Elcaset was a short-lived audio format created by Sony in 1976. At that time, it was widely felt that the compact cassette was never likely to be capable of the same levels of performance that was available from reel-to-reel systems, yet clearly the cassette had great advantages in terms of convenience. The Elcaset system was intended to marry the performance of reel to reel with cassette convenience. The name "Elcaset" may simply mean L-cassette, or large cassette, since the 1/4" tape inside was double the normal 1/8" of standard cassettes.
The cassette itself looked very similar to a standard cassette, only much larger - about three times the size. It contained 0.25 in (6 mm) tape running at twice the speed -- 9.5 cm/s (3.75 in/s), -- giving much greater frequency response and dynamic range. One unusual difference from compact cassettes was that the tape was withdrawn from the cassette when run through the transport mechanism so that the manufacturing tolerances of the cassette shell did not affect sound quality. The Elcaset also had all the features of deluxe open reel decks, like separate heads for erase, recording, and playback, remote control, and heavy duty transports for low wow & flutter and excellent specs.
The system was technically excellent, but a total failure in the marketplace, with a very low take up by a few audiophiles only. Apart from the problem of the bulky cassettes, the performance of standard cassettes had improved dramatically with the use of new materials such as chromium dioxide, and better manufacturing quality. For most people, the quality of standard cassettes was adequate, and the benefits of the expensive Elcaset system limited. Audiophiles turned away from Elcaset and towards high-end cassette decks from companies like Nakamichi, which began making very high-quality tape decks using the regular audio cassette in late 1973. The early Nakamichi decks were expensive (over $1000 for the original model 1000), but ushered in a revolution of sound quality. Elcaset began a fast fade-out in 1978, but it was a very well-designed, innovative format -- unfortunately, one that nobody wanted to buy.
Formats and floormats. (Surveying The Soundscape).(Sony, Koninklijke Philips Electronics' Super Audio CD format)(Brief Article)
Apr 01, 2002; Formats and Floormats: The Philips and Sony press conferences both glowed with optimism for the Super Audio CD, which they...