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Cassette All discussions pertaining to cassette decks. These include general usage, recording, playback and service questions. For subjects related to tape itself, see the Cassette Tape subforum under this one. Obscure service subjects that don't quite fit go in the Help and Do It Yourself subforum.

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  #1  
Old 07-18-2013, 07:46 AM
cassette4me cassette4me is offline
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Best sounding stock cassette deck?

Hello, first post here - happy to have found this place...the great lil' cassette needs all the support it can get.

Looking for a cassette deck that sounds very good in stock form (i.e. not modified but "serviced" with relevant components...caps etc. replaced). It should sound very good on pre-recorded tapes as well as on tapes recorded on it. I cannot afford to pay a lot of money for it (<200).

Thanks!

Last edited by cassette4me; 07-18-2013 at 08:38 AM.
  #2  
Old 07-18-2013, 08:28 AM
A.N.T.'s Avatar
A.N.T. A.N.T. is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cassette4me View Post
Hello, first post here - happy to have found this place...the great lil' cassette needs all the support it can get.

Looking for a very good sounding stock cassette deck. It must sound very good on pre-recorded tapes as well as on tapes recorded on it. With all the collective experience here, there must be a couple of suggetions at least?

If I can find something in stock form, that's what I'd prefer...if not...well, let's cross that bridge later on...
Thanks!
Hi and welcome to TapeHeads!

What do you mean by a "stock" deck? All decent decks by now are at least 20-30 years old and all would require a good service, most likely a repair, even if you'll find a "New Old Stock" unit. If you would like to buy a deck which would be reliable and provide you with a good sound, you'll need to buy one from a reputable service technician, there is no other way, really.

Cheers

Alex
  #3  
Old 07-18-2013, 08:41 AM
botelhda botelhda is offline
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Nakamichi Cassette deck 1

I put in my vote for this one. At least you'll be able to align the heads for your pre-recorded tapes, it has a geared idler, and sounds great! (to my ears, of course)

Yes, there are much nicer decks out there. But for your budget, this is a good deck to get you going.
  #4  
Old 07-18-2013, 08:46 AM
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Dave Anderson Dave Anderson is offline
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Hello cassette4me,

Before everyone starts suggesting their favourite machine/s can I just ask a couple of questions:

1) Are there any particular features you want in a deck (apart from being good on playing pre-recorded tapes and being good at making recordings as you've mentioned)?

2) What is your budget?

Thanks.

Dave.
  #5  
Old 07-18-2013, 08:48 AM
cassette4me cassette4me is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.N.T. View Post
Hi and welcome to TapeHeads!

What do you mean by a "stock" deck? All decent decks by now are at least 20-30 years old and all would require a good service, most likely a repair, even if you'll find a "New Old Stock" unit. If you would like to buy a deck which would be reliable and provide you with a good sound, you'll need to buy one from a reputable service technician, there is no other way, really.

Cheers

Alex
Hi Alex, and thanks for your reply - as you can tell, I edited my post the same time that you posted your reply.
I realise that the machine inevitably will need a service. What I meant by "stock" condition was a deck which hadn't been modified to reach its performance level.
Any "firm" recommendations? Thanks!
  #6  
Old 07-18-2013, 08:49 AM
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Dave Anderson Dave Anderson is offline
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Originally Posted by botelhda View Post
Yes, there are much nicer decks out there. But for your budget, this is a good deck to get you going.
I don't think he's mentioned a budget yet, has he? That's why I asked...

Dave.

EDIT: ah, he's just edited his post and I can now see the price range we are looking at. Sorry botelhda....

Last edited by Dave Anderson; 07-18-2013 at 08:52 AM.
  #7  
Old 07-18-2013, 08:52 AM
cassette4me cassette4me is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Anderson View Post
Hello cassette4me,

Before everyone starts suggesting their favourite machine/s can I just ask a couple of questions:

1) Are there any particular features you want in a deck (apart from being good on playing pre-recorded tapes and being good at making recordings as you've mentioned)?

2) What is your budget?

Thanks.

Dave.
Hi Dave,

1) Outright sound quality...he he...nothing else really.
2) <200

Pete
  #8  
Old 07-18-2013, 08:53 AM
botelhda botelhda is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Anderson View Post
I don't think he's mentioned a budget yet, has he? That's why I asked...

Dave.
I think he mentioned under 200UK pounds...or $300US. :D
  #9  
Old 07-18-2013, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cassette4me View Post
(i.e. not modified but "serviced" with relevant components...caps etc. replaced). It should sound very good on pre-recorded tapes as well as on tapes recorded on it. I cannot afford to pay a lot of money for it (<200).

Thanks!
If you are in the UK, drop me a PM, I may have a deck for you, possibly the Aiwa AD-F800 or the XK-007 inside that price bracket, fully serviced, and if you so wish - not modified at all (though a small modification required would not affect the price but would seriously improve the sound quality).

Cheers

Alex

P.S. - it would be quite difficult to beat these Aiwa decks on the sound quality alone in that price range for a non-modified deck.

Last edited by A.N.T.; 07-18-2013 at 08:58 AM.
  #10  
Old 07-18-2013, 09:05 AM
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Dave Anderson Dave Anderson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cassette4me View Post
Hi Dave,

1) Outright sound quality...he he...nothing else really.
2) <200

Pete
Pete,

Give A.N.T.'s offer some consideration. He is very well respected on Tapeheads and it would probably be worth taking up his suggestion of a small modification to improve sound quality (even though I know you prefer to have a "standard factory machine").

My recommendation would be a Nakamichi DR8 or Nakamichi DR3. I have two DR8's and one DR3 (they are the same machine). A really solid 2 head deck from the best cassette deck manufacturer ever (unless you're a Revox or a Tandberg fan of course, but they are outside your budget).

Dave.
  #11  
Old 07-18-2013, 09:18 AM
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vince666 vince666 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.N.T. View Post
(though a small modification required would not affect the price but would seriously improve the sound quality).
Alex just knows these days i've made periodic maintenance (belts, idler tyre...) to my AIWA AD-F880 (same deck as the AD-F800 ?) and since i had to open/unmount my deck then i took the opportunity to apply the small mods, as suggested by Alex.

I must admit that this deck just sounded good before the mods... but the difference is clearly noticeable now! (Why did i wait so much time to do it? )

Is it my impression or the just good "dynamics" in the sound are further improved? The bass now has a depth which is just lovely!


CHEERS,

Vince.
  #12  
Old 07-18-2013, 09:33 AM
cassette4me cassette4me is offline
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Thanks all!!! Wow! The know-how and experience here is amazing!
The decks that I'm currently using are Sony WM D6C, Nakamichi BX125E, BX300E.
In the past I've had Nak Dragon and 682ZX - didn't like these a lot...maybe something was wrong with those...700 Tri-Tracer and 582Z which were good. 481Z and 482Z which sounded very good to my ears. Also remember the Harman Kardon HK-2000 and the Tandberg TCD330 (a looong time ago) sounding very nice. I also have the RX-303 somewhere (which sounds OK).
As you can see, most of these are pretty old machines and after that I didn't keep in touch with the development in the cassette machine field - reckon there must have been some truly excellent more modern decks that I'm completely unaware of. Like the Aiwa AD F800 and the XK007 as recommended by Alex.
  #13  
Old 07-18-2013, 09:41 AM
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Lance Lawson Lance Lawson is offline
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Finding a nice solid deck is easier than anyone here has yet suggested. I've been collecting decks for 3 years and most are thrift store finds. I've never paid more than $20 US for a deck. IMO the best decks are the one's made in the late 1980's and early 90's with the nod going towards the late 80's decks. Later decks can be junk. The idea behind finding decks from those years has to do with the rise of the CD in the 80's. Many, many decks were suddenly obsolete and owners simply stopped using them when they were still like new. I have virtually like new decks from the mid-late 80's that seem to have been unused at all. Decks from the 70's to mid 80's most often show wear since cassette was a front line audio medium then.

A visit to Ebay will supply you with hordes of deck choices and most for under $50 US. I know of one JVC-TD R421 that can be had inexpensively and is in near new condition with nice features.

Lastly it is not a given that a deck will need service regardless of condition. Belts are the usual service need. Caps WAY less so. Decks are still so plentiful that unless it is a model you must have you can simply pass by the one's that need work.

IMO the features to look for are. Dolby B & C and DBX if possible and HX-PRO. 3 headed decks are great but are not a must have. The sound improvement with 3 heads is miniscule at best and most ears (mine included) can't tell the difference between 2 & 3 heads.

Your budget of 200 pounds is more than enough to get you a better than fine deck! Best of luck and welcome to Tapeheads!
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Last edited by Lance Lawson; 07-18-2013 at 09:44 AM.
  #14  
Old 07-18-2013, 09:51 AM
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vga911s vga911s is offline
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I don't ever answer this question due to it being a no win question. Its so subjective to each person and their budget, features req, likes and dislikes in what they want from their decks and music. 99.999% of all of the decks that I have ever been around are stock decks. There isn't a such thing as a hot rod tape deck that I am aware of. Modified decks are decks where a stock part has shown a trend for failure over time and a better part has been installed in its place during the repair. Any deck that you buy today will have already been serviced recently or will need to be serviced by you very soon, it the nature of old mech/ elctro equipment.
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Last edited by vga911s; 07-18-2013 at 10:19 AM.
  #15  
Old 07-18-2013, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
Lastly it is not a given that a deck will need service regardless of condition. Belts are the usual service need. Caps WAY less so. Decks are still so plentiful that unless it is a model you must have you can simply pass by the one's that need work.
I would disagree completely. Any old deck that was not recently serviced needs a service before it can be used on a regular basis. It is like if you buy an old car that nobody touched for years. Even if it runs seemingly OK, you better check it over before brakes would give up on you in a rather awkward moment. With cassette decks all you risk may be a valuable tape destroyed and generally a sub-par performance, but still... .

Cheers

Alex
  #16  
Old 07-18-2013, 09:53 AM
cassette4me cassette4me is offline
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Thanks Lance, I've been offered a JVC V521, but unfortunately I know nothing about it. It has "amorphous heads" and "HX pro headroom extension system" whatever that might be.
Seems to be a dual capstan machine, but probably not a 3-head.

Any good?
  #17  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cassette4me View Post
Thanks Lance, I've been offered a JVC V521, but unfortunately I know nothing about it. It has "amorphous heads" and "HX pro headroom extension system" whatever that might be.
Seems to be a dual capstan machine, but probably not a 3-head.

Any good?
The JVC TD-V521 is a 3-head deck. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of that series from JVC, purely from the sound quality point of view. YMMV.

Cheers

Alex
  #18  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:15 AM
cassette4me cassette4me is offline
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I have no problem accepting that a 20+ year old tape machine will be in need of a service if expected to perform as it was intended to on all fronts - especially something as complex as a cassette deck, which apart from the electronics, also has loads of elaborate mechanical components and functions. As mentioned, I'm currently using my WM D6C which I bought in 1987 he he...that's actually 26 years ago (yikes!!!) - it still sounds very good, but how could I tell if it sounds as good as it once did...it probably doesn't, and would require a qualified service to bring it back to its former self.
  #19  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:16 AM
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Smile

For all the cheap bastards out there (like me) I would recommend the budget K300 range from Yamaha.
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  #20  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:18 AM
cassette4me cassette4me is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.N.T. View Post
The JVC TD-V521 is a 3-head deck. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of that series from JVC, purely from the sound quality point of view. YMMV.

Cheers

Alex
Thanks Alex, OK that's sorted then. Do all the JVC TD Vxxx share this "sound quality"...the V661, 662, 711?
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