Elcaset

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Elcaset really was a red herring. It was introduced by Sony in 1976 and it was discontinued only four years later.

The cassette is largish, 152 x 106 x 18 mm. It is more than double the size of a Compact Cassette, and it looks like a RCA-cassette, that had been in the market twenty years earlier.

The tape width is 6,3 mm and the tape speed is 9,5 cm/s. The track order is the same as in the C-cassette. There are indentification slots and lids for tape type, noise reduction and record safe. The reels have reel locks. The tape lengths were 60 and 90 minutes. The Elcaset recorders had Dolby B noise reduction. Dolby C was just about to be released when the Elcaset production discontinued.
The timing of the product was bad. The goal was to design a recordable format with as good audio quality as reel-to-reel tape, but as easy handling as the Compact Cassette. Unfortunately, only the quality part worked.

Sony was about to release the Compact Disc in 1982. CD had digital sound and the discs were easy to handle. However, it took a long time before home users could burn CD-R:s, even though the CD-R was released in 1990. On the other hand, the Compact Cassette was developed much better by using new magnetic materials and noise reduction systems.

Elcaset was dumped in 1980. Sony International arranged an auction between European importers. The Finnish importer won, and all remaining stock in Europe was dumped into Finland. 2000 Elcaset decks were sold at reduced price. A Sony EL-5 with 25 cassettes was priced at 795 Finnish Marks. The EL-7 with a similar cassette pile cost 1295 FIM. Corresponding original prices for the decks were 3750 and 4000 FIM.

There are still many working Elcaset decks in Finland. The format is quite unknown elsewhere in the world. It looks there are Elcaset hobbyists in the USA.