Home Tape Trail

Reel to reel, cassette and other analogue tape formats.

RE: Need Advice on Cassette Deck Brand

Personally, I wouldn't buy any of the brands you've listed.

TEAC, Tascam, Nak, Technics (some specific models), and although Alpine made a good deck, but they were mostly "value" models so nothing high end. For that reason I wouldn't pay more than $20 for one.

Fact is, there is no reason why you should settle for anything except a top machine. On eBay sellers really have no idea of the quality of cassette decks, so one that sold for $200 is often priced similarly to a $800 machine. Hold out for premium units only, it won't cost you more as long as you are patient.

Also, there is no need to seek complexity, it only increases the chance you will have problems. So Auto-Reverse is not necessary, and avoid all twin deck machines regardless of the features or who made them. They were not high quality units.

The TASCAM 122 Mk2 and it's bigger brothers are highly recommended, mostly used in professional environments they are sure to have been properly maintained. There are many low-hour units purchased by entities such as Government research and Museums.

The TEAC clones of these decks sell for about half the TASCAM units and aside from not having balanced outputs, are identical.

If you want to make tapes from analog and digital sources, in the mid-90's there are some Dolby D decks that were made. They offer +10dB noise reduction broadband over Dolby B and +25dB in the high frequencies. It's hard to argue with S/N in the 80 dB range. But they are quite rare.

More common are some decks with DBX noise reduction, which also offer s/n's that rival CD.

In both cases you need the playback processing, so not for car tapes, for example. But if you are just using them in the home on the same deck, perfectly worthwhile.

You have to realize that under the Japanese T-bar system, there are only a few manufacturers of cassette decks. Alpine made most of the Japanese brands (Marantz, etc) under contract. TEAC (also made TASCAM), Nakamichi, Sony (whom I don't recommend because they made models aimed at everyone from low-fi consumers to high end ones, but if you don't know the models, you are lost as to what you are getting) Alpine (Alpage), Matsushita (JVC, Technics and Panasonic) and the europeans made the machines for all the Japanese brands. Woe to you if you buy one made under contract by Dokorder. Completely unreliable.



Edits: 06/02/17 06/02/17 06/02/17 06/02/17 06/02/17 06/02/17 06/02/17

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  • RE: Need Advice on Cassette Deck Brand - gordguide 03:06:51 06/02/17 (0)

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