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Advice on Tape Deck purchases

Discussion in 'Hi Fi Systems & Separates' started by smallangryboy, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. smallangryboy

    smallangryboy Member

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    I'm hoping to buy a tape deck for my GF to transfer [and listen] to her collection of tapes.

    As it's a mechanical device I'm looking to buy something reliable [is this possible?], the budget is relatively small perhaps £75.

    My memory seems to recall that Nakamichi decks had the best reputation, but I'm wary that this is often fuelled by rumour and not "ears" on. I used to have a Technics myself which was a solid deck, I've also heard good reports about Yamaha decks.

    I'm looking to make a relatively short shortlist but if anyone has hands on experience of more modern decks I'm interested in hearing about it.

    So far and in no particular order:

    Nakamichi DR-3
    Nakamichi Casette Deck 2
    Technics RS BX510
    Yamaha KX580

    Appreciate your input.
  2. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda Active Member

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    Hi

    Nakimichi deck were considered to be, if not thee best, one of best you could get when they were reigning supreme and pretty expensive to buy back then. Class decks with excellent reproduction. Sony, Pioneer, Technics, Teac were also pretty good at it too.

    The Naks for me were a class above the rest and as old as they are now, they still command a premuim for s/h prices if in good nick. Not impossible to do with your budget, but you will have more chance of obtaining one of the other brands for your budget. Loads on the bay at the moment.

    The older the tapedeck the less reliable it could be and i would say that goes for all tapes decks. Buying secondhand carries an element of risk, bigger than any other separate because of the moving parts - Motors, cogs, spindal, belts, heads are most proned to go wrong. So depending if the deck hasn't been maintained properly over the years, could be expensive to put right if sold a dud. Also problems may not be instantly obivious and may not show its ugly head until a while later on down the road.

    You mention 'transfer' is that to pc?
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  3. smallangryboy

    smallangryboy Member

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    Thanks, that makes sense.

    Yes the goal is to transfer her tapes to her MacBook, as some of them are early recordings of her family and friends.
  4. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda Active Member

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    If you've not already have got software to convert the tape, try audacity. Free to download and use - No trial period. It converts in Real time so depending on how many tapes you have, it might take a fair while to complete. It took over 3 months to convert my tapes when i decided to digitalise my tapes last year.

    There are a few Naks listed nakamichi | eBay

    a few in within your budget as well. Also check out Pioneer, Sony and Teac
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  5. smallangryboy

    smallangryboy Member

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    Any particular models for Pioneer, Sony and Teac?
  6. stasis

    stasis Member

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  7. smallangryboy

    smallangryboy Member

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    I think to save going round in circles Im sticking to just Yamaha or if possible later Nakamichi. For Yamaha I seem to think the KX580se or if possible K1000, for Nakamichi it's a merrygo-round of conflicting views but Cassette Deck 1.5 or LS3 seem OK. I did briefly hunt for AIWA but trying to make a short shortlist!

    Thanks for the pointers...
  8. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda Active Member

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    Mate, now you are asking a question. I stopped looking when i got my Nak 20yrs ago and I don't even think i entertained any other brand, as a Nak was all i wanted.

    I found this site which may help. Vintage Cassette .

    I would say look at the mid to high end 90's Cassette deck of those brands listed and also Technics. They used to produce quality cassette decks back then so it very possible you could get one in your budget

    EDIT: Just seen your post - there's also 90's Yamaha decks.
  9. Derek S-H

    Derek S-H Member

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    I had a Yamaha KX580 for a while and it was a very good tape deck, but I then upgraded to a Nakamichi DR10 and there was no need to look any further!

    For your budget and your intended useage, I would confidently recommend the Yamaha - build quality was good for the price as was pitch stability, and as you seem to be buying it specifically for just one purpose there's little point in spending hundreds of pounds.

    Good luck
    Derek

    p.s. Just had some further thoughts - no need to spend more on a three head machine either, not if it is just being used for playback only. And try and avoid those twin tape decks if you can, they won't sound as good as a single.
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    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  10. smallangryboy

    smallangryboy Member

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    Ironically I was just looking at both the KX580 and a DR10!! My GF doesn't want to spend any more, however I do like to buy decent kit :)
  11. Alan Mac

    Alan Mac Member

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    Possibly the biggest problem affecting cassette-tape decks is that of tape speed instability. To minimise this it is desirable that a dual-capstan closed-loop mechanism is employed.

    Recommended Dual-Capstan Decks (all from the 1980’s):

    Nakamichi BX300
    Nakamichi ZX-9
    Nakamichi Dragon

    Studer A710 / Revox B710
    Studer A721 / Revox B215


    Unfortunately all of these are likely to be expensive.


    Alan
  12. smallangryboy

    smallangryboy Member

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    Alan, any other manufacturers or more recent decks with similar mechanics?
  13. Alan Mac

    Alan Mac Member

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    Tanberg made some dual-capstan drive cassette tape decks but I think they were belt driven. The Studer / Revox machines used four direct-drive motors.

    As to more recent cassette tape decks: I think standards have declined since the 1980’s. The more recent Studer decks, for example, are just re-badged Philips designs.


    Alan
  14. Doomlord_uk

    Doomlord_uk Member

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    If you are just buying a tapedeck for a specific project then you are always free to re-sell it afterwards - with careful shopping you could probably avoid losing any money :) Looked at like that, you might feel a bit better about buying one of the Nakamichis.

    I just bought a tape deck - for loading and testing software on my old/vintage home computers :) I got an Aiwa AD-F660 which looked like a neat piece of kit. The seller had had it serviced, and it came with original paperwork and box etc. It should be fun to play with and when I'm done, I'm sure I can re-sell it for a good price.

    But if sound-quality really matters you can't go wrong with a Nakamichi. One of the neater ones is the RX series, which can automatically flip the tape for you! On eBay right now there is an RX-202E (£250) and a -505E for £390 - this is my dream tape deck; if only it wasn't so dear :(
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  15. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda Active Member

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    Always love that about the RX series. Quite memsersing to watch :D. The only gripe I have is the plastic cassette cover pops off very easily.
    Or maybe it just my RX202E - losened over the years.
  16. smallangryboy

    smallangryboy Member

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    Still on the lookout for:

    Nakamichi DR10
    Nakamichi Cassette Deck 1.5
    Nakamichi BX300

    Would also consider a high end Sony deck from ES range.

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