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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.

The cassette itself looked very similar to a standard cassette, only very much larger - about three times the size. It contained quarter-inch tape running at 9,5 cm/s (3.75 inches per second), 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 One unusual difference from compact cassettes was that the tape was withdrawn from the cassette when run through the transport mechanism so that the manufacturing tolerances of the cassette shell did not affect sound quality.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 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 bulky cassettes, the performance of standard cassettes improved dramatically with the use of new materials such as chromium dioxide, and better manufacturing quality. For most people, the quality of cassettes was adequate, and the benefits of the expensive Elcaset system limited.

The system was abandoned in 1980, when, curiously, all the remaining systems were sold off in Finland.

External Links

Elcaset fan's home page