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Cassette player recommendations


TheBro
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10 minutes ago, Enthusiast said:

Yeah that's a little out of my price range lol. I may just use an extra large cable as I have a mini hifi with cassette tape player in it but its fair from the pc.

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If you have one that already works just use that, buying one now is probably not worth it between the condition of what's out there and the inflated prices from the cassette revival plus Covid making pretty much all used music gear prices at least double since last spring.

Edited by TubularCorporation
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3 hours ago, TubularCorporation said:

If you have one that already works just use that, buying one now is probably not worth it between the condition of what's out there and the inflated prices from the cassette revival plus Covid making pretty much all used music gear prices at least double since last spring.

Fair point. Yeah Covid I notice has bumped up the price of hardware. I still push for bargains tho. I actually bought a Yamaha Reface CS for £90 which isn't too bad considering they retail for £270. It's a decent little synth and really well built.

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I would really like to have one of those 90s Walkmans to play tapes, but I'm kind of stuck with this CD/tape/aux combo things from the early 2000s. Its only out is through speaker wire :catsob:

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You can get a speaker-to-line converter, I've never tried one though.  I actually have one that came with all that free gear I got a couple years ago but I have no use for it.

headphone-coupler.thumb.jpg.aefd6e88a1ee276008da92d22e7e54d9.jpg

It's really light, so I assume it's just a couple resistors inside and I have no idea how safe it actually is for your amp.

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If you can find onkyo stuff cheap it’s amazing. I’ve had an integra for over 20 years that worked perfectly and had super clean playback. It’s in the repair shop now, but just to get cleaned, it still worked pretty decent before I brought it in. Other than that I would recommend any of the Sansui or Technics decks that came out in the mid 90s for component systems. They aren’t really “audiophile” so you can still get them cheap. I see jvc ones that are basically the same for like $10-20 at thrift stores all the time. The key is making sure the controls are digital and that you don’t have to physically push them down. But I think tape decks like onkyo and technics are still out there in thrift stores with cheap price tags, but they end up 10- 50 times more expensive on eBay.  

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The only cassette deck I have that still works completely is an Onkyo that also came with that lot of free gear, and it is indeed really nice.  Replaced an entry level early 90s Nakamitchi I found in the trash and used for 10 years until the transport control got intermittent.  The free gear haul also included an original Tascam 122 and it's ridiculously nice but one of the wires on the playback head came loose not long after I got it and replacing it without taking the head out (and then not being able to realign it because who actually has a Tascam calibration cassette?) and the Onkyo is nice enough that I haven't bothered to fix either of the other two yet.

I don't listen to cassettes though, I've just got a bunch of old stuff from when I was a kid that I'm slowly digitizing (we couldn't afford a video camera but we had a boombox so my version of home old movies was cassettes) and I like to record stuff to cassette and then sample it.

 

If you go looking for a deck avoid anything with auto-reverse, the mechanism that flips the heads around will probably break sooner or later and the actual heads are tiny and crap.

On the other hand, if quality isn't an issue there are tons of playback-only cassette decks, mostly with USB output built in, for $20 USD or less brand new on AliExpress

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Back in my thrift store days I got a really top of the line late 90s Pioneer laserdisc player and about 40 laserdiscs for something like $30, but it was so high end it had an auto-flip feature and that thing jammed in less than two years. But we had a few good underground karaoke parties first, at least.

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It seems that it's hard to find electronics at thrift stores for good prices nowadays because of the internet, it's easy to look up an items worth. You here old stories about people getting cheap synths because thrift stores thought they were organs or what not.

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I have a sony walkman and a Technics M205 and honestly, if you want it to be easy, just buy a walkman (with a chrome head) that was recently refurbed or serviced so the head is clean and the belts are good. If you have tapes that are old they are going to sound like shit anyway.

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If you have good quality vhs tapes, and the right type of vcr, you can get some stuff around 20 bit, I think. But those types of vcrs are rare. It’s similar to an adat type of recording, or Betamax, which can be “better” than cd quality. Of course there many other features with adat, but I think quality-wise it’s similar. The thing is- adat only seems really useful these days if you use it to expand an interface or whatever, in which case you probably can already get some type of 24 bit.

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3 hours ago, thawkins said:

I saw a real cassette player in a shop this weekend for 80 euros. I did not check whether it had a line out or it was just a boombox style standalone thing, just surprised that this product would exist.

Hipsters.

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4 minutes ago, thawkins said:

Can't be, it was just regular black plastic, no ethical wood paneling at all. No self respecting hipster would buy this.

Maybe this is some new sort of aesthetic plebs like us aren't aware of?

On the other hand, I got curious so did a quick Google and I'll be darned ... you can indeed by cassette players. Conrad (the really boring, definitely not hipster German electronic components store) sells a dual cassette player for €92. 

If that is too pedestrian for you, there are Teac models out there for €300 and more.

WHY?

 

EDIT: wow ... Check this out:

https://www.electronic-star.nl/HiFi-TV/Radios-Wekkerradios/Radio-CD-Speler/RQ-132USB-draagbare-cassetterecorder-dictafoon-memorecorder-Micro-USB-USB.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhs6Qx5Kh7wIVkuh3Ch1UrgiIEAQYEyABEgJXoPD_BwE

Edited by rhmilo
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On 3/5/2021 at 7:34 PM, yekker said:

It seems that it's hard to find electronics at thrift stores for good prices nowadays because of the internet, it's easy to look up an items worth. You here old stories about people getting cheap synths because thrift stores thought they were organs or what not.

Yeah, it's hard to find good stuff free or cheap anywhere these days.  Still possible but rare.  All of the memes about finding some rare, valuable piece of gear in the trash use to be legit.  Here are some things I or people I know have found in good condition in the trash or bought for a few dollars at yardsales/thrift shops/shady strangers between 2000 and 2010 (mostly):

 

An 808

Multiple Juno 60s

70s Ampeg B-15n

60s Wurlitzer electric piano

Triadex Muse

Otari MX5050 MKIV

about half a dozen portastudios

Alesis HR-16

Nakamitchi cassette deck

5 or 6 other cassette decks

fully serviced 1960s Akai tube reel to reel with all original tubes

4 or 5 vintage combo organs

2 hammond organs

Uncountable number of Casio SK-1s

Tons of vintage guitar pedals

Commodores, Ataris, Amigas, etc.

Akai s612

E-Mu Drumulator

Thousands and thousands of dollars worth of rare records

 

 

I'd say the total amount paid for all of that stuff was between $200 and $250. The 808 cost a coworker $80, I got the Ampeg for $30 and the Otari for $20; I don't know the cost of the Drumulator or some of the Junos, but the drumulator + the Juno a friend of mine has right now was about $100 for the pair - everything else on that list was free. About 3/4 is stuff I found, although at least half of that was been traded or given away years ago.

Almost all of that kind of stuff dried up in the last 7 years or so. It's a whole different world now when it comes to scavenging.

4 hours ago, rhmilo said:

Maybe this is some new sort of aesthetic plebs like us aren't aware of?

On the other hand, I got curious so did a quick Google and I'll be darned ... you can indeed by cassette players. Conrad (the really boring, definitely not hipster German electronic components store) sells a dual cassette player for €92. 

If that is too pedestrian for you, there are Teac models out there for €300 and more.

WHY?

 

EDIT: wow ... Check this out:

https://www.electronic-star.nl/HiFi-TV/Radios-Wekkerradios/Radio-CD-Speler/RQ-132USB-draagbare-cassetterecorder-dictafoon-memorecorder-Micro-USB-USB.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhs6Qx5Kh7wIVkuh3Ch1UrgiIEAQYEyABEgJXoPD_BwE

All of those use the same cheap transport, though.  Probably the same heads, too.  You're just playing for signal path and brand name with the expensive stuff now.

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38 minutes ago, TubularCorporation said:

Yeah, it's hard to find good stuff free or cheap anywhere these days.  Still possible but rare.  All of the memes about finding some rare, valuable piece of gear in the trash use to be legit.  Here are some things I or people I know have found in good condition in the trash or bought for a few dollars at yardsales/thrift shops/shady strangers between 2000 and 2010 (mostly):

 

An 808

Multiple Juno 60s

70s Ampeg B-15n

60s Wurlitzer electric piano

Triadex Muse

Otari MX5050 MKIV

about half a dozen portastudios

Alesis HR-16

Nakamitchi cassette deck

5 or 6 other cassette decks

fully serviced 1960s Akai tube reel to reel with all original tubes

4 or 5 vintage combo organs

2 hammond organs

Uncountable number of Casio SK-1s

Tons of vintage guitar pedals

Commodores, Ataris, Amigas, etc.

Akai s612

E-Mu Drumulator

Thousands and thousands of dollars worth of rare records

 

 

I'd say the total amount paid for all of that stuff was between $200 and $250. The 808 cost a coworker $80, I got the Ampeg for $30 and the Otari for $20; I don't know the cost of the Drumulator or some of the Junos, but the drumulator + the Juno a friend of mine has right now was about $100 for the pair - everything else on that list was free. About 3/4 is stuff I found, although at least half of that was been traded or given away years ago.

Almost all of that kind of stuff dried up in the last 7 years or so. It's a whole different world now when it comes to scavenging.

All of those use the same cheap transport, though.  Probably the same heads, too.  You're just playing for signal path and brand name with the expensive stuff now.

Wtf? Where abouts do you live?

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A lot of the best stuff (like that Triadex Muse) was Boston and Cambridge but at least half of it was in smaller towns around New England. I didn't even get in to the stereo equipment. Finding 60s and 70s hi-fi components around Cambridge was like finding vintage computers in Austin. I've spent about a day and a half in Austin in my entire life, but apparently you used to be able to find vintage computing stuff in the Austin area all over the place.

 

Aroudn 2012 my roommate and I could have gotten the entire analog editing B suite from a TV studio for free but we'd have had to drive all the way to Baltimore and it was a huge rack.

 

Same reason I didn't take the free 80s SGI I had a line on in 2009 or so - it was the size of a small deep freeze and you had to have a special high voltage mains source wired in to your house to even use it.

 

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