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Thread: Cassette Deck?

  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Grand View Post
    Drove right by the "RA Labs" factory/warehouse, pulled a U, and left the girls in the car while I browsed around inside. Ended up with a pair of the Mini for $224.
    I drove by my local Salvation Army store where they had a minty looking pair for $14, but it was 1/2 price Sat. afternoon so I got change back from a 10 spot. Not too bad sounding little speakers.

  2. #32

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    Maybe a little off topic but you could always record from the cassettes to hi-fi VCR. I use the Sony CD recorder and it makes my vinyl sound exactly like the vinyl but through my CD player.
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  3. #33

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    VHS (or, yes, Beta) HiFi audio is indeed excellent - in many respects the ultimate consumer analog hifi format. Audio was recorded as FM, via the helical scan (rotating) VCR heads... broad, flat frequency response (even at "SLP" speed) and close to 90 dB dynamic range. The biggest drawback is tape quality issues that can cause dropouts - some folks also complain about "head switching" noise rom the HiFi audio tapes... FWIW, I don't find it objectionable. YMMV and all that rot, though :-)

    There were a number of "higher end" VHS HiFi recorders designed to be used for audio and video recording... these have adjustable audio input level controls (rather than just using automatic level control to set recording levels) and peak reading level meters of some sort. I have a Zenith that we bought new in 1986 (from Stereo Discounters!) which has - and continues - to serve us well for audio and video recording (not too much of the latter any more, needless to say).



    Quote Originally Posted by Polkersince85 View Post
    I drove by my local Salvation Army store where they had a minty looking pair for $14, but it was 1/2 price Sat. afternoon so I got change back from a 10 spot. Not too bad sounding little speakers.
    Mr. Allison was responsible for some fine, fine loudspeakers throughout his long career. He's still with us, too... last I knew.

    Here's a fairly recent (2005) interview with Allison and his early partner in crime, Edgar Villchur, from Stereophile.
    http://www.stereophile.com/interviews/105villchur
    Villchur, sadly, passed away last year.
    Last edited by mhardy6647; 02-09-2012 at 06:10 PM.
    all the best,
    mrh

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serendipity View Post
    So - I am looking for a new cassette deck such as the Sony TC-WE475, or an older cassette deck like the Nakamichi Dragon because I find that I prefer the analog sound of cassette tapes over the harsh sound of digital. The roll-off at approximately 16-18kHz of tapes sounds really pleasant to my ears.

    I spent the past week listening to old cassette tapes (most of them were of myself performing in piano competitions, talent shows, etc.) and really like the warmth of the sound vs. the harshness of digital.

    That being said, what would be best for *playback only* of old cassette tapes? I have a collection of approximately 50 cassettes with serious nostalgic value that I could never part with. Some of them can never be replaced, so I'd like to keep the tapes and deck for as long as possible.

    Would a Nakamichi Dragon be the best choice?

    Also, since I find that I really like the analog sound, I might buy a turntable in the future. How is the Music Hall MMF-9.1 as a starter turntable? I have some vinyl (33's and 45's) but absolutely NOTHING to play them with.
    You should definitely make copies of those tapes......and play the copies......archive the old ones.

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by madmax View Post
    Maybe a little off topic but you could always record from the cassettes to hi-fi VCR. I use the Sony CD recorder and it makes my vinyl sound exactly like the vinyl but through my CD player.
    I am using the following VCR and it provides excellent results:

    Rebuild thread here: http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...-Jvc-hr-s7000u

  6. #36

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    That's a nice one!
    I note with some amusement and bemusement that the fluorescent display is identical to that on my ol' Zenith. Same OEM, I guess(?).
    all the best,
    mrh

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhardy6647 View Post
    That's a nice one!
    I note with some amusement and bemusement that the fluorescent display is identical to that on my ol' Zenith. Same OEM, I guess(?).
    I'm not all that amused, and I have no idea what bemusement is, but one of those Zenith's with that exact display was my first hi-fi VCR. ZR-5550 or some model number like that. Weighed a ton and cost me $499 new in the BX. And as soon as I heard how bad the vinyl to cd transfer of Hot Rats was, I put the vinyl on videotape. I found that worked great as long as you played back on the same machine you recorded on. Not such great sound if you brought your homebrew videotape over to somebody else' house though. And I had terrible luck in the car.

    I think that RA Labs factory closed about 2 weeks after I passed through, in 1994 or 5. I'm not anxious to see those relatives again anyway.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhardy6647 View Post
    Audio was recorded as FM, via the helical scan (rotating) VCR heads... broad, flat frequency response (even at "SLP" speed) and close to 90 dB dynamic range.

    There were a number of "higher end" VHS HiFi recorders designed to be used for audio and video recording... these have adjustable audio input level controls (rather than just using automatic level control to set recording levels) and peak reading level meters of some sort. I have a Zenith that we bought new in 1986 (from Stereo Discounters!)...
    IIRC that's the same outfit I ordered my Zenith through...

    The rotating head is the thing. It results in effective tape speeds of up to 80 ips rendering tape saturation moot.

    Quote Originally Posted by mhardy6647 View Post
    That's a nice one!
    I note with some amusement and bemusement that the fluorescent display is identical to that on my ol' Zenith. Same OEM, I guess(?).
    My Zenith had the exact same display as well. There were only three companies that actually manufactured VHS VCR's (with Sony in its own little Beta world): JVC, Matsu****a and one other not coming to mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by George Grand View Post
    ... one of those Zenith's with that exact display was my first hi-fi VCR. ZR-5550 or some model number like that. Weighed a ton and cost me $499 new in the BX. I found that worked great as long as you played back on the same machine you recorded on.
    Yup... owed to the fact that VCR's did not actually track the audio. In the absence of a video signal a tracking signal was laid down by a video head, and there was some variation form deck to deck, let alone manufacturer to manufacturer.
    More later,
    Tour...
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  9. #39

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    I found a nice JVC S-VHS HiFi VCR in the basement today whilst gathering wares to take to the Westford antique radio fleamarket next weekend :-P It is not the same as the one above... but it's similar, with a flip down panel and full audio controls. The display is different - newer, I am guessing.

    Further details as events warrant.
    all the best,
    mrh

  10. #40

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    I'd like to suggest trying to find a Pioneer Ct -W 606DR or Ct- W616DR cassette player. It has a built in DAC and digital noise reduction system. Elite also had versions of these players. My 616 does a very nice job with old tapes - seems to freshen them up a bit. I have a few hundred tapes that I made back in the day. Bootlegs, radio concerts and other goodies that just can't be duplicated. My favorite old cassette deck was a Tandberg that a friend owned. Didn't need noise reduction it recorded so well. I still have both a HK CD-191 and Onkyo TA-R240 deck that I rotate in my system.
    Roy Allison is alive and well and frequently contributes to the Allison Group at Yahoo. My Allison Fours are still my main system speakers. None finer...
    Last edited by DeadFeat1; 02-11-2012 at 05:44 PM.
    Don't forget to enjoy the music...

  11. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhardy6647 View Post
    I found a nice JVC S-VHS HiFi VCR in the basement today whilst gathering wares to take to the Westford antique radio fleamarket next weekend :-P It is not the same as the one above... but it's similar, with a flip down panel and full audio controls. The display is different - newer, I am guessing.

    Further details as events warrant.
    The JVC I am using is from 1987. Had a flip down panel also and audio level controls. Made for great sounding recordings compared to an ordinary cheapo VCR.

    Any pics?

  12. #42

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    A little over a year ago I picked up the Sony TC-WE475 you mentioned, for pretty cheap via Amazon. I have about a hundred cassettes recorded with dbx224 noise reduction, from the late 70's thru the late 80's. The cassettes were just going to waste and I'm never going to re-create all the music I had on cassettes. This deck works and sounds fine for my purposes, and my dbx224 still works too (bought it around 1980 or so), so I now have thousands of songs I wouldn't otherwise have (and I bet the sound quality, while not up to good CD standards, is better than most of the MP3's, satellite radio services and other compressed stuff that is so prevalent today.

  13. #43

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    Cassette Deck?

    Actually with good analog sound if owning good equips and tapes.

  14. #44

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    I still have 3 decks:
    Nak CR-3A 3 heads (1988-1990)
    Yamaha KX-R730 (Auto Reverse) 3 heads (1990-1991)
    Alpine AL-61 (1985)

    All need belts, so I just bought belt replacement kit for the Nak off the bay. At this rate, might as well put the Yammie and Alpine on the market. Problem with these decks are they need to be used regularly, otherwise the belt will melt away...I'll keep the Naks handy since I have tons of good tapes from back then.
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

  15. #45

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    I adored my Teac Z-6000 cassette deck of the late 80's. Built-in dbx pro NR as well. In fact, it was my last cassette deck before moving on to my Teac X2000R reel to reel.

    Source: Squeezebox Touch/CIA Power Supply
    DAC: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Linestage: Placette RVC Passive
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Subwoofer: SVS PB12-NSD

  16. #46

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    Apparently a couple of folks think highly of a Dragon. Geesh!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/300670515985...84.m1438.l2649

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    Over 2500 for a used Dragon! Right! Me thinks someone has too much CASH!

    cnh
    Onkyo TX-SR 805 System #1 HT AVR
    Office Two Channel: LSi-7s (Nakamichi CA-5, NAD 214, Pioneer BDP51fd)
    Vintage Polks: Polk Monitor 5As, Monitor 7Bs [HK 730], Monitor 10As [Marantz 2265], SDA-2Bs [Jolida JD-303, Jolida MV-MK4]
    Headphones: HD600, Q701, ATH-M50s etc. Bravo Audio Ocean amp., Onkyo P-304, Adcom GFA-555, Technics Direct Drive TT

  18. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadFeat1 View Post
    I'd like to suggest trying to find a Pioneer Ct -W 606DR or Ct- W616DR cassette player. It has a built in DAC and digital noise reduction system. Elite also had versions of these players. My 616 does a very nice job with old tapes - seems to freshen them up a bit.
    I was going to recommend these Pioneers. While these models were twin transport dubbing decks, I've heard that sound quality is amazing. They also had Dolby S, correct?

  19. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    I'm in the process of transfereing some old VHS to DVD for preservation. That's a bit more complicated and time consuming.
    Have you considered one of those units with VCR and DVD player/recorder? I've a Sansui-branded (like made by Funai) unit from Sears and it made transferring VHS tapes to DVD almost painless. It's done in real-time, so it's time consuming. However, the actual quality of recording is very good. They should be really cheap nowadays.

  20. #50

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    About a year ago I picked up a Denon DRM-800A for cheap. It had been bought by a church back in 1991 and sat in the box all wrapped up and never used. The Foam wrapping was actually stuck to the cabinet. It took some cleaning but it looks brand new and sounds brand new. I haven't used it much but today my daughter wanted to listen to a kids music cassette. I am sure this is not a high quality recording but I was floored by how good it sounded. The female vocals were silky and the speakers almost disappeared.

    I have quite a collection of tapes stored away that I should pull out. Every time I listen to this deck I am amazed. Tape may have seen it day but it was some good days.
    Stan

    Main 2ch:
    Polk LSi15 (DB840 upgrade)
    Parasound: C/PT-600, HCA-800II; Denon: DVD-2910, DRM-800A; Monster HTS3600-MKII, Grado SR-225i

    HT:
    Denon AVR-888, Polk: RM7, PSW10, Marantz UD5005, Panasonic TC-P42S60

    Other stuff:
    Denon: DRA-835R, DRA-825R, DCD-660, DRM-700A, DRR-780; Polk: RTA11TL (RDO198-1, XO and Damping Upgrades), S8, Monitor 5A, TSi100; Pioneer CT-6R, PL-530; Onkyo CP-1046F; Ortofon OM5E, Marantz PM5004, CD5004

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