Point me at a Honest, Workhorse Tape Deck?


Silver Member
Username: Lovegasoline


Post Number: 109
Registered: Jul-05
I believe I'd like to pick up a used cassette deck. Allot of used gear passes through this city (NYC) so I'm going to get ready to do some hunting. I do not want to spend much, and I see an endless succession of used decks go by for between $25-$100. I see Nakamichi and Technics flow by non-stop.

I never was too up to snuff as to cassette technology nor am I that savvy on what models/manufacturers put out decent gear. The only tape player I've owned for the past 10 years (other than a cheap Aiwa 'Walkman') is my Sony boombox.

My primary usage will be to listen to the few dozen tapes I already have. I do not know if I will do any more tape recording ... though it might be nice to transfer the tapes I own to CDR.

Can someone jump in and throw a few tips out insofar as what to look for in features, and how to inspect for condition? What parts wears out the fastest? How to tell if the deck is past its prime and has already sh!t the bed?

My system is currently a Yamaha A-700 Integrated Amp (mid '80's manufacture), Meridian 508.20 CDP, Polk Lsi9 Speakers, Kimber Hero cables.

Anyone care to take a stab at this?

New member
Username: Orangeclockwork

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-05
Get a Tascam 112 I'm sure you'll find them in the city and should price in the $50 range. They are built like tanks and were a part of many studios. Here is mine.

Bronze Member
Username: Dvautier

Bellevue, Wa Usa

Post Number: 39
Registered: Feb-05
i've got a sansui direct drive d-550m from ebay. I had to rebuild it but it has the twin head so what you monitor is what it records.

Silver Member
Username: Lovegasoline


Post Number: 115
Registered: Jul-05
How much did the Sansui cost you?
What does a 'rebuild' entail?
What are the approximate parts cost of a rebuild?
Is a rebuild within the range of someone with a good general aptitude and a so-so electrical aptitude?

Thanks for the Tascam suggestion.

New member
Username: Skylar

Post Number: 1
Registered: Feb-06
I got two decks recently for $10 each and found both to be very good. One is a Kenwood KX-W8030 and the other is a Sony ( I don't know the number right now because it's not accessible). Both I have found very good for both recording and playback. My advise to you is this "Salvation Army is your friend!!!" That's where you get good stuff cheap.

Unregistered guest
Perhaps you've already made a purchase decision. Anyway, the following comments might be useful to you.

The condition of the play and record heads is important. If the deck has had heavy usage, the heads may be in tough shape. I think assessing head condition requires a tech inspection. An eyeballing ain't gonna make it. Transport belts will periodically require replacement.

Although there is risk, ebay can be a great source for used cassette decks. I have long been a fan of Nakamichi, harman/kardon and TEAC decks. You won't find many Nakamichi decks for $25 to $100, the range you mentioned, unless an elephant sat on them. harman/kardon produced many fine decks. On ebay, I believe you can find some very reasonably priced two head models that perform well. Through the years, TEAC produced a ton of models, many of them very modestly priced. The company didn't appear to really market its higher end models. I owned a TEAC two head deck that produced many fine recordings when I used a high grade Type II blank; the deck only cost $150.00 new back in the late eighties.

Deck maintenance will definitely extend the life of the deck AND the life of your cassettes. Also, you will produce better recordings. Heads, capstans and pinch rollers should be periodically cleaned (easier when deck well door is removable) and heads should be periodically demagnetized. If you are interested in any maintenance details or any other information, just post and I will follow up.

New member
Username: Peter_t

Post Number: 1
Registered: Sep-06
Hello, I came looking for a guide on how to do basic preventative mainenance on my Tascam 112 and 122. Where do I get spare parts if I should need them, what chemicals for cleaning, etc. Can you help me with that ? Many thanks. Peter.

Bronze Member
Username: Nottingham365


Post Number: 36
Registered: Mar-06
Hi Peter,

Check the following thread for comments about cassette deck maintenance.

As far as spare parts, you might ask some audio service centers for a source. Or contact Tascam directly via its website.

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