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Vintage Tape (Audio), Cassette, Wire and Magnetic Disc Recorders and Players Open-reel tape recorders, cassette recorders, 8-track players etc.

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Old 4th Sep 2020, 3:33 pm   #21
Welsh Anorak
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

You can imagine many studios are dusting off their old cassette decks now there's some demand for cassettes! Years ago albums would be downmixed to cassettes to hear how they might sound in a car or home stereo. Dave (Eurythmics) Stewart was known for doing this to make sure it sounded right for the average buyer.
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 4:27 pm   #22
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

Well there's more than just the format. There's the whole playback situation for each listener out there which is ultimately out of anyone's centralised control. We cant control how or where people listen to recordings. These days many listen on squeaky mobile phone speakers in mono, or through equally squeaky cheap earbuds. Some claim we can "master" music recordings so they can "sound great" no matter how or where they are played back which of course would be great but is fanciful.
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 5:21 pm   #23
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

Just another observation on availability.

I had a catalogue from www.scottsofstow.co.uk through the post today and that has a number of music systems and cassette players, they all look a bit "cheap and plastic" but someone must be making heads somewhere.

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Old 5th Sep 2020, 10:38 am   #24
Edward Huggins
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

Just to say how much I've appreciated all of these responses and links to the "new" TEAC and TASCAM models. Quite tempting......
In the meantime we have our Nak 2, TEAC and (really old) Philips "Black Tulip" machines. And all sounding really good for what they are - some wear of course on the Philips PB head being the exception. No replacement belts ever needed too.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 3:12 pm   #25
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

When one thinks back to the early '50s when tape deck makers fly-pressed head blanks and hand-wound them on kitchen table top coil winders (available from Proops), it's not beyond the wit of man to remanufacture heads and rewind motors!

The headache is unit cost/economies of scale/demand. Surely it is possible to design a universal hi-fi head that with adaptors and ingenuity can be fitted to most decks? From little acorns grow...
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 6:12 pm   #26
dave walsh
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

I looked at this subject about fifteen or twenty years ago-certainly when cassette machines appeared to have passed their Zenith and I found an article pointing out that many new models were still being produced in the far East to suit the continuing demand out there and [I think] African countries I recall being re-assured that decks would be around longer than I'd imagined [given my large cassette archive ]. I wonder what might still be available now... in places like Hong Kong for example?

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Old 7th Sep 2020, 1:30 pm   #27
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

There are new ones being made though only one company (as far as i'm aware) is making mechs. They're made by a company in China called Tanashin and iirc their quality leaves a lot to be desired. Usually has the typical DC bias too.

Though it would be nice to seem some higher end ones being made again, but it would be expensive to manufacture what is still a very niche product.
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Old 7th Sep 2020, 4:47 pm   #28
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

That's interesting MDC. I agree that it wouldn't be realistic to manufacture high end machines again. Given the vast output from Hong Kong, mainland China and other counties though, I was really wondering what "New Old Stock" items might be at the back of a Warehouse somewhere I suppose capacitor deterioration might could be a problem. I have a number of older items 'daisy chained' so I can conveniently warm them all up up from time to time!

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Old 12th Nov 2020, 10:16 pm   #29
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

You can still buy this portable radio/cassette. It has been in continuous production since the 1990's as far as I can tell.

https://www.conrad.com/p/panasonic-r...-black-1628579

Not as nice as a classic 1970's Philips N2205, but not too bad either!

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Old 12th Nov 2020, 10:30 pm   #30
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

Tascam still list the 202

https://www.tascam.eu/en/202mkvii.html

Teac have a couple

https://teac.jp/int/category/full-size
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Old 13th Nov 2020, 11:56 pm   #31
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

I think you'll find they are the same units.
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 8:29 pm   #32
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

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I think you'll find they are the same units.
Badge engineering is nothing new , but they are still decent and currently available units .
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Old 16th Nov 2020, 9:20 pm   #33
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

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I think you'll find they are the same units.
Badge engineering is nothing new , but they are still decent and currently available units .


Sadly they are not in any way "decent". If you look up the specs you find the W&F is of the order of 0.25% which was worse even than entry level decks of 40-50 years ago....the frequency response is given +/- 6dB to make it sound better than it actually is...and even then wouldn't have graced a mediocre early 80s hi-fi deck.
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 5:07 pm   #34
PaulE27
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

This article is about the revival of cassettes as well as vinyl. You can buy lots of good new turntables so when is someone going to start making good cassette decks again?

https://www.theguardian.com/business...s-covid-record
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 8:00 pm   #35
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

Twelfth of never, unfortunately - the market wouldn't justify the tooling, the high quality oxides won't be made again, and Dolby aren't issuing licences any more, so any new deck can't be equipped with noise reduction. Fortunately, heads seem to have a long life, so refurbishment of existing high quality models is worth while.
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Old 21st Nov 2020, 9:04 pm   #36
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

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Dolby aren't issuing licences any more, so any new deck can't be equipped with noise reduction.
Dolby's patents will have expired long ago. Feel free to copy the Dolby technology. They don't issue licences because no one would need to buy them. The technology is public domain now.

What still exists is the registered trade mark, so you'd have to call your version something different.

Also, Dolby's literature will still be in copyright, so you can't scan or photograph it, but you can re-draw it. There is a huge imbalance between the periods of protection of patents and of copyright.

A company like Dolby would see the end coming of their exclusive control (=> profit!), so they would want to bring out an enhanced version good enough for everyone to want in preference to the original, and different enough to be patented all over again. A bit like a plate-spinning act.

But I agree, no-one is making cassette type oxide, but that's a milling and screening job after mixing the ingredients, It could still be done. I'm more worried about the tape heads.

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Old 22nd Nov 2020, 1:56 am   #37
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

If a human made it, a human can reproduce it, agreed, but the economics are unfortunately against a top-quality revival. For one thing, Dolby has happened on specific chips for decades, so either these would have to be reproduced or discrete implementations for Dolby C onwards developed (the Wireless World Dolby B unit required closely matched FETs, but nothing else unusual). The economics of setting up and running a coating plant imply a large market, too, plus the expertise to maintain quality and consistency in the output. Similar concerns apply to heads and mechanisms. Of course, most of these factors can be eased by mere money, but a larger potential market than that for vinyl would be needed.
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Old 22nd Nov 2020, 9:28 am   #38
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

Some people are still making tapes, recording the masters recently released a new c90 and the American company nac is working on a new tape. The market is very niche and when you think about it why would anyone bother other than for nostalgia purposes when we have modern solid state recording without the worries of w&f and chewed tapes and noise reduction and limited frequency range etc.
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Old 22nd Nov 2020, 10:56 am   #39
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

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I'm speculating here, but as I understand it, tape ("streamers") is still used for high volume computer backup. So someone is at least making some form of tape heads. Hard disks also use heads of course, but they are vastly different from tape heads, although a lot of the underlying technology and know-how must be the same...
Yes digital data backup with tape is still big business. Most of us never see it and there are perceptions that "tape is dead" which in this role it isnt. Cost and reliability are the advantages. The disadvantage is slow access so it tends to be used as reliable backup when primary storage fails. Technical advances are still being made I believe.

This article attempts to address some of the "myths" and claims around 80% of modern businesses use tape as part of their backup.

https://www.nakivo.com/blog/debunkin...egular%20basis.
Surely the only tape used for data backup is DDS, digital, DAT, or even Hi-8, whatever you want to call it. Nowhere near analogue cassette tapes.....
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Old 22nd Nov 2020, 11:23 am   #40
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Default Re: Are there any cassette machines in current production

The problem with comparing to the vinyl revival is the old case of apples and oranges. Even during the period when vinyl sales were very low, turntable manufacture at all price points never ceased. Numbers manufactured and sold dropped starkly and some manufacturers did get out of the market or cease to exist....but the market never dried up completely and turntables were always available...from cheap to high end.

It's also considerably easier to make a half decent turntable than it is to make a half decent cassette deck. And no half decent cassette deck has been made since the dawn of the 21st century. The Yamaha KX393 was the last hi-fi deck to be made, probably circa 2000 with a few units still on sale in 2004. Since then nothing. The only cassette transport being manufactured is the godawful Tanashin thing which is cheap and reliable but incapable of good performance in terms of wow & flutter. Last year someone (Might have been Tony Villa of "Cassette Comeback") contacted Tanashin about them producing an improved version of their mechanism and they came back with an eye-watering cost and minimum order number. Nevertheless he persevered enough to find out if sufficient people would buy a proposed new cassette recorder with the improved mechanism....and the answer was "no".

Unless someone wins the lottery and decides they want to lose a lot of money on the production of a new cassette deck, it's not happening. In addition to the machanism, who is producing good quality stereo cassette heads? Nobody. The current Teac/Tascam branded machines are as good as it gets now....and they are worse than an entry level Tandy jobby from 1979.

Yamaha, Sony and other companies who used to make great decks no longer have any capacity to do so. You may as well ask Ford to make another run of Sierras. Strangely enough, while in the 80s it was the electronics that were costly....now it's the mechanical parts. A decent performing cassette deck needs high precision parts in a very complicated mechanism. The rest of it....the noise reduction circuits, logic control, any other gizmos is comparatively easy today....but try getting precision machined parts...and no....no 3D printing system comes close to being good enough. There may come a time when 3D printing is sufficient but currently people have tried 3D printing gears and cogs for cassette decks (and cameras for that matter) and found them sorely lacking.


Cassette tape is still being made. The RTM-FOX C60 and C90 are decent type I cassettes which I have tested and personally put somewhere between a typical TDK D and AD. Capture C60 manufactured for Splicit by GreenCorp of Australia is also available, not quite as good but certainly decent enough. NAC of Missouri are working on something they claim will be the best type I ever, though I have to say early examples were comparable to sandpaper. They have since released something which may be improved so "watch this space". I happen to know another former manufacturer of cassette tape is also gearing up to produce it again. So the raw material is there, though you can kiss goodbye to the special brews like Maxell XLII or any type IV. As pointed out already, data and video tape bear little relation to audio tape in that they're not designed for a linear analogue signal at all. indeed for video or data storage a signal which is highly non-linear and which saturates early is preferred. The companies offering data tape would not be in a position to make audio tape any more than you or I.

There are good reasons to use tape though. Last year I rediscovered the joys of the walkman. My Samsung Galaxy S9 has an excellent digital music player of course, but the volume is strictly limited for my safety. Not so the walkman, I can record to tape and actually enjoy the music while I am on the train. The Samsung always seems just a touch too quiet. Especially since I enjoy music with a wide dynamic range. It's also often easier to make home recordings on cassette than on some digital device or a PC. I still record from FM radio and found that the convenience of just recording to cassette (or occasionally reel) beats any digital solution.

Last edited by Gulliver; 22nd Nov 2020 at 11:36 am.
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