• spyder909 over 8 years ago

    Like many here I have a ton of old mixtapes I'm slowly in the process of converting to digital. Right now I'm using a ten year old Sony TC-WE835S which still works and sounds great. Only maintenance I've ever done is cleaning the heads.

    I'd like to get a new deck just to have one in case this one breaks since it gets a lot of use, but seems the only choices are cheap or really expensive.

    For all you cassette lovers out there is it worth spending $600 on a NICE Denon or $150 for low end Sony or Onkyo? I've found a Tascam in the middle but never liked the sound of those even though they are durable so won't consider that.

    Ideally, I've always wanted a Nakamichi Dragon (google this monster if you've never seen one)...but they are still fetching anywhere from $800-1500 on Ebay for ones in good shape :)
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    forget the dragon -you're paying for the name.

    get an aiwa xks or sony tc ka 6es if you want to record top quality
    with minimum noise.

    if you want a deck with well implemented dolby NR get a teac 6030 or 8030, but not a tascam - those were built for PRO application and therefore they are ALL worn to death,while "audiophile" teac deck were kept intact by snobbu idiots making a handful of recordings a year ;)

    for playback only get a Yamaha kx580 - best sounding budget 3 head deck ive heard recently - cheap and reliable.

    dont let anyone make you buy the expensive akai decks like gx 75/95 - there were very good when new, once the recording and playback head are touched by the user u'll never set them back to work correct.

    do not ever bother to look at technics decks - they fuck up the dynamics of the low end no matter what tape you'd use.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    kx580 is a two head deck - not 3 - that's why it takes a lot of work to make it record exactly the sound you want - u can monitor real-time with it.

    there were those 3 head kx670/kx690 but i havent tested any of the two. people say they're good,but you never know...

  • spyder909 over 8 years ago

    ^^^It is something I'm looking to buy new. No matter how well taken care of it looks a tape deck is something I don't want to fuck around with used.

    The only new ones I can find are the Sony or Onkyo for about $150, a Pioneer for around $200, or a sick looking Denon for $600. It will be stritcly used for playback. MAYBE a recording here and there but not a lot. I like the sound of the Yamaha's...very natural but can't find a new one on the market anymore.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    new?

    the recent shit is not worth any attention.
    nothing post 1996 is worth even looking at.

    all of my secondhand decks will work forever while the one i bought new in 1998 is now long time dead. you decide.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    dunno baout US but there are piles of kx580SE on uk ebay and you can get a mint unit for 20 GBP. they're so simple there's nothing that can really go wrong with it.

    it's a single capstan transport so you have to keep it very clean to let the tape travel exactly the path it's meant to go. but otherwise it's a "best buy" for pre-recoded tape because of its play-trim knob.

    funny thing is the kx480 worked even smoother, and it was cheaper for 580 had dolby S (which sucked).

    the important fact about yamaha decks - their dolby is pure shit, these decks work well with noise reduction turned off.
  • spyder909 over 8 years ago


    fixia
    the important fact about yamaha decks - their dolby is pure shit, these decks work well with noise reduction turned off.


    Agree, I have never used any Dolby on tapes, I always thought it cut out some of the high end I wanted to hear. Unless the hiss was ridiculously bad I always have it off. I will check out the Yamaha's on US Ebay though...thanx for the tip.
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    Get a good condition used Sony ES cassette deck. I have a TC-K700 ES deck. Bought it last year for €40. It's literally built like a tank. The capacitors and power supply are so big they would fit an integrated amplifier. Quartz locked direct drive just like a Technics SL1200 and 3 heads for optimal quality. Direct drive gives you low wow and futter and you'll never have to change the belts that will wear out over time.
    See: http://www.vintage-audio.com.ua/pict_mod/cat_items/24_pict_big_sony_tck700es_b.jpg

    The sound is so much fuller and better than on various other decks I have tried, including higher range (just below ES) Sony consumer decks. Provided with the right tape there's no telling the sound from the original source.

    fixia
    dont let anyone make you buy the expensive akai decks like gx 75/95 - there were very good when new, once the recording and playback head are touched by the user u'll never set them back to work correct.

    I once had a gx75 MKII which I have luckily sold. Built like a tank again, but this deck has a common bug that the lid won't close properly by itself because of the cassette stabalizer (not present in the MK I) You have to give it a manual nudge. Also, maximal recording levels are insanely low. I had to set the bias way up high to get a somewhat decent recording on mine while I had calibrated it and playback was fine. I'm glad I have sold it.
    fixia
    do not ever bother to look at technics decks - they fuck up the dynamics of the low end no matter what tape you'd use.

    Hmm, I have one old Technics deck http://www.vintagetechnics.info/tapedecks/rsm02.htm no way this is a shitty deck. It's just a bit heavy on the low end, but perhaps it's its age. This thing is from 1980-82 but still functions great. I wouldn't easily part with this one.

    And as a rule of thumb, as with (vintage) amplifiers, the heavier, the better. Never trust a light plastic deck.
  • spyder909 over 8 years ago

    ^^^I do have a Sony TC-WE835S from the mid 90's which sounds great and was the best "consumer" dual deck I could get at the time, but always wanted en ES deck. A friend has a single well ES deck from around 97 I think. Sounds great but they already had the plastic feel to them. I would like an early 90's ES deck that is heavy as hell like you said.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    the bonus with sony ES is the look.
    these truly add to the room ;)

    many of them were bought to work as expensive furniture ;) hence you can buy one for decent money now.

    with NOS 1984-1990 tapes these can do miracles ;)
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    the one i still havent checked is the pioneer ct91 - it's said to sound a bit warmer than sony,but for electronic music may be a good thing,the dynamics is there as my hifi "friends" say so i'll give one a go someday for sure..
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    Personally I have no experience with Pioneer cassette decks, but the ct91 looks like a great deck: http://www.audioscope.net/pioneer-mint-p-831.html Don't know if it's a direct drive (probably not), but personally I'd go with DD as there are no belt wear worries.

    Pioneer has made some really decent decks in the 70's and 80's and why not in the first half of the 90's? Check out this beast: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250243584002 Most of those need new belt(s) though.

    I had my cassette deck revival last year. I bought all the decks I couldn't afford as a kid in the 90's. Then I realized that tape is not all that and that there will always be sound detoriation starting right after recording, ghosting, unequal l+r channels, bad tape transport, head+rubber+belt wear... And as with all analog audio, you need expensive equipment to make it sound good.

    I used to collect tapes too, still have some nice 80's and 90's ones. Mostly used though as NOS can get expensive. It was also nice to pull some used but decent Type IV metal tapes from the bins at the goodwill for € 0,25
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    i hate type IV - always aggresive midrange.

    chromdioxid is shit too, but i love the dynamics of Cobalt treated Fe3-O4 type II tapes like sony UXs

    but the more expesive type I tapes were always the shit for me - tdk ar-x,ad-x and sony hf-s - the most natural sound i ever got on a cassette tape. at 7 cm/s the noise aint a problem anymore.

  • fixia over 8 years ago

    that "deterioration" you mentioned often adds to a 100% digital sound making it listenable ;)
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    Sony HF and TDK D are the only listenable Type I tapes IMO. I still have a sealed pack of TDK SA-90 and Sony UX-S tapes. Best Type II tape still is Maxell XLII I think. I also still have a whole pile of brand new sealed Maxell SQ 90 packs. Decent tape, but no XL or UR.

    Never had any problems sonic-wise with Type IV, with the right bias they sound just like the source to me. On my TC-K670 (just below the ES series at the time) http://cgi.ebay.nl/SONY-TC-K670-Stereo-Cassette-Tape-Deck-Kassette-mit-FB_W0QQitemZ220224505561QQihZ012QQcategoryZ19640QQcmdZViewItem#ebayphotohosting I can record metal tapes with peaks up to +10 dB and they still sound clean. That's one signal/noise ratio from a cassette deck.

    fixia
    that "deterioration" you mentioned often adds to a 100% digital sound making it listenable ;)

    No, making it listenable happens right after recording from CD to a good tape. The loss of highs happens after a few years, depending on tape quality and environment. Ghosting will happen pretty soon too because of the tape being rolled up tightly and magnetic profiles giving off on each other. Not to mention the (partial) drop-outs that can occur on bad tapes.
  • psymonkey over 8 years ago

    psymonkey edited over 8 years ago
    spyder909
    I'd like to get a new deck just to have one in case this one breaks since it gets a lot of use


    Have you considered waiting until it breaks? Tape decks last forever in my experience. In fact, I don't recall having ever seen a broken tape deck. Looking back on all my families, friends and personal stereos, that was the one constant even when other components break. Hell there is an old Sony bookshelf unit in my garage with a broken turntable, broken CD player, the backlight and the wand for the the radio are broken even though it still works, but the dual tape decks work like a champ.

    Seems a waste of cash to me.

    Or, just get one of these http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=PLUSDECK2C ;-)
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    if you asked me i'd say sony hf and tdk D are ok for speech but not for music.

    compare it to tdk AD ,AR, AR-x - if possible ;)

    and sony HF-S is completely different tape to HF - you can record at peak volume = +8dB without distortion (moderate limiting)

    btw i forgot another brand that is highly underrated - which is Taiyo Yuden That's - their CDIIF tape is probably the most dynamic
    type II tape i ever worked with + the noise is pretty much inaudible. sounds and looks a bit like UX-pro but the latter is
    more noisy..

    hitachi's XL II was great until the "blown away" serie which was shit. the old version with black spools with white lining were really well made.

    decent type IV tape like MR-X or XR accepts +10dB sure, but the noise level is unacceptable + the 3-6khz is not as natural compared to AD-X no matter how you tweak the bias imo.

    one is for sure - if you got a SONY deck it will work best with SONY tapes.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    "The loss of highs happens after a few years, depending on tape quality and environment. Ghosting will happen pretty soon too because of the tape being rolled up tightly and magnetic profiles giving off on each other. Not to mention the (partial) drop-outs that can occur on bad tapes."

    1. the loss of highs? i cant hear it on my old ones at all.
    2.rewind all your tapes regularly and "ghosting" is not a problem anymore. + that's where the Cobalt particles do their job - if you hear the "pre-echo" of the recording before it actually starts that means the tape is crap.
  • Ultravod over 8 years ago

    Late to the party, but it's conventional wisdom among sound engineers that the best cassette deck of the last 15 year is the Tascam 122 Mk III. It has pretty much everything you need: 3 heads, balanced and single-ended I/O, analog VU meters, tanklike construction, rack mountable, realtime counter, bias controls, mic input, etc etc. I understand that a tape recorded on a properly tuned Dragon has the potential to sound better ...when played back on a properly tuned Dragon. The 122 was designed for producing "mobile masters" (demo copies from before the days of the CD-R.) 122 Mk IIIs were quite expensive when new ($1500 list, $1200 street) I suspect a clean used deck can be found for far less than that these days.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    ..it's tanklike ..and unfortunaly it's been treated so in many cases.

    i wouldnt buy it from a stranger.
  • spyder909 over 8 years ago

    psymonkey
    Seems a waste of cash to me.


    Maybe so, I just think if I'm looking for a deck that is already 10+ years old I have a better chance of finding one in good shape that needs very little or no service if I bought one sooner rather than later.

    Ultravod
    it's conventional wisdom among sound engineers that the best cassette deck of the last 15 year is the Tascam 122 Mk III.


    True, I worked at a few radio stations while in college and in every studio these seemed to be the standard deck. For whatever reason I always thought the sound was ok but nothing special.
    But you're right in that they could take a lot of abuse. The transport functions were smooth and did not seem to stretch the tape at all. Maybe they all sounded average to me b/c they were abused (as fixia pointed out) and probably never cleaned much.

  • simfonik over 8 years ago

    Here's a nice looking 122mkIII on eBay:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Tascam-122-MK-III-rack-mount-cassette-deck_W0QQitemZ320249049590QQihZ011QQcategoryZ15199QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    Who knows if it's as nice internally as it is externally though. "works great" and "bought from a friend" usually put me off.

  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    fixia
    compare it to tdk AD ,AR, AR-x - if possible ;)

    I don't have much experience with AD (I do have an old AD somewhere I think), but I have two AR tapes from when I was young and back then they were crap on my little JVC midi set and today they are still crap on the "big" deck. Lots of noise, no highs and low range. I tried to record new stuff on it on various decks to no avail. TDK D will work any time in any deck. I still prefer Sony HF(-X) over any TDK Type I. But then again, owning mostly Sony cassette decks I might be biassed.

    fixia
    1. the loss of highs? i cant hear it on my old ones at all.

    I can hear it quite well on both Maxell XLII 90 and TDK SA-90 tapes I have recorded last year. They were recorded with quite sparkly highs and no dolby and right after recording sounded as bright as the CD they were recorded from. Now the highs have definately detoriated. Older tapes I recorded with dobly b now get played without dolby switched on to have some natural highs. I have this on tapes by various brands and recorded on various decks.
    fixia
    2.rewind all your tapes regularly and "ghosting" is not a problem anymore.

    True. I'm just not that much of a regular rewinder :P
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    most decks were calibrated according to tdk allignment tapes - sony decks were surely set to sony's tapes.

    but how on earth you could have problems with AR tape seems a bit unbelieable to me..

    other thing is - for serious recordings - forget the 90minutes tape
    - both the tape itself and the magnetic layer are way to thin.
    try the same c60 (88 meters) and c90 (132 meters) and they LOOK DIFFERENT and sound diferent, especially after a year of regular usage.

    for any deck a c46 is the best (most "comfortable) - the tape has the same thickness as c60 but it weighs less obviously. the bigger spools mounted in some 46's bend the tape less than the regular small ones too.

    thicker tape means less work for the capstan/pinch roller duo.

  • fixia over 8 years ago

    that 122 mk III link - "will not ship to canada and overseas"
    ^thanks and have a nice f**'ng day - i hope it has the heads worn to death ;)
  • DJCory023 over 8 years ago

    I'm considering bouncing my master bus from Cubase out to a cassette deck using metal tapes, say the good Maxell ones XL-S (i forgot the exact model)... Any thoughts? I've always loved the sound of tapes...
  • DJCory023 over 8 years ago

    and then of course, playing it back into Cubase to re-digitize it.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    the metal maxell tapes were MX and MXs
    XLII and XLIIs were their best type II tapes,
    but if you have a quality deck and a chance to record on XL Is -do so ;)

    as far as type II - their UD II was really ok, but not the old collector's version - the first UDIICD was its best moement imo.
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    DJCory023
    nd then of course, playing it back into Cubase to re-digitize it.

    Aren't there software filters to get the same effect? I think you'll not only gain some "analog warmth", but also loose some clarity or soundstage. I think to really benefit from it you need a professional multitrack studio recorder.
    fixia
    as far as type II - their UD II was really ok, but not the old collector's version - the first UDIICD was its best moement imo.

    My tape of choice when I was a kid :) Great value for money at the time. I could get a decent recording level and decent high ends with it on my crappy auto-reverse JVC midi set.
  • mayday over 8 years ago

    spyder909
    Ideally, I've always wanted a Nakamichi Dragon


    Get the Nak CR-7! It's even better than the Dragon!! I paid only £500 for a NM one on eBay a few years ago.
    I've been archiving all my tapes using this machine and it's bringing out detail (esp bass) I never knew was physically possible to even exist on a tape!

    Of course that would be wasted without a good sound card too. I fully recommend the M-Audio Delta 1010LT.
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    mayday
    I paid only £500 for a NM one on eBay

    You have to be very serious to spend that ammount on a cassette deck. You can get a lot of Sony ES decks for that money ;) My ES also gave me a tight and detailed low end I never knew existed on tape. I'm sure a Nak will do it better, but I don't think it will be worth the price difference to everyone.
  • spyder909 over 8 years ago

    The CR-7 looks sweet, I'll look into that to see how much they are going for these days. I like the Sony ES stuff too, there seem to be more of these around and are way less expensive.

    mayday
    Of course that would be wasted without a good sound card too. I fully recommend the M-Audio Delta 1010LT.


    Whether recording from turntables or tapes I don't use any software or computers at all. I have this monster which is one of the best purchases I've ever made. The converters are top notch and the end result is as good as you can get. Very easy to use too. I can't say enough great things about it.
    http://www.alesis.com/masterlink

  • mayday over 8 years ago

    The Sony ES may be sweet, but nothing, believe me even comes close to as good as the CR-7. And if you are into recording also, be prepared to be blown away by how much levels you can get away with!
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    the problem with NAKs is - they're great,but you have to pay twice - once for a great deck + once for the myth.

    500 pounds for a near mint unit was a lucky shot though.

    but ive seen BNIB tcka6ES that went for 224 GBP - and my guess is - in terms years that ES will be in better condition.

    (just a guess)
    + where do you get a NAK deck fixed when it breaks down (in UK) ?
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    as far as the levels - it all depends on the display/vu meters used.

    one tape shows peaks @ +4dB on deck A, +6dB on deck B and +8 dB on deck C

    so the best judgement of signal/noise ratio is the ear ;)
  • mayday over 8 years ago


    fixia
    500 pounds for a near mint unit was a lucky shot though.


    yeah I'd been tracking them for 6 months before that, and saw them go for 600-900 before that one

    I know what you mean about levels being diff on diff decks, but simply, you can record more.

    I think Naks used to always be serviced by B&W down in Worthing, in West Sussex. Dunno if that's still the case.
  • spyder909 over 8 years ago

    That is another problem, most used Nak decks need at least some servicing (at the very least I would want it looked at) and I'm not sure where I would even go for that. I'm sure I could find somewhere here in New York that is capable of doing it but would prob cost me a lot.

    Also, as many of you have stated Naks are great for recording..and to be honest I would rarely ever use it for that. I'm really looking for just a great playback deck with good sound. After reading your comments here and some other research I think buying one may be more money and trouble than it's worth.

    Of course I would not rule it out if the price is right. I checked out the CR-7 and there is not one for sale on US Ebay right now, and with currecny rates and other charges it would be out of the question to buy one from the UK or anywhere overseas.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    LOL

    ^while you can buy a top condition dragon for 1000-1200 usd, u can as well buy a wrecked unit torn into million pieces from this guy, for the same money. a bargain ;)
  • mayday over 8 years ago

    haha, don't much fancy putting that lot together and getting a working Dragon!

    Hadn't realised you were from the US, spyder, sorry!

    Btw, the CR7 is built with the finest parts, and made to last!
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    those were continued till 93/4 ,so if in truly good condition it
    will play tapes to your grandchildren.. long after the last CD player is buried and forgotten.
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    I've heard stories from Nak owners that they are great, but later models have more and more plastic in the moving parts, which will wear. If it's not a direct drive it will have to have the belts replaced eventually. Also, tapes recorded on a Nak seem to be not very exchangeable between other brands of decks for some reason.
  • mayday over 8 years ago

    yeah, later Naks aren't so hot
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    cr7 has no belts.
    and tbh no matter what deck you are using - the tape will play best on this very unit..

    sometimes the tape recorded on deck A sounds different in an interesting way when played back on deck B,but you cant quite control it..
  • mayday over 8 years ago

    yes, it's direct drive.
    also, it has azimuth fine tuning which helps get the best out of what tape you have, esp useful when playing tapes recorded on another machine.
  • djfrankiebones over 8 years ago

    Wow, I wish I would have gotten into this earlier. But anyway, as far as good cassette decks go, I'd suggest a Tascam or the Technics TR-575. The Technics TR-575 is the top of the line double cassette deck which I always liked because it auto-reverses in Record mode which keeps the program going exactly where it leaves off on the A side. That did wonders for my mix tapes, BTW.

    Talking tapes? I have this DENON Metal Bias tape which was recorded with HX (Headroom Extention) which is the loudest recording I have ever gotten on tape. I never used DOLBY B or C on recordings and always had the levels tapping into the red more then they should. But damn some of mix tapes were loud....
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    djfrankiebones
    top of the line double cassette deck which I always liked because it auto-reverses in Record mode

    One lesson. You do not want auto reverse decks unless it's this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Nakamichi_RX_505_Front_edited.jpg Auto Reverse decks always have more inaccurate tape transport. Double decks are usually of lower quality too. Good for everyday use, but I'd get better for digitizing precious recordings.
  • Dec over 8 years ago

    Dec edited over 8 years ago
    little_alien
    You do not want auto reverse decks unless it's this one (Nakamichi RX 505)

    Let me guess: the 505 flips the entire cassette around, leaving the motors and heads not having to move?
    That would explain the "bay window" at the front.

    edit: Yes, the cassette holder sits on a little turntable.
    Looks like it has to do an eject before it can flip sides.
    What's to stop someone from removing the cassette while it's in mid-flip?
  • mayday over 8 years ago


    Dec
    What's to stop someone from removing the cassette while it's in mid-flip?


    the back side of the owner's hand?!
  • djfrankiebones over 8 years ago

    Look. I know Nakamichi ranks amongst the best, no doubt.

    http://www.prodcat.panasonic.com/assets/product_images/11794.jpg

    But this Technics cassette deck was as good in design as the 1200 turntable.
  • mayday over 8 years ago

    I have a Technics RS-BX747, which was their top of the range deck when I bought it. The heads lasted just 4 years so I would not recommend Technics!
  • mayday over 8 years ago

    It rewinds tapes faster than any deck in existence however! In fact that's all ended up using it for before finally putting it in the cupboard!
  • spyder909 over 8 years ago

    I've heard that doing a lot of rewinding can cause premature death of a motor or head, same is the case with VCR's. If I want to rewind a tape the full length I flip it over and FF instead. Don't know how effective it is but can't hurt I suppose.
  • spyder909 over 8 years ago

    In the late 80's I had a JVC deck that sounded incredible! A little treble happy but crystal clear on both playback and recording. I bought a new one in 93 or so which was plagued from the beginning. It was a dual deck..Deck A had no highs at all and deck B sounded wobbly. Thing was in the shop TWICE and was never right even after replacing almost everything possible, I finally gave up on it and used it strictly for a rewind deck.

  • Dec over 8 years ago

    mayday
    What's to stop someone from removing the cassette while it's in mid-flip?

    the back side of the owner's hand?!

    Gotta keep your pimp hand strong!

    spyder909
    I've heard that doing a lot of rewinding can cause premature death

    I noticed with almost every deck, that REW and FF leaves the tape wound unevenly. If I was going to leave a "good" cassette back on the shelf for a while, I'd make sure to play it through, for a better wind.

    About 20 years ago I was listening to most of my music while commuting, on an auto-reverse AIWA walkman, which didn't wind the tape onto the take-up reel too smoothly. To save batteries and avoid slowed-down playback, I used to have to REW and FF it, so it at least had a good wind to unwind from. At one stage, the easiest option for me to do that was to put the cassette into the answering machine at work, and rewind it on both sides. I had about 1 second after loading the cassette to force it into REW mode before it laid down sync beeps onto what it thought was a new incoming message tape. It didn't even have a detector for the write-protect tabs, so everything was fair game to it...

    Gotta keep your pimp hands strong!
    One hand on the REW button, one hand ready to pull out the power lead.

    I'm not very nostalgic about cassettes.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    "I noticed with almost every deck, that REW and FF leaves the tape wound unevenly."

    ^bad cassette.
    try that with the old XL IIs - the heavy grey model - impossible ;)
  • Sombunya over 8 years ago

    fixia
    + where do you get a NAK deck fixed when it breaks down (in UK) ?

    I have a Nakamichi DR-10 I bought brand new in '99 for $799. A bit pricey but a righteous deck I think. Especially for my needs; home playback and recording.

    I have two Nak BX-125's and an MR-2 I use for work horses or to give to friends needing a cheap but decent cassette deck. Two-head, single capstan, but they sound okay and can be had for dirt cheap. The problems with them are the "Idler Tire" and the reed switches that are activated by the cams driven off the controller motor.

    Idler Tire The take-up and or rewind spool does not turn and the deck stops or spills the tape. The rubber idler tire loses its suppleness and slips against the FF or RR spools. Remove two screws in the upper corners and take out the plate behind the cassette. Carefully (very delicate) clean the tire with the right stuff, NOT ALCOHOL, and there is no need to buy the $5 kits sold on ebay to repair this, IMO. A more expensive but permanent fix is to install the gear drive instead. The DR 10 has this upgrade already.

    Reed switches You push the play or rewind buttons and the lights wig out, the transport starts and stops weirdly or nothing at all happens. The reed switches can be found behind the cassette transport assembly. On the BX and MR series they can be cleaned without disassembly using tweezers and a small strip of paper. Spray any kind of contact cleaner on the paper and drag it between the contacts on the reed switches. Good to go. I think the CR-7 needs to have the transport assembly removed to access these switches but I'm not sure. I don't have one. If the transport assembly needs to removed from the chassis it can be done without too much hassle I think. Go slow, bright lighting, take notes. This link gives step by step directions with photos. I've corrected two BX 125's with this problem.

    Most of the ills with Naks are these two issues I think. And again, most Naks can be had very cheaply on the auction site.
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    Sombunya
    Carefully (very delicate) clean the tire with the right stuff, NOT ALCOHOL, and there is no need to buy the $5 kits sold on ebay to repair this, IMO.

    I know alcohol dries out the rubber, but what is "the right stuff" then if you don't mean the eBay kits?
  • Sombunya over 8 years ago

    My brother uses this stuff when servicing large, industrial capacity printers. The rubber wheels pick up ink and crap and then slip so they won't pick up a sheet of paper. He says after cleaning the rubber wheels are soft yet not sticky. I have not used it on any belts though. Have not needed to.

    I've been using Windex Multi-surface cleaner. I'll dip a Q-tip in it and hold it against the rubber wheel as it turns. Some black stuff (very little) comes off and the rubber feels like new. Traction, but not sticky.

    The ebay kits I'm referring to are the replacement rubber tires. There's noting wrong with replacing these but as the mechanism is quite delicate (plastic piece holding the "wheel rim") I try cleaning the rubber wheel first.

    Nak uses very good quality rubber for their belts. I've worked on 4 units from the early-mid 1980's, all belts seemed good. They all responded well to my half-assed service.

    Again, if you want every ounce of performance from a cassette then the three head units are the only way to go. And the pricing on ebay reflects this. The BX and MR series can be had for cheap and will deliver 90% of what most people want I think. There's a BX-125 advertised there right now that I bet would respond to a little cleaning. I bought an MR-2 with fine bias and pitch control for $20 USD. It was the third time the guy listed it and he thanked me for taking it off his hands. I cleaned it up and it works nicely.

    One more thing. I don't know how many are available on ebayUK but shipping from the US to Britain may be costly and offset the bargain prices. I'm going to ship a single 10" 78 rpm record packed between cardboard to Kent, England. Not heavy at all but it will cost $11.95 / 6.14 GBP.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    ive heard the story about alcohol drying rubber - ive been using alcohol for 15 years now and never had any problems with the pinch rollers - this is a myth to make you buy "the right stuff"..
  • mayday over 8 years ago

    ^ as above ;)
  • djfrankiebones over 8 years ago


    mayday
    I have a Technics RS-BX747, which was their top of the range deck when I bought it. The heads lasted just 4 years so I would not recommend Technics!


    http://audio-heritage.jp/TECHNICS/player/rs-bx747.html

    That looks like shit to me, pretty useless actually.

    Now what I can tell you is that I bought five of these at once:

    http://www.pluto.dti.ne.jp/~lusye/odio/tecni/tepe/rs_tr575.jpg

    Stacked them one on top of another, and both sides record at the same time. So I was able to mass duplicate 10 tapes in 90 minutes running off a DAT master in realtime.

    Not only did I run thousands of cassettes this way but I still have two of these decks and they both operate as new. Never had any problem as long as you demagnatize them, clean the capstans and clean the heads they function perfectly.
  • spyder909 over 8 years ago

    For a new deck I like this one but seems way overpriced...anyone have experience with Denon? They recommend a few Tascam decks with similar features but never liked them much...just my personal preference.

    http://www.samash.com/catalog/showitem.asp?ItemPos=3&TempID=4&DepartmentID=6&STRID=224747&CategorySubID=71&CategoryID=71&BrandID=0&CategorySubPriceRangeID=0&pagesize=10&SortMethod=3&Method=3&PriceRangeID=0&SearchPhrase=&Contains=&Search_Type=Department&GroupCode=&categorysubsearch=true
  • Sombunya over 8 years ago

    fixia
    ive heard the story about alcohol drying rubber

    I'm not a chemist so I cannot comment on that.

    I tried alcohol and it didn't seem to work. If it works for you, cool.

    The Windex Multi Surface Cleaner I use leaves the rubber soft and seems to provide a little grip. The rubber surface felt new.
    A bottle is about $2.50 and will provide about 10,000 cleanings. In other words, more than I'll ever need. Try it.
  • mayday over 8 years ago


    djfrankiebones
    That looks like shit to me, pretty useless actually.


    It wasn't shit, since it was awesome when it was new. Good 3 head performance with direct drive (i think). The auto tape tuning worked a treat as well. Like I said, it was their top of the range machine when I bought it around 94, although it wasn't that expensive, around £350.
    I'd certainly never recommend an auto-reverse or twin tape machine. Tape dubbing is no use to me, but more, the electronics and drives are never as good as a good solid single (3 head) machine.
  • djfrankiebones over 8 years ago

    Fair enough. I meant useless because it made more sense to me to have a unit that can record two tapes at once, the one singular deck.

    I never actually did tape dubbing. The 575 had record functions for both dual decks independent of one another so I was recording 10 tapes at once from 5 decks at normal speed. I never used the high speed dubbing....
  • monohub over 8 years ago

    We use the Revox B215 which is about a solid a deck as you're going to get. It doesn't have too many bells and whistles, but the motors are absolutely stable. Cost about 10,000 gilders when we first got it, but you can get 2nd hand ones for less than $500. It was designed more for the professional and science worlds, so it's as tank like deck as you could ask for. Found this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMCpJYudxCQ, you can hear how solid the motors are, if you can get past the crap he's playing.
  • monohub over 8 years ago

    We use the Revox B215 which is about a solid a deck as you're going to get. It doesn't have too many bells and whistles, but the motors are absolutely stable. Cost about 10,000 gilders when we first got it, but you can get 2nd hand ones for less than $500. It was designed more for the professional and science worlds, so it's as tank like deck as you could ask for. Found this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMCpJYudxCQ, you can hear how solid the motors are, if you can get past the crap he's playing.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    yep,it's one of the tanks..but find one that was treated like a treasure for the last 15 years...

    you will not.that's the story with tascams - find a BNIB unit and it's hot. if used,it's probably wrecked.
  • hozak over 8 years ago

    i have a technics tr-535. its a dual deck. that machine must have thousands of hours on it. i bought it in the early 90s. i was just transfering some tapes to cd a few months ago and it still works great.

    i also have a sony tc-we805s.
  • AceBeaty over 8 years ago

    A few years ago i found a little article about good tapes for "mobile mastering", i saved it as a txt file and paste it here as it could be of interest to some and i'd be quite interested in anyone comments:

    ---

    - high-quality chrome high-bias (Type 2) cassette tape.

    Top :
    Emtec Chrome Extra II
    Fuji Z II
    Maxell Audio Pro MS
    TDK SM-X30 for all Mastering needs
    TDK T1 [EU] or CDBass [USA] for Bass and Dub music

    Emtec Tapes :
    Make a wide range of tapes, their budget line are consists of the Ferro Extra I that is a good quality ferric tape in quite a rigid case that is well suited to music recording, the Chrome Extra II which is the basically the same shell and band with a chrome formulation on it, currently the authors favourite tape since it can be had quite cheaply and is very good for the price. The mid range is covered by Chrome Super II which is a better formulated tape with a much improved anti-resonant casing (their best selling tape which shows how much things have changed in the last few years).

    Fuji-Magnetics :
    Has a large range of tapes, mostly ferric formulations in the lower ranges of the market but also a couple of high spec ferrics and a large range of chrome formulated tapes both budget models and more upmarket ones such as the K 1 & 2 and
    the excellent Z II, the company however stopped making metal formulated tapes in 2002.

    Dena Cassettes :
    This Iranian manufacturer makes blanks in basically 2 formulations, Ferric and Chrome but has quite a few variants of tape and mechanisms qualities, some of them quite good and these tapes turn up in the strangest of places, "paki shops" in the UK, Hi-fi stores in Russia and in the international airport in Lybia.

    Maxell :
    Make the UR ferric (normal) budget tape and the XL_II mid priced chrome, the XL_II is better than most budget chrome tapes that we have tried. You can get that formulation also in a better shell in the form of the Audio Pro MS casssette, it's meant for studios so not often seen on the consumer market.

    Racks :
    Has a large range of cassettes, anything from cheap ferrics best suited to voice recording to excellent quality units like the SP Metal tape, these are keenly priced as well, although the range from this company is more difficult to get in the west than it was a few years back, I have to admit that I really like some of this company's tapes.
    ---
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    the MS shell is nothing else but an older XL consumer shell,from the days when the wrap was "gold".

    basf? they were using chrom dioxid which resulted in recordings much quieter than the source signal, without 3rd head you could never get adecent recording. the cobalt absorbed ferric oxide IEC II used by the japanese (maxell [epitaxial],fuji [beridox],tdk[avilyn],sony[uniaxial]) were better.

    yet still i have no idea what sort of layer was used by taiyo yuden - their suono series was fucking brilliant - like the CDIIf tape.

    speaking of fuji - their JP I/II tapes were the best stuff for the money at some point. you could bet it with an AR or AD-X but those were almost twice the price of an JP tape.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    u mean "raks" perhaps?
  • AceBeaty over 8 years ago

    @ dear fixia: probably, i just pasted that 'article' as i found/saved it back then from an online source.
    I've never seen a Racks tape…
  • djfrankiebones over 8 years ago

  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    AceBeaty
    Fuji-Magnetics :
    Has a large range of tapes, mostly ferric formulations in the lower ranges of the market but also a couple of high spec ferrics and a large range of chrome formulated tapes both budget models and more upmarket ones such as the K 1 & 2 and
    the excellent Z II, the company however stopped making metal formulated tapes in 2002.

    Fuji has made some pretty good tapes sound-wise, but they (at least all my chrome ones) don't age well. Lots of drop-outs and just detoriates sound over the years.
  • themildbunch over 8 years ago

    spyder909
    Like many here I have a ton of old mixtapes I'm slowly in the process of converting to digital. Right now I'm using a ten year old Sony TC-WE835S which still works and sounds great. Only maintenance I've ever done is cleaning the heads.

    I'd like to get a new deck just to have one in case this one breaks since it gets a lot of use, but seems the only choices are cheap or really expensive.

    For all you cassette lovers out there is it worth spending $600 on a NICE Denon or $150 for low end Sony or Onkyo? I've found a Tascam in the middle but never liked the sound of those even though they are durable so won't consider that.

    Ideally, I've always wanted a Nakamichi Dragon (google this monster if you've never seen one)...but they are still fetching anywhere from $800-1500 on Ebay for ones in good shape :)


    I transfer audio and video as part of my business and have Teac / Tascam and Nakamichi tape decks.. The Teac / Tascams are well built and very dependable but I much prefer the Nakamichi's for sound quality.

    I've got quite a few and even some of the cheaper 2 head models sound good. These often go very very cheaply on ebay as everyone seems to want the high end models. B&W in the UK still service and have all the original spares. They're pretty reasonably priced too.

    DIY servicing is not too difficult either. As most Naks had adjustable head height, etc behind the door, it's common that previous owners have 'had a fiddle' and messed it up. All the service manuals can be downloaded for free now and pretty accurate remade test tapes can be bought from a guy in Spain. The only thing that's tough is setting the guide height and a few other settings that need special gauges but to be honest these don't need setting much. It's worth joining the naktalk mailing list here - there's some very knowledgeable people there, some US based who will service and repair too.....

    naktalk

    For ultimate playback flexibility you need one of the models with manually adjustable playback azimuth. The CR7 and Cassette Deck 1 had this and the Dragon has auto azimuth that continually adjusts in playback.

    I prefer the older Naks such as the 400, 500, 600 series. These all actually have adjustable playhead azimuth but only by a little screw hidden behind the cassette door. If the transport is in good condition and the head adjustments haven't been messed with too much they make perfect machines for transfers.

  • AceBeaty over 8 years ago

    Thanks for the warning about the Fuji-Magnetics dear little_alien.
    That makes me now wonder what brand and type would be best for archival purpose…
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    AceBeaty
    Thanks for the warning about the Fuji-Magnetics dear little_alien.
    That makes me now wonder what brand and type would be best for archival purpose…

    Well, that's just my personal experience of their 90's Chrome range when I was still actively using them. I have no idea about their Ferro or Metal types. For durability, any type of Maxell, TDK and Sony are always good choices. Again, this is just based on personal experience.
  • djfrankiebones over 8 years ago

    TDK SA-90 and MAXELL XL-II 90's have both been proven to last the test of time and I have original recordings I did that are between 25-30 years old and still work perfectly.

    I don't think any CD-R will ever live to tell that tale.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    denon mg-x may be rare,but nothing else.
    if they were serious about that tape they wouldnt go beyond c-60,if it's c-100 it's just a trick for the boys hunting for attractive shells.

    wannabe serious - go That's.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    as for the shell itself - cant beat the grey heat resistant maxell xl-s.
    but guess what the transparent 1988's ma-xg was thrice the price.

    also there were some interesting pranks like tdk hx-s or that's em-x - which are literally type IV tape put into type II shells -good sound but too much hiss for my ear.

    for dance music i'd recommend sony UXS which is prolly the most punchy type II tape (no chrome used) or tdk AR -type I ,but the recordings can be so loud (+still dynamic) that you 'd prolly damage your hearing listening at a level where the hiss would be a problem..
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    speaking of azimuth setting - what i dont understand is people trying to hit the spot where they hear as much highs as possible,completely forgetting about the mids and lows,why is that?
  • djfrankiebones over 8 years ago

    fixia
    speaking of azimuth setting - what i dont understand is people trying to hit the spot where they hear as much highs as possible,completely forgetting about the mids and lows,why is that?


    This is going into the whole black/white topic, Dave Clarke thread in Electronic Music, but the answer is:

    White people turn up the treble, Black people turn up the bass.

    Fixia, how is it that you seem to be the Grand Master of the Compact Cassette? Were you an Ampex salesmen?

    fixia
    if they were serious about that tape they wouldnt go beyond c-60,if it's c-100 it's just a trick for the boys hunting for attractive shells.


    After a TDK MA-XG you really could not get anymore attractive as far as design goes, I think with Denon I had a hook-up with the company which was more of a pricing thing then anything else. I actually was in charge of store stock blank media for 13 stores when the "Nobody Beats The Wiz" chain had become popular in N.Y.C. This was from 1985-1987 and the only actual job I ever had before getting into producing and DJ'ing.

    The only reason I know the Denon tape is quality is because of one master cassette I own which is superior to any CD recording I own. I could seriously damage my car stereo by putting the volume up more then half way. I don't even know how that is possible?

  • djfrankiebones over 8 years ago

    Here is another thing which should be mentioned. I have two TDK D-90 cassettes in front of me. One is a U.K. tape recorded on September 7th, 1989. the other a U.S. tape recorded in August 1989.

    The U.K. shell has 5 screws which connect the a & b shell sides.
    The U.S. shell has no screws. Strange.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    nothing new - look at more tdk's - the japanese market has always offered more "models" than for the u.s.
    and the japanese cassettes looked different from the american series.

    same for sony - you will not find a hf-x with all european print will you ;)
    or there was no tdk SR anywhere else but in japan etc.

    speaking of tapesand volumes - if it's a punchy tuned-up 909 kick you can get crazy volumes on a cassette.
    but try that with a low stomp of an 808 and you wont get away with anything above +3dB imo. otherwise it will have no kick at all im afraid.

    or take mike parker's geophone stuff - no cassette will handle that. but for most autechre-ish music recording onto a ferric tape adds a lot.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    the funniest thing is people believing their pioneer or nakamichi tapes being superior to anything else - forgetting these are ALL
    kindly manufactured by tdk, and using exactly the same tapes.
  • djfrankiebones over 8 years ago

    I actually used over 1000 TDK SD-90 cassettes which were a lower budget high bias tape. Back in 1987 they cost me 99 cents which was the same retail price of the D-90.

  • fixia over 8 years ago

    SD was SF's predecessor, a proper bit cheaper than SA,but in the days when it was produced - even the entry level of TDK's type II was still a good tape.

    you would laugh your ass of how much people pay for a sealed SD these days,having no idea it's nothing else but an SF in a retro shell.

    speaking of silly prices - this reminds me of tdk MA-R - the worst looking type IV mutant ever..
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    SD is Type I and SF is Type II from what I gather on the internet... I really like SF. Back when I was young I had one SF tape. It came in a really nice looking dark transparent casing http://www.melofanas.lt/1left/kol/TDK/TDK_SF_II_90.jpg and at the time I thought it was better than SA. My cheap deck could get much greater dynamics out of it than an SA. It also looked much classier than a dull SA tape.
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    you couldnt be more wrong..
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/isytnc

    you cannot get a 'more type II" tape than this ;)
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    you're deck couldnt handle cobalt stabilized Fe3-O4 which has completely different properties than chrom dioxide.

    after 1990 only pdm and basf used it and imo that was a big mistake. take any SA-x,UX-s or other non chrom type II - you can get so much highs on it that you dont even need half of it, then try your 10 year old recording on a basf Chrom maxima? where are the highs? well, Zed's dead,honey- Zed's dead..
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    your - sorry
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    "In 1968 the company defied skeptics when it produced the world's first high-fidelity cassettes, marketed by TDK as Super Dynamic (SD) tape. Meanwhile, a TDK researcher named Yasuo Imaoka was looking for a material that could be used to replace chromium dioxide in video and audiotapes. Chromium dioxide, while offering excellent sound quality, is rare and expensive. Imaoka and his team came up with a process that combined ferric oxide with metal cobalt. The resulting material was named Avilyn, and it had a greater coercivity--a measure of magnetic substances--than chromium dioxide. Avilyn videotapes hit the market in 1973. The formula was soon improved by using cobalt hydroxide instead of metal cobalt, and the resulting Super Avilyn audiotapes revolutionized the industry when TDK unveiled its SA line, the first nonchrome high-bias tape, in 1975.
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    Oops, I was looking here: http://www.vintagecassettes.com/index_files/Page2988.htm but those SD tapes pre-date Type II I guess?
  • little_alien over 8 years ago

    Oops, I was looking here: http://www.vintagecassettes.com/index_files/Page2988.htm but those SD tapes pre-date Type II I guess?
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    although im not 100% sure if they used Fe2-O3 for Super Avilyn or the FeO-Fe2O3 ,gotta make some reading on it again ;/
  • fixia over 8 years ago

    ED was a pre AD tape and it was defo a type I. SD was type II from its very beginning.

  • fixia over 8 years ago

    BUT the email at the bottom is..a guy from whom i was buying some vintage tapes recently on ebay - he's an amazing collection so i think he knows better than me - i'll email him and ask..

    he even had Hitachi tapes from time where they werent "maxell" yet ;)

    and yes they guy is Polish,strange..

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