertainment (part of Bertelsmann AG) completed in August 2004. ... Earl Madman Muntz (1917 â€“ 1987) was a legendary merchandiser of used cars and consumer electronics in the 1940s and 50s, mostly in California. ... 4 channels quadraphonic label Quadraphonic sound uses four channels in which speakers are positioned at all four corners of the listening space, reproducing signals that are independent of each other. ...

Contents

History

The original format for magnetic tape sound reproduction was reel-to-reel audio tape recording, first made widely available after World War II in the late 1940s. However, threading tape into the recorders was more difficult than simply putting a disc record onto a phonograph player. Manufacturers introduced a succession of cartridges which held the tape inside a metal or plastic housing to eliminate handling. The first was RCA Victor, which in 1958 introduced a cartridge system called Sound Tape or Magazine Cartridge Loading, but until the introduction of the Compact Cassette in 1963 and Stereo 8 in 1965, none was very successful. Compact audio cassette Magnetic tape is a non-volatile storage medium consisting of a magnetic coating on a thin plastic strip. ... A reel-to-reel tape recorder (Sony TC-630), typical of those which were once common audiophile objects. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Sony BMG Music Entertainment is the result of a 50/50 joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment (part of Sony) and BMG Entertainment (part of Bertelsmann AG) completed in August 2004. ... The RCA Victor tape cartridge was a magnetic tape format designed to offer stereo quarter-inch reel-to-reel tape in a more convenient format for the home market. ... The Compact Cassette, often referred to as audio cassette, cassette tape, cassette, or simply tape, is a magnetic tape sound recording format. ...


Development of tape cartridges

The inside of an 8-track cartridge

The endless loop tape cartridge was first designed in 1952 by Bernard Cousino of Toledo, Ohio, around a single reel carrying a continuous loop of standard 1/4-inch, plastic, oxide-coated recording tape running at 3.75 inches per second (9.5 centimeters per second). Program starts and stops were signaled by low-frequency tones. photo of inside of 8-track tape cartridge Note: below text copied from Talk:8-track cartridge: Ive opened up one of my 8-track cartridges and will be posting a picture of its internal mechanism to replace the closed one I put there in the meantime, but it... photo of inside of 8-track tape cartridge Note: below text copied from Talk:8-track cartridge: Ive opened up one of my 8-track cartridges and will be posting a picture of its internal mechanism to replace the closed one I put there in the meantime, but it... Nickname: Location in the state of Ohio Coordinates: , Country United States State Ohio County Lucas Founded 1833 Government  - Mayor Carty Finkbeiner (D) Area  - City 84. ...


Inventor George Eash, also from Toledo, invented a cartridge design in 1954, called the Fidelipac. The Eash cartridge was later licensed by manufacturers, notably the Collins Radio Corporation, which first introduced a cartridge system for broadcasting at the National Association of Broadcaster's 1959 annual show. Fidelipac cartridges (nicknamed "carts" by DJs and radio engineers) were used by many radio stations for commercials, jingles and other short items right up until the late 1990s when digital media took over. Eash later formed Fidelipac Corporation to manufacture and market tapes and recorders, as did several others including Audio-Pak (Audio Devices Corp.). Fidelipac is the official name of the industry standard audio tape cartridge used for radio broadcasting for playback of material over the air such as commercials, jingles, station IDs, and music. ...


There were several attempts to sell music systems for cars, beginning with the Chrysler "Hiway hi-fi" of the late 1950s (which used discs). However, entrepreneur Earl "Madman" Muntz of Los Angeles, California saw a potential in these "broadcast carts" for an automobile music system and in 1962 introduced his Stereo-Pak 4-track stereo (two programs, each consisting of two tracks) system and tapes, mostly in California and Florida. He licensed popular music albums from the major record companies and duplicated them on these 4-track cartridges, or "CARtridges", as they were first advertised. Stereo-Pak tape cartridges were commercially available from a number of companies, notably Fidelipac. Earl Madman Muntz (1914 â€“ 1987), born in Elgin, Illinois, was a legendary merchandiser of used cars and consumer electronics in the 1940s and 50s, mostly in California. ... Nickname: Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates: , State County Settled 1781 Incorporated April 4, 1850 Government  - Type Mayor-Council  - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa  - City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo  - Governing body City Council Area  - City  498. ... Earl Madman Muntz (1917 â€“ 1987) was a legendary merchandiser of used cars and consumer electronics in the 1940s and 50s, mostly in California. ...


Introduction of Stereo 8

The Lear Jet Stereo 8 track cartridge was designed by Bill Lear in 1964. The major change was to incorporate a neoprene rubber and plastic pinch roller into the cartridge itself, rather than making the pinch roller a part of the tape player, reducing mechanical complexity. Lear also eliminated some of the internal parts of the Eash cartridge, such as the tape-tensioning mechanism and an interlock that prevented tape spillage. In the Cousino, Eash, Muntz and Lear cartridges, tape was pulled from the center of the reel, passed across the opening at one end of the cartridge and wound back onto the outside of the same reel. The spool itself was freewheeling and the tape was driven only by tension from the capstan and pinch roller.


With a reel turning at a constant rate, the tape around the hub has a lower linear velocity than the tape at the outside of the reel, so the tape layers must slip past each other as they approach the center. The tape was coated with a slippery backing material patented by Bernard Cousino, usually graphite, to ease the continuous slip between the tape layers. While the design allowed simple, cheap, and mobile players, unlike a two-reel system it didn't permit rewinding of the tape. Some players offered fast-forward by speeding up the motor while cutting off the audio, but rewinding was never offered, because it was technically impossible. Constant Linear Velocity (CLV) refers to how information is written to or read from a rotating data disk. ... Graphite (named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1789 from the Greek γραφειν (graphein): to draw/write, for its use in pencils) is one of the allotropes of carbon. ...


Muntz's cartridge had used two pairs of stereo tracks in the same configuration as then-current "quarter track" reel to reel tapes. This format was intended to parallel his source material, which was usually a single LP record with two sides. Program switching was achieved by physically moving the head up and down mechanically by a lever. The Stereo 8 version doubled the amount of programming on the tape by providing eight total tracks, usually consisting of four programs of two tracks each. Lear touted this as a great improvement, because much more music could be held inside a standard cartridge housing, but in practice this resulted in a slight loss of sound quality and an increase in background noise due to the narrower tape tracks. Unlike the Stereo-Pak, the Stereo 8 could switch between tracks automatically, due to the use of a small length of conductive foil at the splice joint on the tape, which would cause the player to change tracks as it passed the head assembly.


The Stereo 8 also introduced the problem of dividing up the programming intended for a two-sided LP record into four programs. Often this resulted in songs being split in two parts, reshuffled song orders, or long passages of silence. Some 8-tracks included extra musical content to fill in time such as a piano solo on Lou Reed's Berlin. Lewis Reed[1] (born March 2, 1942) is an American rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. ... Berlin is a 1973 album by Lou Reed, his third solo album and the follow-up to the widely accessible and upbeat glam rock classic Transformer. ...


Lear's aircraft company constructed 100 Demo Stereo 8 players for distribution to executives at the auto companies and RCA in 1964.


Commercial success

The popularity of both 4-track and 8-track cartridges grew from the booming automobile industry. In September 1965, Ford Motor Company introduced dealer-installed 8-track players as an option on most models and RCA Victor introduced 50 Stereo-8 Cartridges of pre-recorded music from their label of artists.[1] By 1966, all of their vehicles offered this upgrade. Thanks to Ford's backing, the 8-track format quickly won out over the 4-track format, with Muntz abandoning it completely by late 1970. “Car” and “Cars” redirect here. ... “Ford” redirects here. ... Sony BMG Music Entertainment is the result of a 50/50 joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment (part of Sony) and BMG Entertainment (part of Bertelsmann AG) completed in August 2004. ...


Despite its problems, the format gained steady popularity due to its convenience and portability. Home players were introduced in 1966 that allowed consumers to share tapes between their home and portable systems. "Boombox" type players were also popular. With the availability of cartridge systems for the home, consumers started thinking of 8-tracks as a viable alternative to vinyl records, not only as a convenience for the car. Within a year, prerecorded releases on 8-track began to arrive within a month of the vinyl release. 8-track recorders had gained popularity by the early 1970s. A gramophone record, (also phonograph record - often simply record) is an analog sound recording medium: a flat disc rotating at a constant angular velocity, with inscribed spiral grooves in which a stylus or needle rides. ...


Quadraphonic 8-track cartridges (introduced by RCA Records in September 1970 and first known as Quad 8, and later just Q8) were also produced, with the major auto manufacturers being particularly eager to promote in-car quadraphonic players as a pricey option. The format enjoyed a moderate amount of success for a time but faded in the mid-1970s. These cartridges are prized by collectors since they provide four channels of discrete sound, unlike matrixed formats such as SQ. Most quadraphonic albums were specially mixed for the quad format. 4 channels quadraphonic label Quadraphonic sound uses four channels in which speakers are positioned at all four corners of the listening space, reproducing signals that are independent of each other. ... Matrix decoder is an audio technology where a finite number of discrete audio channels (eg. ...


Decline and demise

There are a number of reasons for the format's decline. While the Compact Cassette offered features that the 8-track lacked, such as smaller size and rewinding capability, its tape speed was half that of Stereo 8, producing theoretically lower sound quality; however, constant development of the cassette turned it into a widespread high-fidelity medium. Another factor was the cost of blank tapes and recorders, where cassette systems tended to be cheaper. There was also a sustained effort by record companies to reduce the number of different formats offered in the late 1970s, and when sales of 8-tracks slipped, they were quick to abandon the format. This was not due to any inherent weakness of the cartridge format (although the later cartridges were being manufactured with cheaper and less costly materials); the professional broadcast cart format survived for more than another decade at most radio stations for playing and switching the likes of short jingles, advertisements, station identifications, and music content until they were replaced with various computer-based methods in the 1990s. However, these were used only for short sounds where starting from the beginning, not track access, was important. The endless loop tape concept, too, continues to be used in modern cinema movie projectors, although in that application the spool is actively rotated and not drawn by tension on the film. The Compact Cassette, often referred to as audio cassette, cassette tape, cassette, or simply tape, is a magnetic tape sound recording format. ... A jingle is a memorable slogan, set to an engaging melody, mainly broadcast on radio and sometimes on television commercials. ... Generally speaking, advertising is the paid promotion of goods, services, companies and ideas by an identified sponsor. ... 35 mm Kinoton movie projector in operation. ...


8-track players became less common in homes and automobiles as the 1970s went on. By the time the Compact Disc arrived in 1982–83, the 8-track had greatly diminished in popularity. A compact disc or CD is an optical disc used to store digital data, originally developed for storing digital audio. ...


Although today the 8-track is often mistakenly dismissed as a failure, from a commercial standpoint, it was a huge success. It was the first truly portable format of music, reaching a mass market and giving people the ability to take their favorite music in the car, on the beach, or anywhere else for that matter. Even today, 40 years after its debut, the 8-track has established a cult following with avid collectors. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The last cartridges

In the U.S., 8-track cartridges were phased out of retail stores by late 1982 (having disappeared from Europe about 4 years prior). Some titles were still available as 8-track tapes through record clubs until late 1988. Many of these late-period releases are highly collectible due to the low numbers that were produced. Among the most rare is Stevie Ray Vaughan's Texas Flood. Another is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Live/1975-85, which was one of the very few box sets to be released on vinyl, cassette, compact disc, and 8-track tape. Stephen Stevie Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990), born in Dallas, Texas, was an American blues guitarist. ... Bruce Springsteen (born September 23, American singer and songwriter, nicknamed The Boss. He frequently recorded with The E-Street Band. ... Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Live/1975-85 is a live album by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. ...


There is a debate among collectors about what was the last commercially released 8 track by a major label, but many agree it was Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits in November 1988.[2] The last 8-track tapes by major recording companies were from record and tape clubs in 1988 like RCA (BMG Music) and Columbia House (CRC). There are reports of bootleg 8-track tapes being made in Mexico as late as 1995 [1]. Some independent artists have released 8-track tapes as late as 2006 [2]. Also, bands sometimes release 8-track cassettes as a special release, for example, the Melvins, who released a limited time 8 track live album [3]. Apart from a select group of highly collectible artists, the record club issues, and the quadraphonic releases, many 8-track tapes seem to have limited value to most collectors, especially if they have been misused or are worn-looking. This article is about the band. ... Greatest Hits is a 1988 album by British-American band Fleetwood Mac. ... Columbia House operates a music club and DVD club, and as such is a direct seller of DVD movies and box sets, offering its selections through “club membership” agreements. ... The Melvins are an American rock band/ metal band that usually perform as a trio. ...


Reliability and usability

The cartridges had an audible pause and mechanical click when programs were switched, due to the mechanical action of the device and the presence of length of metallic sensing foil, which signaled the end of the tape and acted as a splice for the loop. Furthermore, due to the expense of producing tape heads capable of reading eight tracks, most 8-track players had heads that read just two tracks. Switching from program to program was accomplished by moving the head itself. Since the alignment of the head to the tape is crucially important in any tape system, and because 8-track systems were generally designed to be cheap, this configuration further degraded the sound of the 8-track tape. Among audio service technicians, there used to be a joke that "the 8-track is the only audio device which knocks itself out of alignment four times during each album."


If the azimuth of the head became misadjusted, there would be a faint audio bleed of adjacent tracks into the currently playing track, known as "double-tracking", as well as a loss of frequency response, as with any misadjusted tape system. Frequency response is the measure of any systems response to frequency, but is usually used in connection with electronic amplifiers and similar systems, particularly in relation to audio signals. ...


Stereo 8 tapes and players developed a reputation for unreliability, due mostly to splice failures and the phenomenon of the player "eating" the tape. The auto environment, with its temperature extremes, vibration, dust, etc., caused many failures as well.


A decrease in the quality of the parts used in the 8-track cartridge was a critical blow to the faltering format, as problems developed with the reliability, sound and smooth playing of the tape. Due to these problems, the 8-track developed a notorious reputation for being "finicky" and somewhat unreliable; however, it can be argued that most of the problems that plagued the format could have been entirely avoided if the manufacturers had only developed quality control standards for both the cartridges and players.


Cartridge repair

As 8-track tapes age, they sometimes need to be repaired so that their life may be extended. With a little care and patience, an old 8-track can be restored to its original performance.


Old tapes may break at the channel-switching foil splice when the glues used during manufacture harden with age. Repair sometimes requires careful disassembly of the cartridge and the addition of a new metallic foil-sensing splice.


On some cartridges, a plastic and foam pressure pad behind the tape path holds the tape against the tape head as the tape moves across it. This material can disintegrate with age, leaving a glob of sticky material that will not support the tape against the head, and may damage the tape. A new foam pressure pad will remedy this problem, although this also requires cartridge disassembly.


Also, in many early cartridges 1965-1970, the rubber in the pinch roller, which pulls the tape across the heads, was not fully cured, and this caused them to deteriorate over time, melting into a sticky, tar-like material. These can be replaced with a new rubber pinch roller of the same size and proportions. Rubber pinch rollers manufactured after 1970 are made of fully cured rubber, which does not deteriorate over time. In late 1970, RCA Records even switched to a new plastic pinch roller, which some other companies also used. However, rubber is the preferred material for pinch rollers as it grips the tape better for more even and precise movement.


See also

This is a list of audio formats, used for the distribution of recordings of music and other audio information. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with audio storage. ... Audio storage refers to techniques and formats used to store audio with the goal to reproduce the audio later using audio signal processing to something that resembles the original. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ "A History of The Eight Track Tape" by David Morton in 8-Track Mind magazine, 1995. accessed August 8, 2006
  2. ^ Record Club Only 8-tracks from 8-Track Heaven. Accessed November 11, 2006

is the 220th day of the year (221st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... November 11 is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 50 days remaining. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

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