The greatest consumer cassette tape deck ever produced?*

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Cowboy Kim, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. GuildX700

    GuildX700 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    It also has mic inputs on the back. As time went on that was harder and harder to find.

    It also cam e in black, I had a black model:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. daglesj

    daglesj Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    That was in fact proven true about five years ago. :righton:
     
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  3. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    Mine has to be serviced, along with my Dragon, CR-7A, ZX7, Tandberg TCD-330 and Yamaha KX-R730. Quite a long list and will cost me some $$ ...
     
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  4. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    I would not be surprised if there are "cassette decks" out there with the initials "LP" ...
     
  5. ZenMango

    ZenMango Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Florida
    I have the Tandberg TCD 3014A deck (like the one pictured). Back in the day I compared it to the Nak Dragon and preferred the 3014.
    It used to called the "Saint George" deck because it could slay the Dragon:). I've had it in my closet for a few years.
     
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  6. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    The TCD-910/911 are supposed to be better than the TCD 3014/3014A but the former are for professional or studio use.
    At any rate, just about all audio critics declared the Dragon beat all other cassette decks on the market until the TCD 3014 came along. The Revox B710MKII was also a great deck (image above) but still could not top the Dragon ...
     
  7. ZenMango

    ZenMango Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Florida
    All beautiful beasts! I got my TCD 3014 from Peter McGrath way back when he owned Sound Components. I think he represents Wilson Audio these days
     
  8. Damien DiAngelo

    Damien DiAngelo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    You can buy Nakamichi headphones these days. :(
     
  9. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    They are garbage, knowing who the owner of the name is ...
     
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  10. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    The parent company of Tandberg Audio did the most sensible thing as it did not want to cheapen the Tandberg brand by moving production to you-know-where by shutting down the Norwegian production ...
     
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  11. McGuy

    McGuy Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    I just bought a Bang & Olufsen Beocord. I haven't tested it yet but it was $40 shipped off ebay and the drawer slides out soooooo cooly. So it has my vote on that aspect...of course, it may suck a lot of ****.... (cannot believe that this forum astrisk'd out ****). It did it again! the word was aaaarrrrssse.
     
  12. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    Here is the Beocord 9000 ...

    [​IMG]

    I have the Beogram 8002 linear-tracking turntable ...

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. McGuy

    McGuy Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    I have the beocord 5500. I almost got the B&O turntable but was scared away of the technology and possible repair issues and the price of replacing the cart if it ever goes bad! love the look though
     
  14. john morris

    john morris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    We are all doing this wrong. We should all get together (Toronto, because it's the best city. Unfortunately most of the women here are up their own backsides. They think they are God's gift to men.), have a few beers and then discuss cassette decks. We would get a lot more done....Maybe not. But it would be fun.

    Fun and joke aside. The whole Dolby thing can be confusing. There have been four Dolby noise reduction systems: Dolby A - used on open reel tape, invented in the late 60's. Dolby B - invented in the mid 70's. Dolby B CANNOT be used on open reel. Reel to reel tape hiss is evenly spread throughout the audible band, but cassette's tape hiss is in the top end because cassette decks get their high frequency response by a lot of high end boosting. Dolby C, and Dolby SR (Dolby S is the consumer version of SR.).

    DBX has nothing to do with Dolby Labs. In fact DBX was never intened to be used on tape machines. DBX is a 3:1 noise compander originally used on long distance phone lines and such. There is DBX is type 1 and 2. I have no idea what makes them different or why.

    Note: All specs given are A Weighted.

    Dolby A: Provides 6 db increase in signal to noise ratio. Example: Back in 1973 a well maintained analog 2 inch 16 track running at 15ips with no noise reduction would give you 66 db S/N ratio. Using Dolby A would get you 72db. Both figures are very good.
    To put it into perspective a cheap 2 head cassette deck using with Dolby B and chrome tape would give you around 66 db S/N Ratio. Give or take a DB here or there. Of course with a better flater frequency response, lower wow and flutter and without all the potential side effects of Dolby B. Hear how quiet Pink Floyd's, "Dark Side Of The Moon" is?....That's 72 db. Maybe 74 db tops. They recorded most of the band on the first 16 track tape (no Dolby) and then bounced those tracks down to a second 16 track tape (this time with Dolby A) to add all the effects and other stuff. So the signal to noise ratio on the master tape would be between 66 and 73 db s/n ratio. And yet listen to how quiet the CD sounds. No NR (Pro Tools plug in) on any Pink Floyd CD's. Dolby A used to be called just Dolby or noise reduction.

    Dolby B: Made for just cassettes. Can provide up to 8db of noise reduction. Most low end cassette decks without NR will manage a s/n ratio of 59 db. Dolby's B claim of 8 db were only possible with Metal tape. Dolby B achieved 6 db. There is a myth that Dolby B kills high frequency response. Yes and no. If you encode Dolby B in a well maintained cleaned and demagnetized
    deck, where the bias and Dolby level are set properly and played back in a properly calibrated cassette deck / Walkman it will sound great with no high frequency loss of any kind. Good luck with that!

    I used to have a Nakamachi 581 back in 1980. It was 3 head model. Seperate trims for setting bias and Dolby level for each channel of each tape type. You adjusted it with this little screw driver they gave you. It had a built in test tone generator. 400hz for bias and 15khz for setting the Dolby B level. You set the bias first. It had these mechanical average peak meters. I had never seen that before. Mechanical but not VU. Perfect for setting bias and recording level. Very detailed. Fast response but slow decay. And 1 second hold. It had no tape/source switch because it didn't need one - the output came straight off the playback head. Back in the day every receiver, preamp, integrated amp, passive preamp had a TAPE LOOP. To Nakamachi this was duplication and and a waste of money. Like Nak decks weren't expensive enough already. When I was doing test recording I would sometimes turn the Dolby B off / on /off / on to see if I really calibrated everything right. Turning off the Dolby B during recording just increased the hiss but no increase in highs. And when I switched the Dolby circuit back on : No loss of highs. No change in the sound at all , expect for the tape being 7 db quieter. But yes play a Dolby B tape in a cassette deck / walkman where the playback heads are out of whack or record a tape encoded with Dolby B where the Dolby level is all wrong and.....Hey, someone turned down the treble!

    Dolby C: Much better than B. Up to 16 db of increased s/n ratio. More often it gave you 13 to 14db more. If you used Metal tape you would get the promised 16 db. Dolby C also had anti skewing properties. It allowed for more high frequency content. Dolby C was used on the home Fostex quarter inch 8 track recorder. Just my opinion but Dolby C never sounded right to me. But up until Dolby S it was the preferred NR system of audiophiles.

    Dolby SR: During the 90's more and more studios were switching over to digital dash units. Back in 1990 a Sony 24/96, 48 track Digital Dash Multi-track would run a studio
    $250 000 each. Although 2 inch analog 24 track recorders were still in use and WAY WAY cheaper, they were losing ground. Why? A Digital Dash gave: Full frequency response, no wow and flutter, digital editing (bye bye razor blades), 120 db s/n ratio and for the CD no less than 96 db. The loss of the that "analog tape sound" just didn't cut it for the typical recording engineer when gaining all the above formentioned items.

    The whole recording process is very hard on analog tape. Constant punch ins and recording over and over on the same section of tape. And constant play back of the tape during tracking and mixing causing the 2 inch tape to shed oxide. This always results in loss of top end and some transient response. With digital you can run the tape back as much as you want. Record, punch in and mix to the cows come home without the loss high frequency or transient response. And an added bonus - you can bounce with no added distortion, frequency loss, increase in wow and flutter or noise. And if the Digital Dash tape should have problems being read...No problem, just take out your perfect digital copy. Back in the day most engineers would make a back up of the 2 inch 16 / 24 track tape. The multi-track copy was good but it was far perfect copy. Increased noise being one of them. Dolby SR was created so that analog tape could compete with digital. On the signal to noise ratio front at least. A good top of the line 2 inch 24 track in the early 90's running at 15ips could achieve a s/n ratio of 66db. Dolby SR would give another 30db boost sending the spec into CD territory of 96 db. And a 16 track would get 98. Record at 30ips (there goes the bottom end) and it would hit 100 db. But with analog sound. Dolby S is the consumer version of SR. It does the same thing but designed for cassettes. Dolby SR/R were designed with the audiophile in mind. All the above circuits although well designed, were far from transparent. If cassette manufacturers wanted a Dolby S license their decks had to past mustard on frequency response, wow and flutter , etc. Dolby wanted only Dolby S to be in good top notch machines.

    Dolby HX Pro: Not a noise reduction system. HX Pro varies the bias with high frequency content. Too much treble will cause the highs to literally self erase. I have done it. Weird. Can't happen with a Dolby HX Pro equipped machine. And what was great about HX Pro was that it's performance did not depend on any kind of encoder / decoder circuits. A tape recorded with Dolby HX Pro would play with it's benefits on any machine. No decoder circuit needed.

    DBX: A 3:1 noise compander. It will give 30 db of noise reduction. But at a cost. DBX has persistent tendency to pump on woodwinds and bass. There is DBX type 1 and 2. DBX is very dependant on the recording and playback machine. The better the specs of the deck the better DBX will preform. A similar noise compander system was used in VHS, Beta, S-VHS and professional 3/4 HI-FI sound. Otherwise known as amplitude frequency modulation (AFM). Where it works very well. On cassette 4 and 8 tracks, not so well. DBX is not a sign of quality. Any cassette deck with Dolby S on the other hand has to be good. The machine has to be up Dolby Labs standards just to get the license.

    Sorry to be so long wimded but there is a lot of urban legends, myths, misunderstandings, false information and B.S when it comes to noise reduction systems and Dolby Labs. I thought I would share what I have picked up and learned in the last 36 years. I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
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  15. Tiger-Eyes

    Tiger-Eyes New Member

    Location:
    St. Elsewhere
    It would still depend on your taste in sound. As I have found Sony ES decks for example sound different than Nakamichi's. And even within the Sony ES and Nak-line up, decks can sound different. But to tell the truth I have never heard a totl. Dragon or 10000ZXL, or an Arcam, or Pioneer CT.
    A Sony TC-K970es or 700es is still right for me.
    A Nakamichi BX300 didn't perform better than my Sony TC-K970ES. To my ears anyway. The BX still had a Nakamichi-sound to it. Which is musical. But this showed the Nak did color the sound. And didn't stay acurate to source enough. ut perhaps the Nak needed runing. I do have a BX300 now of my own. It just needs a thorough checkup and a few internal repairs. Cosmetic its almost a 10.
     
  16. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I just want to point out that Dolby B can be used with open reel, and I did that, with an outboard unit. (Pain in the backside though.) And it had the same effect of reducing apparent hiss. There were at least two open reel deck models that had built in Dolby B, the KLH 40 and KLH 41, c.1969-70. Those were the first recorders of any kind that had Dolby B. Those were mechanical disasters, the 40 was a mechanical disaster transport made by Nakamichi, but for the few weeks from new that they would work, Dolby B reduced tape hiss. It was Henry Kloss, the K of KLH, that pressed Ray Dolby to come up with something cheaper for consumer use which became "Dolby B" - Ray Dolby wasn't even thinking about any such thing. It was not particularly designed for cassette.
    Those KLH reel units are forgotten, but they did exist. Here's a quick review of the KLH Model 41 in Popular Science Nov 1970, with one of the first attempts to briefly explain what "the Dolby system" was to the consumer public (scroll the page down a little)--
    Popular Science
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
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  17. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germantown, Md.
    Dolby is a waste of time (imo). When good quality tape was not available, Dolby was useful. But in the late 70's Maxell (XL-II, IIS) and TDK (SA and SAX) tape were so quiet,
    there was really no need to use Dolby. Also, using Dolby made it more difficult to play back tapes in other decks, unless they had the same type Dolby and were calibrated correctly.
     
  18. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    By the time Dolby S and HX Pro came around, some of the top-notched cassette deck manufacturers like Tandberg and Nakamichi were on their last legs. Even Studer-Revox filed for bankruptcy and reorg not much later ... :(
     
  19. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    Well I had this Teac in the 70s. It certainly looked beefy. [​IMG]
     
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  20. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Italy
    That is the Teac A-450! One of my best friends had one and I felt ashamed because of my entry level Pioneer...
     
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  21. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Location:
    london
    Am just wondering what is the most expensive consumer cassette deck ever produced.Not one-offs or special editions,but the top RRP for a production deck?
    Thanks in advance
     
  22. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    Here is one serious Tascam deck ...

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    Here is another serious Tascam deck ...

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    Nakamichi 1000ZXL, retailed for $5000 back in the mid 80's ...

    [​IMG]

    This deck is probably better than the Dragon but was rarely used in comparison with other decks since Nakamichi only built a few hundreds of this model IIRC ...
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
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  25. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Italy
    You can still buy one today with the same price tag
     

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