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Let's go WAY back, I need a tape deck

3126 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Dartman
Yeah, cassette tapes. I have a friend who wants me to convert a whole bunch of tapes to CD. I've got all the necessary hardware in my computer to do this but I don't have a tape deck.

I need a good unit with line level output. AFAIK nobody still makes these things so I'm thinking ebay is my only option. In any case I'm looking for recommendations on units I should be looking for.

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Actually, Sony still makes the TC-WE475. Not sure how it would rate. I think I recall the older Nakamichi units being good decks.

Good luck on this.
Teac and Marantz are still making dual well and cassette/CD systems.
scrounge around a bit at record stores... the record store that i go into (not to actually buy them, just for the nostalgia), has any number of tape decks lying around for sale... most are probably junk, but you might be able to find something that will do the job for pretty cheap...
Look on e-bay for the Luxman , what was that 104? 3 head unit. One of the best decks ever made. Originally sold for $450, but Luxman got wise and raised it to $800.

Old Nak's of course. (real ones, not the later Sansui OEM junk) Mid to low end, Denon ruled for years. They may still make one or used ones would be reasonable. I keep an old JVC on the shelf for just such occasions but their clone of Dolby was not dead on.

Problem with used decks is you don't know the condition of the head, capstan or belts.

Originally Posted by tvrgeek /forum/post/16897008

Problem with used decks is you don't know the condition of the head, capstan or belts.

Yeah, that's my concern. You can find some guys who refurb them but you gotta pay for that.

I stopped by Radio Shack today and talked to the manager. I've known him for a while, he's going to sell me his old deck. It's an Optimus. He's the original owner and says it's hardly been used at all. $35. I figure it's worth a shot.
Less than the shipping for e-bay. Price/performance winner.

Figured I'd put this in here for anyone doing searches on the same subject.

The Optimus deck I got is in really good condition. No visible wear at all and really clean inside. So I would definitely recommend Craigslist, or just asking around before you head to ebay. Always good to be able to check the unit out before buying.

I'm using an Emu 0404 USB sound card. And recording with Audacity (free software). The first tape I did was a really old, and well used, DIO album. It's certainly not up to modern standards but considering the source it came out good. I then recorded a song from a newer tape that I also have on CD, then compared it with the CD rip. Hard to tell them apart.

So for anyone wondering if this is worth I say yes. Counting my sound card I've still spent less than $150 on gear. And get results that are CD quality, or darn near it. Of course the condition of the tapes and the quality of the original recording are a factor.
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Some of the last Radio Shack cassette decks were pretty good units as far as specs go and I think they sounded good too.

They even sold reel to reels as well, one of their very last units was made for them by Teac and is still sought after by analog tape unit collectors.

I worked for them back when most of these units were being sold or phased out but never purchased either unit. Look up or find their old catalogs from the late 80 through early 90's and you can check out some of their tape decks and probably find the one you bought
Look on ebay for the Kenwood KX-W6020 one of the best decks ever made dual capstan 2 head Cassette Deck.
A good 3 head deck would be even better, the narrow gap tape head picks up less tape hiss. I would avoid auto reverse decks that shift the heads, they are usually not aligned to the signal very well in at least one of the directions.

Before recording, you will want to fast forward the tape, then fast rewind to reverse any imprinting, or "bleed through" of the magnetic medium.

I miss my Teac 3 head deck.
Back right near the end of the popularity of tape decks, I bought myself a single well, non-auto reverse 3 head Aiwa tape deck. I'm still impressed at how good it sounds, especially considering the brand.

Hey, look at that. I just did a search, and found it online.

It's the AD-F810 or at least one that looks exactly the same.


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My last deck was a Denon 700 that was for sale at Costco for a really good price http://www.vintagecassette.com/Denon/DRM-700/forsale

My step dad has it for now as he still has a pile of old tapes he tries to dub and listen to.

I also now have a Akai GX 230 and 270 reel to reel decks and a Sony dual capstan servo controlled 3 head auto reverse R to R a customer GAVE me right after I had picked up the 2 Akai's for some family and band tapes Step dad found in a box he forgot about.

Hard part these days is finding tape, especially good/affordable tape for the R to R decks
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