Are cassettes really making a comeback?

verbverb Posts: 2,388
Interesting article after I was a little surprised to see one of my current fave's available on tape!!!

Dolby B, Dolby C, HX Pro, On My !!!

4f2vdnlod5jo.png

https://medium.com/@bells750/welcome-back-walkman-the-resurgence-of-cassette-tapes-785b2672cbc9
2CH: Polk SDA 1C's, Micro Seiki MB14 TT, Rotel 1580 Pre, Marantz CD6006 CDP, Carver TX8 Tuner, Conrad Johnson MF2300A Amp, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, AQ Diamondback (version 1) RCA IC's, MIT Terminator2 Cables
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«13

Comments

  • Toolfan66Toolfan66 Posts: 13,613
    Yes!!
  • verbverb Posts: 2,388
    My hoarder traits have been vindicated !!!
    su3bcooq56mq.jpg
    2CH: Polk SDA 1C's, Micro Seiki MB14 TT, Rotel 1580 Pre, Marantz CD6006 CDP, Carver TX8 Tuner, Conrad Johnson MF2300A Amp, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, AQ Diamondback (version 1) RCA IC's, MIT Terminator2 Cables
    Office: PC, Marantz AMP-1, Acoustic Technologies Classic Speakers, Polk PSWi225 wireless sub, MIT AVt2 cables, IFI Purifier2, AQ Cinnamon USB cable
  • Tony MTony M Posts: 5,004
    edited January 20
    You saved 12?

    I was forced to buy a guys 200 tape collection of great classic rock for ....5 bucks at a yard sale many years ago ( 6) . :p

    I also would buy some spacey tapes at good wills sometimes. I think .25 for a tape.

    I played one a year ago playing chess and was blown away by the clarity. But then again, my hearing is high challenged.
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,326
    That's a negatory, good buddy.

    t6yf4rt4fw6b.png
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • verbverb Posts: 2,388
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    That's a negatory, good buddy.

    t6yf4rt4fw6b.png

    Are all those trucks hauling your tape collection ???
    2CH: Polk SDA 1C's, Micro Seiki MB14 TT, Rotel 1580 Pre, Marantz CD6006 CDP, Carver TX8 Tuner, Conrad Johnson MF2300A Amp, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, AQ Diamondback (version 1) RCA IC's, MIT Terminator2 Cables
    Office: PC, Marantz AMP-1, Acoustic Technologies Classic Speakers, Polk PSWi225 wireless sub, MIT AVt2 cables, IFI Purifier2, AQ Cinnamon USB cable
  • nbrowsernbrowser Posts: 7,890
    Finally, the classic BIC pen will be useful once again!
    Living room: Samsung UN55KU7000 4K UHD HDR 55 inch TV, Marantz CD6004, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, Parasound zPhono, Mac Mini, Oppo BDP-93, XBox One S 2Tb, Kenwood DPX792BH car deck for radio purposes, Marantz SR5010 AVR, Parasound HCA-1200II, Front SDA 2 modded with Larrys Rings and RD0-194-1 tweeters, Rear Onkyo SKF-4800 Towers, Center CSiA6, BOOM Tannoy TS2.12 Sub, Audioquest Evergreen interconnects just about everywhere except from AVR to amp, MIT Terminator 4, MIT AVT3 speaker cables with extra terminals covered up Monitor 5 Jr+ in the wings for a center channel.
  • Tony MTony M Posts: 5,004
    They're coming to help me clear out my hoard so I can have just 2 systems in the cave.

    And one will def. have a Nackamichi tape deck in it. My other one can have one too since I have 2 Nak's and a plethora of other tape decks too.
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • verbverb Posts: 2,388
    Tony M wrote: »
    You saved 12?

    I was forced to buy a guys 200 tape collection of great classic rock for ....5 bucks at a yard sale many years ago ( 6) . :p

    I also would buy some spacey tapes at good wills sometimes. I think .25 for a tape.

    I played one a year ago playing chess and was blown away by the clarity. But then again, my hearing is high challenged.

    All that survived over the years. Typical story, Mom threw all my cassettes and LPs while I was in college and then military. Devil music, you know ...
    2CH: Polk SDA 1C's, Micro Seiki MB14 TT, Rotel 1580 Pre, Marantz CD6006 CDP, Carver TX8 Tuner, Conrad Johnson MF2300A Amp, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, AQ Diamondback (version 1) RCA IC's, MIT Terminator2 Cables
    Office: PC, Marantz AMP-1, Acoustic Technologies Classic Speakers, Polk PSWi225 wireless sub, MIT AVt2 cables, IFI Purifier2, AQ Cinnamon USB cable
  • Tony MTony M Posts: 5,004
    I know what you mean. I could ad some stuff my Mom did away with that she had NO right to SELL. She was safe-keeping some things for me, and she sold em!. But she did give me life so I eventually forgave her for the things she sold off. ;)
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • verbverb Posts: 2,388
    Tony M wrote: »
    I know what you mean. I could ad some stuff my Mom did away with that she had NO right to SELL. She was safe-keeping some things for me, and she sold em!. But she did give me life so I eventually forgave her for the things she sold off. ;)

    Agreed. Mom passed away this year and all was forgiven many many years ago. I did however rebuild my beloved complete Styx LP collection !!! Found a bunch of esoteric variants since then, etc. Obsessed yes. And snagged a re-issue of their LP's since their breakout Grand Illusion !!! Internet, love it !!!
    6jvdoufubbhb.png


    2CH: Polk SDA 1C's, Micro Seiki MB14 TT, Rotel 1580 Pre, Marantz CD6006 CDP, Carver TX8 Tuner, Conrad Johnson MF2300A Amp, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, AQ Diamondback (version 1) RCA IC's, MIT Terminator2 Cables
    Office: PC, Marantz AMP-1, Acoustic Technologies Classic Speakers, Polk PSWi225 wireless sub, MIT AVt2 cables, IFI Purifier2, AQ Cinnamon USB cable
  • Tony MTony M Posts: 5,004
    edited January 21
    verb wrote: »
    Tony M wrote: »
    I know what you mean. I could ad some stuff my Mom did away with that she had NO right to SELL. She was safe-keeping some things for me, and she sold em!. But she did give me life so I eventually forgave her for the things she sold off. ;)

    Agreed. Mom passed away this year and all was forgiven many many years ago. I did however rebuild my beloved complete Styx LP collection !!! Found a bunch of esoteric variants since then, etc. Obsessed yes. And snagged a re-issue of their LP's since their breakout Grand Illusion !!! Internet, love it !!!
    6jvdoufubbhb.png


    My Mom sold a coin collection of mine for one thing. I held a grudge for 2 years. When I forgave her, I got back to coin collecting and my collection went to 20 times the old value. Pays to forgive doesn't it!

    I love Styx! I did a lot of home remodeling listening to Styx's greatest hits cd. That and Steely Dan's greatest hits got rotated a lot. My neighbors probably know the soundtracks by heart like I did there for a while.

    But the coolest part of this story is I finnaly made it to this thrift store 5 or 6 miles from me that I've wanted to got to for years but things just kept comming up. Until Thurs. I think. There was a guy I helped out and he has a section in there for selling all kinds of things. There is also a guy who sells records here in the flea market store and in Raliegh too. I checked out his record collection and it was impressive. And what cought my eye the most was a MINTY ( that's what he had on the 12.00 sticker price tag) STYX , The Grand Illusion Album. I took it out of the sleeve and it said BUY ME! It was glistening with newness! JUST LIKE THE ONE IN YOUR PICTURE! But I'm sure I have one but I don't know if it's like new. But I wanted to come home and see how my copy is. I've yet to check though. But that's cool, you rebuilt your Styx collection up better than it was it sounds like. :p

    Just like my coin collection. My prized coin was a counterfeit nickel. My mom did'nt sell that nickel so 2 years was lost for NOTHING. We had many more years before she passed. But I'll never get those awful 2 years back.
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies. I EXPERIENCE them.
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 9,632
    nbrowser wrote: »
    ocick8hfdsr6.jpg

    You can rewind and fast forward with that there pen
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 3,097
    I always thought it was done with a pencil.
    Got Dayens?
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,326
    nbrowser wrote: »
    Finally, the classic BIC pen will be useful once again!

    42osswhajpwu.png
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • afterburntafterburnt Posts: 4,315
    People are idiots, next there will be an 8 track fad.
    Parlor: ifi iDSD Micro*Yamaha RX-A2030*Parasound Halo P5*Parasound Halo A-31*Parasound 2250v2*Emotiva XPA-200 Gen1*LSiM707 Fronts*LSiM706c Center*LSiM702f/x Surrounds*Monitor70 Series II Rears*Monitor40 Series II Presence*SVS PB2000 Sub X2*OPPO BDP-103D*Sony PS3*Samsung-55" LED 1080p Smart 3D HDTV UN55H7150AFXZA*TEAC TN-300*Wireworld Solstice cables* Wireworld Stratus power cables*Blue Jeans Cable LC-1's IC's*BJC Silver-Plated IC's* Bens Silver IC's

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    Hello Kitty boombox

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    Self Control is over rated.
    Mr. Sharpe wrote: »
    Meh these were extra $70 as an open box item so it didn’t much to me either way:)

  • MrBuhlMrBuhl Posts: 2,234
    edited January 21
    Does anyone have a Nak Dragon or heard one? Never did, but it makes me curious. I know it's odd coming from a vinyl guy, but at least vinyl can be silent, tapes always hiss iirc.
    VA HT HK AVR20II, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Polk Audio RC80i / Polk Audio CSi3, 60" Panasonic Plasma, Nordost / Signal Cable A2 / Wireworld / Pangea / Magic Power
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    Dodd Mid Level Preamp ("on the bench" w/Charlie)
    Polk SDA1c modded
    Polk CRS+ 4.1TL modded (need veneer)
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  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 9,632
    MrBuhl wrote: »
    Does anyone have a Nak Dragon or heard one? Never did, but it makes me curious. I know it's odd coming from a vinyl guy, but at least vinyl can be silent, tapes always hiss iirc.

    Yes heard many they are excellent. Tapes if recorded correctly are quite as a church mouse.
  • MrBuhlMrBuhl Posts: 2,234
    Yea - I never had or heard anything approaching that quality level, I knew a guy that had one in his Jeep though. Crazy expensive back then.
    VA HT HK AVR20II, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Polk Audio RC80i / Polk Audio CSi3, 60" Panasonic Plasma, Nordost / Signal Cable A2 / Wireworld / Pangea / Magic Power
    VA 2 Channel ,Dodd 50W Dual Mono EL34 Amp, MFA based Cocci Tube Preamp, Polk SDA2BTL (fully modded), A/L 1000VA Dreadnought, Canare 4s11 SDA cable, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Music Hall mmf 5.1 Turntable, Vincent Pho-700 Phono Pre, MIT S3 IC's / MIT Shotgun S3 Speaker Cables / Pangea & Signal Cable MP power
    Noggin Schiit Valhalla, Pangea, Phillips Fidelio X1, Polk UF8000
    LA Pass Labs X150.5 Amp, Eastern Electric MiniMax Preamp, Polk LSIM705, Marantz DV8300 SACD, Audioengine B1, MIT AVt3 Speaker & RCA Cables, PS Audio Power Punch power cables

    Dodd Mid Level Preamp ("on the bench" w/Charlie)
    Polk SDA1c modded
    Polk CRS+ 4.1TL modded (need veneer)
    Soundcraftsmen PCR800
    Yamaha YP-D6
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution IC's
    Audible Illusions L1 Preamp
    McCormack DNA-1 Power Drive Amp
    Eastern Electric Minimax CDP
    Infinity RS5b Speakers

  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,326
    edited January 21
    The hiss isn't the big problem for cassettes. The big problem(s) is (are) fundamental -- slow speed linear recording and tiny track width. Philips developed the cassette mostly for 'talking letters', dictation and other more or less lo-fi applications.

    It is a credit to Philips, Dolby Labs & others (who originally developed chromium dioxide tape formulations? BASF?) that such good hifi performance was ever wrung out of cassettes.

    Dolby B NR, for example, is a double-edged sword. As a compander, it reduces hiss by boosting treble upon recording (10 dB) and then cutting the treble at playback. The net result is less HF noise (since the noise isn't 'recorded' per se, so it's cut by the 10 dB 'de-emphasis' upon playback). The problem is that the maximum signal levels at low distortion decrease at higher frequencies. This is true for all linear recording media, but it's a big problem at the slow speed and small track width of cassettes. The frequency response specs for cassette decks was reported at -20 dB (20 dB below). At 0 dB, the treble response in particular is much more limited.

    "Metal" tape formulations helped with the HF extension problem, too, but didn't ever quite catch on -- with the result that metal formulation tape is fairly rare and consequently expensive.

    In fairness, Dolby HX addressed the high frequency headroom problem with some success, but I was never terribly impressed by either Dolby C or HX Pro "encoded" tapes I've made/heard. Dolby B is borderline. No NR at all "sounds" best to me, but (of course) at the expense of 10 dB more hiss.

    I haven't heard a Dragon, but I have heard Nakamichis up through the 1000ZXL. They are superb for reproduction (i.e., copying recorded material) but they really don't have the headroom (especially at high frequencies) nor the extended treble response (again, at high signal levels) for live recording. That's where 1/4 inch (or bigger) tape at 7.5 or 15 ips wins the day. I think you can probably get, say, a nice Otari MX5050 for less than you'll pay for a Dragon, too. Tape for the Otari would be pricier, though ;)

    My experience with Nakamichi decks is that they really do sound better than most -- but they're finicky. The ones I've owned (or those of folks I know) seem to require more care, cleaning, demagnetizing and even repair to maintain good sounding performance than decks from other manufacturers.

    The only Nak deck here at the moment is very low end. There are a couple of nice Pioneer decks here -- but I really don't use them. I do occasionally tape radio programs on a dump-find, dual-well Radio Shack "Optimus" deck (rebranded Pioneer)
    that sounds OK and is very, very easy to use.

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,326
    Just to illustrate: here's what looks to be some "raw" (no NR, no HX Pro, presumably Type I tape) frequency response data from tapeheads.net from a Marantz HD-7 cassette deck. From bottom to top, this is at recording signal (input) levels of -20 dB, -10 dB, -6 dB and 0 dB. Note what happens to the recorded bandwidth as the signal level goes up.

    8jc8f1qpkg10.png

    This is apparently what a Marantz SD-7 deck looks like (borrowed image, needless to say):

    57puapnkqpjy.png

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • MrBuhlMrBuhl Posts: 2,234
    ^^ Wow - thanks a remarkable change! ^^ Side note: Marantz, that thing looks cheap - NOT.
    VA HT HK AVR20II, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Polk Audio RC80i / Polk Audio CSi3, 60" Panasonic Plasma, Nordost / Signal Cable A2 / Wireworld / Pangea / Magic Power
    VA 2 Channel ,Dodd 50W Dual Mono EL34 Amp, MFA based Cocci Tube Preamp, Polk SDA2BTL (fully modded), A/L 1000VA Dreadnought, Canare 4s11 SDA cable, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Music Hall mmf 5.1 Turntable, Vincent Pho-700 Phono Pre, MIT S3 IC's / MIT Shotgun S3 Speaker Cables / Pangea & Signal Cable MP power
    Noggin Schiit Valhalla, Pangea, Phillips Fidelio X1, Polk UF8000
    LA Pass Labs X150.5 Amp, Eastern Electric MiniMax Preamp, Polk LSIM705, Marantz DV8300 SACD, Audioengine B1, MIT AVt3 Speaker & RCA Cables, PS Audio Power Punch power cables

    Dodd Mid Level Preamp ("on the bench" w/Charlie)
    Polk SDA1c modded
    Polk CRS+ 4.1TL modded (need veneer)
    Soundcraftsmen PCR800
    Yamaha YP-D6
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution IC's
    Audible Illusions L1 Preamp
    McCormack DNA-1 Power Drive Amp
    Eastern Electric Minimax CDP
    Infinity RS5b Speakers

  • motorstereomotorstereo Posts: 767
    Some nice young fellow from craigslist came and took my entire cassette collection and my last 2 cassette players a couple years ago. There was sheer joy in seeing all those tapes leave never to return.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 17,326
    Well, again, some of the later tweaks (particularly HX-Pro) do help... but at the expense (perhaps) of less deck-to-deck compatibility.

    The Philips cassette 'standard' required compatibility between decks bearing the Philips "CompactCassette" mark. It can be argued that Dolby, non-ferric formulations, etc., produce tapes that can be listened to on another deck, but won't sound quite right. That not quite rightness, I think (!), got to be more and more of an issue as more and more signal processing tweaks were made available. :|

    Not a big deal -- until and unless someone has a bunch of tapes made one way on one deck, and then that one deck defecates the bed ;) and has to be replaced.

    There were also several companies (notably BIC and Marantz) who made dual-speed tape decks. The higher tape speed (3-3/4 ips), of course, improves everything at the expense of recording time -- and compatibility. There was, AFAIK, never any industry standard for 3-3/4 ips EQ; I presume the Marantz and BIC decks probably used different EQ.

    The best thing about cassettes was probably that even good quality tape (TDK SA,
    Maxell UD-XLII) was fairly cheap due to the format's popularity!

    I still have a bunch of nearly 40 year old tapes, recorded on a (purchased used) Yamaha TD-511B (a very basic 2 head deck) that (still) sound fine.

    15592735814_241d076623_b.jpgTC511S203-420view20AK by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • delkaldelkal Posts: 194
    Did anyone ever have a prerecorded cassette tape that lasted for more than a year? They used the cheapest materials and they would always jam and break. If I dig out my box of old cassettes in the basement I know 95%+ of the survivors are the ones I recorded myself using quality blank cassettes (usually Maxell).
  • verbverb Posts: 2,388
    Very impressive and most informational essay thus far @mhardy6647 !!!

    I must ask for today's recent releases of cassette tapes, is there a preferred standard?

    Tape formulation
    Noise reduction, if any
    Et., Al

    Please advise. Thanks.
    2CH: Polk SDA 1C's, Micro Seiki MB14 TT, Rotel 1580 Pre, Marantz CD6006 CDP, Carver TX8 Tuner, Conrad Johnson MF2300A Amp, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, AQ Diamondback (version 1) RCA IC's, MIT Terminator2 Cables
    Office: PC, Marantz AMP-1, Acoustic Technologies Classic Speakers, Polk PSWi225 wireless sub, MIT AVt2 cables, IFI Purifier2, AQ Cinnamon USB cable
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 9,632
    I will agree mark on 95% of what you said. Yes the Nak's were very tedious. The Dragon you could adjust the azimuth and yes they required some care. That being said are in high demand today. Myself i had a high end Yamaha deck with dolby C boy was it just the cats meow. I'd record CD's to take in the vehicle and the Denon metal HX pro IIRC. Recorded correctly into the plus 4-6 into the red and they just ate it up. I'd challenge friends to pick which was CD and Cassette 90% of the time they would get it wrong.
    I still have those cassettes at work playing on a boombox and I'll be darned if they do not still sound good for a 30+ year old cassette. I'd love to compare them on my old deck to see if there is any degradation and how much. I'm sure they have lost a step after the boombox but maybe they would surprise me.
    These days if they came out with portable players I'd have to think it would be flash drive driven.... audiophile of course.

    OH WAIT THAT WAS YESTERDAY B)
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 9,501
    IMHO...this is a waste of time.
    There is a ton of vinyl on the market and in collections that have survived as far back nearly a century

    TT that are still running that are decades old. Very little inventory of cassettes or players of old.

    Don't see it cost effective jump starting the format that is pretty much destroyed
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures, Simaudio 780D DAC
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Modwright LS100, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 9,632
    100% Ron
    As i remarked in my post WHY cassettes when SD cards are so prevalent. Other than the anolog aspect it seems like a waste as you stated. Funny thing an article i read the other day stated most millennials are not even using the vinyl they are buying it's all part of a status symbol. The buying of vinyl and vinyl peripherals is tapering off fast. Interesting to see where it will be in 2-3 years.
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 9,501
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    100% Ron
    The buying of vinyl and vinyl peripherals is tapering off fast. Interesting to see where it will be in 2-3 years.

    Hopefully some great prices on some 180 Gram Vinyl

    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures, Simaudio 780D DAC
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Modwright LS100, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers
«13
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