Old 11-05-2005, 10:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Colorado
Posts: 4,584
Found 4-track tapes, any value?

I was unpacking a box today and I found three 4-track tapes.

For those of you not of my generation, for about six months 4-tape decks were the things to have. Then the eight track came into being and then the cassette and then the....but all of you know that step.

Anyway, when I found them, I was going to chuck them in the trash, but my wife said, no and suggested I go to someone to find out if they have any value. Where does one go to find out 4-track tape value?

The three are; Don Rickles - Hello Dummy, W.C. Fields doing The Temperance Lecture and The Day I drank a Glass of Water, and some country duo called Guy and Ralna singing Country Songs We Love to Sing.

To quell the mods fear of my trying to sell them on the board thus breaking the board rules - rest assured I am not. I just want suggestions of what to do with them.
Old 11-05-2005, 10:11 PM
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Up there, waiting
Posts: 17,203
A quick scan of Ebay shows 88 auctions and only 7 have bids. Unless someone collects those artists, they don't have much value beyond a curiosity.
Old 11-06-2005, 01:48 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Greater Victoria, BC
Posts: 4,669
Huh. I never even knew there were such a thing as 4-tracks. I used to buy 8-track tapes with my allowance as a young 'un, as they were cheaper than records. (And severely discounted at K-Mart.)

Lost formats. Whatever happened to that minidisk thingee that looked like a tiny CD?

< / hijack >
Old 11-06-2005, 02:01 AM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Voting anti-obamanation
Posts: 10,300
I can't speak for the OP, but the first 1/4" stereo open reel tape was called two track, and it ran in one direction. At the end of play, you rewound the reel. The next advancement was 4 track stereo, with two tracks in each direction. At the end of side A, the takeup reel became the feed reel. If this is what the OP has, there are many of us out here who still have open reel tape decks.
Crows. Keeping our highways clear of roadkill for over 80 years
Old 11-06-2005, 09:18 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 5,514
The OP has tape cartridges that have four tracks. Two stereo programs or four mono ones. These were the precursor to 8-track tapes. The two are driven differently. In an 8-track, there is an idler wheel inside the cartridge front, which presses up against the capstan to drive the tape when you insert it. In a 4-track, there is a hole in the bottom of the cartridge. When you insert it, a relay brings up a hinged idler wheel from underneath, inside the hole, which presses up against the capstan to drive the tape. These carts and machines were used in radio and TV up through the late '80s, even into the '90s, with the electronics modified to accommodate automation and other uses.

I wish you luck trying to find something to play these tapes on. Without a home 4-track player, you're out of luck. Even if a local broadcasting station still had a cart machine, the sound is recorded differently due to track allocation. A home machine had four tracks for two stereo programs. Broadcasting machines have two tracks for stereo and two for automation, or one for mono and one for automation. You can't play back any audio on the tracks that carry automation signals.

At best, your cartridges are souvenirs from the past with no practical use. They aren't worth more than a few bucks, because nobody has anything to play them on. I'm a gearhead, and I've never seen a home cart deck. Or even a picture of one!

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