Realistic stereo 8 track $15 dollars! Is it worth it?

radio, tape, stands and accessories
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CDK
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Realistic stereo 8 track $15 dollars! Is it worth it?

Post by CDK » 26 Jan 2019 04:46

I’m looking at buying a 8 track player it’s stereo it has record. The things I’m worried about are the motor squeals the program button doesn’t light up or works but it try’s to the tape head could be magnetize and dirty should I just pass it up? If I can get it for $5 dollars with the speakers should I get it?

Spinner45
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Re: Realistic stereo 8 track $15 dollars! Is it worth it?

Post by Spinner45 » 26 Jan 2019 07:44

It'll most likely need a bit of work since it's made in the 1970's.
The "worth it" is up to you.

Alec124c41
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Re: Realistic stereo 8 track $15 dollars! Is it worth it?

Post by Alec124c41 » 27 Jan 2019 01:34

Only if you have a pile of 8-track tapes want to play.

Cheers,
Alec

super scope
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Re: Realistic stereo 8 track $15 dollars! Is it worth it?

Post by super scope » 27 Jan 2019 03:32

Yes, most 8 track tapes out there are in poor condition. Have bought some on ebay and they either didn't work at all or didn't last very long. Most say "untested" because they no longer have their 8 track player. I have bought a few that said they have put in new splices and pads and most have worked,but not all. They are not that cheap either. Someone gave me six Beatle 8 tracks they had stored in their basement in a case. 5 of them broke upon first play.....one survived!
I have about 8 tapes left and some of them sound tired.....I like them though and just take chances when buying them.
I have 2 Panasonic decks...one for 6 bucks and the other for 2 bucks. The 2 dollar one just fried but the other is going strong! Take a chance for 5 bucks......if you already have tapes...even better!

Tinkaroo
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Re: Realistic stereo 8 track $15 dollars! Is it worth it?

Post by Tinkaroo » 27 Jan 2019 10:16

You would be better off in buying one that has been serviced for a bit more money.

The servicing should include new belts, cleaning of the heads, etc.. The squealing sound you mention may be the belts slipping. They get old and brittle, and even turn to goo in some cases.

Issuesman666
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Re: Realistic stereo 8 track $15 dollars! Is it worth it?

Post by Issuesman666 » 27 Jan 2019 15:18

Analog tape formats and players are very risky.

Tapes are a format that try your patience.They break,the brush can come off, sound quality is hit and miss.

I am listening to a cassette as I type this....

1770_ron
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Re: Realistic stereo 8 track $15 dollars! Is it worth it?

Post by 1770_ron » 28 Jan 2019 00:43

CDK wrote:
26 Jan 2019 04:46
I’m looking at buying a 8 track player it’s stereo it has record. The things I’m worried about are the motor squeals the program button doesn’t light up or works but it try’s to the tape head could be magnetize and dirty should I just pass it up? If I can get it for $5 dollars with the speakers should I get it?
$15 isn't spectacularly cheap for a typical 8-track recorder deck unless it's in really good shape or is a TOTL unit like the Wollensak, Akai, Pioneer, JVC and Realistic component decks. If you specifically want to listen to 8-track cartridges, check out https://8trackheaven.com/. There is a wealth of information about tape and player repair.

If you decide to jump, you'll need to make a hobby of it or else become very depressed when a treasured tape breaks at the end of a track due to a snapped metal sensing foil. The carts themselves are 40 to 50 years old: pressure pads, pinch rollers, internal continuous-loop mechanism, and tape formulations are problematic. The hardware often needs replacement belts (obtainable from turntableneedles.com), lubrication, head alignment. I used to be really into 8-tracks, and still possess a bunch of nice vintage players and tapes stored away but haven't seriously fiddled with these in several years. No doubt the 8-track format is seductive and can sound really nice at times, but ultimately this depends on how much time and money you invest to put into yet another audio hobby.

Spinner45
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Re: Realistic stereo 8 track $15 dollars! Is it worth it?

Post by Spinner45 » 28 Jan 2019 01:21

1770_ron wrote:
28 Jan 2019 00:43
CDK wrote:
26 Jan 2019 04:46
I’m looking at buying a 8 track player it’s stereo it has record. The things I’m worried about are the motor squeals the program button doesn’t light up or works but it try’s to the tape head could be magnetize and dirty should I just pass it up? If I can get it for $5 dollars with the speakers should I get it?
$15 isn't spectacularly cheap for a typical 8-track recorder deck unless it's in really good shape or is a TOTL unit like the Wollensak, Akai, Pioneer, JVC and Realistic component decks. If you specifically want to listen to 8-track cartridges, check out https://8trackheaven.com/. There is a wealth of information about tape and player repair.

If you decide to jump, you'll need to make a hobby of it or else become very depressed when a treasured tape breaks at the end of a track due to a snapped metal sensing foil. The carts themselves are 40 to 50 years old: pressure pads, pinch rollers, internal continuous-loop mechanism, and tape formulations are problematic. The hardware often needs replacement belts (obtainable from turntableneedles.com), lubrication, head alignment. I used to be really into 8-tracks, and still possess a bunch of nice vintage players and tapes stored away but haven't seriously fiddled with these in several years. No doubt the 8-track format is seductive and can sound really nice at times, but ultimately this depends on how much time and money you invest to put into yet another audio hobby.
I agree with most of what you say, however, I never found 8-tracks to sound nice.
And I owned a high-quality play-record deck in the 1970's, along with premium recording tapes.
It just never cut the mustard compared to cassettes, and of course reel-to-reel tape.
How could it, it crammed 8 thin tracks onto a quarter inch tape - It was sloppy, only good for extremely casual listening.
I don't know why anyone would bother with that format today.

AsOriginallyRecorded
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Re: Realistic stereo 8 track $15 dollars! Is it worth it?

Post by AsOriginallyRecorded » 28 Jan 2019 02:54

And me as well. Quite probably the same deck, and I have it for essentially the same reason. It is a stepping stone along the audio history pathway. I already had some 8-track tapes (that have a certain charm of their own in terms of the audio experience), so the purchase was a no brainer in order to tie it all together. Some of the tapes take me right back 40 years to some special times, so worth the small expenditure and the now iffy fidelity. But that isn't the point of having the player and tapes at all, it is all about momentarily recapturing some moments in time. I also advocate that if it works, or even if it is just as an historical artifact, buy it! How often do you think they come around anyway? :lol:

1770_ron
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Re: Realistic stereo 8 track $15 dollars! Is it worth it?

Post by 1770_ron » 17 Feb 2019 04:47

CDK wrote:
26 Jan 2019 04:46
I agree with most of what you say, however, I never found 8-tracks to sound nice. And I owned a high-quality play-record deck in the 1970's, along with premium recording tapes. It just never cut the mustard compared to cassettes, and of course reel-to-reel tape. How could it, it crammed 8 thin tracks onto a quarter inch tape - It was sloppy, only good for extremely casual listening. I don't know why anyone would bother with that format today.
During my teenage years, I had both formats, and as an adult I dabbled in those ancient pre-recorded 8-tracks occasionally. In the early years, those 8 thin tracks on quarter inch tape at 3-3/4 ips sometimes sounded pretty good, particularly the cartridges issued in the late '60s and '70s by RCA. If you owned the more expensive cassette decks of the era and only used self-recorded tapes on top-grade tape stock, cassettes were the superior format. Ultimately, the downfall of the 8-track tape format in the mass marketplace was increasing consumer resentment over the format's drawbacks: varying quality control levels on those critical pressure pads and pinch rollers, metallic sensing tape which was prone to snapping apart, and inconsistent quality of tape stock and cartridge mechanism parts, resulting in a distressing number of tapes which ended up either "breaking" or sounding rotten.

I will guess that the high-speed tape duplication equipment of those early days (1965-74) provided wider frequency response and dynamic range in the 8-track format (with double the speed of the Compact Cassette), but as cassettes caught on huge numbers of audiophiles and car-stereo fanatics discovered that "self-recording" their albums onto cassette yielded vastly better sound quality than the then-mediocre pre-recorded cassettes. With very few exceptions, only in the early '80s did record companies get serious about sound quality on their pre-recorded cassette releases. By then, 8-track was no longer a commercial competitor.

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