Do you still use a cassette deck?

Do you still use a cassette deck?
All the time
7% (24 votes)
23% (82 votes)
29% (103 votes)
Don't even have one, but do have some tapes
16% (59 votes)
Don't have one and don't have any tapes
25% (91 votes)
Total votes: 359

In his <A HREF="">blog</A>, Stephen Mejias reports on the resurgence in cassette-only releases and is now looking for a good deck. Do you still use a cassette deck?

Pete, GA's picture

Yes, I do still use my Pioneer CT-650. Although I would like to have a three-head deck, I get by. I copy my LPs to high-bias cassettes for listening in my car since I am not about to get into digital transfer and I want to preserve the analog sound. Believe it or not, Pioneer still makes a top-end CD/cassette/iPod-ready car stereo head-unit and I am getting ready to purchase one so I can bring truly high-quality analog to my car. The unit has about a 62dB signal-to-noise ratio which is as close to high-end as I need given the background noise of the vehicle itself. For the indie stuff Stephen is listening to, I can't image those indie garage bands would sound any better on SACD or vinyl.

Jimmy's picture

Both of my cassette decks (one was a portable) died in the past few years. One day I will buy a used one to convert my existing tapes to MP3 or some other digital format. Other than that, why would anyone want to purchase a cassette deck? They went out with 8-track tapes, due to CDs. If you have any, especially for a long period of time (and don't play them), the tapes become somewhat brittle and will jam the player. Unless you're going to convert your cassettes to CD or some form of digital media, leave the cassette players in the '70s.

Lionel's picture

Still occasionally dub old band practices or gigs to digital. Still have tons of stuff that will need a working 4-track cassette deck or very careful digital editing in order to digitize.

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

One of my friends loaned me an old Nakamichi 700T and I have never yet hooked it up. I have the decks, but I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone would do a new release on cassette.

W.K.'s picture

Surprised to see they even still make mid/hi-fi tape players.

Les's picture

I got back into playing with cassettes about two years ago, after about a 10 year time frame of not bothering. Tape recording is a hobby, a way to be at peace and at a slower pace, making analog cassette recordings of (especially) my vinyl discs but also some CDs too. Compilation tapes are fun to do from time to time. I do not need to make cassette tapes nor buy used commercially made ones, but it's just a fun part of the audio hobby. Ripping CDs on a computer and downloading music onto portable media is just not as much fun as playing with cassette decks and blank tape—although my stand-alone CD recorder is used to make CDs of my vinyl discs for car use. Buying higher-quality used cassette decks can give you very hi-fi results. Stockpiling up on blank cassettes especially NOS variants is fun as well.

Modern Joe's picture

It's an outdated and inferior technology. What next 8-track? I donated my JVC cassette deck to the Salvation Army.

Robert's picture

Both Harman/Kardon decks I own still permit me to fully enjoy either pieces that are not available in any other format or personal mixes.

Allan Stock's picture

I've had my Nakamichi deck packed up for nearly 20 years and for good reason. As much of a good idea as the cassette system was at the time, happily its time came and went. I never anticipated that this medium would or could make a comeback. It was so flawed —the hiss, the noise, the limited shelf-life of even the best tape, the constant mechanical failures and all of those moving parts. Have you forgotten the unwelcome surprise of 60' of tape uncontrollably regurgitating from a machine or solving the mystery of it becoming somehow “lost” within the deck? Even worse was this nightmare happening inside your dashboard. Sorry, I’ll pass this time around.

Jim M's picture

Mediocre sound and no direct access to tracks! Why?

Michael Moore's picture

But I still use MiniDisc!

Rich in Chicago's picture

The only thing that I use mine for is listening to books on tape. Even then, it's only a few times a year.

Christian's picture

Sure mix tapes were fun, but really the only good thing about tapes was that they were portable. That issue was solved in the '90s with portable CD players, and today we have MP3 players. Good riddance.

Me's picture

I have a deck in my car. Eight years and 165,000 miles later and I've never used it. I own one cassette and have never played it.

Mike J.'s picture

I play cassettes I recorded 30+ years ago on quality tape on the quality Japanese recorders (Teac/Akai/Sony) of the day. I'm still amazed at the sound quality. I play them with a recent Onkyo dual-well deck hooked into a Tandberg amp/preamp combo through JMLab Chorus 714S floorstanders. I don't record cassettes anymore, but it sure is nice having a good quality deck to play them. Younger friends are simply flabbergasted.

Patrick Vehling's picture

How easy it is these days to discredit one format for another. Why can't we just embrace multiple formats?

John P.'s picture

I still have my mid-1980s Onkyo dual-well cassette deck, which is a wonderful and reliable machine. I use it once in a great while to make or re-make tapes to play in my aging plain-Jane vehicle that came equipped with low grade AM-FM-cassette stereo. Chrome tapes recorded carefully from LP or CD, or even dubbed from clean prefab cassette tapes, sound plenty good for cruising the highways and byways.

Glenn Bennett's picture

I still love to listen to the different compilation cassettes I used to make. That was a time of being involved with the equipment. You had to adjust bias, record levels, etc. It was great fun. Digital made things so simple. I find it a lot of fun to listen to music on a high-bias tape that sounds nearly as good as the source. But I admit I haven't recorded a tape in a long time. I must have at least 50 various high-quality cassettes that have never been opened. I have two three-head decks that work great and do not intend to give them up.

BK's picture

Did I miss something? I know I dismissed vinyl for so long until the mid of last year and have been a convert ever since—but cassettes?

KBK's picture

I gave about 150 metal tapes to a friend, and then sold my decks. Or vice versa. I think I sold the decks first. However, I still love the things.

Clint's picture

I admit books on tape is my preferred way to listen in the car on long trips. CDs are just a pain, and I don't have an iPod dock.

Dave's picture

I'd like to get one to play my old tapes.

Ben Utomi's picture

Have a Dragon and Tandberg 3014a.

Bubba in SF's picture

I have a Nakamichi CR3. It's only a two-head unit. I rarely play it, but it sounds fine with all the Maxell and TDK CRO2s—and a few Sony Metal Oxides. I haven't had the patience to put LPs onto my hard drive to clean up and compile for burning or to go on the IPod, so the tapes really are still the only way to create a best-of tape for different artists or genres using LP. I still have maybe 350 tapes. All recorded by yours truly. Pre-recorded tapes were always put on cheap tape, so I never really got into them. Of course, you can't play tapes in an auto any more because there aren't combo units that don't eat tapes. I also have an old Harman/Kardon TD292 but, its belt is old and really doesn't play at the same speed as the Nakamichi, which is direct-drive. The 25-year run of cassettes was a lot of fun. It just got passed by MP3 & AAC. The other problem is, who still works on these old decks?

Dave Bennett's picture

Nakamichi DR10.

clarke hankey's picture

Have a Nakamichi CR-7A and don't use it. It's a great deck, but no tapes to listen to!

Andy D's picture

I miss seeing something turning. It soothes the soul to watch the tape while listening.

Dimitris Gogas's picture

It mostly keeps my rack full. Hasn't seen any action for two years now.

Ken's picture

I have a Nak Dragon and a Nak RX 505 and a Nak LX3. All restored and all sound better than the best digital to my ears. I use them to record vinyl. I also have an Alesis Masterlink that records at 24/96, but I think the Dragon makes a better recording from analog sources. The only thing I own that records better than my dragon is my Otari MX5050 III recording at 15ips on 1/4" tape. Nakamichi was years ahead of the curve. But I have found mass-produced cassettes to be inferior to their LP counterpart or even a well-mastered CD. They need to be recorded in real time from a good master on a excellent recorder to beat vinyl. And that is an expensive way to make tapes. My opinion...

Jim Dandy's picture

I have three cassette decks. One is used with my main audio system, one with my video system, and one that was included with the CD-based system in my 2005 automobile. I use them occasionally to listen to the wealth of music I collected before the CD came along. Recently, a friend asked me to recommend a sub-$100 USB turntable to use to transfer original 45s to CD. I suggested that he instead, transfer them to cassette.