Thinking about adding a cassette deck to my set-up

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by malagacoolers, Aug 7, 2020.

  1. garrincha

    garrincha Forum Resident

    Location:
    Plymouth, UK
    this is obviously nonsense. the right cassette, paired with a decent tape deck, can produce incredible results
     
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  2. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    To add basic cassette functionality to your system without spending a lot of money or taking up a lot of space, I really like the "add-a-cassette" decks from Radio Shack, such as the SCT-86 and SCT-510. They're small and cheap but still have CrO2 and Metal tape recording and Dolby B NR:

     
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  3. rfs

    rfs Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lansing, MI USA
    I have a Yamaha KX580 I bought for about $100 on ebay that sounds great. It has Dolby B, C & S. It is a fairly late model so it isn't worn out. Also, as I understand it a player certified for Dolby S had to meet tighter manufacturing tolerances, which makes for better playback in all modes. Later I splurged and bought a Sony Walkman Pro WMD6 for car and portable use, and finally a Nakamichi RX-202 because of its unique auto-reverse system. I have better luck finding good cassettes in thrift stores than records - the key is to learn how to replace the pressure pads. Pre-recorded tapes from the mid 80s on can sound really good, too - I prefer them to vinyl - no clicks and pops.
     
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  4. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SUDACA ROÑOSO

    Indeed, but how many quality prerecorded cassettes are/were available ? Very little. Of course if you record a CD to a Maxell Metaxial on a Nak Dragon, the result is gonna be barely distinguishable from the CD, if at all.
     
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  5. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

  6. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Hardly ever the case, may be after a few bottles. You might be happy with the sound of pre-recorded cassettes but most people wouldn't be. Personal recordings are another matter.
     
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  7. malagacoolers

    malagacoolers Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
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  8. Bruno Primas

    Bruno Primas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
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  9. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    That can get you a pretty decent deck and leave money to spare. I wouldn't spend the whole $500 because as I've mentioned most are getting quite old and chances of having mechanical problems are high so you might need to put aside some money in case of a repair.

    I'll give you a couple of my picks, they won't be the best but certainly good looking in my opinion and not bad decks. I have also chosen not the newest models as you talk about nostalgia, these are classics from the golden era of tape decks. They are also suggestions, do read through the descriptions carefully and ask questions to avoid getting a lemon.

    JVC KD A7, KD A77, KD A8 and a few others in that line like this one the seller seems pretty confident about condition Vintage JVC KD-A5 Super ANRS Stereo Cassette Deck & Manual - Fully Tested | eBay

    Unfortunately this Pioneer seems good but it is about to finish PIONEER CT-F900 CASSETTE DECK SENDUST COMBINATION 3 HEAD 2 MOTOR TAPE DECK MINT! | eBay
    You might get a CTF 950 but is on the upper end of your budget.

    I still think you should go for a cheap sony like the TC K2 and may be have it repaired, you'll save a lot of money and that particular one sounded fairly decent for an entry model. Have you also considered a boombox with RCA in and out? If you want nostalgia the big ones can look quite nice too and you can still connect them to an amp. For $500 there are endless choices.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  10. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

    I like JVC decks. A lot. I have 15 or so cassette decks and I’ve used this same one since 2001. There are other choices for the 354 on EBay. I chose this one but maybe the others would be good as well. To me, it’s a very good deck. Especially for the price.
     
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  11. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Price is fair, double decks are always of lesser quality than a single one unless is a very cheap single. On the good side you have two mechanisms, when one fails the other might keep working. Is auto-reverse which I am against but that kind of deck fit on what I've said to save money and go for something cheap, if you find you get serious about cassettes there is always time to buy a better one.
     
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  12. rfs

    rfs Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lansing, MI USA
    It's usually better to avoid dual decks.
     
  13. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

    I know everyone says to avoid dual decks but I’ve used the same JVC 354, and no other deck, since 2001. With no problems. I have two others as spares in case this one ever breaks down. Along with many other decks that I’ve bought since 2014. This one has been very reliable for me. Additionally, people say never buy auto reverse. I just turn the auto reverse off and never use it. I know there are better and much more expensive cassette decks. But I have found this particular deck to be very good.
    I hear the following deck is great and would of course be better than the JVC 354. But check out the price:
    NAKAMICHI DRAGON Audiophile Cassette deck,Willy Hermann Overhauled, Near Mint | eBay
     
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  14. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    There are several reasons why auto-reverse is best avoided for best sound and reliability, you can't switch off the extra parts, design and the special heads used. That doesn't automatically means that a 40 years old auto-reverse deck can't still be running after all these years but it definitely doesn't help particularly in the reliability front. Luckily there will be no shortage of tape decks at least during our lifetime and a large number can still be repaired to close to new condition. It is great to have some spares like you do.
     
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  15. malagacoolers

    malagacoolers Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    No way am I dropping that kind of money on a cassette deck!
     
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  16. Bruno Primas

    Bruno Primas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    The JVC double Deck I had was of pretty good quality. Soft touch controls, digital counter that used time, Dolby B, C, and HX Pro, belts intact.....

    I picked it up at a Goodwill for $12.99.

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. malagacoolers

    malagacoolers Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
  18. rpd

    rpd Senior Member

    Location:
    Nashville
    What do you want to spend?
     
  19. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    What more can you ask for? The main issue is always the running condition and not having to send it to someone for repair.

    Great, I hope you enjoy it.

    17 minutes too late!
     
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  20. rpd

    rpd Senior Member

    Location:
    Nashville
    Nak is the way to go
     
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  21. malagacoolers

    malagacoolers Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I have a Denon x3400h receiver. The basic red/white RCA cables are all I need to get this going, yeah?
     
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  22. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Perfection Through "Crystal Clear" Digital

    The StuderReVox model B-215 would be an exceptional deck for you to purchase. It was without question one of the very best ever made!

     
  23. Dave Mac

    Dave Mac Retired Sophisticated Gentleman Of Leisure

    Ha! I did basically the same thing for an old Nakamichi BX-1. The take-up hub wasn't turning and bought a $2 pack of O-rings at Home Depot. One fit perfectly and I was back in business! The actual "tire" on-line was like $17.

    Dave Mac
     
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  24. jwoverho

    jwoverho Senior Member

    Location:
    Mobile, AL USA
    I got an AKAI GXC 725D off EBay last year that had been completely serviced and belts replaced for $199. It’s a 3 head stereo deck with Dolby B and settings for chrome and FeCr tapes along with two mic inputs. A nice little tape deck. I’ve been using it to digitize all of the cassette recordings our band did over the years.
     
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  25. MassHysteria

    MassHysteria Manic Vintage Enthusiast

    Location:
    Minnesota
    I second that. Wonderful sounding deck. It's my primary out of the two I have.
     
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