I use them for my CD burner....
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The tape loop is also often referred to as the "processor loop" because, if you have a device that processes the sound at line level, in the analogue domain, I am thinking here of EQs, dynamic range expanders, etc., you can place them in the tape loop and easily bypass them when the effect is not called for.
Many people do need the tape loop, for one reason or another. Plus, it's not something you can disaggregate and sell separately as another overpriced little box. So if you leave it off, all those people won't even look at your product.
Whereas leaving off the phono input doesn't automatically exclude any potential customer, since outboard phono stages are available. Doing it this way actually makes good business sense for a company like NAD. It lowers the cost of the integrated, and it gets to sell a second box to anyone who listens to vinyl. Since older, more affluent audiophiles are more likely to have vinyl collections, it's charging them more while making it more affordable for the younger crowd.
Not only do I use a tape deck, but I also have a headphone amplifier that uses the tape out.
Not only would I never buy a amp without a tape out, but I would like one with two tape outs so I don't have to use a Y cable or pass through.
The one thing I don't use is the pre-out on my integrated. What is this for? If I want separates, I'll get separates.
No phono stage is no loss. It probably costs more for a step-up transformer these days than a half-decent phono stage.
George, yes I do. Most analog EQs do muddy the sound a bit, but the trade off may be advantageous to those that are very sensitive to frequency response and play old and or poorly recorded material, or are unable to work with room modes. Again, the tape monitor can always be disengaged and they are out of the circuit. Dynamic range enhancement is more problematic in that it causes a lot of dynamic shifts. If you wish to try it, get a dynamic range expander with as many frequency bands as possible. All of this stuff is much better when implemented in the digital domain, but that won't do much for LP, cassette, 8-track, elcassette, radio and the lot.
I use my tape in/out to connect my computer to the rest of the system. It functions almost exactly as a tape deck would - I record the occasional piece of vinyl to the hard drive, and I play the occasional MP3 or Internet radio stream. Like Riffer, at this point I would never buy a preamp with a tape loop. I always seem to end up using them, and they can't be added later...