Best Cassette Player/Recorder
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Old 25-08-2016, 11:32 PM   #1
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Best Cassette Player/Recorder

Anyone have any suggestions on a cheap cassette player/recorder? Looking for one with a mic input and that has an output. Trying to record things in and put them in my productions.

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Old 26-08-2016, 12:11 AM   #2
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

in this day and age a mobile phone has better quality than a cheep cassete recorder.
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Old 26-08-2016, 12:05 PM   #3
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

In the title you ask for best but in your post you ask for cheap...

Old wollensak suitcase recorders are good machines.
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Old 26-08-2016, 12:18 PM   #4
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

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Originally Posted by joem View Post
in this day and age a mobile phone has better quality than a cheep cassete recorder.
I think OP's point is adding some analog sound to his production.
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Old 26-08-2016, 05:08 PM   #5
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

Yeah, best and cheapest are two different things that rarely meet.

Look for something with Dolby S. Also, the different type of tape will have different qualities (Ferric, chrome, ferro-chromium, metal). Look for a tape hi-fi separate, they'll have stereo inputs and outputs.

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Old 26-08-2016, 09:36 PM   #6
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

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Originally Posted by DOLGAP View Post
I think OP's point is adding some analog sound to his production.
And by that one means a bunch of noise and not much of redeeming quality unless you just want you music to sound like its recorded to cassette. Cassette doesn't really do the low end "bump" and high end "rounding off" like half inch and quarter inch tape does. One might be better off with VHS, a cheaper one actually so you can drive the signal a bit. I forget what it is about hi fi VHS, but the design doesn't let one push the signal into saturation like a cheapo unit.

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Old 26-08-2016, 09:47 PM   #7
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

Just find a 4 track cassette recorder like a Fostex or Marantz.

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There's a decent one there on the first page currently for 20 bones.
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Old 26-08-2016, 10:47 PM   #8
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

Cassette tape saturation can sound really nice, and an unclean tape head can colour the tone a lot, especially on the low end, mostly because an unclean tape head will roll of a lot of the highs.

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Old 26-08-2016, 10:54 PM   #9
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

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Cassette tape saturation can sound really nice, and an unclean tape head can colour the tone a lot, especially on the low end, mostly because an unclean tape head will roll of a lot of the highs.
YMMV of course. Never liked what cassette did to anything.

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Old 27-08-2016, 04:15 AM   #10
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

It's just too small to get anything hifi out of it. 2 inch reel = much better but you might as well just use tape sim plugins because a 2 inch mastering reel to reel is expensive. A VHS is a better option BUT you'd still be better off just using tape sim plugins imo. It's just an extra set of steps that take more work than they reward, also imo.

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Old 27-08-2016, 06:36 PM   #11
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

Not really, I do it on the time. And of course your mileage may vary. The circuitry, the tape, the sound you put in, the amp (if used), there's so many variables. Cranking the volume before it hits the tape is often a desired sound, the incredibly saturated tone can sound nice in certain situations. The idea that you'll only get a nice sound out of a $500 reel to reel made in 1972 is absurd, and the same thought process that goes on when people say that electronic music has no value because of "Feelings."

Joe, cassette separates are really cheap right now, buy a bunch from your local second hand stores. Experiment.

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Old 27-08-2016, 06:41 PM   #12
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

Because science.

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Old 02-09-2016, 04:14 AM   #13
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

The point is less about simply recording things, but degrading them a moderate to significant amount through saturation and such. That being said, if anyone has owned one in the past and could share their experiences, along with maybe cool or special features? that'd be awesome

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Old 05-09-2016, 05:30 PM   #14
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

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Originally Posted by Joe Oso Dopke View Post
The point is less about simply recording things, but degrading them a moderate to significant amount through saturation and such. That being said, if anyone has owned one in the past and could share their experiences, along with maybe cool or special features? that'd be awesome
I use an old Techniques tape recorder/player. It has selection for tape type which can each add its own color and has easy access on the front for patching in and out audio, such as an iPad or whatever.. I have it set up as a return effect on my mixer with its output going into its own channel, then the mixer into the computer via an external audio effect in ableton.

Its easy to quickly send any audio out and get it back into my mix.

I picked mine up off craigslist for $20 but you can find them all day long at a thrift store.

I even took one of my tapes and used sand paper on the tape itself then recorded drums to that to get all kinds of weird glitches... sounds neat-o

My next one will be even more cheap so I can tear it open and fuck with the tape as its recording.


Last edited by agent; 06-09-2016 at 12:39 AM..
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Old 11-09-2016, 07:30 AM   #15
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Old 11-09-2016, 05:56 PM   #16
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

Great video except that it's from a strictly "quality vs cd" point of view.

When he said "there is absolutely no reason to record to tape except for fun" he was talking in terms of quality and pristine sound.

When we're talking about saturation/distortion and things inherently non-quality
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Old 11-09-2016, 06:38 PM   #17
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

Seriously, my first suggestion of buying a 4 track from ebay is cheap, has plenty of intput/output options and probably a better recording/playback head than some consumer-level tape deck.

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Old 11-09-2016, 06:46 PM   #18
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

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Originally Posted by Joe Oso Dopke View Post
The point is less about simply recording things, but degrading them a moderate to significant amount through saturation and such. That being said, if anyone has owned one in the past and could share their experiences, along with maybe cool or special features? that'd be awesome
I've used several cassette decks and a dubbing machine to record samples and dub back and forth to degrade the quality--ultimately what I got for the time and effort wasn't worth it for any of the many kinds of electronic music I'm apt to make.

I have a very nice Sony deck, had another lower end deck and a very old dubbing machine (must of weighed a solid 50-60 pounds). I get way more mileage out of U-he Satin and other VSTs I've owned in the past.

I've tried recording multi tracks, samples, whole mixes...at the end of the day just wasn't worth it to me. The only interesting thing I haven't played with yet is endless loop tapes, but at this point I'm way more likely to ditch the Sony deck I have left instead of trying make or buy endless loop cassettes.

I haven't found that you can overload a cassette in the same way you can with reel to reel. And from I've read about reel to reel on really needs a proper multi track or master track recorder to get "that tape sound".

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Old 11-09-2016, 07:35 PM   #19
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

I've never done a full mix to tape, just using it as part of a sound design process and to round off the edges of percussion and for drum processing
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Old 11-09-2016, 07:39 PM   #20
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Re: Best Cassette Player/Recorder

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I've never done a full mix to tape, just using it as part of a sound design process and to round off the edges of percussion and for drum processing
Recording a whole mix on cassette it really just makes it sound like, well, a cassette : )

And you can use it for those things you mention, it just never seemed worth the time/effort to me. Nothing you can't get in a computer. You can even add in the noise if you want.

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