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Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:06 am
by robcook
So I've got my Oric and everything but a tape/disk drive. I will get a disk drive in the future but for now, I want to do everything as 'old school' and authentic as I can. So I want to use tape.

Am I correct in remembering it's a 3 pin DIN back in the day? Not sure if 'modern' tape recorders still have the DIN socket. But I found this:



Can I still use that as in the good old days? If so, any idea what lead connection I'd be using?

Ta very much!

eta. obtained some C60 cassettes today. Went into the electrical shop and he gave them to me for free! I guess they'd been burning a hole on his shelf for a while but they're extremely well wrapped (never opened) so should be good. In any event, I don't think cassettes are hard to come by at all now.

eta. no. 2: just read this review on Amazon for the pictured tape recorder :/ :"Not bad to use with my old 8 but computers - works well but two things to note - headphone socket is stereo so not immediately compatible with retro computer leads needs an adapter. Buttons are poor quality and have poor motion/operation - feel like they are going to break when I press them - wonder how long they will last - but otherwise good."

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:59 am
by iss
Hi @robcook,
your link to amazon is invisible but it should point to this Cassette Player/Recorder:
81umDhTW6TL._AC_SX522_.jpg
81umDhTW6TL._AC_SX522_.jpg (27.5 KiB) Viewed 2540 times
IMHO the player will work just like back in the old days :).
One possible option for good tape cable is: CLICK HERE

What's interesting the player has the same 2.5mm connector too as the cable... and I wonder whether it will work like remote control if we connect cable's "REM" to player's "MIC REMOTE" ?

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:22 pm
by robcook
Hmmm, dunno why the link is invisible - I see the image fine - remove the gaps from the following for the direct URL: https:// www.amazon.co.uk/ GPO-Portable-Cassette-Microphone-Dictation/dp/B01DO8MCKK

Thanks for the cassette connection lead suggestion.I got the same advice from Andy/Baz and I ordered mine about ten minutes ago :)

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:54 pm
by kaydav
I kept away from new cassette recorders because I wasn't sure how compatible they'd be in terms of the DIN socket and also needing mono playback. However, my old retro equipment stash includes the recorders that we used back then and I tested and cleaned up one for my Oric and it's doing fine. Ebay is a good place to find them, and also replacement drive belts if needed.

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:44 am
by robcook
I realise that cassette tapes degrade over time, apparently. I'm hoping the same wouldn't apply to 'still in original wrapping' cassettes I picked up for free recently. I hope the chemically wotnot doesn't do any damage if the 'box ain't been opened' to the elements yet.

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:05 am
by coco.oric
Nice idea, but i've seen a lot of tape reader which in fact are using MP3 conversion.
Is this models are reliable with our old oric tapes ?

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:51 am
by Dbug
robcook wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:44 am
I realise that cassette tapes degrade over time, apparently. I'm hoping the same wouldn't apply to 'still in original wrapping' cassettes I picked up for free recently. I hope the chemically wotnot doesn't do any damage if the 'box ain't been opened' to the elements yet.
From what I see, there are a few duds in tapes, but most are fine, what's recommended though is to first try to unpool them a bit manually to see if nothing is stuck, and if everything is fine, then put it in the drive and do a full unroll and then rollback to make sure all the band is nicely loosened and retightened.

Generally the biggest problem is the tape drive, not the tape, modern tape drives as mentioned previously suffer from average to bad mechanics and some indeed are just glorified mp3 players that also suffer from terrible sound, bass boosts, etc...

The older tape drives often have problems with belts and/or captstan, special models of tape drive with direct transmission (like the Sony DD drives) often suffer from a broken wheel (the plastic just break after a few years).

The good thing, is that before buying a tape drive you can check only if there are some replacement belt kits available for it, if it's a common model of a known brand, that probably exist, and you can often find replacement guides on youtube etc...

If it's an unknown model from a generic brand, it gets much harder, but you can still open the device before using it, check the status of the belts (take plenty of photos so you know where they go if they break) and eventually remove the belts, measure their diameter and thickness, and find some matching models.

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 5:06 pm
by robcook
Dbug wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:51 am
From what I see, there are a few duds in tapes, but most are fine, what's recommended though is to first try to unpool them a bit manually to see if nothing is stuck, and if everything is fine, then put it in the drive and do a full unroll and then rollback to make sure all the band is nicely loosened and retightened.
Nice one. Thank you, Dbug. I will following instructions for once-in-my-life and do as you advise when I open up the tapes. I've got a monitor due for delivery any day now to use with my Oric, so I'll be at it shortly.

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:23 am
by Dbug
Since we are talking tapes, not directly related to the discussion but could interest you, I just wrote a new blog post about the Oric tape format and problems:

http://blog.defence-force.org/index.php ... &ref=ART63

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:55 pm
by Vyper68
Dbug wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:23 am
Since we are talking tapes, not directly related to the discussion but could interest you, I just wrote a new blog post about the Oric tape format and problems:

http://blog.defence-force.org/index.php ... &ref=ART63
Interesting read Dbug, has anyone ever replaced R8 with a 10K resistor and had better results?

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:24 pm
by iss
Vyper68 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:55 pm
Dbug wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:23 am
Since we are talking tapes, not directly related to the discussion but could interest you, I just wrote a new blog post about the Oric tape format and problems:

http://blog.defence-force.org/index.php ... &ref=ART63
Interesting read Dbug, has anyone ever replaced R8 with a 10K resistor and had better results?
Very interesting indeed! I have some useful info related to the tape-in and will post it in another topic (because it's not for tape recorders). But here you are the tape input stage draw in different (imho more clear) way:
Tape-input.png
Tape-input.png (63.17 KiB) Viewed 2375 times
You can see R8 is the positive feedback of the comparator and together with R7 controls the hysteresis.
Decreasing the value to 10k will widen the hysteresis window, so the input should become more noise-proof.
I think it can be somehow helpful, but I don't believe this is an universal always working solution.

EDIT: In the context of old fashion tape players/recorders and K7 which used standard Oric SLOW/FAST protocols and are relatively noisy - reducing R8 to 10k makes sense, but for digital players (PC sound card) and faster transfers (Tap2CD, Novalight, TapOric, etc.) where the signal is near perfect with sharp rising/falling edges it's better to have narrower hysteresis window.

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 7:32 pm
by robcook
The last few posts could well have been written in Latin for all I understood :) You guys techy-knowledge blows my mind and really puts me in my place. You're on another level.

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 7:44 pm
by Dbug
robcook wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 7:32 pm
The last few posts could well have been written in Latin for all I understood :) You guys techy-knowledge blows my mind and really puts me in my place. You're on another level.
I think that has more to do with the fact that we've played with this stuff for a few decades :)

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:12 pm
by Vyper68
I mainly use my laptop and Audacity with Novalight these days but I do use real cassette sometimes so this is very interesting to me. I may replace R8 in one of my Oric’s and do some testing :D

Re: Connecting to a tape recorder in 2019

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:58 pm
by robcook
I still have no cassette/data recorder :( Any that I find online either have horrendous reviews or lousy pictures/descriptions that don't include port/socket info. I have the lead connector from Cool Novelties - https://www.ebay.com/itm/ORIC-1-ORIC-AT ... 1775032876 but no player to connect it to. Been hunting around local second-hand shops (no joy!), eBay, Amazon, etc. but I don't want to lay out money + P&P for something that isn't going to work.

Can anyone please recommend a make/model of data recorders that will definitely work via my cool new lead? I've dropped a message to Cool Novelties asking the same question. Starting to think I'm never gonna get to use the Atmos :(