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My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

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CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

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 (64)

@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

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