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New Respect for the Cassette!

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Posted on January 3, 2017 at 10:28:22
MannyE
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Ever since I was a kid, always thought cassettes were simply a way to have music on the go and just a little better than 8-track.

Mostly I guess that's because growing up in Queens, NY in the 80's I used them in Walkmans and boom boxes. But we put up with the hiss because the alternative was the crappy radio that either played only disco or 60's rock and WLIR 92.7 that played the SAME songs over and over and over. And over.

Fast forward to now and I see a pair of pristine cassette players at the local thrift. A Sony TC-K5 and a Nakamichi BX-2. Both look like they were just taken out of the box with the exception of a dent on the top of the Sony. So for 20 bucks (for both!!) or was it 40? I dunno...it was cheap, I decided to get them just on looks and I've been seeing cassettes for as low as 10 cents.

I take everything back I ever said about cassettes! I hooked them up to a pair of Klipsh KG-5 and an Orb audio T-amp and they sound absolutely fantastic! The Nakamichi is better than the Sony by a mile, but they both sound a heck of a lot better than I expected.

I guess I had never heard a "real" tape player before! I will eventually put it them the main system to hear the players go through some better electronics and speakers, but for now color me impressed.

I love it when I find another route to super cheap music!

 

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RE: New Respect for the Cassette!, posted on January 3, 2017 at 10:49:57
fstein
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How Digital and MP3s have ruined our hearing!!

 

RE: New Respect for the Cassette!, posted on January 3, 2017 at 11:23:53
AbeCollins
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Or, how certain snobbish audiophools will insist that hi-res PCM, DSD, megabuck streamers, and megabuck DACs are required. Those are usually the folks who play the same tune over and over again listening to their system instead of enjoying the music ;-)



 

RE: I like that..., posted on January 3, 2017 at 11:46:10
BigguyinATL
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I was very happy listening to cassette - with my own personal "play list" on my playback system. Of course, I also "ripped" albums on Cassette - for the car and home... very versatile software format. I liked RtR as well. while I still have my premium Aiwa Cassette - sadly I let my Pioneer RTR go decades ago.

I do love the convenience and speed of streaming services and I have now problem listening to them and my "primary" source. Quality is essentially equivalent - or better than FM.

On the other hand - my mind is an easy sell. I don't need "lightspeed" cables and ultrasonic stereo phase matching to enter playback Nirvana.
I was playing around this last week a bit with an Infimity Center Channel and Sub I picked up a bit ago as a garage sale. I was thrilled at the Realism of the mono image playing some John Mayer Trio...




"The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat" - Confucius

 

Speaking of which..., posted on January 3, 2017 at 12:55:56
kootenay
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I've been enjoying my oldies but goodies cassettes and RTR christmas collections from my system over the holidays. Listening to them it still stirred up some great memories from when I compiled them.




If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well
(Proverb)

 

That's what I'm talking about! Nt, posted on January 3, 2017 at 15:45:10
geoffkait
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Nt

 

RE: I like that..., posted on January 3, 2017 at 22:21:48
fantja
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love the John Mayer Trio.

 

RE: Speaking of which..., posted on January 3, 2017 at 22:22:07
fantja
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nice pic!

 

RE: New Respect for the Cassette!, posted on January 3, 2017 at 22:24:47
fantja
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No doubt that Nak made the best decks. I had cassette tapes as a kid from late 70's to late 80's (1988 when I bought my 1st CD!).

I owned several boom boxes, never any kind of Walkman though.

 

Thanks..., posted on January 3, 2017 at 23:11:14
kootenay
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BTW, both the cassette deck and RTR machines were fully restored, recapped and recalibrated to its original specs about 2 years ago. I'm hoping that I'll get another 20 years of listening enjoyment from them.


If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well
(Proverb)

 

RE: Thanks..., posted on January 4, 2017 at 03:34:24
JURB
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Finding someone who can recalibrate a cassette deck is some feat because the test tapes are so old. Even if unused they are prone to self erasure.

That wouldn't matter to the azimuth, but setting the equalization is a different story. Dolby levels as well.

I had a few decent decks. I had a three head Pioneer CT-F something. I also had a newer Technics, which you guys might poo poo but it had three heads, Dolby HX, B and C and adjustable bias.

 

1-7/8ths IPS........Eeewww, 1/4 inch width meh ....., posted on January 4, 2017 at 07:30:15
Awe-d-o-file
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Beats a blank though.


ET

"If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking till you do suck seed" - Curly Howard 1936

 

RE: New Respect for the Cassette!, posted on January 4, 2017 at 07:58:18
Awe-d-o-file
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Or somewhere in the middle instead of either extreme. The fewer formats, the less software is required. I got out of cassette in the early 90's. There was a time it was all but required in your car. I've had CD in the cars since the late 80's and find it far better for many reasons especially in ease of use and track access. Especially with a changer.

Don't get me wrong my three head fine adjustable bias and calibratable double Dolby machine made a fine tape. Dual capstan and solenoid operation of course.
ET

"If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking till you do suck seed" - Curly Howard 1936

 

I had a Nak BX-series tape machine, posted on January 4, 2017 at 08:13:55
Mike K
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Posts: 12259
Joined: September 23, 1999
and I thought it was just great. I found the tape hiss no worse than
the usual artifacts associated with LPs (you know, click, tick, pop,
etc). MP3s are an abomination.

 

Tape is a natural medium. It breathes. Nt, posted on January 4, 2017 at 09:25:05
geoffkait
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Nt

 

I know what you mean..., posted on January 4, 2017 at 11:39:21
kootenay
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As I have to send the machines to two different technicians who were very good at what they do according to the review from Tapeheads forum and other satisfied customers. The Revox PR99 RTR was sent to a technician in Ontario who happens to be the exlusive Revox/Studer technician in Canada. The Revox B215 cassette deck was sent to a tech in California. I went with him after reading the opinions of his works from the satisfied customers in Tapeheads forum who recommended him.

Needless to say I paid premium for the restoration projects, however, based on the performance that I get from the machines so far I'd say it was well worth it.

If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well
(Proverb)

 

A couple of vehicles ago I had a CD and cassette., posted on January 4, 2017 at 16:03:45
srdavis2000
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One day I had a cassette playing and my young son commented on the sound quality. He said "that sounds better than CD". It was a recording I had made from a vinyl record.

I have a new vehicle - no CD player. You plug in a thumb drive, phone or iPod. That's it. It's a nice sounding system, but I was amazed that Honda doesn't put CD players in cars other than as an add on accessory.

 

Isn't breathing a symptom of mistracking NR? (nt), posted on January 4, 2017 at 17:02:54
Steve O
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1-7/8ths IPS....., 1/8" width ...remarkarkable, posted on January 4, 2017 at 18:40:30
hifitommy
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Cassette even retrieves depth and imaging! My naked 700 was TRULY amazing as was Dolby St on the Sony is had. Would love to have another Sony w/dolby St.

I haver LOTSOF old recorded cassettes of music in didn't have any other way.
...regards...tr

 

RE: 1-7/8ths IPS....., 1/8" width ...remarkarkable, posted on January 5, 2017 at 11:38:07
geoffkait
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Eggs ackly! Air, bloom, atmosphere, sweetness.

 

Re: "they sound absolutely fantastic!", posted on January 5, 2017 at 12:10:12
Inmate51
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Kinda blows a great big hole in that "15 ips 2-track" myth, heh?

Or, as you said, you've been listening to crap sources.

:)

 

A real surprise, posted on January 6, 2017 at 10:13:42
M3 lover
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This story is from several years ago but still after the decline of the cassette and still includes a lesson.

One of my audio buddies became so frustrated with recording quality back in the '80s that he became a producer for local jazz shows just so he could make his own recordings. I don't recall which machine but he used a direct feed to a 15 ips R2R deck. I heard a few of those tapes played back at his home and they were outstanding, very realistic, including great dynamics.

So I was surprised some time after that when he played a couple of small group jazz recordings for me that he found on cassette at a thrift store. They were amazingly good. We theorized because they were on very small, if not obscure labels, they were recorded in real time rather than on high speed dupe machines like the major labels. I know from my own experience I could make better tapes at home than the commercial offerings.

"The piano ain't got no wrong notes." Thelonious Monk

 

Yes, I remember my youth sitting in the shade of the Eastern Mag Tape Tree, posted on January 6, 2017 at 13:42:19
Edp
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The natural feeling of the swaying in the breeze of the Petrol Based Evergreens (Everbrown?) is a fond memory, or is that Memorex.

 

cassettes make you realize how thin and threadbare CDs sound nt, posted on January 7, 2017 at 09:33:05
geoffkait
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Nt

 

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