Cassette tape

I’m slowly but surely getting back into the analog thing via TT and Reel to Reel. We can all pretty much agree vinyl is different. Some people love it, some say it’s ok, some hate it and I say I like it because it’s differemt than digital. R2R is pretty awesome as well. In my opinion, it’s different and I like what I hear. But, what’s the thought on cassettes. Is there any usefulness? Think it'll make a comeback as well? Just curious. I have a chance at fantastic deal on a Nakamichi BX-300 deck. I owned one many years ago and besides the next level Dragon, this thing was pretty sweet. I like to get input from the forum and other thoughts before I indulge. 
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@riley804 Well that works for you and that’s great! This works for me. Thanks for your valuable input.
Well since nostalgia seems to be a factor why not just go The Full Monty and get an 8-track? ;)
"Is there any usefulness?"

That's an odd question.

What's "useful" about a cassette?  Other than novelty to possibly relive your youth, more clutter the wife will complain about.

What do plan on doing with a cassette? Transfer a record, then play in your car? I wasn't aware one can still get a TDK or Maxell at the drug store.

Does anyone have a functioning cassette deck in their car?

Go with the table, and R2R if you feel so indulgent. R2R is very cool, but are you willing to shell out the dough for albums? Also, the inevitable repair bill? 

A table based system is already a ridiculous method to listen to music in this day and age,  even though I haven't stopped since the 70's.

Cassette at this point seems like pure nostalgia, and nothing else.
Perhaps it's the tape hiss between cuts? Oh, forgot...Dolby feature eliminates that(snicker)

Cassettes are great. They should bring them back. Low noise, high dynamic range, musical and full range. What other medium can you say that about? Tape is a natural medium. It breathes.
Does anyone have a functioning cassette deck in their car?

I do in my 03 Lexus. And I use it regularly as I do my Dragon and my R2R at home. Loads of fun and pleasure.
I say go for it and enjoy.

I use Nakamichi 682ZX on a regular basis.Great for high quality background music. I use nothing but Maxell Vertex tape - the best there is - and no dolby. Second best is TDK MA-XG. With my deck the difference is very significant. Both are very expensive, Vertex is over $100 each.
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I still have a cassette player (as part of the Levinson system) in my ‘09 Lexus. It’s one of the reasons I keep the car. I also listen to my Nakamichi RX-505 at home. I sold more than 2000 tapes last year, but I still have a few hundred (some still in the original wrappers). I find cassettes, like vinyl, to be very easy to listen to, even without any Dolby filtering. I prefer the sound of cassette to CD but you can’t beat the convenience of CD. 
I, just this weekend, bought a stack of in-the-box Denon gear that had been in storage for 25 years.

In this stack was a DR-M14HX in like new condition.  I opened it up and re-lubed everything and made sure it was functioning properly.  

What a frickin' great machine.  I've had a blast this weekend listening to and even recording, (I have over 200 sealed, higher bias type cassette tapes from various manufacturers of the day). 

I've added this to my stable of: Nak LX3, HK CD391, Denon DRR-780.

I have forgotten how pretty damn good a cassette can sound.  No, it's not the new vinyl, but it's loads of fun and brings back simpler times...
I'm no cheapskate but don't forget that you can still find good quality cassettes at thrift store for twenty-five cents, yes $0.25. I also find CDs at thrift stores for forty cents, yes $0.40. Good times!
I have a Nak in the garage, no match ( duh ) for the RtR, Tables and server/dac
but a hoot to go thru tapes I made in the 80’s on some wildly good NAK, Tandberg and Denon decks....
have fun
enjoy the music
what else is there ???
I have a Nakamichi cassette deck. I like to record some of my favorite LP's then play them in my '05 Lexus that has the Mark Levinson sound system. All analog in the car makes the miles go by a little faster. 

I took the plunge. Screw it, it’s a BX-300 in excellent condition mechanically and cosmetically for $185. I can resale it for that if I don’t use it lol
How's the Nakamichi treating you? I am interested in transferring some of my Vinyl to cassette, when I still want analog sound, but don't want to fiddle with the full vinyl process. Does cassette stay pretty true to the sound of your vinyl front end when it is done with care and good gear?
If you need new cassettes you can get them from ATR Magnetics
Many belts, pinch rollers, heads, tires and the like are available from Russell Industries
Cool sites. the first link doesn't have cassette tape (or they ran out). What are the best quality tapes out there for the money right now? I heard there are 4 types of tape, but honestly I don't know too much about it other than to buy "metal" tape
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@bstatmeister- Long story, I bought the Nak BX-300 back in May. I never was able to use it. There were issues with it’s belts etc, either way it wouldn’t play. I also belong to a forum called and I was referred to one of the best guys in the business to restore that deck to as new condition. I contacted this guy and had a long conversation about whether or not this is worth restoring. Of course we’re going to have the ones that say, he told you what he wanted you to hear to get the business. I think not. He is backlogged a year and has decks from all over the world for repair/restoration. In other words, he didn’t need my business. Anyway, he sold me on how great the 300 is and will be when completed which should actually be in a few more weeks. He was able to get parts easily and do his magic. I am looking forward to getting it back. Here’s the kicker, I bought another BX-300 for my second system which has already been restored. I missed today’s delivery so I will receive it Monday lol! I can let you know then.
Nice! the BX-300 seems like it's the best bang for the buck Nakamichi you can get. You get yours off of Ebay? what tapes are you buying? how much are repairs? I'm Jealous!  Have fun ;)
I bought a BX-300 new from Brooks Berdan in 1985 (when he was at GNP Showcase in Pasadena), and still have it. It's been repaired once, for a plastic part whose failure is common. I can't recall what that part is, but Michael Fremer makes reference to it in the video he shot at that huge record/hi-fi store he recently visited in Florida.
@bstatmeister- The one thats in for service I bought off a guy on Facebook Marketplace. I probably paid too much for it being the fact I have to pump in more money. The deck was supposedly in great working condition. As soon as I received it and tried it out, I found out differently and new I been had but the seller did offer to take he deck back. I opted to keep it. I paid $180 for it but cosmetically it’s very nice. The repair & restoration is going to cost another $300. I have a bunch of old stock TDK SA100’s that the deck is getting biased too. Back in the day, Nak biased their decks to TDK. The 300 I’m waiting to receive from FedEx was purchased off eBay. I paid $250 for that one supposedly restored as well. If this deck isn’t in perfect working condition, it’s going back to the seller because I won’t put $300 into it after it was advertised as being in “perfect working order” and reconditioned.
@bdp24- I’m curios what part that is in the deck that’s is a common failure. I know in mine, the tech is replacing some faulty known cap issues and the motors along with the bias pot which is an issue.
my father in law has a 2000 acura with a cassette player. i love driving that car, mostly for the sound! 
I’ve some extra Sony Walkman cassette players I’d be willing to part with cheap. One per person. Excellent Condition. Find out what all the rumpus is about. Tape is a natural medium. It breathes.
I have various models. FX103 and F2015 for example. Nothing exotic.
"Does anyone have a functioning cassette deck in their car?"
It seems that many do, which I find surprising. I have it, too, but remember to play a cassette once every couple of couples of years. It did work this morning. Thank you for reminding me that I still have it there. Nostalgia and tapes I had made makes it interesting. Otherwise, not much benefit.
the first link doesn't have cassette tape (or they ran out).
I just repaired a tone arm for the owner of ATR Magnetics- she assured me that they do indeed have cassettes.

I'm working on a Nakamichi 700 'Tri-Tracer' right now; just for the record the machine uses a pair of idlers to run the fast wind functions. The correct tire replacement for these idlers is ST 937 (originally a PRB part number), available from Russell Industries, although I was also able to find them on ebay.
I really want a Nak, but don’t want to deal with fixing old/broken ones...Hopefully Nakamichi (or Schiit) will make a brand new one that's simple but focuses on pure sound quality
I never realized cassettes had "gone away" lol.
Always had a number of Nak and Akai decks lying around and hundreds of pre recorded tapes and quite a few home recorded ones too.

As already mentioned you can pick up cassettes at thrift stores for a quarter each or even less! Ten for a dollar one of our shops was doing!
Also if you are lucky you can find some good sealed blank media too rather than paying fleabay prices.
Found some sealed Sony and Maxell tapes lately.

Long live the humble cassette!

@luvrockin .
Enjoy those 300 decks, I did have one of those but sold it when I added a 680 to the stable.
Very good machine for the money imho.

Think I paid $300 and sold it for same so at 250 you are right in the ballpark.
@uberwaltz how is the 680? I’m curious because before I bought my second 300, I was negotiating on eBay for a 680zx. It was selling for $550 and I made an offer but after the offer, the seller spooked me. After that I actually retracted my offer. He contacted me a day later with an even lower offer than my offer. I didn’t feel comfortable doin a deal with him. That’s when I found the 300 for $250. I hear the 680’s & zx’s are great decks. I also know the transport mechanism is really a different animal and hard to repair/restore if needed. That was another factor I considered during my purchase.
Tbh, I really cannot tell any difference between the 680 and my 582zx in either playback or recording ... Both are awesome ... Lol.
Agreed repair and service work on these series of decks is a bit more labour intensive but parts for the most part are still available, it's a reliable tech that's the biggest pain.
The guy I know who services R2R will not touch a cassette deck... Claims his hands are too big ...lmao!.

If you ever step up to the 580/680 series I would advise to try and find one serviced and restored, it will be less painful in the long run.

Prices have dropped a little on eBay of late, I have seen some deals on both 580 and 680 series decks.
I had a Nak 1000 ll. I thought the sound was quite good...don't  know why I left it behind
Another highly regarded deck to consider are Pioneer CT-f series like the 950, 1000 and 1250.

Watching some on eBay right now and very tempted by a fully serviced 1250....

It never ends!
@uberwaltz- Take it for what it’s worth. I was looking at the Pioneers before the last deck I purchased. The exact 3 in fact. Prices are very attractive, there’s no doubt. I researched them on the Tapeheads forum, those guys didn’t have much good to say about the Pioneer decks. I was considering a Pioneer because I thought they were supposed to be good machines plus they’re just plain beautiful. Once I read some of the post, I changed my mind and went for the Nak. Research them a bit, then do what you fell. After all, those are opinions from others which we all know, opinions are like buttholes, we all have one lol! There are also many comparisons between the 680’s vs 300. They split hairs with the 300 getting a slight edge because it’s not as old and the Dolby C feature. I really love this crazy hobby!
All things considered, I’ll take my Sony Walkman cassette player and naked Grado SR-60s any day of the week. I suspect Michael Green is correct - that lightweight components sound better. And my system is ultra light. Sounds fabulous.
I have several cassette decks, and it embarrassing to think of how many I’ve gone through, most of them three head high-end.

I love cassette, and my favorite machines are a Nakamichi 500 and an ADVENT 201, which I think has the most glorious midrange I’ve heard from cassette.  There are so many fine machines, tape is still, plentiful and they are fun and convenient.  I have many 45 year old maxells that still sound remarkably good!

If you keep your machine in fine condition there certainly isn’t any reason not to use it.  


Now have Nak 660zx and a ZX7, having decided to sell my older 582.
The ZX7 sound is simply remarkable, I was a little surprised to genuinely hear quite an improvement over the older 582, I mean quite noticeable all round.
Still playing mostly pre recorded tapes which I have hundreds of and yes SQ can be a mixed bag on them for sure.
Have not tried to record on it yet,.....
Nakamichi is undoubtedly the high water mark for cassettes. I never had the money for the ZX-7, which is what I always wanted. The best I could ever afford back then was a BX-300, which was still a damn fine cassette deck.

I am a total life-long cassette nerd who came of age during the mix-tape era. Nothing pleased me more than a well crafted mix-tape. Girls loved them, even if they didn't know how much better mine were compared to the other guy's made-on-a-Soundesign dual tape monstrosity.

Life got in the way and I had to part with my beloved cassette decks years ago. Only recently have I had the opportunity to rekindle my love for cassettes and start acquiring some of my favorites. 

I own a 2-head Nakamichi BX-125 that I have gifted to my 16 year old son. He has an analog ear and is a chip off the old block. He enjoys making cassettes and I have taught him how to do it correctly.

My personal machines today are a Yamaha K-1000 and K-1020. they are both 3-head and in like-new condition. I even have the box, manual and wired remote for the K-1000. I purchased the K-1020 from a professional repair tech and it is clean. If I had room, I'd also acquire an Aiwa AD-F660/770/990. Still might just for the love of the keyboard control Aiwa era.

Just this past week, was fortunate to come across a stock of new, old-stock, unopened Maxell cassettes in a variety of lengths from 60-100. 20% Type IV, 80% type II. MX, MX-S, XL-S and XLII.

I have always had a passion for Yamaha equipment from the 70's to late 80's. In addition to the above cassette decks, my current 2.1 system is a Yamaha M-85 amp, C-85 pre-amp, T-85 tuner, GE-60 equalizer (looking for an original electret mic), CDX-900. The system powers a pair of original Klipsch Fortes that have been restored with new veneer and new Bob Crites crossovers. They are paired with my only modern piece in this system, an SVS SB-4000.

Anyway, that's my intro to this group. Glad there is a renaissance for cassettes. It would be so nice to see a company begin to produce Type II/IV cassettes again. It's a pipe dream. Time has soldiered on.

Sorry for the long-winded post! Happy recording!

I now have (2) decks, both in for service to an Ex Nak Tech. Can’t wait to get them back. I have a BX-300 and a 682ZX. It should be fun when they’re back in my hands and will finally get to dive in.
A friend of mine collects older Sansui gear and bought a cassette deck recently.  He asked me to record some of my lp's to his new Maxell XLII 90 tapes, and I just recorded one yesterday.  Brought back memories of '76 when I was recording tapes in Naples Italy while in the service.  Surprising how good they sound.  As others have stated, no Dolby.
It becomes addictive!
I had a 582 that I had been heavily using and decided with all my tapes I needed to buy another deck so purchased a 660zx.
Well literally 2 days later I was offered a zx7 at a price I could not refuse so bought that as well.
Now 3 might be greedy so I sold the 582, put the 660zx in the closet and enjoying the glorious music the zx7 is making!
@uberwaltz, yes it does and that is the craziness of goofy hobby. I don’t even have a playable deck yet but I’ve purchased over a hundred blank cassettes to be recorded on lol! I plan to be busy for a while when I do 👍🏿  

Its interesting, I’ve always been a Dolby guy, especially Dolby C. I guess it makes sense if the recording levels are up high enough, you shouldn't hear the noise. I’m going to play more than ever when I finally get a working deck in possession :o
Thrilled! Got the call today that my restored and upgraded BX-300 is in final stages of testing and will be ready for pick up Friday. Can’t wait to get it back and next will be my 682-ZX. I’ll give update once back in hands and after testing it out.
I used make tapes ack in the 80s on TDK SA90 CrO2 from my LP12 with no Dolby and play them on a silver Pioneer deck in the car. No CD or MP3 I have now has sounded as good.
Just for the few dedicated souls who still actually play pre-recorded cassette tapes, you may find this usefull if any of your tapes have "the squeal"!

A couple days ago I played two back to back that developed the squeal part way through that just got unbearable before tapes end.

Now this I always thought was due to the transport getting sticky but  it now seems it is actually the tape itself that is sticking due to lack of lubricant. Who even knew that audio tape was lubricated??

And apparently the worse offenders are the XDR range of tapes that are claimed to all have been faulty direct from the factory.

Watch the youtube video, its got a bit too much blather in it for my liking BUT when he gets to the solution it is quite simple and I can attest to the fact that it WORKS!