The 8-track cartridge is an analog recordings, which was widespread in the 1960s and 1970s. Since the housing contains only one reel, one also speaks of a cartridge (as opposed to cassette that has two coils ).
The 8-track system was developed by William P. Lear, who is known by the development of the Learjet from the lesser-used 4-track cassette, which in turn was a variant of the introduced for broadcast purposes FIDELIPAC endless cassette. The cassette was introduced in 1965 contains a single coil for the ¼ -inch wide, back graphite- coated plastic tape, the associated mechanism and a pinch roller and was conceived as an endless belt.
The design allowed the production of very simple design and correspondingly cheaper players. While two-coil systems must also allow for changes in direction and thus Umspulvorgänge in the forward and reverse directions, there were few 8-track players, who offered a faster flow. The rewind is, for technical reasons, impossible.
The endless belt has eight tracks and allows up to four stereo recordings (or eight mono recordings ) on a tape. In order for the game length of a LP is achieved. Between the tracks is changed electromechanically by the read head is moved in the player. The lane change can occur at any time manually via a button, otherwise a switching band provides after every band pass for an automatic lane change. Usually an indicator light is present, the signals the currently playing track.
With the 8-track system for the first time found portable players in vehicles more widespread. The predecessor technology, the 4-track cassette had, can prevail only in the U.S. states of California and Florida. The devices were popular especially among truck drivers, as finished pre-recorded 8-track tapes were available in music stores and petrol stations. Equipment for self - recording on blank cassettes were even offered, but found relatively few buyers.
The disadvantages of the technique are primarily in the audible click when changing lanes and the occasional crosstalk of the tracks with each other while playing. So you can perceive parts of the adjacent tracks silently in misaligned devices.
In the 1970s, the 8-track technique was (Cassette Philips introduced compact 1962) of the stereo tape cassette with smaller dimensions and due to half belt speed, longer recording time out of the market after the auto-reverse technology, the hassle of turning these cassettes made redundant. The last commercial pre-recorded 8- track tape released in the U.S. in 1988, but were not sold at this time through the music store.