March 21, 2011
The End Of The Road, Vis-A-Vis Hipster Cool...
by Chris Randall
My main purpose in putting this up, aside from strictly historical interest, is to make James from RetroThing wet his pants with jealousy. Jeff Laity from TASCAM (who posts as synthetic here) sent me this little gem completely out of the blue, because he knows this is the sort of thing that makes me all giggly like a little girl.
What it is: the TEAC Open Reel cassette system. Check it. You've got an empty shell of a cassette, and you can swap out the reels of tape as if it was a reel-to-reel. There's a take-up reel included with the system, and each roll of tape has its own little plastic case that screws apart. I think, from a commercial standpoint, that it's interesting this was ever released at all.
The construction quality of the reels themselves, and their little holders, is top notch, just as nice as a roll of Quantegy 2" or some such. The cassette shell thing is kind of not-as-awesome, but it'll get the job done. There's a slot in the side of the shell that you slide the reel in to, and then you spool the tape over to the take-up reel, and Bob's your uncle.
As far as I can tell, the point of this system is to be able to just leave the shell in your Walkman (or TEAC-branded version of same) and then you've got these little spools instead of a rucksack full of cassettes. They're much, much tinier, of course. A pretty cool concept all in all, but I wish (oh, how I wish) there was a tiny little 1/8" reel-to-reel deck they went with. No such luck.