History of the audiocassette in the USSR

Today our article is about the history of cassettes in the USSR. How did Soviet listeners struggle for good sound and why are audiocassettes still fervently loved today? Let's find out!

Audio cassettes in the USSR: history and facts

The most vivid subject of memories is always listening to music. As time passed, new technological advances began to penetrate the Union, and records and turntables were replaced by tape recorders and cassettes. The first Soviet tape recorders appeared in 1969, and a few years later the production of domestic cassettes available to citizens of the Union was established. It was these times that so reverently are discussed by all those who have had time to catch the innovations of the musical world that appeared behind the Iron Curtain.

This article will talk about what cassettes Soviet music lovers bought for listening to music, how did they cope with disadvantages audio carriers and why they are still in the memory of many amateurs retro.

Production and varieties

Audio cassettes from the USSR
Audio cassettes from the USSR

The birth of CDs as a new device for recording music began in the late '60s, when the tape recorder was first introduced in the USSR "Desna.". In all, there were several enterprises producing cassettes in the Soviet Union, but the leading one among them was the Kazan photomaterials production plant. By the mid-1970s, their tape cassettes were being produced in big The following are some of the most important "Kontak.".

The cassettes have become massively popular under labeled MK-60 and MK-90; often the model number was indicated next to the playing time: MK-60-5. After a while, the MK-44s began to come on the market, the length of which allowed you to record standard amount of music for one The album was not left with any extra space on the cassette.

The official audiocassettes were produced by a factory in Tallinn and distributed throughout the Soviet Union by the leading label «Melody». Despite their mass appeal and availability, such cassettes were inferior in quality to its foreign competitors, which could be obtained only through speculators and peddlers. However, imported audio cassettes began to appear in the Soviet Union during the 1980 Olympics. Then the market was flooded by SONY, Denon and Agfa and BASF, different in quality from the popular Svema and Slavich cassettes, only to purchase them difficult because of the high price.

Cost and most popular models

The "Kontak" cassette
The "Kontak" cassette

The MK-60s were the most available Of all the cassettes presented, one cost about four rubles. Most of the material used for them was substandardBut in spite of this, they were nevertheless scarce With the advent of a large number of tape recorders, even such cassettes were quickly sold out of the shelves.

Slightly higher in price were cassettes made of more expensive materials: in them the tape was made on the basis of chromaThis increased the price - for such a cassette, they often took a few rubles more more. The MK-44 cassettes with music from "Melody" were also sold at a higher price.

Imported cassettes
Imported cassettes

The most expensive were considered to be foreign cassettes. At the time of their appearance in the early 1980s, their price was double that of an ordinary cassette tape - about 9 rubles. Compared to the cost of a foreign vinyl record from peddlers, who took about 25 rubles, this price was acceptable. When imported audio cassettes began to spread, the MK-60 gradually lost its relevance.

The shortcomings that annoyed everyone

Audio cassette MK-60-7
Audio cassette MK-60-7

The popularity of imported cassettes was due to the fact that they used more quality materials, whereas the Soviet audio carriers failed Use good products.

The most important disadvantage of the MK-60 was "chewing up" Sometimes the tape tension inside the cassette would loosen and the tape would get dislodged and look like an accordion; the only way to fix it was to by hand by straightening out the tape. The sound was no longer as clear as when I first listened to it.

MK-60 cassette from Kontak
MK-60 cassette from Kontak

Another significant "disadvantage" of Soviet cassettes was the characteristic squeaking when playing them, which meant that "shattering" The tape layer and getting it on the heads of the turntable. Because of this, music lovers with imported cassette players often refused to put domestic cassettes in his tape recorder, which could have damaged the elite equipment.

Problems also occurred with important components inside audio tapes. A common problem was malfunction of the clamping mechanism, which was corrected by installing a homemade or a piece of absorbent cotton.

Audio cassette MK-60 5 model
Audio cassette MK-60 5 model

Regarding durations There was also trouble: the 60-minute cassettes were not designed for music albums, whose track list averaged about 45 minutes. Melomaniacs had to buy MK-44s with songs already recorded on them and in a special way rewrite The original sound was erased from the tape and the desired recording was put on top of it. These tapes were often of poor quality because they contained unnecessary noises.

And yet it's nostalgic...

SONY cassette
SONY cassette

Despite all the shortcomings of Soviet audio cassettes, the generation that left them behind, carefully keeps the memories of childhood and adolescence. The music lovers of the '80s recall with particular touch shenanigans for the longevity of tapes of your favorite music, as well as the shortage of quality tapes, which adds to their values.

Digital media have long since replaced difficult to use cassettes, records and even discs, but true connoisseurs still keep their collections and listen to these recordings favorite compositions. It is worth noting that the production of cassettes and other media did not come to an end: after a decline in interest, listeners did return to them, as many musicians and bands reprinted by their best recordings in this format, or release new material in a retro format, leaving a link to an electronic listening platform.


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