The greatest consumer cassette tape deck ever produced?*

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

  1. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    You and me both. No where in the manual does it say, "Warning VHS HI-FI tapes may not playback properly after 7 years." Or "For AFM recording use only the SP mode."

    I can beat your story. I did mixes to PCM 14 bit, 44.1 khz, half inch VHS tapes on the EP mode. And when they almost couldn't play back I transfered them to VHS HI-FI. Beat that tragedy!

    But my 35 year old Type 2 cassettes from 1986 still play like brand new.
     
  2. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    A little bit of an exaggeration here. It wasn't as if every Stephen tape machine broke down on a regular basis. Their unique design required ahhhhh.....special adjustments and tuning.. Like you would with a car.


    You're not buying any of this are you??
     
  3. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Really? News to me.. Or rather they used to.
     
  4. jenkovix

    jenkovix Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe, Hungary
    we all know what compact cassette capable of with a good deck and good cassette. compact cassette evolved over time and peaked with fantastic capabilities.
    imagine if something similar happens with Elcaset... what it could do...?
     
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  5. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Presumably the same techs that became available for the compact cassette - metal tape, Dolby C, HX Pro, dbx, Dolby S, improved transports - would have happened to Elcaset as well. Keep in mind though, some of those - like metal tape - would have been hugely expensive, given the longer and wider tape involved. It's not clear Elcaset would have benefited as much from some of those improvements, either. It already had killer specs even back in the '70s - items like metal tape would have been gilding the lily.

    Dolby C or dbx and HX Pro wouldn't have added appreciably to the cost of the units though, and would have given it the S/N ratio of higher-speed open reel decks, bringing it to near functional parity with the CD.
     
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  6. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Agreed. Or if Angel had gone one more season.
    If only?
     
  7. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
  8. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    If you want an Elcaset deck it'll cost you:

    Technics SL-7500US - Mint ELCASET Deck with 12 Cassettes | eBay

    These things routinely go for $1,000 and up now. Although I guess inflation-adjusted that's not a bad deal compared to when they were new.

    I wonder if you could 3D print the cassette shells and hubs and just load open reel tape into them?
     
  9. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Besides my home mortgage I own less than $200.00 in discover.
    I just use it if I have to.
     
  10. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    I really feel for you and I know how it is. There are no words that can heal it. The only thing I can tell you is you didn't know.. and you also didn't know it will come. We just have to live our lives now and fulfill our mission here on earth. There will be another time that you'll see her again. That much I know.
    For now, try to get some other activities especially outdoor or like meet your friends. I'm pretty much going to the same thing too. Its very hard. After both works I try to go roller skating with my wife. I try to go to a place that will give me a time to relax my mind. Other than the roller skates, pretty much she's been around and always there with me. I trained her to travel, ride the car and take her to all the beautiful places. I cant even go to those places anymore. I didn't know. She was very strong and energetic. Genetically she is near perfect. since when I got her, she always maintained 8 lbs and she looks very young, very agile, very smart, runs very fast even at her age. Its the cancer that took her. We didn't give up. Every problem has a solution. That's my motto in life that that's what I do on my job. She went to so many x-rays, ekg, extreme proper diet, surgery procedures, 7 different kinds of herb, left and right doctors and consultation. Somewhere along the way they gave her 2 weeks to live, the surgeon gave up because it was spreading like a brush fire. its attached to areas that are really critical. I could not believe it, We fought together with another set of different herbals, watching here almost 24 hours a day. I have to give up my 2nd job just to be with her. How could I not, every time I leave my house going to work my wife and here is always at the door waving goodbye and hoping for a safe return. Every 2:45pm she is already up there at the window waiting for my car to full in. Ive never felt so complete in my life. And now it turned for the worst.
    ...........She battled it 6 years, 8 months. I was with her till that time.
    The only thing that happen to my life since I had her was nothing but good. She gave me nothing but good luck on my job, my health and happiness. I'll never forget her.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
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  11. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Thanks for sharing. It took me 2 or 3 months to get over her death.
     
  12. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    My parents were the same way. Good attuide. I wish I had it. I no longer have a credit card because I went crazy with it.
     
  13. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Well I wont really say that. In fact I have a very strong and large amount of credit capability and I been holding back since last year. I'm about to venture on something, "I don't know yet" but its gonna a flood gate opening.
     
  14. Front Row

    Front Row Finding pleasure when annoying those with OCD.

    Location:
    Chicago IL
    I have the Tascam 122 MK II. It was an amazing piece of machinery. Options allowed for excellent recording. Although it was more for studio use, it was my favorite. I have a later version Tascam today and it plays my twenty to thirty year old cassettes well.
     
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  15. Om

    Om You can call me Benny!

    Location:
    Boston, USA
    I read through close to 40 pages and I have not yet seen this being brought up.

    When measuring a cassette deck's performance there are two separate categories. Recording performance and playback performance. Almost all of the reported specs you see advertised on these decks are the recording capabilities, but specs don't show how well it plays back prerecorded material from other decks. Specs don't measure how musical a deck is, it's transparency and mids reproduction which is completely subjective to the listener's preference and taste. Some of the best decks ever made that make unbelievable recordings, play back cassettes made on other decks like snot. Likewise some of the decks that don't perform very well recording and have worse S/N excel at playing back tapes made on other decks.

    For this reason alone and this is my biased opinion, the Dragon is one of the greatest decks that was ever made for playback and no other cassette deck can get even close. A properly calibrated NAAC system will blow the socks off other cassette decks with fixed azimuths (there are a few others). It's how you get every cassette to sound like it was recorded on your own machine. Although personally I wouldn't buy one for making recordings, because Dragons are known for producing tapes that don't sound well on other machines. There's a reason that many devout Deadheads owned Dragons.

    Every deck including commercially released cassettes will have an azimuth that is slightly off from one another. This gets worse as you reach multiple generations and commercially released tapes. The manufacturers of pre-recorded cassettes, especially in India, on the whole, did not follow close tolerances when manufacturing their cassettes. They even followed mass manufacture processes which make such close tolerances impossible to obtain consistently. Some decks will accidentally have their playback azimuth alignment very closely aligned with some of your cassettes, but will have poor alignment with other cassettes, and there will be nothing you can do about it as each cassette deck will give you a different result.

    Regardless of specs, judging a deck on playback performance can be completely unrelated to its recording capabilities. Usually if a deck excels in one area it falls in another area and vice versa. That is why we don't just stop at owning one deck. One is never enough. :)

    Different decks have unique capabilities and sound that makes each one unique and enjoyable in their own right. I am a true believer that specs can only tell you so much and don't really give you a full story of how it will perform in your own setup. Different strokes for different folks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2021
  16. Om

    Om You can call me Benny!

    Location:
    Boston, USA
    Just reading this. Always tough to lose your best friend. They are like family members.:sweating:
     
  17. Om

    Om You can call me Benny!

    Location:
    Boston, USA
    I would like to nominate the Marantz SD930. Definitely a top contender I hope to own one day.

    The Marantz SD930 was only sold for one year in 1983 for a retail price of $1,449 for half the price of the Dragon.

    It utilizes both Dolby B/C and DBX noise reduction options with an incredible 90dB S/N and 20Hz to 22kHz response. It had a system that worked instantly in real time without hearing the loss like the Dragon when trying to correct the azimuth for prerecorded tapes.

    The MAAC as it was called (Marantz Auto Azimuth Correction) was in fact a patent that Phillips had, at the time the two companies were together, but it never got the high status like the Dragon as it was not well advertised. The auto azimuth showed how much the tape was out of azimuth if it was left switched off. The deck uses Piezoelectricity in its playback head (piezoelectric effect) no motors, belts, or gears are used like in the Dragon. This is arguably the greatest cassette deck that was ever manufactured for consumer playback of prerecorded tapes from a wide array of other machines. It was sold in black and silver.

    Nak may have wisely chose to give the Dragon 10 seconds to get a better average of the "best" azimuth position for that tape. Also NAAC is a bit better since it is essentially a mono system. Real music has phase information present in stereo that would falsely trigger the Marantz system from time to time. Also if you made a tape in it, the azimuth varied all over the place and was next to unplayable in another machine to any level of fidelity. Of course this wasn’t a problem if the tape was played back in the Marantz with the auto azimuth switched on. Marantz refused to acknowledge a problem, apparently recording tapes in one machine and playing them back in another was unheard of to them!

     
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  18. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Ugly deck with a cheapo meter, though. My $200 Sony looked more sophisticated.

    Honestly, I've never understood how Marantz survived as an audiophile brand. But then a lot of audiophile equipment is cheap-looking and butt-ugly.
     
  19. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Thank you...
     
  20. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    I believe those are Asian models. Ive only seen it in the hifi enthusiast magazine. It wasn't even published in crutchfield. I guess they were in serious competition with the hi-end Aiwa. I have a lower model but its not auto azimuth even thou they still claim one of the best in linear tracking playback. So many decks out there that commands its own strong points. I guess the reason why nakamichi became so popular its just they have the good to better ingredients in every deck they came out (besides a very few bad apples). Built like a tank, they have the sound. theyre not light years away from anyone when it comes to features and proven in the test of time which those features still works even as of today. Of course for the sake of no arguments, each one has their own preference. There is another site that one guy is saying, go with this deck for its advanced. When I saw the deck, it was TOTL and he did so many work on it. Before the last part of his selling page, there is a word "BUT" .....?
    Right now I have 17 nakamichi decks not the top of the line but everything is in a green light. I mean completely serviced with all brand new belts, transport completely overhauled, new idler tire, check and torqued all screws, clean and re-lubed all moving parts, deoxite all the pots, slider and connectors, re-shine heads, demagnetized, cleaned. Adjust, check speed, output voltage etc.....
    each one of them plays dead quiet on idle and the sound is just so glorious. Sometimes its just good ride in the world of great hi fidelity with a well oiled Toyota mark II than a Bentley that about to fall apart anytime on the road.
     
  21. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Nak made their own heads, didn't they? I think in a lotta other decks, they just bought them from subcontractors.
     
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  22. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Hi..
    I'm not really an expert on those beside the medium range which is the BX-300, some CR and DR models and up have discrete heads and they are all made by nakamichi. Theyre really robust.
    The lower model however are still excellent. They are made by a reputable company. Basically all naks are designed to run 20/20 20hz to 20 kHz..
    This is another good deck deck all the way from 1980. I was just playing it side by side on the nakamichi switching output channels to my amp. What mind blower!
    [​IMG]
     
  23. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    There old receivers, which are much more sought after than their cassette offerings, are great looking and unique with the tuning dial.
     
  24. Om

    Om You can call me Benny!

    Location:
    Boston, USA
    Nak started out as a company which manufactured tape heads for a wide array of other companies and products going back to the 1940's. They started with reel to reel. They didn't start making their own hardware equipment until the 70's. They even made a reel to reel deck before they jumped into cassettes. Not an expert though. Couldn't tell you which models have what and when they stopped making their own heads.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
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  25. Om

    Om You can call me Benny!

    Location:
    Boston, USA
    I'm not sure now that I think about it. I've talked to owners from around the world and United States but maybe they were just imports and not sold outside of Japan? Super rare though. It was in direct competition for Marantz to produce a better version of the Dragon. A lot of Nak influences on that deck. One of the first models to utilize Dolby C. Only other deck in history that had a similar auto-azimuth to the Dragon. I think they look better in black.

    It's only a single capstan deck though. The special R/P head is very fragile for cleaning as mentioned in the user manual but can survive more than 30 years of operation if gently maintained. Several owners broke the piezo element by pushing the head too hard. It is an extremely rare deck. Owners have called it a fantastic sounding deck when it's working, but an absolute hell to try and repair. Parts are absolutely non existent if something breaks. Great thing about belt decks is they are way easier to locate belts and repair.

    Marantz SD 930 Digital Monitor Cassette Deck

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021

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