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Hi,

I am looking for a cassette player for my old tapes, just in case. It is more a memory lane idea than serious music listening. It don't really want to get a large tape deck. Hoping to find something I can put into a drawer.
After doing some research I found a couple of "walkman" style players with MP3 output. Are those any good? Digital out is not a must have for me
 

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Ideally, buy one with DIRECT DRIVE, no drive belts to worry about, 'cuz those have shelf life.
Yeah. That will last longer than the cassette tape(s) and then... you have something for "the shelf".



Go to Target or Walmart and get a cheap player.
 

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Hopefully someone will provide a link for a "direct drive" "portable/compact" cassette player.
 

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In my opinion tapes should be digitized and stored on one's (backed up) hard drive where they they can live on forever. Regarding belt vs. hard drive, I wouldn't worry too much about it since the deck just has to get you through the (months?) long conversion process.
Even if you find a deck with a 50 year warranty it doesn't matter if your tape collection fails which is expected. Tapes don't last forever.
 

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In my opinion tapes should be digitized and stored on one's (backed up) hard drive where they they can live on forever. Regarding belt vs. hard drive, I wouldn't worry too much about it since the deck just has to get you through the (months?) long conversion process.
Even if you find a deck with a 50 year warranty it doesn't matter if your tape collection fails which is expected. Tapes don't last forever.
Awww man!!!! You kicked me right in the tapeheads. :D
 

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Ideally, buy one with DIRECT DRIVE, no drive belts to worry about, 'cuz those have shelf life.
Belts can be replaced. I jusy had a new belt put in for my Yamaha KX-800, a late 80s vintage deck. Bought it used 5 years ago and this isvthe only thing that I had to get done to it. Wait..not quite..I calibrated the tape speed on all 4 of my Yamaha decks. :)
 

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Never seen a double sided tape in my life. And I used to have reels of the stuff. Mylar breaking, oxide falling off and bleed thru so much fun. But never seen oxide on both sides of a tape.
 

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Quarter track stereo RTR had "two-sides" per se.


Two tracks in one direction, flip the tape, two tracks in the other direction.


But true... no oxide on both sides of the tape in any format that I am aware. ;)
 

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At my work decades ago we once set up a telephone "hold music system" which was merely an Aiwa auto-reverse cassette "walkman" powered by a wall wart, endlessly playing our building's hold music 24/7/365.

The quality of the sound wasn't important since it was just hold music. Seemed to work fine for many months (maybe even a year?) but at one point some caller pointed out to us there was no music during hold so we investigated what was up. We opened the cassette player and out fell several tablespoons of brown dust, tape oxide, which had flaked off the now clear mylar tape due to friction. It was a funny site.
 

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Interesting that the discussion branched out to how long tapes last. I assume these same issues occur for RtR tapes. I have some 7-1/2 ips prerecorded tapes (7" reels) from way back - before stereo records existed, I assume about 1958 or 9. I wonder if they're any good now? I don't have a tape deck but dream of getting one to play those tapes on. Some (but not all) have been re-released on vinyl or even CD.
 

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Even just a visual examination, maybe aided by a magnifying lens, will tell you largely what you need to know.

If the tapes seem dried out, flaky, stiff/crinkly instead of flexible, curled, no longer uniform in surface appearance, etc. there will be considerable loss if you deem them even playable at all. This first thing to go are the high frequencies.

The storage conditions matter but even in the best case scenarios archivists agree that digitization ASAP is the way to go.
https://phys.org/news/2020-04-unwinding-mystery-degraded-reel-to-reel-tapes.html
 
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60 year old tapes, sitting unused, in an environment who knows where.

Try to find a RTR machine for the least expense and give it a whirl.
 
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