Los Senderos Studio
Audio Formats - Part 2
 Issue 79 April 2016 

Words from the Glossary

Last month we began looking at audio formats have changed over time. This month we complete the journey.

This month's terms: open reel, 4-track, 8-track, cassette, compact disc, Red Book.
(Note: Click on the term to view its definition in the glossary.)

Audio Formats - Part 2

4-Track Cartridge
4-Track Cartridge

Last month we left off after discussing open-reel tape recorders. The 4-track cartridge was introduced in 1962. It became the first format that could easily be played in your car. Music was released on 4-track tape primarily for use in automobiles, but later players and tapes were released for home use. The tape cartridge contained a continuous-loop tape that rotated around a central hub and passed over the tape head. When side 1 was completed, you had to manually change to side 2. Actually, there were no "sides," just a selection of different pairs of tracks.

8-Track Cartridge
8-Track Cartridge

Two years later, 8-track cartridges were introduced. Other than having eight tracks (4 stereo pairs) instead of four, the design was very similar to the 4-track cartridge, with one notable difference. The ends of the endless loop were fastened together with a splice of conductive material. This allowed the player to sense when the tape had completed a pass and automatically switched to the next set of tracks. They quickly overtook the 4-track tape and remained the primary car format until the cassette began to dominate.


The audio cassette was introduced by Philips in 1982, originally for use in dictation machines. As the fidelity improved, it began to be used for audio applications, first as blank cassettes that could be recorded and later sold with pre-recorded music. Originally called a compact cassette, it soon became called simply a cassette. Pre-recorded cassettes did not take off until the 1970s, but soon became the format of choice in cars. They remained popular for that application until the compact disc arrived.

Compact Discs
Compact Discs

The development of the compact disc began independently by Philips and Sony in the late 1970s. In 1979, Sony and Philips came together to form a joint task force to design the new digital audio disc. They published the Red Book standard in 1980. The compact disc was released commercially in 1982, and became extremely popular. By the early 1990s they had overtaken the LP in sales. They gradually began to replace the cassette as the entertainment medium in vehicles.

Today the compact disc is slowly declining in favor of digital downloads. However, that is story for another day. Next month, we'll begin a discussion of noise and distortion.


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John Lennon owned a jukebox, which he bought in 1965. He filled it with forty singles that he listened to while touring. Two of those singles were "Daydream" and "Do You Believe in Magic?" by the Lovin' Spoonful. Paul McCartney once said that "Daydream" had a major influence on his writing of "Good Day Sunshine."

The set on which Ricky Nelson appeared in "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" television show was an exact duplicate of the Nelson's real home in Hollywood.

The credit for writing the 1966 hit "Red Rubber Ball" by the Cyrkle was attributed to Jerry Landis. It was actually written by Paul Simon.

Stars Over Blanco

Free Concerts

Just a reminder of the free concerts being held this month in Blanco at Bindseil Park beginning at 6 p.m.

Thursday, April 7 - Leticia Rodriquez and her La Buena Banda.

Friday, April 15 - the Stovetop Rangers.

Friday, April 22 - Djambery Caravan.

Friday, April - the Paul Glasse Quartet.

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Present this coupon when you come in for a recording session and receive $50.00 off the regular rates when you book a session of 8 hours or more. This coupon is good for new clients only, can be used only one time (only one coupon per person or band), and cannot be combined with any other offers. If you pay by phone using a credit card, please use coupon code NEWSLETTER. If you have any friends or relatives looking for a recording studio, please clip this coupon and pass it along to them.

Offer Expires: May 31, 2016

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