Studio NAB ‘Jingle’ Carts Transfer to CD | Audio Restored

NAB cart transcription on Sonifex micro HSx decks

PricesNAB Cart factsPressure Pads


Studio NAB cartridgesPlease contact us for a price (see below*)

NAB Cart facts

  • The NAB cartridge is a magnetic sound recording format initially developed in 1954 and released commercially in 1959.
  • The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) cartridge was widely employed as the industry standard radio broadcast format for playing jingles, radio commercials, station identifications and music, until the late 1990s when MiniDisc and computerised broadcast automation became established, rendering the NAB cart obsolete.
  • Early NAB carts utilised two track 1/4 inch tape, one track carrying a mono audio signal, the other carrying a 1 kHz cue track to control the player.
  • Later versions used three-track heads to allow for a stereo signal as well as the cue track.
  • The primary cue tone stops the tape transport, the secondary tone automatically re-cues the tape to the beginning, and the tertiary tone triggers a second tape unit.
  • Unlike 8-track cartridges, which have a pinch roller built into the cartridge shell, NAB carts have an opening where a pinch roller intrinsic to the player swings up during tape playback.

Pressure Pads

Like 8-track cartridges, NAB carts often suffer deterioration of their pressure pads through age. This can render them unplayable. Before transfers are undertaken, we carefully check the condition of the pressure pads, and replace them if necessary.


The NAB cartridge (Fidelipac or ‘cart’ for short), and the equipment used to play them (colloquially known as ‘Jingle machines‘) enjoy a well-earned place in modern radio history. Similar in construction to consumer 8-track cartridges, the NAB cart consists of an endless tape loop running at 7.5 ips (twice the speed of domestic 8-track) and therefore offers greater quality of recorded sound.

We transfer Studio NAB carts to .wav files or CD using ex-BBC Sonifex Micro HSx NAB cart machines to playback both mono and stereo recordings. Broadband hiss and noise levels are reduced or removed during the transfer process.

Where appropriate, individual songs are separated to give full track skip/search functions. CD text and on-CD printing are added for convenience, and your disc is returned to you in a clear, flexible vinyl sleeve. If .wav files are required, upload is via ‘We Transfer‘.

Alternative file formats (FLAC, .mp3) can also be accommodated if required.

Pricing* Commonly, the recordings on NAB carts tend to fall into the range of 2-3 seconds (voice idents, station promos etc), to 3-4 minutes (individual songs) to 8 – 10 mins max. Therefore it is impossible to give a “one price fits all” for these transfers, so please contact us to discuss your requirements. If the content is unknown, send them in to us anyway – we are more than happy to find this out for you and provide a no-obligation quote!

Contact us to discuss your requirements fully.