1991 Acura NSX Long Term Road Test

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1991 Acura NSX: Mix Tape Revival

October 21, 2011


Those of a certain age will remember the days of mix tapes. The peak of this era, for me, was between 1983 and 1991. I have to admit I don't miss the days of transferring my music from vinyl to tape, but reliving this format on last weekend's Vegas road trip stirred up a lot of ghosts for me.

I have a rule on road trips: the driver also gets to be DJ. James from L.A. to L.V., and we listened to a combination of his iPod (Aston Martin-branded) and some CDs he loaded into the changer. It was really quite pleasant, as James didn't play anything offensive or banal. And that made me feel bad for him, because I knew he was going to have to endure some of the worst music the 80s had to offer on the way home.

I was a bit of a geek (OK, I am still one) when it came to music. I insisted on copying my music onto the elusive and expensive metal (Type IV) blank tapes. These tapes, besides exhibiting much better audio qualities, also seemed to fare better over time and being subjected to high temperatures.

TapeDeck.jpg Before we left for Vegas, I dug these tapes out of my storage shed. Fortunately, I've only moved twice in my life, so I managed to hold onto a lot of mementos from my past. That shed was pretty humid, so I didn't expect to tapes to sound very good. Some tape decks back then didn't even have a metal setting, and I wasn't sure if our NSX did. Thankfully, once I popped in my Driving Tape, a little "METAL" indicator lit up on the audio screen.

To my surprise, most of them did sound just as good as they did 20 years ago. In terms of sound quality, anyway, I'm sure James would have something to say about my tastes in music (though I did catch him bopping his head to Whitesnake). I'm pretty sure he would've jumped out of the car while it was rolling down the highway if I started in on my Phil Collins collection.

Me? I'm thrilled to use my old tapes again. I keep the old Case Logic carrier on my desk, poised for the next time I grab the NSX keys. Rock On.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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