17 thoughts on “Exploring Hidden Lyrics On 1990s DCC Audio Tapes

  1. From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Compact_Cassette#Technology

    “This backward compatibility was intended to allow users to adopt digital recording without rendering their existing tape collections obsolete, but because DCC recorders couldn’t record (only play back) analog cassettes, it effectively forced consumers to either replace their cassette deck with a DCC recorder and give up analog recording, or keep the existing cassette deck and make space to add the DCC recorder to their setup. ”

    Plus the copy protection. What history could have been.

  2. This was actually a shorter lived audio standard than DAT, which I never saw used for audio, although it still survives as the underlying technology for many data tape systems today.

    1. Wierdly I saw lots of DAT used for audio but back then I was spending a lot of my spare time repairing, building and lugging gear around for a couple of local bands and DJs, some of the SCSI DAT drives aimed at data backup even had an audio connector on them though I never experimented to see if it was possible to use them to record or playback, I’d heard it needed a specific version of firmware but was never really curious enough about them to go digging.

      I read a lot about DCC but never saw a real life DCC player despite having worked at a Phillips dealership when they werre launched, it kinda sank without many bubbles because CD-R had become a thing I think.

      1. A major factor in the rapid death of DCC was the DCC decks could not record analog Compact cassettes – thus DCC was in no way a *replacement* for CC. If you wanted to continue to make mixtapes for your car or for friends who didn’t have a DCC desk, DCC could only be an *addition* to an AV system.

  3. There was an official-product SCMS override box for DCC.

    I don’t know which company produced it, and I think sales were very restricted to trusted parties.

    But, whilst I was a grad student, a fellow student demo’d his lab setup to me (researching audio compression algorithms) – and showed me it was possible to override the SCMS and clone-of-a-clone recordings, preserving the ‘original copy’ tape marker.

    I dare say by modern standards it was probably unsophisticated – and could be modified in a file editing script these days.

    1. Copy-bit manglers surfaced soon after DAT recorders became available at the end of the 1980s. Since an S/PDIF PCM stream is a rather simple affair by design, “repairing” the “broken” bit could be done with a bunch of TTL chips.

  4. In my mind, if not reality, DCC was doomed because it was trying to feel futuristic while competing with Minidisc, a format that still feels futuristic in the actual future.
    It would be nice to think DCC was doomed by popular resistance to “copy protection”, but that never hurt MD (or HDMI).

  5. After my 1978 realization from an article describing the future unnamed CD with 14 bits later 16, I decided that 20 to 24 bits would be in any recording format that I’d buy. As these crap formats came out with the copy cop built in I passed. I forget which but at least 2 of these e-waste formats only used 8 bits, real sonic gravel. Dropouts would have been worse than tape when even good brands were having dropout problems.

  6. One of the great things about [Thomas Falkner]’s ITTS box is that it works with all (stationary) DCC recorders, not just with the first and second generation recorders like the Philips ITTS decoder at the DCC Museum does. I hope Thomas eventually open-sources his work so more people can work on it, and I hope we can eventually produce cassettes at the DCC Museum that have ITTS information encoded on them.

    === Jac

  7. All those old formats and their fans, whereas people scoff at CD’s, which in my mind was a very good thing for music, excellent quality and stereo separation and you can/could burn it yourself, and the players being affordable and available in many form-factors was also a plus.

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