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Lou Ottens, Cassette Tape Inventor Died

Started by Ken., March 14, 2021, 09:40:11 AM

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Cassette Tape Inventor Died - Ep. 7.353

Lou Ottens, who invented the cassette tape and pioneered the CD, dies
This from the LA Times -  By Associated Press
QuoteMarch 12, 2021 11:37 AM PT

Lou Ottens, the Dutch inventor who pioneered the compact disc and invented the cassette tape — the medium of choice for millions of homemade mix tapes — has died at a care facility in the Netherlands.

Ottens died March 6 at 94, the Dutch electronic conglomerate Philips announced.

A structural engineer who trained at the prestigious Technical University in Delft, he joined Philips in 1952 and was head of the company's product development department when he began work on an alternative for existing tape recorders with their cumbersome large spools of tape.

His goal was simple: making tapes and their players far more portable and easier to use.

"During the development of the cassette tape, in the early 1960s, he had a wooden block made that fit exactly in his coat pocket," said Olga Coolen, director of the Philips Museum in the southern city of Eindhoven. "This was how big the first compact cassette was to be, making it a lot handier than the bulky tape recorders in use at the time."
Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress... but I repeat myself.

-Mark Twain


Sad news Ken. 

Strangely enough I'm sure I read or saw somewhere that the Cassette tape was making a comeback and outselling CD's.  Apparently the Cassette sounds better than CD.  I guess analogue captures more detail than digital which I can kind of understand.    Same was said for Vinyl records as well I'm sure. 

Spent many a time winding the tape back into a cassette with a pencil.   ;)
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Guitarist Guild
Camera Craniums


Same here with the pencil thing.  :tup:

Back in the '90s and early 2000's I spent a lot of time collecting and listening to old and new LP's and also converting some to digital using some of the lower to mid-range recording and playback equipment available at that time. So, because of that I learned how to clean LP's and can say, based on my experience only, that the original Vinyl has a cleaner, richer sound than any other medium. And, even when comparing Vinyl to fresh/new CDs of the same albums the Vinyl versions sounded better to me.
Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress... but I repeat myself.

-Mark Twain


Technically neither cassette nor vinyl can match the dynamic range and clarity of CDs or high bit rate mp3s.

Subjectively they can sound better, especially vinyl as the frequencies blend in together and mechanical harmonics are generated. The first time I made a deliberate comparison was with the album Once Around The World by It Bites. The title track sounds wonderfully engaging on vinyl, but clinical on CD. Even though in the latter format it is possible to hear detail that simply could not be reproduced from the LP.

What you hear, of course, is dictated not so much by the source material as the last bit in the chain - the loudspeakers or headphones which are where all the input gets changed into moving air. Speakers are the most important part in all sound reproduction.

Just my 2 cents.


Howard, I have no doubt that digital can retain more detail and clarity in it's virgin state on the storage drive, or maybe on a lossless FLAC file.  I think it's the final production and distribution where the detail gets lost, compressing several tracks to fit on a CD, or thousands of MP3 tracks stored on a iPod or similar MP3 player, something has to give.   A bit like a JPG image file (File size vs Quality) I guess.

I also agree the equipment you play the music through can be a big factor in listening pleasure.  Decent gear will undoubtedly sound better than lesser quality gear, but being digital it can only attempt to process what you feed it.   Makes me wonder what the difference in file size is between the original, and the final CD or MP3 files but I should imagine it's quite large.

Regarding cassette tapes, did they ever produce digital cassette tapes and portable players, like the ones used on early digital video recorders.?
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Guitarist Guild
Camera Craniums


His contributions to music technology, particularly the invention of the cassette tape and the compact disc, have profoundly influenced the way we create and enjoy music.

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