Compact Cassette

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The Compact Cassette was released by Philips in 1963. The tape width was 3,81 cm and the tape speed was 4,76 cm/s. The cassette was recorded into both directions and had stereo sound, which was compatible when played in a mono player and vice versa.

The duration of the cassettes varied from 15 minutes to 180 minutes. The longest tape had the thinnest tape, which made it vulnerable to stretching. The thin tape very often gets a little bit entangled at playback, which causes dropouts and wowing.

Many cassette players had noise reduction, the most common system was Dolby B. Also Dolby C, DBX and JVC ANRS were used.

Cassettes were much easier to handle than reel to reel tapes. This made them popular also in car players. The playback wasn't too stable due to the narrow tape and the light mechanics of the cassette and the players. There are notches at the rear of the cassette for the automatic selection of EQ and BIAS. One of the notches prevents accidental erasure of a recorded tape.

The first "personal stereo" was the Sony Walkman, which was released in 1979. It used the Compact Cassette.