Audio file formats explained

The Compact Cassette, often referred to as audio cassette or sometimes simply 'tape', is a magnetic tape sound recording format. Not many people know that it was originally designed for dictation but improvements in fidelity soon led the Compact Cassette to replace reel-to-reel tape recording in most non-professional applications.

It's uses included mas portable audio to home recording to data storage for early computers. Between the early 1970s and 1990s, the compact cassette was one of the two most common formats for prerecorded music. It sat next to the LP disc and later the Compact Disc.

Even fewer people know tha the whe word cassette is a French word meaning "little box."

A compact cassette consists of two miniature spools, between which a magnetically coated plastic tape is passed and wound. These spools and their parts are held inside a protective plastic shell. 2 stereo pairs of tracks (that's to say four in total) or two monaural audio tracks are available on the tape. 1 stereo pair or one monophonic track is played or recorded when the tape is moving in 1 direction and the second pair is played when moving in the other direction.

The Reel-to-Reel format was used in the very earliest tape recorders.

In the early days, this format had no name, since all forms of magnetic tape recorders used it. The name came about only with the need to distinguish it from the several kinds of tape cartridges or cassettes which were introduced in the early 1960s.

The format was first commercially developed in the late 1940s by American audio engineer Jack Mullin with assistance from Bing Crosby.

Jack Mullin was a member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II. His unit was assigned to investigate German radio activities and during his duties, he acquired two Magnetophon recorders and 50 reels of I.G. Farben recording tape from a German radio station at Bad Nauheim, near Frankfurt.

Once back home, he worked to develop the machines for commercial use, aiming to interest the Hollywood studios to use magnetic tape for movie soundtrack recording.