You are here

Log in or register to post comments
THR33P4C
THR33P4C's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 29 2008 - 10:26pm
Cassette Decks

Ive been looking into upgrading to a decent cassette deck. I am looking at NAD stuff cause I want my components to match for the most part.

Ive done some looking around... The NAD 6300 seems to be a really nice deck. Most people put it in the same class as most Nakamichi decks. However, they still run over $150 on ebay

An alternative would be the NAD 6340 its only a two head deck but I have heard some good things about it. There are a couple of ebay auctions running right now for that model. One of them looks to be modified though and I don't know if I would be comfortable buying something modded (The owner says he knows nothing a about any modifications)
Modded?
Regular

Does the right hand mic panel on the first one look like some aftermarket add on?

If anyone knows anything about these decks. Or of some other "gem" decks to keep an eye out for, let me know.

commsysman
commsysman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 53 min ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Re: Cassette Decks

I have had a number of cassette decks over the years, and many of them are/were decent for PLAYBACK.

For RECORDING, however, there are very few that can match a 3-head Nakamichi; the construction of their transport is very expensive and very precise and their tape heads and guides offer the durability and precision that is required for high-quality recordings. Recordings that I made on my Nakamichi deck were so superior in sound quality to other machines that it was very obvious to all who heard them; people who heard them often expressed amazement that a cassette recorder COULD make a recording of that quality.

I assume that there are expensive commercial machines that can equal Nakamichi, but I am not aware of any personally. They are simply in a class by themselves.

I very much doubt if NAD makes a comparable machine. I paid $800 for my 481 30 years ago, and that was the cheapest 3-head Nakamichi machine available then. As I said, it is VERY expensive to manufacture a transport and heads that will make excellent recordings. I would assume that such a machine (new) would cost at least $2000 today.

IF you are considering doing ANY recording at all, you will definitely want a 3-head machine. The physical construction of a recording head must be quite different from the playback head; two-head decks use one head for both recording and playback, and this is a compromise that absolutely guarantees poor recording quality.

In general, a lot of 3-head machines will do a fairly good job of recording when new. Physical wear on the head and guides reduces that quality fairly rapidly on most machines, while Nakamichi's transport wears MUCH more slowly due to its superlative component quality.

Buying a used deck probably means you are buying one that is worn out. I would have an expert technician inspect and test a used one before buying it. If that is not possible, make a recording of music you are familiar with on a good-quality blank tape and play it back to check sound quality.

By the way...the 481 is an excellent 3-head machine, and the 482 is also, plus the 482 has the additional circuits for monitoring the recording as it is made. The 480 is a two-head machine with a lower-quality transport.

Lamont Sanford
Lamont Sanford's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
Joined: Mar 31 2006 - 8:32pm
Re: Cassette Decks

I don't know about cassette decks. I have a Kenwood as a replacement I got many years ago. I don't think I have ever had a great sounding cassette deck and forget about decent recordings. The media is to blame. It's just not that great. John Cougar should be more angry over the whole cassette media ripoff we had to endure for so many years. Cassettes are the worse. A $150 for a quality deck isn't too much in my mind. It's probably about what I paid for my Kenwood when it was new. According to my Orion Blue Book the one from snarkhart is priced just right.

Jan Vigne
Jan Vigne's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 18 2006 - 12:57pm
Re: Cassette Decks

How is the deck to be used? Is this a "serious" source component or one meant for playback during casual listening or grabbing a program off the radio on occasion? Do you need microphone inputs? If so, do you need cheap and lousy microphone inputs?

ncdrawl
ncdrawl's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: Oct 18 2008 - 9:18am
Re: Cassette Decks


Quote:

I very much doubt if NAD makes a comparable machine.

why would you make such a statement? that is a generalization, no?

For my preferences, id take a tandberg 3014 over any nakamichi...but there are a number of great players out there from Revox, Tandberg, Marantz, and countless others. Just gotta know what you are looking for.

commsysman
commsysman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 53 min ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Re: Cassette Decks

I made the statement because I researched the subject and that was my conclusion based on my research.

What is your basis for questioning it?

Sure, Tandberg made some good machines, but try to find one or get it worked on. There are still some good Nakamichi machines on ebay, and there are still some people that work on them.

As far as I can find, NOONE is still selling a 3-head deck new.

I just ran across a Nakamichi 680 which is claimed to be working on ebay for under $200; also a 482 for around $400.

THR33P4C
THR33P4C's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 29 2008 - 10:26pm
Re: Cassette Decks

The deck will not be used for recording at all. I have a PC based home studio for that... I am just looking for a decent deck to playback my cassette tape collection.

I have an NAD 1240 preamp and 2400 monitor series power amp. So the system doesn't require an amazing deck. My main sources will be my Marantz VC6001, my turntable, and NAD tuner.

If you look at my original post its more asking. Should I bid on a deck that appears to be modified?

Jan Vigne
Jan Vigne's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 18 2006 - 12:57pm
Re: Cassette Decks

I don't believe a microphone input should be of any real concern. Though that would appear to be a DIN type connector. I would not have expected that sort of connector on a US machine. Possibly it fit a specific purpose.

If you are uncomfortable in any way, pass on the deck. If not, the NAD should make a decent playback machine.

jackfish
jackfish's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 19 2005 - 2:42pm
Re: Cassette Decks

I have a Harman Kardon TD4400 which was designed for CD transcription. With metal tape (if you can find it) and Dolby C it does an great job, chrome still pretty good. At 15 years old it is still performing as when it was new.

Lamont Sanford
Lamont Sanford's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
Joined: Mar 31 2006 - 8:32pm
Re: Cassette Decks


Quote:
The deck will not be used for recording at all. I have a PC based home studio for that... I am just looking for a decent deck to playback my cassette tape collection.

I have an NAD 1240 preamp and 2400 monitor series power amp. So the system doesn't require an amazing deck. My main sources will be my Marantz VC6001, my turntable, and NAD tuner.

If you look at my original post its more asking. Should I bid on a deck that appears to be modified?

Yes, 100% good deal on ebay.


Quote:
According to my Orion Blue Book the one from snarkhart is priced just right.

dbowker
dbowker's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 4 weeks ago
Joined: May 8 2007 - 6:37am
Re: Cassette Decks

Had a Denon for a number of years- good recording and playback- for entry-level high end anyway. Not sure if they make them anymore. I always heard cassette decks had more to wear out, and thus be careful in that regard.

THR33P4C
THR33P4C's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 29 2008 - 10:26pm
Re: Cassette Decks

Ive come across a few more deals on Ebay...

I need to decide which of these decks to bid on

NAD 6240
NAD 6340
Nakamichi Cassette Deck 2
Nakamichi BX-125
Marantz SD555

I can probably land them all for around $50 with shipping...
-If they are all nice decks for what I am looking to do I will just bid low until I get one.

The ones that I am seriously considering are the NAD 6340 and the Nakamichi Cassette deck 2. Is one of those a better deck than the other?

Jan Vigne
Jan Vigne's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 18 2006 - 12:57pm
Re: Cassette Decks

While I agree that Nakamichis are by far the superior cassette machine when compared to 98% of the competition, I have to say I would hesitate to purchase a used machine manufactured by a company that no longer backs its products. You might own the Nak and have no troubles for years which might make it the best buy here. OTH you might require servicing which will prove more difficult I would imagine than having the NAD repaired.

For a playback only deck, and especially if your collection is mostly pre-recorded tapes, any of these decks will sound about the same. As a matter of fact, the NAK might sound the worst on pre-recorded tapes due to their peculiar five band eq which works exceptionally well as a record/play on the same Nak deck but does not match what most others employed.

Lamont Sanford
Lamont Sanford's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
Joined: Mar 31 2006 - 8:32pm
Re: Cassette Decks

Oh well, I gave you a few days on the one by snarkhart. Sorry about that.

If you look at the test date you can see it is 1997. They quit making them in 1998. They were manufactured for 11 years. The purchase price was blue book. I recommended it twice and you posted a third time with several others you were looking at. 3 strikes. It's mine.

THR33P4C
THR33P4C's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 29 2008 - 10:26pm
Re: Cassette Decks

Nice. I was wondering who snatched that up... I'm going for the other 6340. I have no need for the mic in stuff anyways, plus that one is way closer to Wisconsin so I will save on shipping.

So... Dibs on the other 6340!

Lamont Sanford
Lamont Sanford's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
Joined: Mar 31 2006 - 8:32pm
Re: Cassette Decks


Quote:
Nice. I was wondering who snatched that up... I'm going for the other 6340. I have no need for the mic in stuff anyways, plus that one is way closer to Wisconsin so I will save on shipping.

So... Dibs on the other 6340!

I appreciate you being a good sport about it. Just I've been sort of putting off getting a good playback cassette deck for too long.

commsysman
commsysman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 53 min ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Re: Cassette Decks

I just noticed that Amazon has a NEW TEAC W-600R for only $100...always had fairly good luck with TEAC...for playback only, it would be fine, and it is a dual-transport deck. It seems to be really loaded with good features.

Amazon also is offering a new Onkyo TARW255 dual casette deck for $169. The Onkyo spec sheet on their website SEEMS to be saying that it has separate play and record heads........(?)

Lamont Sanford
Lamont Sanford's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
Joined: Mar 31 2006 - 8:32pm
Re: Cassette Decks

Commsysman has a a good point. I have a TEAC receiver I've used for years like with the TV and before I got my HK receiver. Backup TEAC turntable in case my other one breaks down. Stuff is inexpensive.

JoeE SP9
JoeE SP9's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Oct 31 2005 - 6:02pm
Re: Cassette Decks

The deck on the left is playback only and has 1 head (playback). The deck on the right has a record and a play head. Therefore 1+2 heads.

THR33P4C
THR33P4C's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 29 2008 - 10:26pm
Re: Cassette Decks

I just won the auction on the other 6340, landed it for $37 + $8 for shipping. It should arrive late this week.

Lamont, let me know what you think of your unit once you get it up and running. I'm curious about that extra recording interface...

Lamont Sanford
Lamont Sanford's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
Joined: Mar 31 2006 - 8:32pm
Re: Cassette Decks

Sure, no problem. Great deal you got there. It pays to be patient.

THR33P4C
THR33P4C's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 29 2008 - 10:26pm
Re: Cassette Decks

Just got my 6340 today. Really nice looking deck. When I unwrapped it though I noticed the Record Level POT was really loose. I took off the knob and tightened the POT back onto the unit with a long socket. Problem Solved...

The deck works just fine and sounds great. My only gripe about it is that the rewind is pretty slow.

How is your unit performing Lamont?

Lamont Sanford
Lamont Sanford's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
Joined: Mar 31 2006 - 8:32pm
Re: Cassette Decks

Been on the road. It's still in the box. I'll report this weekend.

Lamont Sanford
Lamont Sanford's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
Joined: Mar 31 2006 - 8:32pm
Re: Cassette Decks

As advertised. Performs nicely.

billmilosz
billmilosz's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 5 days ago
Joined: Jul 4 2007 - 8:42pm
>"For RECORDING, however,

>"For RECORDING, however, there are very few that can match a 3-head Nakamichi; the construction of their transport is very expensive and very precise and their tape heads and guides offer the durability and precision that is required for high-quality recordings. Recordings that I made on my Nakamichi deck were so superior in sound quality to other machines that it was very obvious to all who heard them; people who heard them often expressed amazement that a cassette recorder COULD make a recording of that quality."<

There is nothing particularly hard about making a good record head. From an engineering point of view, recording a quality signal on a cassette is easier than playback. How are you judging the quality of the recordings that your Nakamichi makes? Playing them back on several other machines as well as the Nakamichi, and comparing your recording to the same material recorded on other machines, is the only test that could lead to the conclusion that the Nakamichi has some kind of superior ability to record a cassette. I doubt that it does.

Nakamichi took cassettes seriously, and in particular the transports of top-end Nakamichi decks are very nicely made, and they employed some unique technology to try to squeeze the best sound from a cassette such as an automatic azimuth feature- but these innovations were all aimed at PLAYBACK, not recording.

I don't think that your statement about the wonders of Nakamichi's recording abilities are founded on any objective observations; they are your emotional response to your machine.

Harman-Kardon, Sony, JVC, TEAC, Tandberg, REVOX, NAD and others made some very good machines at the top end of their ranges. NAD in particular had features like HX Pro and DynEQ that made very good recordings possible on lower-cost machines.

Pre-recorded cassettes are garbage for the most part. Except for "audiophile" base-speed cassettes (if any such ever existed) cassettes are high-speed duplicated, with duplication machines that were poorly set up and calibrated, and this results in dreadful sound.

Home-made cassettes can sound OK, in fact they can be surprisingly good- but they are NEVER as good as CD, LP or open reel. They are just too noisy, and heavy-handed noise reduction schemes such as Dolby S and even Dolby C can often add artifacts that are in some ways more harmful to MUSIC than the gaussian noise they are trying to eliminate.

Cassettes are not really a high-fidelity medium as we understand it today. However, many interesting historical things have been captured on cassettes and this warrants decks with good playback abilities. For example I have 13 years of aircheck cassettes from a radio program I used to produce- maybe some day I will transfer some of these to digital- to do that, I need a deck capable of good playback, to get the most out of these tapes. No other source exists for archival material- and for this we need cassette decks with decent playback quality.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading