Best bang for buck cassette deck

xjghost
xjghost Posts: 1,079
edited December 2022 in Electronics
I've been playing with a Sony TC WE475 but it started to drag. It got me wondering what you guys would recommend if I were to replace it? I always remember Nakamichi being the best back in the day. Suggestions?
HT/2Channel: Emotiva MMC-1, Adcom GFA-555II, Polk SDA 3.1's, Teac TN-300 TT, Polk Center and Sub.

Bedroom system: Carver CT-24, Parasound HCA-800II, Monitor 10's

Additional projects: RTA 12c's
«1

Comments

  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 32,768
    besides Nakamichi (whose best decks were superb but finicky, as far as I am concerned) -- Onkyo, hk, and Denon all made some fine decks that are still a bit below the radar. Sony made some outstanding 3-head decks very late in the cassette era (some of which were never sold on the US market, AFAIK, but are available, e.g., on eBAY). They haven't aged very gracefully, though, and tend to need a lot of work -- but they're worth some effort, based on the experience of some folks I know who've rehabbed a few.

    There are some thoroughly ordinary Nakamichi decks, BTW -- and, fairly late in the game, they were selling Nakamichi-branded 2-head decks that were made by an OEM (either Sankyo or maybe Sanyo -- I don't remember for sure, and I am too lazy to look it up again). The BX-100, e.g., is Nakamichi in name only. It's kind of ironic because Nakamichi was an OEM for many of the early "hifi" brand cassette decks. :)



  • xjghost
    xjghost Posts: 1,079
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    besides Nakamichi (whose best decks were superb but finicky, as far as I am concerned) -- Onkyo, hk, and Denon all made some fine decks that are still a bit below the radar. Sony made some outstanding 3-head decks very late in the cassette era (some of which were never sold on the US market, AFAIK, but are available, e.g., on eBAY). They haven't aged very gracefully, though, and tend to need a lot of work -- but they're worth some effort, based on the experience of some folks I know who've rehabbed a few.

    There are some thoroughly ordinary Nakamichi decks, BTW -- and, fairly late in the game, they were selling Nakamichi-branded 2-head decks that were made by an OEM (either Sankyo or maybe Sanyo -- I don't remember for sure, and I am too lazy to look it up again). The BX-100, e.g., is Nakamichi in name only. It's kind of ironic because Nakamichi was an OEM for many of the early "hifi" brand cassette decks. :)



    I can remember seeing a Dragon in a hifi shop in the 80's. Always wanted one but this is for my office and getting back into cassettes. Hoping after the holidays to start looking on Ebay and see what I can find. Would like to keep it around $100 - $250 tops.
    Clipdat wrote: »

    Wow I had no idea they started doing them again. Do you have one?
    HT/2Channel: Emotiva MMC-1, Adcom GFA-555II, Polk SDA 3.1's, Teac TN-300 TT, Polk Center and Sub.

    Bedroom system: Carver CT-24, Parasound HCA-800II, Monitor 10's

    Additional projects: RTA 12c's
  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 24,320
    edited December 2022
    I always lusted for a Nakamichi, yet I always came home with a Yamaha. My last was one of the 900 series. The model escapes me at the present, it did have Dolby C and it recorded some damn fine cassettes, which I still have at work in my file cabinet drawer. I just stare at them from time to time.... :)
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,472
    xjghost wrote: »
    Wow I had no idea they started doing them again. Do you have one?

    Nope, too rich for my blood and don't need another rabbit hole to go down. I'm already out of space the way it is storing my vinyl and CD collection.
  • xjghost
    xjghost Posts: 1,079
    Clipdat wrote: »
    xjghost wrote: »
    Wow I had no idea they started doing them again. Do you have one?

    Nope, too rich for my blood and don't need another rabbit hole to go down. I'm already out of space the way it is storing my vinyl and CD collection.

    Yea me too! However I'm a glutton for vintage...
    HT/2Channel: Emotiva MMC-1, Adcom GFA-555II, Polk SDA 3.1's, Teac TN-300 TT, Polk Center and Sub.

    Bedroom system: Carver CT-24, Parasound HCA-800II, Monitor 10's

    Additional projects: RTA 12c's
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,472
    Don't bother with cassettes, just go straight to R2R!
  • The NAD6050C was a very good sounding (all of the NAD decks were good sounding) and reliable deck.
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 32,768
    edited December 2022
    How are the NADs reliability-wise, @SeleniumFalcon ?

    Oops, derp. You said "reliable" -- a little hard for me to believe given my experience with NAD components of that era, but you probably saw way more of them bought and used.
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Don't bother with cassettes, just go straight to R2R!
    There you go!
    That I can help with...
    B)



    Clipdat wrote: »
    xjghost wrote: »
    ...
    Wow I had no idea they started doing them again. Do you have one?

    Yeah... so, here's the thing... it's apparently not total and utter junk, but it's on the spectrum. :/
    It does have some vestigial NR, but not "true" Dolby B -- which is no longer supported/available, full stop.
    So - it'll play back a Dolby B tape without too much HF exaggeration, but I don't think there's any provision for NR on recording.
    TASCAM's (TEAC's) website sez:
    Noise reduction function to reduce hiss during playback (equivalent to Dolby B NR)
    https://tascam.com/us/product/202mkvii/top

    rxwjqoulq00s.png

    There's some fairly clear discussion on the once-popular flavors of Dolby NR on ASR, actually:

    https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/u-s-a-s-last-cassette-tape-manufacturer-spews-b-s.37610/page-4
    Post edited by mhardy6647 on
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 32,768
    Here, fwiw, is what the TEAC version of this deck say says about NR (from the TEAC website). :)

    143t02mc7bu1.png

    https://teac-usa.com/cassete-deck-cd-players/w-1200-dual-cassette-deck
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 32,768
    edited December 2022
    The 1980s and 90s Sony belt-drive decks don't (IMO/IME) age well at all -- the belts have turned to goo on most of them. They're replaceable, but (and I can speak only for myself) I hate working on cassette decks.

    FWIW, I have an old, dump-find Radio Shack "Optimus" branded dual-well deck (a "badge engineered" Pioneer deck of no particular repute) that still works properly and well enough to be useable, e.g., to rip holiday music from cassette to end up on our NAS -- as illustrated below.

    9wkydokidsvi.jpg

    Maybe look for one of these(?).

    25909398532_69cc0cbde4_b.jpg

  • JayCee
    JayCee Posts: 1,472
    edited December 2022
    Hiding out in my closet. Three-head Sony from early/mid 90's. Can't say how it'd stack up today but served me well at the time. Don't remember the model # or if it is direct vs belt drive, too lazy to move stuff and look, but still alive and kicking last year when I transferred children's tapes to digital from my kid's younger days for my grandson. Also comes in handy for the "WTF's on this tape?" moments when one is "found" in an odd box. Will remain in my collection until a family member has to deal with it upon my death.

    2jr9gcohb32e.png
    Speakers: Polk1.2tl's (Uber Mods) Pre/Amp/DAC: PS Audio BHK Signature & 250, DirectStream Cables/IC's: MIT S1Bi-Wire/S1 Balanced +Avel Lindberg 1000VA "Dreadnought" Power Conditioner: PS Audio P15 Power Plant Power Cords: Core Power Technologies Gold, DH Labs Power Plus DIY w/Neotech NC-P301 & P311ends Streaming: Roon ROCK on wifi'd NUC, TP-Link WAP, & Uptone EtherREGEN, AfterDark, Emperor Double Crown Clock, Black Modernize LPS, PS Audio AirLens⟿Ω☯☥☮⟿🔊♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬
  • aprazer402
    aprazer402 Posts: 3,071
    Onkyo, JVC, Technics had some decent sounding, reliable decks. I've had good luck with my Onkyo TA-2600 and JVC KD-V6.
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 2,957
    I have these three ready for good homes!
    ee2j4aail1al.jpg
    All from my dad's collection, with more to come...
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • DaveHo
    DaveHo Posts: 3,463
    Had a Nak BX-125 back in the day. Was shocked my parents spent the coin to get it for Xmas. Loved that deck.
  • la2vegas
    la2vegas Posts: 599
    A couple of old clunkers here, although the Denon doesn't sound half bad.
    d5oa7mp7e71l.jpg
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 32,768
    jdjohn wrote: »
    I have these three ready for good homes!
    ee2j4aail1al.jpg
    All from my dad's collection, with more to come...

    You'll notice the Optimus I posted earlier and this Pioneer are almost (if not exactly) identical. :|
  • xjghost
    xjghost Posts: 1,079
    jdjohn wrote: »
    I have these three ready for good homes!
    ee2j4aail1al.jpg
    All from my dad's collection, with more to come...

    Location? Will you ship? I'll message you.
    HT/2Channel: Emotiva MMC-1, Adcom GFA-555II, Polk SDA 3.1's, Teac TN-300 TT, Polk Center and Sub.

    Bedroom system: Carver CT-24, Parasound HCA-800II, Monitor 10's

    Additional projects: RTA 12c's
  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 24,320
    edited December 2022
    Tennessee, Jody knows his way around to pack stuff very very well, I can vouch for him he's a solid seller!
  • My daily driver is a Nakamichi RX-202. Sound is surprisingly good for a two head deck. Sometimes quite stellar-sounding with the right tapes. And the UDAR feature is very cool.

    787j75egrbd8.jpg

    SystemLuxman L-590AXII Integrated Amplifier|Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers|PS Audio Directream Jr|Sansui TU-9900 Tuner|TEAC A-6100 RtR|Nakamichi RX-202 Cassette
  • xjghost
    xjghost Posts: 1,079
    My daily driver is a Nakamichi RX-202. Sound is surprisingly good for a two head deck. Sometimes quite stellar-sounding with the right tapes. And the UDAR feature is very cool.

    787j75egrbd8.jpg

    Is that one that flips the tape?
    HT/2Channel: Emotiva MMC-1, Adcom GFA-555II, Polk SDA 3.1's, Teac TN-300 TT, Polk Center and Sub.

    Bedroom system: Carver CT-24, Parasound HCA-800II, Monitor 10's

    Additional projects: RTA 12c's
  • xjghost wrote: »
    Is that one that flips the tape?

    Yes it is

    SystemLuxman L-590AXII Integrated Amplifier|Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers|PS Audio Directream Jr|Sansui TU-9900 Tuner|TEAC A-6100 RtR|Nakamichi RX-202 Cassette
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,126
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • Just seen a dragon on marketplace for $3,000
  • xjghost
    xjghost Posts: 1,079
    edited December 2022
    Yea I looked on e-Bay earlier. Nak decks are pricey and the Dragon ain’t happening any time soon. Working on getting the Akai from jdjohn
    HT/2Channel: Emotiva MMC-1, Adcom GFA-555II, Polk SDA 3.1's, Teac TN-300 TT, Polk Center and Sub.

    Bedroom system: Carver CT-24, Parasound HCA-800II, Monitor 10's

    Additional projects: RTA 12c's
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 2,957
    We'll get it done!
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 2,957
    Akai GX-M50 in action
    fb0yp64ahowl.jpg
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • skrol
    skrol Posts: 3,330
    I have a couple Denon 3-head decks available if you are looking for a replacement. Someone here was going to by one of them but I haven't heard from them in a while.
    Stan

    Main 2ch:
    Polk LSi15 (DB840 upgrade), Parasound: P/LD-1100, HCA-1000A; Denon: DVD-2910, DRM-800A; Benchmark DAC1, Monster HTS3600-MKII, Grado SR-225i; Technics SL-J2, Parasound PPH-100.

    HT:
    Marantz SR7010, Polk: RTA11TL (RDO198-1, XO and Damping Upgrades), S4, CS250, PSW110 , Marantz UD5005, Pioneer PL-530, Panasonic TC-P42S60

    Other stuff:
    Denon: DRA-835R, AVR-888, DCD-660, DRM-700A, DRR-780; Polk: S8, Monitor 5A, 5B, TSi100, RM7, PSW10 (DXi104 upgrade); Pioneer: CT-6R; Onkyo CP-1046F; Ortofon OM5E, Marantz: PM5004, CD5004, CDR-615; Parasound C/PT-600, HCA-800ii, Sony CDP-650ESD, Technics SA 5070, B&W DM601
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 32,768
    skrol wrote: »
    I have a couple Denon 3-head decks available if you are looking for a replacement. Someone here was going to by one of them but I haven't heard from them in a while.

    mmmm -- hope it wasn't me! :#

    The Denon decks were a bit under the radar, but some very fine products.
  • gyosa
    gyosa Posts: 666
    CR-5 sitting in my closet … hasn’t been fired up in decades …

    Man , I lusted after this deck when I bought it new in the 80’s - before cars had CD players !
    LOL

    Couldn’t afford the Dragon at the time , or the CR-7 ..

    Made great recordings- for cassettes ….

    Needs new belts … I keep threatening to fix it some day , but always forget !

    Bk

    614dm1kpwyu6.jpeg
    Parasound A21 , Yamaha wxc-50 , Polk SDA 1c’s ( my first love .. ) , Kimber Kable 4TC, Sony 42” - BEDROOM

    B&K EX-442 ( it will go in my casket when I die ... ) , PS Audio 4.6 preamp ( old school , but it still jams on ... ) , Yamaha wxc-50 , Boston Acoustic voyager 7’s - POOL

    PS Audio Stellar S300 , Eversolo DMP-A8 , Yamaha wxc-50 , Kimber Kable 4vs , Salk Supercharged Song towers ( difficult choice between these and my family if I had to choose ... 😩 ) , Sony XBR-A8F 65” OLED - DEN , MAIN RIG

    Cambridge Audio 851n - sitting in the closet , for now

    Onkyo TX-nr609 , Polk atrium 7 , Boston acoustic sound ware (4) , Boston acoustic sub , B&W center , Sharp 65” TV - PATIO

    DAYENS AMPINO ( thanks Verb ! ) , KEiiD streamer ( this was only 60 bucks ?? ) , Polk atrium 8SDi’s - KID’s BEDROOM