Need advice

Hey guys, been gone awhile. Question, my 1970's teenage nostalgia is prodding me to want to add a cassette deck to my system. Other than what I have been researching, I am pretty clueless and overwhelmed with what decks might be a good solid playback performer for me. I don't really have an interest in recording. I do like the vintage alum/wood look (my system is an eclectic mix anyway)...but that is not a must. At the end of the day it is about what will provide me mechanical dependability and good sound. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks...PS..I need to stay on the moderate under 200.00 range if I can as this will not be a "main" piece.
Onkyo made some pretty good cassette decks in the 70's and 80's. I have one in my secondary system that I rarely use, but it is a solid player/recorder. You should be able to find plenty of choices in your price range.
Did you save all your Maxell and TDK tapes?Whoda thunk we would want a mechanical mess, some 40 some years later?

Memories of putting a fresh LP on cro2 from a 6 pack. Pre recorded albums were "bourgeoisie" to me. Then,the single play LP went on the shelf.The tapes were blasted on my Concord tape deck in the car, powered by 2 Fosgate "The Punch" amps. Passive Xover's to the amps, which fed separate drivers....good times!

By the early 80’s, the albums were given away, or in the garbage.

We didn’t know how good things were.
This is an easy one. Don’t bother looking for a Tandberg or Revox, they aren’t available. I look all the time and never find them. Do the smart thing and buy a higher end Nakamichi. You won’t be disappointed! I recommend the Dragon, CR-7A, ZX-9, ZXL1000 or RX-505. If you need a rebuild or service, contact Willy Hermann in California. Unfortunately, you will likely need to spend more than $200, but at least you know what brand to look for. As far as tapes go, check thrift stores.
If you can forego nostalgia Yogiboy’s recommendation makes a lot of sense.

Back to nostalgia, you might consider one of these three brands to keep within your targeted budget: Teac, Akai (with glass heads) & Pioneer. If gone through properly they will offer very good playback performance and reliability.

Revox, Tandberg and Nakamichi are great decks, but if/when they go down you can almost assuredly expect a repair bill larger than your targeted initial expenditure of $200.00. And yes, I can speak from experience in terms of owning at least one deck from each of the aforementioned brands over the years.

I have purchased two Teac decks from this eBay seller (theoldstereoguy) in recent years and they’ve arrived well-packed and in the stated physical/operational condition. Zero affiliation, just a reliable place to start. Good luck.

I bought a Nakamichi DR-3 in mint condition a couple of years ago here on A'gon for a hundred bucks. Works and sounds like a charm. I would avoid Tandberg. Great decks, but problematic ... and I speak from experience on this issue. They have solenoid switches that will have you pulling your hair out. 

Nakamichi only. Frankly I think you are out of your mind. The only reason I ever had a Cassette deck was to record tapes for the car otherwise other program sources sound much better either vinyl or digital. By Music!
Based on your budget, you probably can't go wrong with that $149 Marantz mentioned above. Spend the leftover $50 on cassettes from a local thrift store or used record store. Check to be sure the used cassettes still have the felt pressure pad, otherwise they won't play.
I use my Nakamichi deck to record some of my favorite LPs and play them in the car. The car stereo is a Mark Levinson sound system. All analog while cruising down the highway. 

Thrift stores are a great place for used cassettes. Be sure to buy only the premium tapes like those from Maxell and TDK. Use a pen or pencil to make sure the mechanisms work freely. Then get a bulk tape eraser from Radio Shack to erase the old information from the used tapes. It's kind of fun to play the tapes before you erase them though, just to see what the previous owner put on them. Pretty amazing how bad some of them are. Used tapes at the thrift stores usually go from between a quarter and fifty cents. 

Hey thanks everyone. Tons of good info and advice. 

Dear mijostyn, I AM out of my mind..but it's a fun trip. Actually I agree with you 100%..but it is exactly the snap,crackle, pop that this 57 yr old is nostalgic for...That edgy sound is like biting into one of grandma's homemade biscuits...just takes me I have 23, 21,15 yr old kids that are into my old stuff and they are eager to play with cassettes. 

Does anyone know anything about a NAD 6240? I heard they had a very good sound and were somewhat decently built. Again...I'm into playback not recording.