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Old 26th Nov 2020, 12:15 pm   #52
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 1,424
Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

At times I've thought about what would be - or would have been - the ideal cassette deck, taking the best ideas from various high end decks.

Yes the pressure pad over time was always brutal on heads and is a primitive way of maintaining accurate tape to head contact. The Nak dual capstan and pad lifter combination seems like a no brainer if more complicated mechanically.

Speaking of scarce tape heads, samples which still have some life left in them I never throw out. I used to service Tascam 122 MkIII 3 head decks in a studio recording situation where with long daily use the heads regularly wore down. Or at least the record heads did as they took the full brunt of the pressure pad's force. The repro heads by comparison always had a lot less wear. You could only purchase the combination head unit. It seemed a pity to throw out the still good repro heads so I kept them thinking that one day the high spec repro heads might be valuable for "playback only" digitising, which they may prove to be.

I like the reel back tension system also used on the Tascam 122 MkIII and possibly others. It infers tape tension from the rotational speed of the supply hub and servo compensates. A pity Tascam didnt AFAIK also use it for the take up side as well. There seems no reason it couldnt have been fitted to both reels although at more expense.

Some decks used DD reel motors or used a DD capstan motor but not many that I know of used DD motors for all three functions. These avoided the weakness of the pendulum reel drive system with its felt clutch, gears or rubber tyre, all of which tended to fail eventually although the better ones were pretty reliable for many years.

Perhaps space limitations on DD motors were a factor earlier on. They seemed to be with the mid 70's Akai GXC 760D where the two DD reel motors were large enough to almost touch each other in the centre, leaving probably no room for a DD capstan motor. It had to be belt drive.

Some Otari high speed cassette duplicators I used to service eventually moved to all DD motors. By that time with the more powerful magnets available these DD motors were quite small and there was no problem fitting all three motors in the space limited by the Philips cassette dimensions.
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