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  #1  
Old 05-16-2012, 08:53 AM
beridox beridox is offline
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useless features of cassette decks

am i the only one that has always been turned off by all the irrelevant options like "rec mute, timer rec, auto mute and all this shit?


i always wanted a "MANU-AURAL" machine where the only goal of the manufacturer was the best possible transport and rec/playback.

to name a few:

1.auto-reverse -why?..just..why?
2.morized tape loading - what's this for? i still have to use my hand to put the cassette inside right? i'll be happy to bother to open and close the door with a spare finger.
3.song search (this one got many names) - this is just priceless, especially for continuous albums and mixtapes. i couldnt really live without iot (:
4."peak hold" led meters - if you're blind those wont help anyway.
5. remote control - will not even elaborate on this one ;))

and a honourable mention of the dreadful wood side panels.
nothing in this world will make a cassette deck look like a minimoog, leave that tree alone ;)

^take this crap away and replace it with a mirror cassette sold with each unit.
this or a proper erase head.

feel free to list the most ridiculous features that you've seen.
im sure there were quite afew less populr tricks tht i havent heard of yet;)

Last edited by beridox; 05-16-2012 at 09:08 AM.
  #2  
Old 05-16-2012, 09:10 AM
mayidunk's Avatar
mayidunk mayidunk is offline
I'm hoping...
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 69
Consider the audience! Units don't sell without bells and whistles. Most people want the wacky bells and whistles, even at the expense of quality! Human beings are the strangest people...

In any event, I would also love to see a single well deck, with a solid transport (no auto-reverse), with solid construction, and well crafted and calibrated electronics, including well implemented Dolby NR and HX-Pro. Other kinds of bells and whistles I'd be interested in would be the manufacturer making a mirror cassette available on the exact tape I'd be using. In addition, I would want completely adjustable bias, easily adjustable heads, and the ability to easily disassemble the transport for easy and thorough cleaning, demagnetizing, and adjusting. Those are the bells and whistles that would make me smile.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?
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"Coarser than dry but finer than gritty."
  #3  
Old 05-16-2012, 09:10 AM
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Skywavebe Skywavebe is offline
Skywave Tape Deck Repair
 
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Hi Beridox ,

This is a catchy name and it sounds like you are on a rampage- I get that way too sometimes. Such as using the Postal system to ship a deck like a Tascam 38-People are idiots sometimes.
In the marketing of these fancier devices, there has to be lots of toys for people to play with on their decks. Peak meters are actually very good to have depending on how you record. It is informational type feature.
I know about many of these items you mention as I have had to check their operation and repair some of the circuits involved over the years.
In the Teac brand they had CPS which means computer Program search.
This only works when there is a sufficient amount of silence between songs. So there you have a feature that does not work if your songs are close cut as I make them. Still for archiving type recording where individual songs are placed on a tape the search function can have it's place. As to auto reverse, I never liked that feature as it was done poorly at the beginning and then also at the end but so were dual cassette decks that sold like hot cakes but were equally if not worse pieces of junk from the start. The few auto reverse decks I have come to like due to their being three head and having ceramic stops on the rotating head do hold alignment and work well. However, like you may infer they are in the minority. Auto Reverse has another name associated with it and that would be called laziness. Also remember that as companies were fixing these decks, an auto reverse deck could sit and wear itself out for the owner while they got a telephone call or were distracted in another way.
I have used the record mute function to start recordings in an orderly manner and it was good for that purpose but I think you missed some of the better features that would more qualify as a wasted feature like Timer Start.
It is true they would have been better off making better transports than adding all these features but then Marketing usually takes charge when competition comes into play.
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  #4  
Old 05-16-2012, 09:16 AM
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Skywavebe Skywavebe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayidunk View Post
Consider the audience! Units don't sell without bells and whistles. Most people want the wacky bells and whistles, even at the expense of quality! Human beings are the strangest people...

In any event, I would also love to see a single well deck, with a solid transport (no auto-reverse), with solid construction, and well crafted and calibrated electronics, including well implemented Dolby NR and HX-Pro. Other kinds of bells and whistles I'd be interested in would be the manufacturer making a mirror cassette available on the exact tape I'd be using. In addition, I would want completely adjustable bias, easily adjustable heads, and the ability to easily disassemble the transport for easy and thorough cleaning, demagnetizing, and adjusting. Those are the bells and whistles that would make me smile.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?
Hey Bob,
I guess you have not looked at decks like the C3-RX (Teac) or the Tascam 122B? There are a lot of great decks out there that have what you want but there are limitations as to the design cost. Have you looked at a Teac Z6000?
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Best regards,

Sam Palermo, BSEE , ProSquad Member
Skywave Tape Deck Repair- Chicago area
(630)616-0932 Office/ Email skywavebe@sbcglobal.net
Past Teac/Tascam Lead Service Technician at Chicago Factory Service still doing repairs.
http://s609729863.onlinehome.us/tape...uipment-repair
Now accepting MC, Visa, Amex & Discover Cards!
  #5  
Old 05-16-2012, 09:18 AM
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vince666 vince666 is offline
frozen into the 80's. :)
 
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among the ones you listed, i'd rate as useless:

1. autoreverse (apart the one on those decks like Nak RX and Dragon)
2. song search (don't like to add head and tape wear to simply search a song)
3. timer operations... never used any of them.

for the rest...

most of my decks do have a motorized cassette door... and i must say i like it.

i have the wireless remote on my AIWA AD-F880 and it's useful as the deck isn't just near my hands.

peak hold meters... must say they don't hurt, really... at least to me.

and i use the rec mute a lot... an example... when i am doing a mixtape from vinyl LPs on an just used tape, i push the rec mute at the end of any song... this way i will add those few silent seconds while avoiding recording the (unwanted) beginning of the following song from the vinyl... and i would automatically create some silence after the latest recorded song so that i would't have anything from the previous recording left on the just-used tape between the songs... i mostly use it for these or similar reasons.


CHEERS,

Vince.
  #6  
Old 05-16-2012, 09:32 AM
beridox beridox is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skywavebe View Post
Hi Beridox ,

This is a catchy name and it sounds like you are on a rampage.

cant beat "crolyn", but i was listening to a mighty fuji JP Is while signing up to tapeheads (:


i always hated the feeling that 40% of the deck's price originates from nonsense i'll never use, or else - it will constatly annoy me just being there ;)

and motorized loading? i had a rs-b7xx open for 5 hours as the electricity went down while i was looking for the next tape.. fantastic gadget ;) and an epic failure.
  #7  
Old 05-16-2012, 09:37 AM
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mayidunk mayidunk is offline
I'm hoping...
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skywavebe View Post
Hey Bob,
I guess you have not looked at decks like the C3-RX (Teac) or the Tascam 122B? There are a lot of great decks out there that have what you want but there are limitations as to the design cost. Have you looked at a Teac Z6000?
Nope! But then again, I really wasn't looking for it in the first place. What I have pretty much fits the bill nicely.

Besides the older I get, the better my gear sounds!
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"Coarser than dry but finer than gritty."
  #8  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:21 AM
Lucidsounds Lucidsounds is offline
Taping since 1976
 
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Location: Cornwall, UK
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I personally hated auto-reverse cassette decks, particularly those in car audio systems, because when you put the tape in the slot, you were never quite sure which side was going to play.

Timer - well I never used this, but I can see how it would once (before Internet radio) might have been potentially useful if you wanted to record a radio broadcast while you were out.

Music Search - Yes, I admit to using this even quite recently for skipping through some pre-recorded tapes and checking what was on them.

Remote Control - if it's proper wireless remote, yeah kinda useful for skipping tracks if I can't be bothered to get up.

Motorized Loaders - Nice, but not essential.
  #9  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:23 AM
Lapis Lapis is offline
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For me, auto reverse with the rotating heads and shift heads are the most useless. 4-track heads like Nakamichi Dragons and from a few brands from the 70's and early 80's are the best!
  #10  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:34 AM
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HarvestmanMan HarvestmanMan is offline
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I work in a computer/sound booth at a church, and we record the sermons on cassette (we have a cheap mid-90s Pioneer dual-well). Sometimes, when the tapes we use are too short or the sermon is too long, the auto-reverse is very useful. Not having to take out the tape while recording is a boon.

I'd say that the MPX filter is pretty useless.
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  #11  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:38 AM
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Ghitulescu Ghitulescu is offline
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Actually added features always means added price.

But this a nonsense discussion, as only Teac and X4tech have brought new decks on the market.
  #12  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:40 AM
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ke4mcl ke4mcl is offline
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boy you guys are silly....

that timer play/record function has resulted in me getting many deals on tape decks from thrift store "techs" that believe they are broken. i no longer bother to argue with them.

auto reverse is great if you want to pop in a tape and get back to what you were doing for more than 45 minutes at a time. i record strictly on single direction decks though.
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  #13  
Old 05-16-2012, 11:08 AM
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BlazeES BlazeES is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ke4mcl View Post
auto reverse is great if you want to pop in a tape and get back to what you were doing for more than 45 minutes at a time. i record strictly on single direction decks though.
I agree. Auto-reverse is a convenience feature and if taken in proper context (RX's and Dragon's aside...), then exacting reproduction shouldn't be a major concern or goal. Uninterrupted listening time is.

Auto-reverse decks have their place; just like iPods.

And the timer thing made me laugh dude.
Cool story Bro!
  #14  
Old 05-16-2012, 11:09 AM
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SoundMan SoundMan is offline
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Many times I record from FM-radio. The MPX-filter is a usefull feature and notch-filter to bloc the 19 kHz pilot-tone (see wikipedia).
Furthermore: I love my RecMute, Music-Scan and Remote.
After every recording, I implement 7 sec silence (that is what RecMute does: tape space without signal, essential for the MusicScan). With my remote I control the complete recording session.

Once the tape is complete and I listen to the recordings from my seat, I press once and nummer one plays. Three times press: number three, etc. Combined with the quick-transport I jump through the tape, quicker as vinyl permits! Also auto-reverse is usefull for playback, like Ke4Mcl has argued.
In my opinion these were usefull inovations to improve the use of the deck.

Oh, I may not forget the recorder Timer-function. An old, but nevertheless usefull feature every time I go outdoors and I want to record a radiio-program. My FM-tuner and cassette-deck are connected with the Kenwood Audio-Timer AT-70 (beautifull big greenblue fluoriscent digits). I set the Kenwood-timer, cassette deck on Timer-Rec, that's all. When I'm back home, it's a pleasure to listen to the recording!

Finally: I record music with a one-direction fixed-head deck.
I Playback from a auto-reverse deck with rotating head. Not ideal for perfect sound-quality, but perfect for ease of use which is an important aspect in designing a recorder.

Last edited by SoundMan; 05-16-2012 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Added: Timer.
  #15  
Old 05-16-2012, 11:25 AM
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Nakdoc Nakdoc is offline
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I was just going to claim the MPX filter was useless, but I'm a minute too late.

My beef are poorly designed calibration circuits that are not much better than having no calibration at all. Variable bias controls are also useless.
  #16  
Old 05-16-2012, 11:48 AM
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ke4mcl ke4mcl is offline
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variable bias is useful if you take the time. its better than none at all and being stuck with a small selection of tapes.
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  #17  
Old 05-16-2012, 11:53 AM
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vince666 vince666 is offline
frozen into the 80's. :)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ke4mcl View Post
variable bias is useful if you take the time. its better than none at all and being stuck with a small selection of tapes.
of course.

but i fear that Nakdoc intended that it may be better to have a different deck internally tuned for any of the different tape models... so that you just choose which deck to use with any tape and simply avoid the calibration...

CHEERS,

Vince.
  #18  
Old 05-16-2012, 12:18 PM
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Ghitulescu Ghitulescu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beridox View Post
am i the only one that has always been turned off by all the irrelevant options like "rec mute, timer rec, auto mute and all this shit?


i always wanted a "MANU-AURAL" machine where the only goal of the manufacturer was the best possible transport and rec/playback.
I think you'll be satisfied by any of the cassette decks of late '70ies. They lack any convenience (lazy) feature ...
  #19  
Old 05-16-2012, 12:49 PM
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BlazeES BlazeES is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vince666 View Post
of course.

but i fear that Nakdoc intended that it may be better to have a different deck internally tuned for any of the different tape models... so that you just choose which deck to use with any tape and simply avoid the calibration...

CHEERS,

Vince.
That's an entirely different can-of-worms discussion to be sure.
A deck dialed in for a single *brand/formula* of tape;
not sure if that's snobbery or the antithesis of convenience;
or BOTH...

Last edited by BlazeES; 05-16-2012 at 01:46 PM.
  #20  
Old 05-16-2012, 01:01 PM
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Nakdoc Nakdoc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazeES View Post
That's an entirely different can-of-worms discussion to be sure.
A deck dialed in for a single type of tape;
not sure if that's snobbery or the antithesis of convenience;
or BOTH...
Total snobbery on my part. After all, I am "Highly biased"

The Aiwa variable bias was a good attempt at making the control somewhat useful, so I do give credit where due.

I thought of another useless feature; the cheap decks with 5 led level "meters". Sanyo built a slew of them. The RD10 was the worst!
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