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What Are They?

     
2:17 am on Sep 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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When I'm watching old movies, every now and then I see a circular shape flash in the upper right-hand corner of the screen for a split second. What are those things?
2:24 am on Sept 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Never mind, I found the answer. They are "Cue marks" to signal an impending reel change.
2:26 am on Sept 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Dang! Typed too slow again!
You don't mean the end-of-reel marks do you? The ones that come every 18-20 minutes?
12:36 am on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Exactly.
12:57 am on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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And what's that metal foil on all my 8 track tapes?
1:38 am on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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the metal foil is a signal to the 8 track player to switch the replay head to the next of the 4 positions.
2:15 am on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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4 positions

Hence the term "8-track" :)

8-tracks overlapped quad, didn't they? Would you then only get two positions?
2:37 am on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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4 positions in stereo (left and right tracks) = 8 tracks
4:52 am on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Er, uhm, phranque, I think, uh...

Someone else explain it, please :P
7:18 am on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Stereo takes up two tracks: one for the left, and one for the right.

So you playback two tracks at once, so you need four positions, each of which plays two of the eight tracks.
8:27 am on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Oh, lord. Deja vu.

Let's make that: Someone please explain to both phranque and graeme ... and then for an encore you can make up an answer to the quad question :)
10:40 am on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Haha phranque, you answered me with a straight face. How'd you do that?
4:20 pm on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Ah, yes. Misread your question.

The answer is probably no, because most quad systems encoded the four tracks in two.

I am not sure why that should give much better results than wiring rear speakers to play the difference between the signals to the front speakers, which I remember trying as a kid.
8:13 pm on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Haha phranque, you answered me with a straight face.

Heh, that's funny, I didn't know your own question was facetious. But then I never looked all that closely at an 8-track tape.

For the benefit of young squirts who blundered into this thread by mistake: eight-track players were popular for a couple of weeks around 1974. As I remember it, they combined the worst features of all sound-recording systems invented up to that date. Quadrophonic sound was a failed attempt to get people to buy twice as many speakers.

I never knew, or even heard about, anyone having a quad system during the five minutes they were in existence. And the only people I ever knew who had an 8-track player were the neighbors I babysat for. That was part of a cabinet system-- the kind with a TV screen in the middle, flanked by two speakers facing straight forward, the whole thing of course set flat against a wall.
9:42 pm on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hey, I have a box of 8-tracks somewhere... No player for them any more, but that's beside the point.

The main thing I hated about 8-tracks is the wasted space on the tape. (You divide an album's songs between the 4 tracks, and the the total amount of music on all 4 tracks was never close to being the same.) Even more annoying is when the record companies would fill the blank space with another song, which got cut off part of the way through it.

The second thing I hated was tape players that liked eating tapes...
11:25 pm on Sept 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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No player for them any more, but that's beside the point.

I recently made a new rule for myself: Every day I have to get rid of something. Throw away, recycle, donate to charity. Carrying it down to the garage doesn't count. Getting rid of things currently in the garage does count.

I figure it will take about six months before I start noticing a difference.

The main thing I hated about 8-tracks is the wasted space on the tape.

Conversely, the one thing I dislike about CD* reissues is that they destroy the albumness. On vinyl there are three key points: first song; first song on second side; last song. On a CD there are only two. There should be a longer gap in the middle. Or an audio blip. Or something. Sound effect of needle coming to end of record and returning to home?


* I spent quite a while staring at my originally typed "DVD" before figuring out what was wrong with it. :(
 

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