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Thread: C120 cassette tapes

  1. #1
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    Default C120 cassette tapes

    Cassette tapes might be yesterday's technology these days, but C120 cassette tapes were even more rarer when cassette tapes were still the norm.

    I found a couple of them around my house while growing up, and they mostly had music on them. I actually thought how brilliant it was to be able to record every second of one hour on one side of tape, unlike C90s and C60s.

    I suppose that they were rare because the instruction manuals of late 1980s radio cassette recorders and hi-fi s recommended us against C120s in their machines because of the vulnerability of the tape ribbon.

    I remember finding one that a storybook LP recorded onto it, and then 15 minutes of top 40 chart music of a 1982 Sunday afternoon, with one or two seconds of Tommy Vance's voice being heard.

    Managed to get some completely blank C120s from a seller in EBay around ten years ago, and I had no problem using them, so I often thought it was some myth, or depending on which brand of tape recorder one uses the tapes on.

    Anyone still got some C120 cassette tapes in their possession? Or are they just C60s and C90s?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: C120 cassette tapes

    I've got 1 C120 still which a friend let me have, it seemed to record & play alright IIRC.

    I think it was probably the cheaper machines that had trouble with them.

    Somewhere I read that TDK tried C180 tapes, but they used to record poorly & jam up machines, even when brand new.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  3. #3
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    Default Re: C120 cassette tapes

    C120s were great but fragile...
    Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: C120 cassette tapes

    It was indeed the basic shoebox cassette recorders and radio recorders that caused most of the issues with C120s as the crude mechanisms put more strain on the tape. I used C46s quite a lot for recording albums and the tape in these is very tough. You also have to remember that although the formulations and usually the mechanisms were better, tape from the late 1980s/early 1990s is thinner than that from the late 1970s/early 1980s and therefore more easily damaged.
    Last edited by CrystalBall; 1 Week Ago at 16:20.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: C120 cassette tapes

    A few but mostly C90's

    Similar to VHS tapes; BASF brought out 300 minute tapes

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: C120 cassette tapes

    I bought quite a few C120s in the 90s. Around 1997 I bought a box of 15 or 20 of them from one of those bargain shops. They were very cheap and actually a very cheap brand. I had trouble with around 1/3 of them in that they would jam in the machine while recording or playing. I think I might still have a few up in the loft somewhere.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: C120 cassette tapes

    The optimum if you did a lot of recording was C90. I found that C120 tended to drag and play slow.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: C120 cassette tapes

    Quality seemed hit & miss with the cheaper brands. I still have some WH Smiths tapes that sound fine after 30 years.

    But in the late 1990s my Dad bought some Woolworths tapes that didn't record & play right, especially in his car radio, which always seemed to be fussy with cheap tapes.

    Most better brands like TDK, Sony & Memorex seem to last well.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  9. #9
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    Default Re: C120 cassette tapes

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard1978 View Post
    Quality seemed hit & miss with the cheaper brands. I still have some WH Smiths tapes that sound fine after 30 years.

    But in the late 1990s my Dad bought some Woolworths tapes that didn't record & play right, especially in his car radio, which always seemed to be fussy with cheap tapes.

    Most better brands like TDK, Sony & Memorex seem to last well.


    Mention of Woolworth's has made me think those cheap tapes I bought may have been branded as Waltham, which I think was Woolworth's own brand, but I definitely got them from a bargain shop, and I can't be 100% sure that they were Waltham.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: C120 cassette tapes

    Some cheaper/store brands were fine - it depends who made them. WH Smith would be supplied by one of the major manufacturers, as were Boots (rebadged Maxell). Philips were also a major supplier. All the big Japanese brands - TDK, Maxell, Sony, Fuji etc. and also BASF were very good and will last for decades if used and stored carefully.

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