20 October 2015

PCM digital audio Compact Cassette


At the Tokyo Audio Fair in 1981 there were no more than 16 companies showing CD players before the official launch in 1982. On the other hand the same companies - JVC, PIONEER, SANYO, SHARP, SONY - demonstrated PCM tape decks that were using normal Compact Cassette. The only problem was that there was no standardization of the recording format. The cassette were not interchangeable, each company using a different recording format, track layout and tape speeds. The result is as we all know that only the CD was succesfull and the Compact Casssette remained as an analog audio recording format....or the storage device of the world first Digital Photo Camera.

SANYO PCA-D8 1982

JVC digital compact cassette 1982 (not the later DCC)

SONY S-DAT 1981

In 1985 SHARP presented the: "PCM digital audio compact cassette deck RT-X5 OPTONICA" This was made by SHARP as an early PCM system using a "16-track integrated head system" using a regular "Compact Cassette". 
                                     Here are some technical data for the SHARP RT-X5 :
14 bit / 44.1 khz sampling frequency
Frequency response 2 - 20.000 Hz +/- 0.5dB
Tape speed 9.5cm/s
...and 10kg

SHARP RT-X5 1985

It was only in the late 1992 that PHILIPS presented the DCC (Digital Compact Cassette) a backwards compatible format that allowed to record in digital format to the new DCC cassette but also to play back your old Compact Cassette. But this was too late and it is known as one of the biggest failure in audio history.

PHILIPS DCC 1992