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My old Aiwa F-330 cassette deck finally died, need suggestions for a used replment. (1 Viewer)

John Pine

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As the deck will not get a lot of play time I’m looking for something cheap, say….$40 or less. I’m really just looking for a modest single cassette drive with Dolby B & C, HX Pro would be nice, but with NO Auto Reverse.

“Sound-wise”, should I just buy another Aiwa or maybe go with a used Yamaha, Denon or H/K? I’ve never heard the last three lines I’ve mentioned.

Any feedback comparing the sound of these lines? Any brands to avoid?
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Well, $40 is only going to get you a run-of-the-mill deck, so there’s really no point in discussing sound quality.

That said, it would be hard to go wrong with a Denon or Yamaha; I’m less familiar with the HK brand, but most of the good reviews I’ve seen over the years (especially back in the late 80s when cassettes proliferated) consistently came from Denon or Yamaha. There are some really excellent Pioneers and JVCs, and even some Sonys, but also some really bad ones, so you have to be familiar with their model #s. If not, don’t bother.

I’d say as a rule you’ll get better quality overall with a single-well model, so it’s good that you’re looking for one of those. If you can snag a 3-head model, you’ve really stepped up in the quality department.

Just a warning, there’s a good chance your tapes won’t sound as good as you’re used to with the replacement deck. My experiences with even good quality decks was that a tape always sounded best when played back on the deck it was recorded on. I guess it had something to do with azimuth alignment.

That said, the best way to maximize the performance of your new deck with your old tapes is to realign the heads so that it tracks (hopefully) the same on your tapes as your old deck did.

If you remove the door you will see a spring-loaded screw to the side of the head. Play a tape you know has excellent high frequency response, with Dolby switched out, and run the screw back and forth. At some point you should notice a drop in high frequency response. Running the screw back the other direction should also result in a drop in high freq response.

So, try to set the head half-way between those points where the highs start to drop. This is merely a seat-of-the-pants azimuth adjustment; not as accurate as using test equipment, but you should be happy with the results, and your old tapes will sound as good as they’re going to get on your new deck.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

John Pine

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Funny you should mention Denon. I've got my eye on a used Denon 3 head deck for about $50. Good feedback and information about the head alignment! Thanks, Wayne!
 

John Pine

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Kevin: I purposely left off Nakamichi because of my budget. I am well aware that they make some of the best decks in the world. Just did a "bx1" search on eBay and didn't get any hits. Is that the entire model number?
 

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