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Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Portable And Car Audio Demonstration Cassettes


In the early days of portable cassette machines, late 1960s and early 1970s cassette decks often came with demonstration tapes. These were mostly public domain songs, such as "Little Brown Jug" and "Michael Row The Boat Ashore" or specially composed material, often with the second side blank for the customer or purchaser to test the recorder with. But several manufacturers from National/Panasonic, Sanyo and Sony made these cassettes.


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Below is a later '70s version, featuring a disco rendition of Mozart's 40th Symphony.

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Most Sanyo as well as other makes of portables had cheap top control mechanisms, which required the cassette to be loaded upside down. So Sanyo issued their '70s demonstration cassettes with upside down labels, a practice rarely used outside of children's tapes (the Fisher Price, Superscope Storyteller and Teddy Ruxpin cassettes all had upside down labels.)

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Listen here All images above: Internet Archive



By the 1980s, the focus shifted from '60s J-Pop renditions of "Red River Valley" to exciting ambient stereo sound with personal cassette players like the Sony Walkman.



As the 1980s rolled on, fewer electronics manufacturers were including demonstration cassettes with their portable decks. But there was one sector of the electronics market that not only embraced the demonstration cassette, but almost made it a science; The car stereo sector.

The GM Delco/Bose car audio systems were especially ambitious. They were the gold standard of 1980s car audio and their demonstration cassettes often came on premium normal or chrome tape. The music selections were varied, but mostly non-rock.




These auto demonstration cassettes were also made by Ford for their car stereos. The heyday of the car stereo demonstration cassette ended as CDs had began to become the audiophile standard and the last car stereo demonstration cassettes were made in the 1990s.

1992 Chrysler Audio System. Image:: eBay

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