Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicRock and Pop · 3 weeks ago

Why has there been no 8 track tape revival?

Vinyl lives again, long after everyone said CDs would make albums obsolete.

6 Answers

  • Andrew
    Lv 7
    2 weeks ago

    That's like asking why people haven't made the decision to give up using toilets and revert back to chamber pots. Because 8 tracks are shite - in every possible way. 

    The sound quality was awful, they were prone to all kinds of damage, they were bulky, there is just nothing positive about them that anybody could possibly point to and it's only when looking back on them with nostalgia that anybody would profess a fondness for them. 

    I grew up with vinyl records. The sound quality was great, but records are delicate and take up a lot of space. 

    Then there were cassette tapes. In all honesty, that's probably been the best medium of my generation. Cassette tapes are small and light, they can accommodate a pretty decent amount of music - there are tapes that run to almost an hour and a half, and if you've got a decent sound system, they sound great. The main drawback is that they are subject to wear so repeated plays will inevitably result in the tape wearing out, and that's fecking infuriating because there's so much music that's only available on cassette. I've probably spent 10% of my life recording albums on cassette onto blank tapes so that I could wear out the blanks and keep the originals like new. When CDs came along I picked up scores of blank tapes for a song and still have some, unopened, in case I need to make copies of old ones. 

    CDs are okay, the sound quality isn't as good as vinyl or cassette, but if you're playing them through a proper stereo, they're okay. I don't find them to be more durable than tapes by any measure. CDs scratch easily, so they require more delicate handling, which is a pain in the árse. And those jewel boxes were awful. They would break so easily. I did like the foldout bookets though - the liner notes on CDs were much more extensive than those of LPs, which was cool, but everybody used those big CD holders that zipped up, so it was hard to keep the booklet handy and learn track names and things like that. 

    Mini CDs never took off, which I can't understand. 

    Now everything is digital and it sounds terrible. I'm just an analogue man in a digital world I suppose. 

  • 3 weeks ago

    It was a flawed technology.

  • 3 weeks ago

    I'm old enough to have used 8-tracks the first time around, in fact, I still have an old box of them. Many years ago, I got it in my head to digitize all of them so I could rock out to all my old cruisin' tunes.  That's when I was reminded of what a horrible format 8-tracks were.  Truly horrible, and there are many reasons it hasn't been revived.

    8-tracks were designed for simple one-hand operation in cars.  This was back in the day when just tuning the radio was considered "distracted driving". You popped the tape in and it auto-played, jumping between four stereo tracks (4x2=8 tracks). There was no FF or RW, but you could press a button to select which of the 4 tracks played.  You had albums with probably 12 songs which had to be arranged onto 4 tracks, an average of 3 songs per track. If all the songs were exactly the same length, there would be no problem, but in the real world, it doesn't work that way. The producers did their best to rearrange the order of songs to fit the time allowance, but there were always either gaps at the end of track, or even worst, they changed track in the middle of a song. That destroyed the groove.....

    The way the tapes worked mechanically was poor also.  Inside the case, there was one reel.  The tape pulled from the center and wound back on the outside.  For this to work, the tape needed to be loosely wound.  If it was too tight, the tape wouldn't pull from the center. If it was too loose, the tape wouldn't fit on the reel, and tangle inside. Want to guess how often something went wrong there?  In the front of the case there was a rubber roller behind the tape which contacted a spinning post (capstan) in the player. The friction between the roller and capstan pulled the tape across the playback heads.  This was prone to flutter. The tape was one continuous loop, with a short length of metal foil connecting the beginning to the end.  When this foil passed the playback head, it made a connection which changed to the next track by moving the head up or down with a big "clunk".   Of course, the head often needed adjustment.  If it was slightly out of position, you heard bleed-thru from the other tracks. Oh, and finally squeezing 8 tracks onto a 1/4" tape meant that the tracks didn't have much fidelity. That really didn't matter in a noisy car.  8-Tracks were the first portable format for most of us, so we were pretty forgiving of it's faults.  It had a good run, but there are a lot of good reasons why we moved on. 

  • 3 weeks ago

    There is not a big enough market for it

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  • 3 weeks ago

    I've seen 8 track tapes before, and the way they work, they are prone to trouble.  The tape inside constantly rubs against itself.  Also, I think vinyl discs have a better sound quality than tapes.

  • Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    Because for longer songs 8-track tapes would literally have a 2-3 second pause as it switched to the next track to continue. It was truly awful and infuriating 

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