1. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Here is yet another one of my many unusual hobbies. Restoring 8 tracks!

    Below is my garage entertainment setup. I've got just about all forms of media covered: 8 tracks, cassettes, FM, MP3s and Internet Radio. I got everything run through an RCA switching box and a Sony entertainment system.

    I don't have many LPs, mainly because they are cumbersome sorting through all the Christmas and Lounge Lizard albums at thrift stores. They also take up allot of space and require me getting on a ladder to set them up.

    8 tracks are easier to sort through at thrift stores but most 8 tracks I've found are Country. Plus since vinyl is making a comeback, people are asking way too much where 8 tracks sell for 25 cents to 50 cents a piece.

    People say 8 tracks sound like crap. Well so do CDs that are scratched all to hell. I'm not advocating that 8 tracks sound better than CDs or Cassettes. I just like the nostalgia behind it.


    8 track heaven!


    Before playing an 8 track it's best to replace the aluminum splice which holds both ends of the tape together and also advances the head to the next track by completing the circuit of the switch. The splice can also oxidize and not complete the circuit and won't advance to the next track.

    Playing a 40 year old 8 track without replacing the splice first is like playing Russian roulette!


    Finding the splice by hand. Otherwise as soon as the player advances to the next track, pull it out of the player.


    I make my own splices out of aluminum tape with a razor blade and a small steel ruler as a straight edge but you can buy the actual splices off Ebay:



    I found it easiest to just place the new splice (just a bit longer) over top of the hold one unless it's just about the fall off. Be sure to wipe the graphite lubricate off the tape before applying a new splice to help it adhere.


    Also new pressure pads made from foam rubber and packing tape. These are usually rotten.


    Not quite the same size as the originals but seem to do the job:



    More photos:

    http://s222.photobucket.com/user/turbofiat/library/vintage audio?sort=2&page=0
  2. michiel76

    michiel76 Loyal Comrade

    So....that is a nice collection!
    How many 8 tracks you have?
  3. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Here are the ones I've restored so far:


    I have some others I have not went through yet.

    I bought this off Ebay for $40. I can make my own 8 tracks! I copied Pink Floyd - Wish you were here from an MP3 over top of a less desirable 8 track.


    Hopefully by the middle of March, warming weather will be here and the flea markets will be in full swing!

    By the way. I've heard 8 tracks were not that all that popular outside North America. They were very popular here back in the late 60s up until the early 1980s.

    They were especially popular with truck drivers. I guess because they had to travel long distances and encounter areas without any radio reception and every truck stop sold them.

    If you ask most people their opinion they will say 8 tracks were junk technology. Really anything like cassettes or CDs, something is only as good as the equipment you play it on.

    They were invented by the guy who started the Lear Jet company as a portable music media with the main target being automobiles. Since it's hard to play a 33 LP in a car...

    Just like CDs that won't play when scratched up, there were issues like with splices breaking, inability to rewind, tape loosing tension and folding over. What always intrigued me was how the tape is a continuous loop and the unheard and heard portion of the tape uses the same reel instead of two.

    I'd like to see 8 tracks make a comeback like vinyl!
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
    michiel76 likes this.
  4. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    That's really interesting post I don't remember 8 tracks to be honest. But I still have some vinyl and have a decent Denon cassette deck up in the loft. My works lorry has a cassette deck in it so I bought an adapter cassette to plug in a MP3 player
  5. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    If you are talking about the tapes in this photo:


    These were tapes at the Habitat for Humanity that were donated and resold for 25 cents a piece. Most of these tapes are country music. I'm more of a classic rock/disco kind of guy myself. I sorted through these for about an hour and only walked away with about 10 tapes.

    They also had boxes and boxes of LPs but most were Christmas music and people I had never heard of so after awhile I got frustrated and walked away.

    But did manage to find a couple of Duran Duran, Robert Palmer and Julian Lennon LPs from the mid 1980s for 50 cents a piece.

    Has vinyl made a comeback in Europe like it has here in the United States?

    There is a store called Backdoor Records I used to buy used cassettes for $3.00 a piece back in the early 90s. The guy closed his doors briefly about 15 years ago when MP3s became popular. He told a friend he was closing down because Napster was running him out of business. The *free* Napster.

    But just recently opened his store again due to the popularity of vinyl. I never was much into vinyl because I guess I'm too lazy to set up an LP and I can't play it in my car. I guess that's good for me that I like cassettes and 8 tracks! Just pop it in a play it!

    I was actually a pre teen when 8 tracks were popular. I grew up during the cassette era.
  6. michiel76

    michiel76 Loyal Comrade

    Great device!

    Here in Holland 8 tracks were not populair.
    Mostly vinyl records and casette tapes.
  7. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    The reason 8 tracks were possibly more popular over here was because it was American technology were Compact cassettes were European technology.

    I remember the first automobile cassette deck. My father had a 73 Opel 1900 wagon and replaced the AM radio with an aftermarket cassette player from JC Penny's around 1982. Still during that time new cars were still being fitted with 8 track players.

    Most people think 8 tracks pre date cassettes but they actually do not. The compact cassette was invented by Phillips corporation in mono around 1962 with dictation being the target use where 8 tracks were invented around 1965 with the intent of prerecorded stereo music for cars which used preexisting 1/4" magnetic tape from reel to reel players. There was such a thing as a 4 track (mono) but they are rare. I've never actually seen one though.

    The 8 track versus cassette debate is like the VHS/Betamax controversy where cassette eventually won like VHS did over Beta. Some would argue that Beta was actually better quality than VHS. I got a used Betamax in 1984 as my first video recorder.

    So which sounds better? Cassettes or 8 tracks? That's all a matter of opinion! I think 8 tracks seem to have more bass than cassettes. And of course it all depends on the quality of the tape, the recording and the player.

    So one could sound better than the other depending upon the circumstances.

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