cassette deck - help me choose one

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Sathyan, Oct 10, 2002.

  1. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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    I am looking for opinions on a sub-$200 cassette decks. I currently have an Onkyo HT receiver (other equip. in sig.). This is primarily for playback of Normal tapes (no metal) not so much recording. I want to copy my tapes to CDR. As its going to go thru the line in on my sound card, audiophile quality is not needed. If it matters, these tapes for copying are almost all classical.

    Do you know of a primer on cassette decks? (The FAQ in the basic forum doesn't discuss them).

    What improvement over a walkman ($10 Jensen SCR-70M) headphone output jack could I expect?

    What do the Dolbys (NR, B, C, HX Pro, S) mean? Are the relevant for playback or just recording?

    I notice variation in freq. response with some cutting off at 16khz others at 20khz, what instruments would I be losing.

    Onkyo makes a deck, the TA-RW244, for $170 which has the advantage of being controllable by my Receiver remote but lacks mic in, Dolby B & C. Reviews are mixed. Any opinions on this

    Will line in and mic in on a tape deck be passed thru to the receiver?

    Sathyan
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Sathyan,

    Unlike CDs, cassettes are a highly inconsistent format. Depending of the quality of the tape, the recording and/or the playback equipment, subjective sound quality ranges all the way from noisy and low-fi to high-end – that is, virtually indistinguishable from a CD..

    I would expect the sound quality of a real cassette deck to be better than that of a walkman. Once again, however, this would be dependent on the quality of the tapes (and the quality of the recordings on those tapes) you will be using for playback. If your tapes are low quality, a walkman will do fine for your application.

     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Wayne, excellent post. As someone who only got into cassette casually (by the time I got into audio and video hardware in a big way, the cassette was essentially dead), I found your post very informative.
     
  4. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Sathyan,
    Sign up for at shoponkyo.com and you can pick up a "remanufactured" version of that Onkyo deck for $129.00, with full warranty.
     
  5. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    Nice post, Wayne. Very informative.

    Sathyan, I am not that up on cassette decks, but I have heard the better Technics (not sure if Panasonic still puts out the decks under this name or they changed the brand to Panasonic as they have done with the Technics receiver line but you will probably find tons of used Technics decks on e-bay) decks were the cheapest really decent single-well units.

    Aiwa (which was recently engulfed by Sony) has had a good reputation for making solid decks at reasonable prices. They are actually pretty good on portable cassette mechanisms and the associated electronics but they do have a reputation (at a lower range than the models Wayne mentioned) for good home cassette decks as well.

    One tip: it might not work out to run the audio from a headphone-level output to a line-level recording input, unless you could insert an adaptor that would bring the signal down to line level and also match the impedance.
     
  6. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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    Thank you Wayne for your detailed explanations.

    I've been looking around my usual source Crutchfield.com but their selection of cassette decks is rather limited (only 5 brands: Denon, JVC, Sony, Onkyo, and Pioneer). Where I got the rest of my HT system only has Sony and Onkyo. Are there any other good shops that provide the kind of info Crutchfield does?

    I did see a Pio W606 which claims a S/NR of 90! by digital processing which seemed interesting. Any thoughts?

    Is JVC any good? It seems to have many features for the price?

    Is the difference in wow & flutter between .1 and .08 perceptible?

    Another thing I've notice is a lack of pause buttons on the playback side of dual decks. Any idea why?

    I have roughly 100 tapes in my collection (mostly classical, if that matters) acquired throughout the 1980's and early 90's. 80% professionally recorded. One thing I notice in the Onkyo manual is that the deck cannot play tapes which lack tape-type identification pits. Is this something to be concerned of?

    As far as used equipment is concerned, I'm a bit leery of that as repair costs could be significant.
     
  7. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    I personally love my Denon 790 deck. It features:

    3 heads
    Dolby B/C/S NR
    Dolby HX Pro
    Auto Tape Calibration

    Using Fuji Z-II tape (or any higher end CrO2 tapes), calibration on, Dolby-S and HX-Pro on; the sound quality is rather close to CD.

    The only 'bad' thing about it is that it's a pro-audio model so it has ears (rackmount ears).

    Bought it for US$350 about 7 years ago and still kicks ass (I compared it to my Nakamichi Dragon, and for the price I regret buying the Nakamichi Dragon)
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Sathyan,

     

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