When I was in high school I used to love to make mix tapes. About 15 years or so ago I decided I wanted to do so again so got an Otari MX5050 reel-to-reel, some tapes and equipment to calibrate it. To make a long story short, I never could get it sounding right. I had the heads checked and they were fine. I'm sure paying a professional to calibrate it would have made it sound great, but decided it was just a big money pit and ended up selling it. About 10 years ago, I ran across a decent deal on a Nakamichi Dragon and bought it. The tapes sounded good, but still not that close to the records. A few months ago, I decided to send it to Willy Hermann for a complete restoration after seeing his restored decks going for big money on fleabay. I got it back and the other day. I carefully calibrated the level and eq as per the instruction manual and started recording on some metal tapes. I used no noise reduction. The results were astounding! I could not hear any tape hiss and it sounded just like the record. My wife, neighbors and I could not believe we were listening to a cassette deck. Now I'm sure it can be bested by a good, properly calibrated RTR, but I couldn't be happier with this machine. My original plan was to use it to make mix tapes to play on my living room system and sell it, but I don't think I can part with this thing.