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  #1  
Old 06-24-2011, 09:50 PM
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Melon Mango Melon Mango is offline
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Best Brand of Cassette Deck?

Here's something I haven't really found on the site here and would make for a good conversation. Which brand of cassette deck, in your opinion, is the best and why?

Now, I know what answers I'd expect, but I really want to know as a whole who had the best lines. Meaning that they never did wrong with their entire line. I always thought over the years that Pioneer had quite the line. My all-time favorite deck from them is actually the CT-F750.

Anyway, out of curiosity, which brand did you think had the best line of tape decks?
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Old 06-24-2011, 10:52 PM
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jdurbin1 jdurbin1 is offline
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This is possibly the longest-running and least-resolved "discussion" in the taping community, so don't expect a brisk exchange of opinions followed by an inescapable conclusion. Oh, no... it will get dirty!

For me, when it comes to decks sold to the consumer market, it's a toss-up between Nakamichi and Tandberg for sound quality. Specifically, Nak Dragon and Tandberg TCD 3014A (and presumably the TCD 910 which allegedly is better still). Both from a recording and playback perspective, these are as good as it gets at reproducing sound via cassette tape better than anyone else before or after was able to achieve.

That is purely a sonic ranking (IMHO) and takes NO other factors into account, including cost, reliability, durability, availability, etc. Just sound quality, period.

John
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Old 06-25-2011, 02:12 AM
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Copyhat Copyhat is offline
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Reelspin

IMO, some of the best and most beautiful cassette recorders are from Bang & Olufsen with the Beocord 9000 being the top of the line!



Real time counter in mins and secs
Computer Controlled Calibration - The deck can calibrate to any cassette and store settings for all types of tape. The calibration process takes about 15-25 seconds and will ensure uniform quality.

It is a three-head deck to calibrate faster, fitted with better heads than others in the Beocord 800x range.

With a quick FF and FR, the computer stores where the tape end is, showing how much time is left in mins and secs of course.

Strong design and smart technology allows you to jump to any part of the cassette side på typing where you want to play it from.

It can be remote-operated by 80's Beomasters, I have tried a setup with two Beocord 9000's used with a Beomaster 5500 as a "host", which is a quite nice combination using the large control panel for remote operation of both recorders at the same time!

The level meter is also calibrated to exactly show that 2dB is around the limit of pushing the tape if you want to get good results.

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Old 06-25-2011, 06:10 AM
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Personaly for me from entry level to TOTL the Technics RS M range from 1982-84 were some of the best cassette decks ever made in terms of sound and build quality.

I would just say that buying any deck from the major Japanese brands in the glory days would have not been a bad experience whatever your price level........Well it wasn't for me. devil*
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Old 06-25-2011, 06:45 AM
CottonSwab CottonSwab is offline
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I'm not sure if there is a best out there but perhaps the better decks among the best would be Nakamichi and Denon. I think most would agree but it's just my opinion. I own both and haven't looked back.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:39 AM
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Lance Lawson Lance Lawson is offline
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The "best" cassette deck is a TEAC reel to reel! LOL! Actually I'm of the opinion that there is no best cassette deck. In the end there are only ranges of sound quality, build quality, and aesthetics and everything beyond build quality becomes subjective.

That said I'm partial to the "golden age" offerings of Akai. This past year I've experienced a lot of cassette decks and most of them have been better decks and some have been high end prestige brand decks. At the end of the day I truly haven't been able to decide on a best sounding deck with the possible exception of my Marantz SD 3020. But that's a two speed deck and the high speed puts it into a class that few cassette decks inhabit due to the high speed. But the high speed does IMO make a world of difference. My Harmon Kardon CD 291 most likely is the best normal speed cassette deck I've encountered. No deck I've heard has the transparency of high's like the HK. Ultimately I suppose I'll say that the "best" cassette decks are the one's that have high speed record and playback. Everything else is dependent on mood and even the music being recorded and or listened to. If I ever find a NAK Dragon maybe that will make me one of the "converted" but until that time the cassette deck universe is something of a generic entity by virtue of the fact that the cassette itself dictated what the device playing it would be. In a way its like modern cars. They're all good and the differences are small. The long run determines which new car is a "best" and so it is maybe with cassette decks. The one's that have seen a lot of use but continue to work 30+ years later well they truly are BEST decks.
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:16 AM
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Melon Mango Melon Mango is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdurbin1 View Post
This is possibly the longest-running and least-resolved "discussion" in the taping community, so don't expect a brisk exchange of opinions followed by an inescapable conclusion. Oh, no... it will get dirty!
That's the point. I'm not looking for everyone to agree. I'm just talking by personal experience. Even so much as a company, not just for the quality of decks.

When it deals with opinion and preference, there IS no end. This is why opinions exist.

Anyway, carry on guys, this is a great read. Also, as I forgot to mention, no flaming, no arguing. People are just expressing what they think is best.
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:40 AM
goldear goldear is online now
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The best depends upon what criteria it is judged upon. There were many decks which can compete for that honor, and none of them hold-it in all areas.

But if I were to make my own personal judgments based upon these criteria, this is how I would rank them:
1) The most reliable design ever: Revox with their 100% direct drive designs are bulletproof.
2) Best measured performance: The best Nakamichis. Some of these would include the CR-7A, the Dragon, the ZX-9, and the 1000ZXL.
3) Best Heads: Nakamichi, with an honorable mention for Tandberg as well.
4) Best subjective sound quality: The very best Test Tandbergs have a certain toe-tapping musicality and realism to their sound which I have simply never heard anything else match. I sold my old Dragon after I got my 3014A for this reason.
5) Most inovative designs: B&O 9000 for being the first with HX pro and a real-time counter, Nak 1000ZXL for being the first with full auto-allignment including record-head azimuth, Nak Dragon for NAAC (playback-head auto-azimuth), and The Tandberg 440A for DynEQ and phase compensation circuitry, and the Nak 1000 for proving that cassettes were capable of high-fidelity performance and for providing full user calibration, and the original Advent deck for being the first to include Dolby NR and chrome tape (I think).
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Cassettes: Tandberg 3014A, 440A, Nak CR7A, CR4A, BX300, 700, Revox B215s, B&O 9000, Kyocera D810, Pioneer CT-F900, BIC T-3...

Last edited by goldear; 06-25-2011 at 01:02 PM.
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  #9  
Old 06-26-2011, 02:53 AM
scotchtape scotchtape is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_OX View Post
Personaly for me from entry level to TOTL the Technics RS M range from 1982-84 were some of the best cassette decks ever made in terms of sound and build quality.

I would just say that buying any deck from the major Japanese brands in the glory days would have not been a bad experience whatever your price level........Well it wasn't for me. devil*
I agree. Technics were widely available here and my last one before this craze escalated (RS-B405) when I retired, recorded and played for over a decade without any problem whatsoever. The previous consumer budget level Pioneer was also reliable. I have 7 Nakamichis but they are relatively finicky and demanding for service it would appear, so that a lot of great Technics, etc decks are overlooked by fans.
I have just sold an almost new 3-head RS-B705 for about £60.
New it cost about 6 times that! - what a bargain.

My favourite of the quality used ones I have been buying and trying since retirement are the Studer A721, and for modest underrated decks, the Nakamichi DR-10 and the BX-300 IMO, not to mention the 30-year old 582Z. Really, most I have bought have been very acceptable or better. Of course, by the emergence of digital, the cassette decks by all manufacturers had reached a peak of perfection for the technology, so it would be difficult to find one that perhaps was not up to scratch? Also, so that the buying "better" notion can keep the money flowing and the world turning, a microtechnology that has evolved to a high level just gets dumped, only to be still held in esteem by those nuts like us who can see a wonderful technology going on the scrap heap. I suppose we, on here, rarely subscribe to the "newest is best" philosophy. We have the courage of our convictions - long may it continue.

Last edited by scotchtape; 06-26-2011 at 03:08 AM.
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  #10  
Old 06-27-2011, 08:57 PM
katana1100 katana1100 is offline
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Since it sounds like this thread has gone "great decks with unique features", I'll toss in my pick- the Luxman K decks (K-03, K-04, K-05).
Besides being well built with great sound, they have a built in tape head demagnetizer.
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  #11  
Old 06-27-2011, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana1100 View Post
they have a built in tape head demagnetizer.
REALLY? Interesting. I have never heard of such a thing. I shall have to research this. Seems like such an obvious feature, yet there seems to be quite a bit of debate over demagnetization, which I can't really fathom as it seems open and shut legit to me, but I'm not an engineer, so there we are.
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:12 AM
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LesX55 LesX55 is offline
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Hi,

For reliability my two Sony Decks ( TC-K80II/TC-K88b )
For ultimate sound my two Naks ( CR-7/CR-4 )

Les
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  #13  
Old 06-28-2011, 04:25 AM
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vince666 vince666 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana1100 View Post
Besides being well built with great sound, they have a built in tape head demagnetizer.
there are also some Aiwa decks with inbuilt demagnetizer.
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:36 AM
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Tandberg and Nakamichi for me,at least as far as performance goes,i won't put my hand on fire when it comes to reliability,but after so many years of usage i'd say that it is logical for a machine to have some issues,people last a lot less than those...
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vince666 View Post
there are also some Aiwa decks with inbuilt demagnetizer.
My wreck of a Aiwa AD F770 is one of them....
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