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Thread: Mixing with a tape recorder in the 1980s/90s

  1. #11
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    I was a Dj in the '80s that used cassettes exclusively... all tracks recorded from vinyl. However the trend in my area then did not include that club style 20-30sec clip format, in fact doing that at an event would get you boo'd out of the building, it wasn't until the '90s when that started to creap in. And I'm thankful for that because mixing on cassette was labor intensive to put it mildly. I had really good decks compared to most everybody else... some mid level Teac single bay units that could produce the same SQ as CD, with a basic mixer it was possible to do a pretty good job at mixing live but there was no beat matching.. at least not on the hardware, it was all down to track selection to keep the tempo flowing so you really had to know your music. I had hundreds of tapes and could instantly lay my hands on the correct tape to cue up the next track at a live event. That was my thing... every event was live not pre recorded like many others did, but obviously there were groups of songs that often got played in the same order because of how they flowed together. I also made quite a few mixed tapes, even tried my hand at layering tracks on top of one another with overdubing.. now there is a great way to waste several hours creating a single track.
    Last edited by conanski; 04-18-2021 at 10:24 PM.
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  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by conanski View Post
    I was a Dj in the '80s that used cassettes exclusively... all tracks recorded from vinyl. However the trend in my area then did not include that club style 20-30sec clip format, in fact doing that at an event would get you boo'd out of the building, it wasn't until the '90s when that started to creap in. And I'm thankful for that because mixing on cassette was labor intensive to put it mildly. I had really good decks compared to most everybody else... some mid level Teac single bay units that could produce the same SQ as CD, with a basic mixer it was possible to do a pretty good job at mixing live but there was no beat matching.. at least not on the hardware, it was all down to track selection to keep the tempo flowing so you really had to know your music. I had hundreds of tapes and could instantly lay my hands on the correct tape to cue up the next track at a live event. That was my thing... every event was live not pre recorded like many others did, but obviously there were groups of songs that often got played in the same order because of how they flowed together. I also made quite a few mixed tapes, even tried my hand at layering tracks on top of one another with overdubing.. now there is a great way to waste several hours creating a single track.
    wow thats amazing, i didnt know people did gigs in that way. Man Id make a short documentary about that if i had someone like yourself nearby and some of the equipment. (im a videographer)

  3. #13
    Moderator pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Matt View Post
    wow thats amazing, i didnt know people did gigs in that way.
    Nah people did gigs this way:






    well crazy Latvian iron curtain DMC people did anyway....
    bored, curious, deaf or just bad taste in music?
    finally a mix by me
    and what's this, another shoddy mix...another dull mix

  4. #14
    Deez Beats! KLH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Matt View Post
    showing my age here but... i found some old mixtapes of mine from around 1991 or 1992
    Man, you took me baaaaaaack! I loved listening to the music. Great flashback.

    Just to be clear, I did not know anyone who "mixed" this way. It is kinda cool in a nostalgic way.
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  5. #15
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    That video is nuts, that guy has some skilz for sure. How does someone figure out that a tape deck can be manipulated that way without breaking it?
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  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by KLH View Post
    Man, you took me baaaaaaack! I loved listening to the music. Great flashback.

    Just to be clear, I did not know anyone who "mixed" this way. It is kinda cool in a nostalgic way.
    took myself back lol
    I was only 13 years old at the time, so I didn't mix live, but i would make the tapes and then use them at parties, or just for my own entertainment.
    I made loads of these tapes, and I remember having one tape with just samples that I could use in these mixes. Unfortunately the one I uploaded seems to be the only one i can find right now.

    i got the inspiration from the old "hit the decks" compilations
    and another similar crowd called unity mixers





    those release were my introduction to DJing really
    it wasn't until a little later, a year or so that i started to get house mixes from local DJs and realised they were using dual turntables
    Last edited by DJ Matt; 04-29-2021 at 03:16 PM.

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Matt View Post
    those release were my introduction to DJing really
    it wasn't until a little later, a year or so that i started to get house mixes from local DJs and realised they were using dual turntables
    Those are from 1992 and 1991.
    CDs were already the dominant format by then. Just look at used cars with factory stereos from the 1990s.

    Although most DJs were still using records instead of CDs unless they were mobile DJs.
    CDJs didn't become popular until the late 1990s and early 2000s.
    But the number of US Supreme Court judges was always 6.
    Then it was 5, then 6, then 7, then 9, then 10, then 7, and then 9.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Windows 95 View Post
    Those are from 1992 and 1991.
    CDs were already the dominant format by then. Just look at used cars with factory stereos from the 1990s.

    Although most DJs were still using records instead of CDs unless they were mobile DJs.
    CDJs didn't become popular until the late 1990s and early 2000s.
    yes, they would have been for mainstream and mobile DJs, I remember going to some 'discos' as we used to call them, where the DJ would have been using CDs
    But for dance music, Vinyl was still the order of the day well into the late 1990s, where I come from, that's what they used in the clubs and all the dance music record shops dealt almost exclusively in vinyl for most of the 1990s
    and mixed cassette tapes were still going strong for copying and circulating music between friends up until at least 1998
    If you had a second-hand car around that time it normally still had a tape player

    I only gave up DJing on vinyl in 2005. I tried DJing with CDs with multiple different solutions and never liked it, though I do like to collect CDs.
    I once foolishly told a friend that digital DJing is just a gimmick and will never catch on LOL, I DJ almost exclusively digitally now since 2010 with the exception of the odd novelty vinyl gig.
    Last edited by DJ Matt; 04-30-2021 at 05:23 AM.

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Matt View Post
    If you had a second-hand car around that time it normally still had a tape player.
    When I was in high school most used cars had a mono radio or an 8-track cartridge stereo. And most new cars had a cassette stereo.

    Vinyl was still dominant enough that even most mobile DJs were still using record players.

    CDs were basically forced on the public. Since they were cheaper to manufacture than vinyl and tapes. And they were charging more for CDs.
    Reel-to-reel, 4-track & 8-track cartridge tapes, and cassette tapes never out-sold vinyl records.

    The record companies just quit making vinyl records available in most retail stores during the 1990s. About the only place still selling vinyl records were the record stores.
    But the number of US Supreme Court judges was always 6.
    Then it was 5, then 6, then 7, then 9, then 10, then 7, and then 9.

  10. #20
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    Ahh, "pause tapes"-- my introduction to deejaying!

    It must seem completely arcane to today's generation, but some of us really did get our start by taking sections of songs and recording them to cassette to extend the breakdown or whatever. I must have been around 14 when I figured out you could do this with a dual cassette deck. At the time, hip-hop production and things like sampling and drum programming were a complete mystery to me. The producers may as well have been using magic to create beats.

    Nowadays you can fire up the internet and watch Marley Marl as he explains to you exactly how he created some of the most iconic backing tracks of all time, right down to the gear he used. It's a different world, for sure.
    Last edited by Alt2de; 08-06-2022 at 12:14 AM.

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