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The 8-Track Hall of Shame

In all honesty 8-track tapes and the equipment that comes with them are far for the "Platonic Ideal". This section deals with ideas in the field that never should have left the drawing board.


Early Capital Cartridges

Blame it on planned obsolesces or age, the majority of 8-track tapes you own know are going to need to be tweaked and modified to work properly. It maybe a simple inch of sensing foil or you might end up restringing an entire 3 inches per second times 40 minutes tape. I sometimes imagine that I’m the evil kid in Toy Story doings labors like these. This hobby ain’t for sissies.

Capital tapes seemed to have been constructed with the idea that either this tape will last forever or it’s going to break and you’ll just have to buy another. I tend to agree with the later. While every other tape company stuck to a uniform design some wise guy at Capital decided to connect the tape spool on a knob on the front of the tape. Without getting too technical I’ll just add that with this defect even the experienced repairman is going to have yards of tape spilled on the floor during the most routine adjustments. The biggest tragedy of all is most Beatles albums are on this format.

beat2.jpg (26299 bytes)  Look but don't touch

The 8-Track Plunger

One reason why this player gets so much ink in the 8-track community is its duel nature. This "Kitten with a Whip" of a portable is really cool and really fragile. I can’t tell you how many busted handles I’ve seen on this minx. The majority of the ones I’ve heard have an inherent static problem when you adjust the volume control. But ya gotta love it.

The Venerable Ampex/Lear Tapes

I’ll cut some slack for these abominations because they were invented by William Leer and his associates (The Leer Jet guy) and got the ball rolling. These tapes suck by combining a nearly hermetically sealed tape that nothing short of power tools can impregnate (But once you get them open dig that Edsel grill shaped doohickey that holds the tape in place and those doorstop spacers) and a poorly cured rubber Thiakol pinch roller that years later will turn into a substance that’s a foul compound of soft tar and mascara. It contaminates everything it comes into contact with tapes, players, shirts, rugs. I’m surprised the Defense Dept. hasn’t looked into this "agent black" substance.

You don't want to see a picture of this, trust me.


The RCA aluminum rivet

riv1.jpg (21220 bytes)

I’ll give you one guess why.


8-track law #1 The more desirable the 8-track the more likely someone taped a radio station over it. 8-track law #2 If they're only 2 good songs on the tape they are at the begining of tracks 1 and 4