In this occasional series, our resident technical archaeologist, Tom Vernon, explores some of the vintage gear found in the recesses of his storage space. This post is from the era when 8-Track ruled.
When Bill Lear introduced the 8-track cartridge player to the automotive market in 1964, it ushered in the era of personal music. No longer were motorists confined to listening to what was being played on the radio. Soon afterwards, Radio Shack introduced 8-track recorders and blank tapes, which took the revolution to the next level. The popularity of 8-tracks soared.
But 8-track was arguably the worst format ever to come down the pike. Tapes invariably jammed once they were dropped. Crosstalk between adjacent tracks was often audible, and the audio fidelity rivaled that of AM radio. It wasn't long before the shift was underway from 8-track to cassettes, a format that held on for over a decade.
Conversion from 8-Track to cassette was made easy with Realistic
The problem for audiophiles was what to do with their investment in 8-track players and hardware as they were transitioning their music library over to cassettes. No worries. Just hop into your '71 Trans Am and head over to Radio Shack. Purchase a Realistic 12-1875A stereo cassette adaptor and you can easily alternate between your favorite 8-track tapes and those newfangled cassettes.
Inside, the 12-1875 was simplicity itself. The unit got its power from the 8-track player to run a simple cassette transport and one-IC tape preamp. The output of the preamp was connected to a flux loop, which is how the cassette sound was connected to an 8-track. So there you have it. All that's left is to insert your Eagles Greatest Hits cassette into the 12-1875, crank up the volume, and let the '70s rock on.