I saw a vintage 8-track recording deck on Ebay-which made me wonder, are there still people using these things? And, are blank cartridges still made?
Did they *ever *sell blank eight-track cartridges? I thought they were all pre-recorded, and you had to get those new-fangled cassette tapes if you wanted to record your own.
You can buy them online
They definitely sold blank ones. My mother had several of her albums copied over for use in the car.
I find it incredibly humorous that “8-Track Shack” also carries Edison wax cylinders. Your home for all out-of-date audio technology!
Yup…in the late '70s / early '80s, my cousin had a console stereo system with a built-in turntable and 8-track player. He recorded albums onto 8-tracks all the time.
Thanks for fighting my ignorance. It’s nice to know there are still a few technologies I’m not quite old enough to remember well!..TRM
Back in the mid-90s one of the family cars was this enormous 1970s-model Oldsmobile 88 with an 8-track player. The only store-bought 8-tracks we had was “uncool” stuff like John Denver, ABBA, and Nana Mouskouri, so I would use my friend’s 8-track recorder to make mix tapes of my own CDs. I loved the surprised looks on my friends’ faces the first time I picked them up in the car and casually popped an 8-track in the stereo—needless to say they were not expecting to hear Nirvana, Beck, Monster Magnet, or Garbage come blasting out!
The problem with 8 track is the belts. I bought my mom & dad a very nice Zenith console stereo in 1978. The finish on the pecan wood cabinet is still perfect, the radio and record player works great. 8 track is dead thanks to a dry rotted belt.
Even if a replacement could be found, the cost of getting the unit serviced is just too much.
You didn’t miss much with 8-track. Horrible format. Big clunky tapes, and longer songs often required a track change in the middle. Nothing quite kills a song like [pause-KA-CHUNK-CLANG-pause] right in the middle of the guitar solo.
Actually, it worked out pretty good for I Am The Walrus; they put the track changeover at a very natural break in the song.
The one thing I didn’t like about 8-tracks was that you couldn’t rewind them. So once you’d heard a song, if you wanted to hear it again, you’d have to wait until the track finished, and then press the “switch track” button three times to get to the beginning again.
I recall that at least some pre-recorded 8-track tapes would fade out in the middle of a song, change tracks, and then fade back in. (Specific example: ELO’s “A New World Record” did this during the song “Above the Clouds”.)
Real music fans read liner notes in Cuneiform.
Forever my grandma had an old stereo with an eight track player in it. But we didn’t have a single eight-track. We has one of those eight track to cassette tape adapters.
We did have a lot of vinyl, though.
Nobody is making new blank cartridges any more. So far as I’m aware the last new blank 8-tracks you could buy in the U.S. were made in Korea for Radio Shack back in the early 90s. Diehard 8-trackers really hate these tapes because the quality was so poor. 8-trackers generally maintain their collections by cannibalizing broken cartridges to repair the ones they really want to keep. Often they’ll keep a supply of broken cartridges on hand to use for spare parts.
I really, really hated 8-tracks. Hated 'em so much I scrounged around and bought a beat-up old used open reel deck rather than buy an 8-track.
Actually the biggest problem was the weird way the tape had to be twisted to get an endless loop. 8-tracks were infamous for jamming and breaking.
When 8 tracks were invented they were designed mostly for cars , they knew the quality was not that good. My brother had an 8 track system for home around 72 which was not very common.
Radio stations used tapes called carts which were similar to 8 tracks but with better sound quality. They were used for commercials, 2 college stations I worked at in the early 80s used them for some music. Not sure if carts are still used in radio now, they may only use CDs.
Fully automated radio stations would have big machines full of carts to play all day.
I played a show recently and one of the other acts was selling their music on CD, casette tape, 12" vinyl, and 8 track. My bandmate bought an 8-track, even though he doesn’t have a player.
This thread has dredged up a few memories. During college (1976-1980) my eight track in the car got out of alignment. You’d hear two tracks playing at once. My old girlfriend got very good at sliding a pocket knife blade under the cartridge to raise it up. Worked every time. I eventually replaced it with a cassette player that could play both sides without taking it out of the machine.