greatbear analogue and digital media > audio tape transfer > 8 track cartridge / NAB

8 track cartridge / NAB

sonifex 8 track tape NAB cartridge machine

8 track / NAB cartridge transfer

We can digitise and restore 8 track cartridges and the faster speed and higher quality NAB cartridges.

We offer a range of delivery formats for audio transfer including Broadcast WAV (B-WAV) files on hard drive or optical media (CD) at 16 bit/44.1 KHz (commonly used for CDs), 24 bit/96 KHz (the minimum recommended archival standard) and anything up to 24 bit / 192 Khz.

We can also provide access copies on CD or MP3.

cartridge problems

8 track and NAB cartridges use 1/4 inch analogue magnetic recording tape just like open reel tapes. This tape is joined as an endless loop with conductive tape between sections or splices for easy and quick access. Because of this, many of the issues that arise with open reel tape can and do arise over time with 8 track cartridges.

These include mould growth if the tape has been stored in damp or humid conditions, sticky shed syndrome and general oxide shedding. Fortunately these issues are treatable and most tapes can be recovered, but it is a process that is complicated by the endless loop design in the cassette shell.

The best way to recover problem tapes is to remove from the cartridge shell and play on a 1/4 inch reel to reel machine with a specially made repro head for the 8 track format.

cartridge history

Eight-track cartridges were a consumer market magnetic tape sound recording technology popular in the United States from the mid-1960s through to the early 1980s. Relatively unknown in many European countries it was, however, very popular in the United Kingdom during this period.

The popularity of 8 track cartridges grew with the booming automobile industry. Ford fitted the first 8-track tape players in their cars in 1965, and optional 8-track players were available in many cars and trucks through the early 1980s.

Eight-track players became less common in homes and vehicles in the late 1970s when audio compact cassettes were used more widely. The last eight-track cartridges were phased out of retail stores in the US by 1982.

The eight-track cartridge was a popular and highly portable music format, suitable for use in the home, recreation, and vehicles.  The eight-track format maintains a cult following with avid collectors even after its demise on the open market.

The NAB cartridge was a professional tape format widely used at radio stations until the late 1990s, when such formats as MiniDisc and computerized broadcast automation made it obsolete. The NAB cartridge was used to play commercials, jingles, station identifications and music.




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greatbear analogue and digital media ltd, 0117 985 0500
Unit 26, The Coach House, 2 Upper York Street, Bristol, BS2 8QN, UK

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