Any cassette users here? OT

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Gavercronos
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Any cassette users here? OT

#1

Post by Gavercronos »

I hear the humble cassette is having a nostalgia wave, kind of like records but not quite to the same extent: people are apparently making a big deal over the sound and tactile aesthetic that you don't get with digital. :roll: Me, I like using them for the same things people did when they were everywhere; copying albums so I can listen to them wherever I want and making my own playlists. I used to use the deck built into my grandmother's stereo until it went down for the count. Then I did some research into how to make really good quality recordings (long story short, 90% of it is using the best deck you can). Then I started looking around for equipment. Where have we heard this story before? Anyhow, if you've made it this far into the ramble, you deserve to see what I'm rambling about:
Image
The Technics is my newest acquisition, and my most expensive so far at about $40. I thought I'd made a mistake when I found a broken gear in one of the transports, but it turns out it's a known issue and there are people making those gears with 3d printers and other people making video tutorials showing how to change that gear on this very machine. So I changed it, and preemptively changed the one in the other transport too. What excites me about this is that I can put two tapes in and not have to do anything else for three hours while it plays both sides of each one. The open well Pioneer below it is my best quality (though not the most reliable at the moment, or the most capable; it doesn't do type 4 tapes) recording machine; it's a three head unit which plays back your recording as you're making it so you know immediately if it screws up.
I have another three head machine, this one is more capable and reliable but lesser quality. It lives at Camp at the moment and I have funny notions about using it to record the staff singing camp songs:
Image
Realistic is the old RadioShack brand right? The tags inside indicate it was made by Hitachi. Decent enough, I suppose, but just not in the same league as the machines above.
Here's another recent pickup, mostly because it was cheap and I had never seen anything like it:
Image
And because every tapehead needs a boom box. So you load two tapes into it, and you can either relay play them or copy one onto the other. It's just a weirder way to do what everyone besides Sharp was doing with dual wells, and unlike most of them this is incapable of auto-reverse. But it sounds pretty good at least. If I had to pick an analogue in the lantern world it would be the Kamplite Inverted; ultimately unnecessary but really cool.
And, the cheap workhorses:
Imagehost pictures
I don't know what a GE alarm clock radio like this was new in 1989, but it can't have been less than what it was in spring 2021. It records the radio if you really want it to, and you get terrible recordings that way. But put in a tape made on the Pioneer or the Realistic and it sounds great. Because the quality of the initial recording is the most important thing about cassettes! And the Walkman I've had since I was a kid. I tried retiring it in favor of one of the new machines on Amazon, but it just wasn't the same. There was electrical interference and speed issues on the new one, and that was before the auto stop feature broke. So I put a new belt in the old Sony, which is actually a very late, very cheap model as far as genuine Walkmans go, and the thing just keeps ticking.
Well, if you made it to the end, thanks for reading! Anyone else still listening to their tunes the hard way? Remember, it could always be worse...
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#2

Post by Up to Light »

Good to see old cassette players still functioning! I still have my cassette player and cassettes as well. I also have an 8-track player. I would send you photos but I have been having trouble uploading photos to this website
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#3

Post by mgmlvks »

I was deep deep and deep in reel tape decks for a long time. Cassettes too. I had the good sense to reduce my inventory years back, keeping (mostly) only the better ones. I did a lot of copying cassettes from audio books for Dad when he could hear better. They used them while traveling. Joanne got a copy of a cassette from where her dad, brother and cousin went pheasant hunting 30+ years ago. Been too long for a cassette project, and ALL of them had rubber band issues. Got one to work, and "pre scheduled" my best deck and multi cassette deck for repairs. Repair man says he is buried in cassette decks right now.
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#4

Post by Majicwrench »

Neat stuff. When I did radio we had real sweet old equipment, was a joy to use. I miss it. Still keep a couple of boom boxes around, every now and then we use em in the theatre for something.

Thanks for posting
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#5

Post by Gasman64 »

I bought a pair of nice Sony tape decks while in Japan during the '80s, but both quite working correctly, so I got rid of them. I still have a number of interesting personal recordings made on cassettes from the '70s and '80s, as well as an entire set of correspondence cassette tapes a friend and I exchanged during my 2 1/2 year stay in Japan. I have one cassette player yet here at home, from my Dad's closet when my sister and I were clearing out my parent's house.
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#6

Post by mgmlvks »

Cassettes are a pretty easy copy to mp3 if tapes are at all in fair condition on home pc.
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#7

Post by 1hpycmpr »

Great post WillCat! I spent many hours putting albums on cassette because it just made sense to preserve the album by recording it onto cassette. Record the album once and run the tape into the ground! Also made lots of mixes with with my favorite at the time. Thanks for the trip down memory lane…..
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#8

Post by gpaguy »

I still have all my stero equipment that I purchased while stationed in Germany in the early 80's including my Nakamichi ZX9 cassette deck. Sadly havent touched any of it in years.


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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#9

Post by CaptainFantastic »

Not really a user any more, but was back in the day like most of us I suspect. Now I own just one player (in the car) and a few cassettes. This one is an ACDC bootleg Live in Baltimore 19 70 - something, given to me when I was 17 by my driving instructor! It is in bad shape in places but has survived...
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cassette.jpg
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It's almost impossible to get cassettes in a store, where do you source them from?
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#10

Post by WYSIWYG »

Still have my Bang & Olfsen, line in. straight from the LP to CrO2
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#11

Post by Daryl22 »

Yep, listened to this old gem while waiting to enter Veterans Car Show in Redlands Ca. last month. '"Getting ready to sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner that could not be beat". Have it on vinyl too! Back in the day we would put 4/8 track players or the new cassette players in the glove box. This is in my 63 Super 90 Porsche.
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#12

Post by egroscup »

Great stuff guys, lots of memories there. I still have a couple of reel to reel units around. As a kid I remember actually wearing out Cheap Trick Live at Budakon on cassette. Twice. Put a few miles on The Kinks Give The People What They Want album too. Daryl, as a little kid my Dad had a '63 356C. That pic of yours is a real flashback. E.
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#13

Post by burnt bacon »

All these pictures are sure neat to see...

All my cassettes are long gone, but a few years ago thought it would be neat to pick up a few and listen to them for old times' sake. Don't remember all the details, but figured I should be able to get a pile of them on ebay, a dime a dozen, but that was not the case. Darn collectors must have driven up the price... :o
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#14

Post by mgmlvks »

Daryl22 wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:08 pm Yep, listened to this old gem while waiting to enter Veterans Car Show in Redlands Ca. last month. '"Getting ready to sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner that could not be beat". Have it on vinyl too! Back in the day we would put 4/8 track players or the new cassette players in the glove box. This is in my 63 Super 90 Porsche.
20211010_084154 (2).jpg
That is beautiful! I miss my 63B.
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#15

Post by Mister_Wilson »

My cassette deck was loaded and ready every Sunday for The Seventh Day with Uncle Joe Benson on KLOS. For those of you not of a certain age in a special time in SoCal, he played seven albums with no commercials except in between sides, plus he gave the history behind it. Best ever! I had a lot of albums on tape.
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#16

Post by Gavercronos »

gpaguy wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:48 am I still have all my stero equipment that I purchased while stationed in Germany in the early 80's including my Nakamichi ZX9 cassette deck. Sadly havent touched any of it in years.
If what I've read is correct, that Nakamichi would make my Technics and Pioneer look like so much hot garbage... Assuming it works the same as it did new!
CaptainFantastic wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 6:01 am It's almost impossible to get cassettes in a store, where do you source them from?
I keep my ear to the ground for used ones sold in lots. The prices that new old stock ones are commanding, is just not generally worth it when I can get some that were recorded once and then replayed only a handful of times. A stunning amount is boring old low-quality radio broadcast that's either not historically significant or already saved elsewhere, in better quality, by professionals. And occasionally I find the odd awesome mix that I would never have thought to seek on my own.
mgmlvks wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 4:03 am I was deep deep and deep in reel tape decks for a long time.
My machine is a relic of the days when you could pick one up for ten bucks because nobody really took them seriously. I literally got it just to screw around with it, this was about 2012. Nobody really takes the portable reel tape units seriously still today, but the high-end ones are even more insane than record players now.
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#17

Post by Mister_Wilson »

I still have a Tandberg TCD-310 though it hasn’t been fired up for years.
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#18

Post by DanM »

Yes, still have about 150 of them,also always pick up the old gear whenever it comes available, one of my favorite intros is QuickSilver Messenger Service's "Forty Days", that big Hammond intro is great.BTW still have the TC-277 going strong that I bought in 1977, likely paid for it with post secondary school money.
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#19

Post by Jayhawksr »

If you really want the best deck find a Nakamichi Dragon. That seems to be the thing. I've been thinking of getting a old 70's silver face to with my vintage Pioneer rig but the really nice ones are commanding a premium and I"m down to one cassette tape. I know one article I read said if you looking for the best sound quality (in a vintage or used item) go with something from the mid-90's. The build and technology was at it's best.
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#20

Post by CaptainFantastic »

Daryl22 wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:08 pm This is in my 63 Super 90 Porsche.
That's a coincidence as my photo is from my 964 Turbo :D
Not as old as your Porsche, but probably just as fun!
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#21

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CaptainFantastic wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:52 pm
Daryl22 wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:08 pm This is in my 63 Super 90 Porsche.
That's a coincidence as my photo is from my 964 Turbo :D
Not as old as your Porsche, but probably just as fun!
I did notice the knobs and Blaupunkt which gave it away as a classic Porsche. Mine is fun, just not scary fun like your turbo.
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#22

Post by HwyChef »

I'll see your BoomBox, raise a double cassette and throw in removable speakers to boot!! Do you do Metalic tapes? I do. 1984 Crown from the "Federated" electronics store. And for giggles, I have your 7D MagLite too! Cheers
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Mister_Wilson wrote: Wed Nov 24, 2021 3:52 pm My cassette deck was loaded and ready every Sunday for The Seventh Day with Uncle Joe Benson on KLOS. For those of you not of a certain age in a special time in SoCal, he played seven albums with no commercials except in between sides, plus he gave the history behind it. Best ever! I had a lot of albums on tape.
Should have chimed in sooner, Sunday found me and my buddies tuned in to KMET 'the mighty Met' for Dr. Demento. Have him and some 'fish reports' on a tape in my car. FM radio was magical back then.
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Post by Mister_Wilson »

The fish reports were great…bicycle seat smelt…
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#25

Post by SteveRetherford »

i totally listened to KMET too , Daryl im inviting you to drop by :-) i want to be your friend LOL i live close by and want to go on one on these petro trips , at 66 car camping is about all im good for , but id like to get patty excited about seeing these and take a over knight-er and you can do all the cooking LOL your meals look so good :-) those are close by treasures id love to see for myself someday . loved your dash pic !!!

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#26

Post by Opus5150 »

This is my 70's era Pioneer CT-F9191 deck and RT-707 reel to reel. Had to do quite a bit of work to them in order to get them running again, (re-capping, belts, and the infamous 9191 clutch re-sleeve), but it was worth the salty language and long hours to listen to some old tapes again.
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#27

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SteveRetherford wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 1:59 am i totally listened to KMET too , Daryl im inviting you to drop by :-) i want to be your friend LOL i live close by and want to go on one on these petro trips , at 66 car camping is about all im good for , but id like to get patty excited about seeing these and take a over knight-er and you can do all the cooking LOL your meals look so good :-) those are close by treasures id love to see for myself someday . loved your dash pic !!!

you can get any thing you want at Alices restaurant !!!
Steve, I know we need to get together sometime. Have you seen the morteros at the start of Reche and Locus Rd? Across from the first pot farm going north. Been looking for some picture for the last hour, really need to have more folders!
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I got rid of all my cassettes and gear decades ago, when CDs and portable CD players came out. I used to spend the majority of my year driving around on rough dirt and gravel roads in a rig with no AC, so windows open all summer. No one ever made a cassette player that could survive the dust for an entire season of that kind of abuse. I even tried an expensive JBL unit that was made for Jeep, with a dust cover and all, and it was still DOA after a few months on the road.

I hoped that CDs and players would hold up better--easier to clean, anyhow. So then I got used to listening to my CDs sk sk sk skip as I drove over the washboards. Oh, well. At least the CDs and players themselves did pass the dust test, so I could listen to uninterrupted music in the evenings at camp.

Now it's all digital music in the Vanagon. No more skipping, no more tapes to untangle from the player and try to wind back into the cassette nice and flat--remember spinning the cassette on a pencil? Not only that, but my entire music collection fits on a little brick about half the size of a cassette--and I can still record my own music and make playlists--the modern equivalent of party tapes.

I think I bought my first cassette Walkman in about '78. I had a very nice home stereo set-up--including the same or nearly the same Technics dual-deck you have there. I can't recall just how many portable and auto cassette decks I went through while working in the woods!

If I ever come across any blank tapes--pretty likely--I'll let you all know. I mostly used TDK CrO2. I'm sure there are still some unopened ones around the cabin.

Anyone else recall the days of 8-track and cassette, when the roadside fences were festooned in miles and miles of magnetic tape!
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#29

Post by egroscup »

Dr Demento and Joe Benson, Heck yeah. Don't forget Jim Ladd. He has a regular slot on Deep Tracks Sirius 27. Still great to listen to. I have most of a Dr Demento year end special on reel to reel. Whet a great show, introduced me to George Carlin and the Time Warp. E.
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#30

Post by Whitegas Extraordinaire »

When I moved I pitched my Technics tape deck and a pretty fancy technics turntable. Both had issues. A couple years later I pitched what was left if my tapes. I did keep the Thorsens made in England turntable and Revox reel to reel. My father was a semi audiophile. He used to shop at a high end shop where you picked your amp and receiver then listened to speakers that were hidden behind a curtain. Low and behold the speakers he chose were at the lower end.
Now my Thorsens and Revox came from my mothers uncle. He shopped at the same place but he liked to upgrade. He bought the first Bose 901s made and chose specific wall coverings to insure the sound bounced properly.
I had the pleasure of using his system after he passed away. My uncle ended up with the 901s and a very expensive CD player. Mom got the turn table, reel to reel and a McIntosh receiver with some high end preamp.
I still have my albums which I continued to buy into the nineties. Most where spun once and recorded. The Technics had the DBX noise reduction system which was the cats pajamas but you couldn’t use them on a standard deck.
With the new invent of Napster and mp3 the collection now sits idle. My Infinity speakers need to be reconed . Modern tiny speakers with sub woofers is not the same as having surveyor tape extended perpendicular to old school speakers.

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#31

Post by burnt bacon »

Whitegas Extraordinaire wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 2:42 amA couple years later I He bought the first Bose 901s made and chose specific wall coverings to insure the sound bounced properly.
I always wanted a set of those, then the technology changed and I doubt I would have used them to their full potential.

When CD's came along I bought a pair of Bose bookshelf speakers that plugged into the headphone jack of those little players. They have always produced marvelous sound for their size and versatility. I still use them plugged into the smart TV, or into the laptop using an external optical drive. I don't know if you can buy them new anymore, but I have seen them on ebay.
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#32

Post by BrianBo »

The trick my brother taught me is to use a 60 minute cassette and record the longer side of the album. As soon as the side is over, flip the cassette and record the other side. When finished, cut and remove the unused part of the tape and splice to the leader. You now have a tape with a proper side a and b. Oh, and don’t forget to use a typewriter to make the labels. Make sure the ink is dry or you will smear them.
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#33

Post by outlawmws »

Kevin, your speakers probably don't needs re-coned unless the cones themselves are damaged. mostly its the foam surrounds, that die. and those can be bought new and replaced fairly simply. I've done a dozen or more sets... I stopped buying the expensive "kits" (a small vial of glue was included) and now just buy the Foam rings. Glue is Alien's Tacky glue, (DON'T use wood or Elmers, its different and dries brittle..)

I had a Pioneer Super-tuner in my truck (remember those? good units!) FM only. I also bought a Sansui Top of the line separates (Amp, tuner, cassette.) in a rack in the mid 70's All in Black Aluminum - over 2K for that." A Marantz TT, and the speakers. I still have them all but other than the Marantz TT, and probably the tuner, they need work. the cassette's head has a DEEP groove in it (I picked up another silver faced unit for parts with a perfect head...), The Amp needs new main caps and some board traces repaired where leaking caps ate some traces...

I went through a period where I was buying and trying a LOT of different amps, receivers and speakers of the used market adn kept upgrading, and selling off the ones I didn't care for. Over 60 sets of speakers came, and most went... (I still need to sell off a few...)

Current LR setup is a similar vintage Sansui 9090DB (professionally rebuilt) the Marantz TT, and a TEAC 5 CD player. and Snell Type EIII 3 way Speakers, from 89-95,

Serious listening is off vinyl (Still have them all... I made a record cleaner...), and in the DD rig it is off a 64 gig memory stick.

FR setup is a tiny Nakamichi receiver and Wharfdale Sapphire SP-89, from 2000-04 (IMO the 89's were the ONLY speakers in the Sapphire series that "work" I bought and tried hem all...)
I want to rebuild my Motorola Tube amps however. I REALLY liked how those worked and sounded.
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Gavercronos
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#34

Post by Gavercronos »

Great stuff gents. One thing I didn't mention is the tapes themselves, specifically the styles they came in. There's some variation of artwork in CDs but nothing like this:
Image
Industrial grey, the infamous "clown cassette", and pink chrome. That's just for starters. And the generic white ones that I bust out the markers for. I hope you Canadian fellows appreciate my spare copy of 3319 there, it's 90 minutes of late '70s- mid '80s obscure rock music from Canada.
One thing I want to try eventually is type 3 tapes. Both of my good recording units are supposedly able to record on them, but the tapes themselves are impossible to find. Ah well. What is a hobby without something to strive for?
WillCat

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Whitegas Extraordinaire
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Re: Any cassette users here? OT

#35

Post by Whitegas Extraordinaire »

Will
If you’re looking for good stuff to listen to digitally. KBCO out of Boulder CO used to record live performances in their studio. Extremely expensive to buy the CD a few years ago but some interesting stuff. Maybe the taped stuff back in the day?
Here’s an example but I’ve heard some electric recordings over the years

Thank you!
Kevin

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