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Top 10 holy grail cassette decks?

Discussion in 'Tape' started by kevinmasters, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. kevinmasters

    kevinmasters Super Member

    Messages:
    1,523
    Location:
    Riverlea, Ohio
    I'm ready to make the jump to a TOTL cassette deck. I know about the Nak dragon but not sure about other manufacturers. I've been reading threads trying to figure it out but I figured a collective "two cents" might be helpful to me and others. GO!

    Side note: Please feel free to message me with offerings of holy grail decks! :thmbsp:
     
  2. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    23,417
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    Studer
    ReVox
     
  3. guiller

    guiller Toscaninichus Australis

    Messages:
    19,728
    Location:
    Buenos Aires (Argentina)
    I'm far from being an expert, but some popular decks that have been nominated on the net are:

    Tandberg: 3014A

    Nakamichi: Dragon, CR-7, 1000ZXL

    Revox: B215, B710 and Studer: A-710, A-721

    PS: of this list I own a CR-7A, the best cassette deck I've ever had. Other decks that I have are Tandberg TDC-440A and TCD-330, Nakamichi Cassette Deck 2, Tascam 122 Mk 2, Akai GXC 570D and Onkyo Integra TA-2360.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2013
  4. kevinmasters

    kevinmasters Super Member

    Messages:
    1,523
    Location:
    Riverlea, Ohio
    Great! Keep em coming! Maybe we can a actually hash out a top 10 list!
     
  5. fiream773

    fiream773 These go to "11"...

    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Almost pulled the trigger on a Nak DR-1 in '93, got cold feet about the $700 price tag and bought a Marantz SD-62 for half as much.

    Shoulda bought the Nak...

    I'll nominate the DR-1 over other vintage Naks because of the goofy Nak-only biasing used by their earlier decks. If you're only ever going to record & playback on the one deck, it works fine. If you're like me and make tapes for use in the car or elsewhere, the Nak biasing results in muddy, garbled, quiet recordings on other machines. This experience plus the price were the two main factors that scared me away from Nak decks. I have since learned that the DR-1,2,3's were biased like other decks so the tapes play fine on everything.

    DR-1 gets my nod...
     
  6. Hajidub

    Hajidub AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,102
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Aiwa AD-F990?
     
  7. Tarl Of Gor

    Tarl Of Gor AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,316
    Location:
    Shelbyville, IN
    Pioneer CT-F1250
     
    danj and Ricktptman like this.
  8. kmulkey

    kmulkey AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,651
    Location:
    Gilberts, IL
    Though it doesn't have the rep of the Naks and even the Tandbergs, the HK CD-491 is stellar, especially the quality of the recordings. I owned the 491 and a Nak CR-7a and I'm not convinced the Nak was that much better.
     
    kswenson likes this.
  9. parkerdom

    parkerdom Human, I think... Subscriber

    Messages:
    282
    Location:
    New Orleans, La.
    The Sony Dolby S decks from the mid 90's were excellent, regular line or ES.
     
    cnolanh likes this.
  10. parkerdom

    parkerdom Human, I think... Subscriber

    Messages:
    282
    Location:
    New Orleans, La.
    I owned four HK's in the '80's and 90's and all of them were excellent as well.
     
  11. zedex

    zedex Active Member

    Messages:
    249
    Location:
    BC
    Just out of the nakamichi line up.
    Dragon
    CR7
    zx9
    zx7
    1000zxl
    Pretty much any nak with "zx" in it is no slouch.

    Tandberg 3014
     
  12. squirrelnest

    squirrelnest Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,059
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    I use a Sony TC-KA3ES cassette deck....works great & built like a tank....
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  13. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    23,417
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    The Sony is good, but not holy grail. Technics made a TOTL deck with a separate record/play electronics and transport which was 3 motor/3 head direct driven. A 10 best for sure. Pioneer's CTF TOTL models would be in there. No Dolby S machine will be in the grail lineup, they usually were a notch below.
     
    analoghifi likes this.
  14. Alex Hayes

    Alex Hayes Active Member

    Messages:
    397
    I would throw a vote out there for the JVC TD-V711. It's a very solid deck. It's built very well and sounds spectacular. It's not one that I see talked about a whole lot but I have heard that they were used in studios. It's got every feature you really need in my opinion and being a newer deck, you can probably find one in good working order and since they are a little under the radar, won't cost you too much.
     
    UL007 likes this.
  15. jammasterj13

    jammasterj13 Active Member

    Messages:
    453
    Location:
    Manchester, Inglaterra
    Technics RS-M95?
    Aiwa XKS9000?
     
  16. Redikilowatt

    Redikilowatt Audio Understudy Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,427
    Location:
    RTP, NC
    Teac z6000/z7000
     
  17. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

    Messages:
    17,240
    Location:
    SE PA
    I'm surprised that Kent is not mentioning the Tandberg 910 and 911 as the best decks ever. The company made a couple other top notch machines but these get the accolades. The 911 being playback only. That alone indicates it must be a great performer selling for over a grand.

    Other rare machines that might not get much mention are the Luxman K-05/Alpine AL-90 twins and the next step down the K-04/AL-85 pair. I don't know where the Luxman Laboratory Reference Series 5K50 fits on the list, if it does, as it was manufactured a couple years before the best cassette decks came out.

    Let us know when you get the 910 and the K-05/AL-90 and compare them to the Dragon, Revox and Studer machines already mentioned.
     
  18. Ultralyd

    Ultralyd Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    639
    It's so funny.

    There are so many threads with similar subjects.

    "Name the three best cassette decks".

    "Here's The top ten list of cassette decks"

    "What's the holy grail of cassette decks?"

    The fun factor is that every time, not three, not ten and not THE holy grail but somewhere between maybe 25 and 250 different decks are mentioned as being among the absolutely very best top decks evermade in the whole wide world.

    Most, almost all, of these decks are completely irrellevant in this context.

    This thread will just repeat the pattern over again.

    Holy grail is TCD 910 (leaving out the 911 due to the PB only).

    Top three will be TCD 910; TCD 3014A and TCD 3014

    Top ten will also include TCD 3004, Nakamichi ZX-9, CR7, Dragon, the Teac Z-6000, Luxman K-04, Nakamichi 1000ZXL.

    The reason to prioritate Z-6000 above Z-7000 and K-04 above the K-05 is the difference in sound quality obtainable when tape allignment is done manual.

    Why bother to mention any Technics, any Sony, any Pioneer, any Philips or any of all the other random attempts to create mediocre decks?
     
    Hobie1dog likes this.
  19. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    23,417
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    While the Tandberg machines are grails (they sound superb and easily the best of cassette). I can not recommend them due to their very short to non existent spare parts and difficulty of servicing and high maintenance. If you can find one which is in correct operating order, they are beautiful machines, but many need work. Few in the USA can correctly repair one. Re: Technics! There are at least two no holds barred Technics cassette decks which in good order will stand comparison to any cassette machine ever made. That 2 box machine deserves grail status. It's easily the equal of the ReVox and Studer in many ways. I would also add the Bang & Olufsen Beocord 8000 and the Eumig deck to the lineup of grail decks. And lastly on my Grail list for historical significance would be the redoubtable Advent 201, the first cassette deck to ever be regarded as acceptable for hi-fi use and which paved the way for the entire medium. And the only machine on the list which is USA made.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
    analoghifi likes this.
  20. ConradH

    ConradH AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,914
    Location:
    Canandaigua, NY
    Regardless you're still dependent on tape quality and all these old decks will likely need new belts. The catch there is the original perfectly fitting factory belts won't be available and you'll have to install a not-quite-perfect belt (sometimes even if it came from the factory) and the performance won't be quite as good as when the deck was new.
     

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