Auto-reverse audio cassette deck question

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by RobertCharlotte, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. RobertCharlotte

    RobertCharlotte Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Set the controls on the WayBack Machine for 1984, Sherman!

    The coolest guy in summer camp that year was the counsellor, and he had a killer audio system in his room. The thing that I remember best about it was that his tape deck, in addition to be auto-reverse (which was, in itself, almost magical to me then), was somehow psychic and would instantly reverse the tape when it reached the leader, not waiting to reach the actual end of the spool. This allowed him to make the greatest tape copies of his albums, because he didn't deal with the tape as two 45 minute tapes, but as one 90 minute tape.

    Entirely out of curiosity and a sense of wonder from my lost youth, does anybody know what that feature was called and if it was common on component tape decks?

    Do any brands currently have such a feature?
     
  2. Jeff Whitford

    Jeff Whitford Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 1998
    Messages:
    1,254
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It was not common.
     
  3. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't think it was common neither.

    But that Nakamichi cassette deck that physically takes the tape out and flip it for auto-reverse....now that's way cool [​IMG]
     
  4. RobertCharlotte

    RobertCharlotte Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Like in 9 1/2 Weeks? Yeah, that's pretty cool. Hard to imagine good MTBF numbers with all those extra moving parts, though. [​IMG]
     
  5. JamesCB

    JamesCB Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2003
    Messages:
    440
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    I had one of those in the 80's. I also had a Sony 5 cassette changer. Boy, those were the days. I still think cassette was a decent medium. You could get some great sound with a good tape and deck.
     
  6. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Back in the day, I avoided cassette decks with auto-reverse like the plagues they were... the heads simply will not align perfectly, even right out of the box. After reversing themselves over-and-over, the alignment grows progressively worse. I had one tape deck (a Sony, comparably cheap) that only sounded/recorded decently (relatively speaking) when the playback/record heads were "in reverse" (that is, they played back the side not facing "out").

    The only auto-reverse feature worth a damn (that I was aware of) was on the Nak Dragon mentioned above. Instead of spinning the heads around, it ejected and turned the cassette around! Pricey little fucker...
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1998
    Messages:
    12,325
    Likes Received:
    1,073
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    I had a Sansui cassette deck with that feature. They referred to it as "quick reverse", if I recall properly.


    I'm confused. This Sansui deck did not have movable heads. I always assumed that the head was designed to read tracks running in each direction, and only the motor reversed.

    I did not realize that any auto reverse decks actually rotated the heads. That seems like an overly complicated mechanical way to provide the function. The Sansui was the only auto reverse deck I ever owned, so I never gave this much thought before this thread.
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 1999
    Messages:
    6,123
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    6,610
    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Real Name:
    Wayne
    The Nakamichi deck they were referring to actually (and physically) flipped the tape over - not rotated the heads. However, I do recall a deck that did rotate the heads - I think it was a Technics.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,749
    Likes Received:
    480
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    I still have a Technics RSB-48R (I think that was the model number of mine) that had the swivel tape head design.

    In car audio, most auto-reverse tape decks had stationary heads (2 heads built into the main head unit), and the tape drive could play in either direction.
     
  10. Rodrigo Mansill

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've rememeber to see one of these on action only in a music video. Paula Abdul - The way that you love me (1989).
    You can't see the make or the model of the deck, but you can see it on action.

    Almost all modern AR decks use a rotating head. I have a Kenwood KR-79CW (1993 AFAIK), a Sony and a Panasonic minisystems with that feature. In walkmans and car audio, for the space, you can only put a two way head...
     
  11. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I had a Sony TC-RX50ES auto reverse tape deck that rotated its heads when playing or recording. The reason for the rotating heads, 2 in this case, was that both the playback and recording heads are in a common case. This is different from auto cassette decks or portable Walkman-type cassette players because these only do playback....no recording.
     
  12. ChrisHeflen

    ChrisHeflen Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Messages:
    912
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Some decks also had that azimuth (?) adjustment. Sometimes it was auto and sometimes it was manual. This allowed you to adjust the tape head so it was always in perfect alignment.

    Some decks also have Blank Skip. This senses the absence of recoreded material on a tape and fast forwards until it senses more. I.E. skipping to the end of the tape after the side was done playing.
     
  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have a Sony TC-WR3502 dual cassette auto reverse deck I'd sell for cheap if anyone's interested. Very low hours like new with box and manual. Has auto reverse on both decks, Dolby B-C, sounds good. $50 takes it! Pic
     
  14. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 28, 1999
    Messages:
    1,145
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Akai was one brand I can think of that would sense the absense of the tape by looking through the leader.

    Except for Nak with it's flipper decks and the exotic Dragon, auto-reverse decks never sounded as good (for very long anyway) as unidirectional decks.

    Technics had one deck with a 4 track head that was electronically switched. I wonder why other companies didn't do that instead of the spinning heads most used.
     
  15. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,749
    Likes Received:
    480
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    *Sniff* this thread is making me nostalgic about the good ol' days of analog audio...
     

Share This Page