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Tape decks.

 

I'm just finishing up the pieces of the system that is replacing the console stereo in the living room.  The record player is a Diz-special, the Technics SL-1500, paired with a pair N- 500 series of gear from Yamaha for the amp and CD player.  Digital media gets handled by a tablet, so that just leaves one piece of the puzzle: the tape deck.

 

I don't have much experience with tape decks.  My original experience grew from shelf systems in the 90s, moved to a Sony ES unit in the early 00's, and then put a Pioneer unit in the console, just because it matched the record player that was in there.  I'm looking for something better than just "a tape deck" at this point though.  Looks are a bit of a thing for this system too - I'm told it should either be silver faced and match the feel of the turntable, or a bit more modern and match the Yamaha gear.  Oof.

 

The two brands that I've researched on is Technics (to match with the turntable) and Nakamichi (because my understanding is Nakamichi is God when it comes to tape decks, and I am wrong to question it).  That being said...I have no idea what models these giants got right, and which ones were flops or entries at the lower levels - nor do I know exactly what I'm looking for spec wise.

 

Ideas, pointers, suggestions (be they model or brand), and leads are appreciated.

 

Budget: if I can get away at $100 fine.  But if you can sell me on a reason to punch higher, I can go there.  Be warned - to me, it's still just a tape deck.  To the person in the house who wants one however......yeah.

 

Educate me, you filthy heathens!

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56 minutes ago, The History Kid said:

I'm looking for something better than just "a tape deck" at this point though. 

 

Cassette or reel to reel ("0pen Reel")?

 

For Cassette, Nakamichi is very, very good.  It should have Dolby, and Bias and EQ for type I,II, and IV tape.  I hope "the person in the house who wants one" has many cassettes they either bought (pre-recorded) or recorded themselves in the past, because blank cassettes may be hard to find.  Or not.  I can't imagine a 1/2 way good one available for $100, but I could be wrong. 

 

For reel to reel ("0pen Reel"), 1/2 track stereo on 1/4" tape can be wonderful, and 1/4 track stereo is good, but not as good.  Crown and Revox are great, but expensive, Teac good, but you need Dolby or DBX if you record anything that is soft.   I can't imagine a 1/2 way good one available for $100, but I could be wrong. 

 

For used, look up reviews in old Hi Fi and Stereo magazines; some are available online.

 

image.png.8a46d375358203409860aa34302dd7f3.png

 

Figure 1 – An illustration taken from the Meridian “Music is Changing” website.

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You will not find a good reel to reel deck for $100, now days the best bang for your buck is the Otari MX 5050 BII-2.... It is a record and play 2track machine that also plays 4 track tapes...

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Yes, Nakamichi is god. Garyrc has all the basics covered above. If you can, get a THREE head deck. It allows you to make changes to your settings WHILE RECORDING and listen to the changes as they are made and compare them to the sourc. With 2 head decks, you have to stop the recording, rewind, listen, make changes, and repeat. Also, look for a DUAL CAPSTAN feature. It helps maintain steady tape speed across the head. Without it, you may hear a slight wavering in the playback audio.

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7 hours ago, The History Kid said:

Tape decks.

 

 

Educate me, you filthy heathens!

any Japanese brand , made in Japan , versus any brands made in China , even if they are japanese to avoid -------NAKAMICHI is tops but expensive to repair -SONY is A1

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My first question is WHY?

 

Do you have an abundance of tapes? If so, are these tapes you made or are they just from retail purchases (generally low quality)?

 

Any good tape deck, reel to reel or cassette is prone to wear and maintenance (and repair) even with the best of the best. And it's going to cost way more than $100.

 

Nakamichi, Tascam, Revox.

 

Nakamichi made an auto-reversing "flip cassette" deck RX-202, sort of a poor-man's Nak Dragon.

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Sadly, space doesn't allow for open reel.  We'll be using straight cassette.

Thanks for the pointers @garyrc!

 

The big thing was I didn't want junk out there.  I know $100 isn't a lot of paper to work with, but the best bang for the buck is what I was going for.  At any rate, might have a bead on a Nakamichi tape deck from a forum member.  From what I'm seeing and understanding that sounds like it's gonna be the route I go.

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here is a different idea. DAT deck. Tapes are easy to find, cheap

and can record up to 4 hours. digital sound quality. i bought one

and several cases of tapes on ebay. love it. 

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Some of my all time favorite cassette decks are Nakamichi CR-7A, RX-505, ZX-9, Dragon.  Teac R-999X, R-888X, Z-5000. Akai GX9, GX-7. Luxman KX-100, Alpine/Luxman K-106. K-112.  Best quality cassette to use in said decks TDK MAX-G Metal w/Metal frame.  Some of these decks use DBX encoding that will bring the recording to CD level dynamic range and noise levels.  

 

Got rid of all mt decks and tapes many years ago.  Used a Nakamichi TD-700 tape deck in my car as well as the Alpine 7347 paired with the Alpine 3015 computer equalizer and a Rockford Fosgate Power 650 with four JBL T545 6x9's as this was before subwoofers became common place.

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