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Add on that cassette tape player!

Cassette Tape

Cassette Tape

Did you ever wonder how the Cassette tape player works?  Let me explain it to you.

The components of the tape player consist of:

  • Magnetic tape
  • Amplifier
  • Noise reduction
  • Speakers

Magnetic recordings are based on electromagnetism. When a current flows in a coil of wire, it generates a magnetic field. Also, when a magnetic field moves near a wire, it generates an electric current in the wire. This phenomena is the basis of all recording (conversion of an electrical signal to a magnetic pattern) and playback (conversion of the magnetic pattern back to an electrical signal).

MAGNETIC TAPE construction is based on a thin mylar ribbon coated with iron oxide particles (a form of finely powdered rust). During construction, the particles are deposited onto the tape with a resin like substance. While the tape is still wet it is passed under a powerful magnet. This orientates the metal particles lengthwise along the tape. The tape is then passed through rollers to press the metal particles into the tape permanently. The process of recording is simply flipping each particle’s magnetic orientation one way or the other. Once set, (recorded), the particles retain their magnetic orientation until exposed to another strong magnetic field.

Wait, did you forget something?!

Wait, did you forget something?!

Tape players have a mechanism that moves the tape past a small electromagnet in a shielded case called a “head”. This head picks up the magnetic signals on prerecorded tape, amplifies the electrical signals through the AMPLIFIER circuit, and sound is produced through SPEAKERS.

In the process of recording, some low-level noise is always evident. Tapes add hiss because of the imperfectly random distribution of magnetic particles in the binder. Digital recordings have low level quantizing noise because of the finite number of “bits” used to measure the signal. Even pure electronic circuits add noise because of tiny irregularities in the flow of electrons.

The process of NOISE REDUCTION is called “equalization”. The naturally weak high frequency tones in music are boosted by a standard amount during recording, then in playback the highs are cut back by the same amount, restoring the original tonal balance and reducing noise added by the recording medium. Most EQ is built in and needs no attention from the user.

A tape player may contain other items that manipulate and enhance the sound, such as additional graphic equalizers, dynamic range expanders or sub-woofers for more powerful bass.

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