Finding the Right Home Audio Cassette Deck
Although audio tapes are a lot less popular than they used to be, a lot of people still have large tape collections. Choosing the right deck allows you to enjoy those tapes again on your home stereo system. There are a lot of vintage tape decks still around from manufacturers like TEAC.
Why Would I Want A Tape Deck?
- Magnetic tapes were the dominant recording medium for decades, so there are a lot of audio tapes still around. Modern CD players and stereo systems often dont have a tape player, so choosing a dedicated device allows you to access this content again.
- Like vinyl records, tapes still have plenty of fans thanks to their noticeably analog sound. Some musicians even launch new releases on tape. However, very few new tape players are made, so choosing a vintage model from a manufacturer like TEAC is a popular way to get your hands on one.
Which Features Might I Want?
- Different cassette decks have different numbers of heads. A regular cassette deck will have two heads, one of which combines recording and playback functions. A three head deck separates the recording and playback functions so you can monitor your recording as you are making it. Recording and playback also work best with different sized heads, so you no longer have to compromise.
- Auto reverse wont alter the quality of your sounds, but it is a useful quality of life feature. Auto reverse tape decks automatically reverse the motor direction to play the second side of your tape, instead of relying on you taking the tape out and turning it around by hand.
- A lot of cassette players come with a Dolby noise reduction system. Dolby noise reduction reduces the magnetic hissing sound that you often hear in the background of tape recordings.
- Most players will have a fast-forward function, but some also include pitch control. This lets you slightly alter the tape speed, which also alters the pitch of the audio. This is useful if you want to record slow motion audio, alter the tone of your music, or just enjoy some fun effects.
What If I Want to Record Tapes?
- Different decks can play different numbers of tapes. A dual cassette deck has slots for two tapes. This means that you can switch between tapes for playback, but it also makes it very easy to copy content from one tape to another. Some also allow parallel recording, writing two tapes at once.
- If part of the appeal of a dual tape deck is being able to copy tapes, you might also want one with a dubbing function. This runs each tape in your dual deck at double speed when you are copying content from one tape to another, speeding up transfer times.
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