Who Needs A Cassette Deck in 2019? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-28-2019, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Who Needs A Cassette Deck in 2019?

Maybe you do, if you have a closet full of cassettes from your high school or college days, and, for nostalgia's sake (or maybe even something commercial) you want to digitize them.

An old friend of mine, a musician, film maker, documenter and such wanted to re-access several hundred cassettes, mostly interviews, family history, and living room music, and, like so many of us today, no longer had anything to play them on. In trying to find a reasonable new cassette deck that she could buy, I was rather shocked at the meager choice once you get beyond those $20 things. I found the Marantz PMD-300CP for $150, and next up was the TASCAM 202 Mk7 for $500 along with what appears to be a consumer-market version of each, a bit cheaper.

Anyway, I got my hands on the Marantz, a two-transport cassette deck with a built-in USB interface for plug-and-play transfer to a computer, and posted an extensive review of it on my web page. I can't post a link to it because I'm not a frequent poster here, but you can find it if you do a web search for mikeriversaudio.


Short story - The Marantz is OK, but doesn't sound as good as my nearly 30 year old TASACAM 122 Mk2. I went into a fair amount of analysis and discussed some measurement methods that might be new and a bit interesting to those who have never been exposed to analog tape or have, but always wished it would go away. Its main problem, as I suspect you suspect, is the use of a too-light-gauge tape transport which results in excessive scrape flutter. That's the mechanical equivalent of (digital) jitter, and has the same audible effects.


What we really need here - in case any manufacturers are reading this - is a cassette deck with a well made transport. It could be single-deck, playback only, so as not to encourage the sneaky proliferation of new material distributed on cassette.
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-28-2019, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeRivers View Post
What we really need here - in case any manufacturers are reading this - is a cassette deck with a well made transport. It could be single-deck, playback only, so as not to encourage the sneaky proliferation of new material distributed on cassette.
New dual cassette deck just released in 2018 by TEAC's professional division, TASCAM -- the 202mkVII (based on the TEAC W-1200)

Around $499 on Amazon.

https://tascam.com/us/product/202mkvii/top

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post #3 of 11 Old 05-28-2019, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dfa973 View Post
New dual cassette deck just released in 2018 by TEAC's professional division, TASCAM -- the 202mkVII (based on the TEAC W-1200)
Around $499 on Amazon.

That's the other one I noted in my post. I figured that we'd give the less expensive one a shot first. Bought it, studied it, tried it for practical work, and returned it for a refund.



I suspect that TASCAM used a more solid transport than the one in the Marantz, and I'd like to get my hands on a 202 MkVII. The last marketing rep I'd cultivated at TASCAM left in December and I haven't made friends with his replacement yet.
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-28-2019, 10:12 AM
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I've got a couple bags full of my old mixed tape cassettes. Every time I've gone to throw them out I've got cold feet. I had a cassette player kicking around for the longest time "just in case" but it died.


I don't think I'd ever actually listen to any of those old tapes again, but just in case...
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-28-2019, 10:36 AM
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Cassette is the new Vinyl says the grapevine....

I regret that I throw away all my casettes.

I hope I've learned and that cd comes there..

Nakamichi, Teac, Nad and Sony, Denon had many nice casette decks, and can be found online... But the price is going up from nowhere again...

Still cheap tho...
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-28-2019, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfa973 View Post
New dual cassette deck just released in 2018 by TEAC's professional division, TASCAM -- the 202mkVII (based on the TEAC W-1200)

Around $499 on Amazon.

https://tascam.com/us/product/202mkvii/top
There's a TEAC equivalent, the W-1200

https://www.teac-usa.com/w-1200/

I believe Dolby no longer license its noise reduction systems for cassette decks.

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post #7 of 11 Old 05-28-2019, 12:21 PM
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That modern Marantz cassette deck is junk. It plays tapes...nothing much more than that.


Best bet is to find an older (quality) one as you won't find anything like that being made today.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-28-2019, 12:38 PM
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Read my signature. I had a Teac from the 70s that finally failed and i purchased a used Nakamichi that works very well.

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post #9 of 11 Old 05-28-2019, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfa973 View Post
New dual cassette deck just released in 2018 by TEAC's professional division, TASCAM -- the 202mkVII (based on the TEAC W-1200)

Around $499 on Amazon.

https://tascam.com/us/product/202mkvii/top
Holy crap that looks like $4999 ...
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-28-2019, 02:14 PM
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I did that recently after discovering cassette tapes I made in high school in 1979 and 1980. I dragged my Akai deck and stereo mics to our band concerts and recorded them back then, but had forgotten about the tapes for decades till I found them at my parent's house.

Rather than look for a USB tape deck, I just used a Zoom field recorder to capture the RCA audio output of a vintage tape deck. A photo of that process is below using a Zoom H4n recorder. I suspect you will get better quality capturing audio out of a vintage deck than an modern USB deck. I've used an audio recorder to capture albums also (need to capture at phono preamp output rather turntable output for RIAA eq):

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Last edited by pjp; 05-28-2019 at 02:27 PM.
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post #11 of 11 Old 05-29-2019, 10:29 AM
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I have a Sansui cassette deck from the 80's that still works but only two cassette tapes. Albums and CD's are all over craigslist but cassette tapes not so much.

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