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The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
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Wednesday
May112016

Retro Tech: The 3M Cantata 700 Background Music Machine

Another delve into unusual audio technology from the past. In this video I take a look at the 3M Cantata 700, a format that boasts the largest music cartridge ever made.

If you think 8-track tapes were a bit bulky, wait until you see this. 

If you want, you can CLICK HERE to download a 1hr MP3 of Music recorded from one of the Cantata tapes (I forget which one). This is all I am able to capture at the moment as the machine has now taken to chewing up tapes and making horrible rattling noises.

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Reader Comments (61)

I've had luck with slipping pinch rollers by applying Rubber-Renew, or Regrip - and there's a product for laser printers and photocopiers to apply to the rollers in them when they cease to properly pull paper through their mechanism. It makes old rubber grippier - though sadly I don't know a product that makes old, soft and melting rubber solid again.
In regards to these musical selections - I'd be right chuffed to hear this music in shops today rather than the top-40 selections that are now the defacto selections in ALL venues today. Many years ago in a grocery store I heard back-to-back Muzak versions of Shriekback's "Gunning For The Buddha" then the theme to The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Epic stuff.

May 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Sanborn

I was very pleased to see your video of the 3M Cantata tape player. I was a technician for a company that sold these machines in the sixties and seventies. We had a retail customer that had listened to one tape for five years. They begged me to repair the player when it broke down. They said that they no longer heard the music but the silence would drive them crazy. The main problem with these machines was the softening of the pinch rollers.

I found your site while searching for dash cam reviews. I appreciate your reviews and enjoy the oddball equipment you find.

May 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHarry Page - USA

SpaceX should use this in their launch webcasts.

May 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGrow Mane

@Harry, thanks for getting in touch - it seems that there are a lot of people who remember working with these - it seems like they kept quite a few people busy.

@David, someone also recorded this http://www.reelprosoundguys.com/RestoreKit.html - it's unfortunate that I can't get deep enough inside the machine to extract the rubber wheels. I think it needs an expert to look at it. The cost of a service in the 80s was $500 though - so I'm thinking of leaving it as it is and just finding a way to dub the cartridges across to a digital file using my reel to reel.

May 12, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Watching your video reminded me of the 1/4 inch endless loop system they had in the pub I worked in in the early 80's. It used large c12inch diameter reels of tape in a clear plastic case. Your comments re the limited tapes on offer made me smile I can still remember Christmas bringing relief in the form of the festive music tape.
Had a good google but cant find the exact system but the cassettes were similar to the "Customusic" ones.

May 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMikeK

Another very interesting video.

May 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMel Smith

A beautiful and very interesting video to take a dip in retro technologies. I didn't knew anything about this system. Amazing to check your Webpage and discover these devices.

May 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJaume Martí

Awesome! I wish you could save these gems of dusty background tunes and let us have a copy of them... Well, somehow at least... Are those PD in the meantime?

May 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPeaDot

Awesome! I wish you could save these gems of dusty background tunes and let us have a copy of them... Well, somehow at least... Are those PD in the meantime?

May 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPeaDot

Thanks so much for posting the file of the music, I kind of love this cheesy old stuff.

BTW if you ever need pinch rollers or idler wheels redone (like the dissolving ones in the video!), there's a guy who works as Terry's Rubber Rollers (in the US) who re-rubbers them. I work in a shop where we repair old turntables and we've sent him many an odd old, dead wheel or roller and gotten them back like new.

@Friedrich Thank you for the tip. I think I need to look at the motor first as it's making, some awful noises...then I've got the problem of the internal reels that I can't reach....so if I can figure all that out, I'll then look at the pinch rollers.

@Peadot I've spooled one cartridge onto my reel to reel machine and there is a lot of leakage between tracks (the sound of the left can be heard on the right). Also the sound is very low when played at 3.75ips and then slowed 50% in editing. A number of people said they used to record their own tapes at home...but given the fact the tracks aren't in line with the tracks on a home 4-track reel to reel it appears that this is a false memory...perhaps they used a different system.

As far as copyright goes, I don't know if these are still in copyright, but I do know it's unlikely that even if the tracks could be recorded that it's appropriate for me to share the hard work of all those musicians for free. If I were 3M, I'd licence this music to be released on CD and let someone dub the master tapes.

May 15, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

26 hours - is that a clever choice? If you think about someone arriving at the office at the same time each day, they won't hear the same piece of music again for 12 days, or for nearly a month in some cases (because of weekends).

May 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRich

Greetings !! I had one of these Cantata 700 players from 1970 through 1998, and I may get another after 18 years without. Regarding the pinch rollers, I'm certain that 3M wanted to force an extra service charge into every owner's/renter's use of these players simply because the machines were available for outright purchase by anyone who wanted the music in their homes. Thus to put owners on the same service level as business users, the pinch rollers were intentionally self-destructive. The rubber compound apparently had a shelf life of 8-9 months, so you had to get the machine serviced at a local 3M branch office where the rollers were replaced while the machine was cleaned and renewed. Businesses leasing/renting the Cantatas had their machines serviced once every 6 months for the life of the machines. I do believe that better rollers (PRO-grade type) were made by the supplier in Arizona, but you had to be a professional studio, buy a minimum of 100 rollers, - and most users didn't have 50 Cantatas all playing in any one location. Thanks for starting this page - I'll stay for awhile and watch for additional comments. Maybe I'll start a Facebook page about 3M background music. Do your readers favor that idea?? Cheers from Ralph in Rhode Island, USA. !!

May 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRalph Baker

Thanks for the info Ralph. It sounds like you're probably the expert on these, so if anyone should start a page it should be you (but I'm not on Facebook so I won't get to see it). How many different carts did you own?

May 16, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I really enjoy your videos on retro audio tech. Very well done indeed. I knew of the large "cart" format popular in the late 60's and 70's, but never heard of the Cantata. My father worked for Muzak during that period, so I am quite familiar with this sort of music. This is very similar to Muzak in terms of programming. They also have in common that part of the pitch was that worker productivity would increase, and shoppers would be enticed to buy more products.

Just as with Muzak, it was in fact, a slow form of torture. ;-)

May 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Austin

At 10:28a.m. in the USA, - good morning, Techmoan !! I DID save the tapes that I bought for my 700 from 1970 into 1973. In your photo at top the tapes are - brown, Rhythmic 2, R266; pink, Variety V165; yellow, Rhythmic 1, R165, and Polynesian PL166. Mine were both Rhythmics plus all Christmas tapes available in 1971/2, and I rented the Variety + Polynesian + Latin American + Bavarian tapes at some point during that time. Alas, the OPEC oil war (1973/1974) ended the purchases because the cost of living shot up so much that I couldn't afford any more 'optional' spending.

May 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRalph Baker

Thank you so much for posting both your review and the one hour tape. I really enjoy the style of music they used in the 60's for shopping. I lIke to imagine being in a shopping center during these times. I hope you are able to pull more music from your collection as I would love to listen to more. Thank you for your hard work.

May 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDK

I wonder if there would be a way to record the audio off the tapes using a standard reel-to-reel machine, then adjust the speed digitally so that it plays correctly?

May 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRob G

Rob,

See above for more info on this.

May 17, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Techmoan, found you serendipitously linked to some Australian steam train videos.

Thanks for this. Although I don't know much about these devices in particular, I suggest that they represent another great advance by the brilliant 3M company, chemical engineers whose expertise was always bonding technology (so they put recording film onto backing tape, as they had with cellulose adhesive "sticky tape").

But they also made whole products - hence the Cantata system and the recordings. This might have been a pioneering cartridge system to improve on reel-to-reel (from the buyer's perspective, that is). It could have spurred Philips to invent the compact cassette, which also ran at 1 7/8 ips, although I am not sure of my dates.

Thanks again for the painstaking research!

Regards,
John A
Melbourne Australia

May 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Angelico

Hello again !! First, I stand corrected by your video - the blue box indicates Melodic M165, but I rented Polynesian PL166 as noted above. PL166's box was the same shade of blue.

OK, not ALL of the music was recorded by 3M's in-house band/orchestra. Last year at a flea market I acquired several old record LPs and I was surely SHOCKED that one LP's music is heard on R165 and PL166. The LP in question is by Don Tiare and his Enchanted Violins titled 'Strings Over Hawaii', Warner Bros. W-1420 issued in 1962. A quick search revealed ANOTHER LP by Mr. Tiare titled 'Strings Over Tahiti", and this LP is one of many uploaded to the YouTube website. I'm thrilled to hear this music - some of it in Stereo!! - on YouTube, even though I don't have that LP in my collection at present. When 3M began its venture into background music it needed LOTS of music in a hurry, so 3M went out to rent or buy old master tapes from various record companies to start with while the in-house band/orchestra recorded new arrangements of old songs from long ago. So now I'm searching for MORE of the LP music which makes perhaps 25% of the total music heard on the Cantata tapes. It will be a L-O-N-G and frustrating search - also EX$PENSIVE !! - but absolutely worthwhile.

May 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRalph Baker

@Techmoan: I already thought so... Well, thanks for trying anyway!

May 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPeaDot

Techmoan - when you re-spooled your Cantata tapes for play on your home tape deck, did you have to invert the tapes so the playback head picked up the sound through the plastic backing (with the oxide OUTside)? That's what I had to do so to play the music in the right direction. 3M knew what IT was doing when it produced the finished tapes with the tracks reversed; you must've discovered that the music played BACKWARD without the invert !! Also, I played my tapes at 3.3/4 inches per second (slowest speed on my 2 home decks) and recorded them onto new tapes at 7.1/2 inches per second; then I slowed the NEW recordings down to 3.3/4 IPS for normal playback so I could re-record them onto cassettes. I'll send you a few samples, but you'll need Audacity Sound Recording software for the files/storage on your computer plus File Viewer Lite just to open the files for play. The files make the extension '.aup', Audacity Proprietary. Both downloads are clean - and FREE !!

May 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRalph Baker

I'm sorry to post here as this is completely unrelated to this thread but I have tried so hard to find what I'm looking for. There was a video where Techmoan had a machine with a scratch on a glass screen and he used something to fix it. I am desperately trying to find that video because I want to know what he did to fix it. If anyone can please help that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

May 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarly

Here you go (but it's a plastic screen) https://youtu.be/jVoSQP2yUYA?t=13m47s

May 18, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thank you for going to such a great length to bring this gem of a gadget back to life.

Have you thought of recreating the "shopping centre experience" with those output and microphone plugs?
It would make an interesting, but also quite amusing video to see it piping music around a building, as it once would have.

May 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Thank you so much Techmoan. I love your videos.

May 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarly

@Ralph Baker: would you *please* upload those files to a shared folder on Dropbox - and either email that link to me or post it here? Techmoan did try to dupe these recordings on a normal reel to reel but discovered that the Cantata head must have a different head-offset on the tape as his volume was faint. Apparently you did not have that issue. I don't know why you went the difficult route of flipping the tape and duping the music to a higher speed machine when you could've made a 48khz 16bit sound file in Audacity while playing at 3.75ips then halved the playback speed without affecting the quality of the already lo-treble original - while also reversing it.
I wonder if flipping the tape on playback so that it's reading through the back of the tape fixes the offset?

May 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Sanborn

Hello, David Sanborn !! Thank you for asking, and I'll do whatever I can to send the samples to you or to Dropbox. It may be past the weekend when I do this because I must serve an elderly (92 years old) Mother plus a friend of our family who is prone to seizures despite the medications he takes, so I spend an awful lot of my time driving both of them around to medical offices, shopping, etc. I made the transfer recordings in 1999 but didn't have a first computer until 2005, and I downloaded the Audacity software plus File Viewer Lite just two months ago. If I ever find enough free time I'll practice with the Audacity 'Richter' scale; I know that it adjusts to whatever custom speed + spacing the user chooses. To confirm - yes, I had to flip the Cantata tapes to play the music in forward direction on my home decks, also I got plenty of proper volume from them with playback volume set around 40%. My decks are a 1978 Pioneer RT-909 and a 1980 Teac X-10. After 35+ years both are still working like brand new.

May 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRalph Baker

Ralph - If you put them in Dropbox, let me know and I'll put them on P-cloud to save your data allowance. Then I'll put links up for everyone.

May 20, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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