Yes, there are different classes of quality when it comes to cassette decks. One one side we have the high end, with 3 heads, the best version of Dolby at the time, tons of options and controls. Then on the other side, we have the plastic "junkers" This is pretty obvious hahaha. But my point is, when you're used to a fairly nice machine such as the Sony TC-K8B, you don't for a second consider replacing it with something inferior This was a tough situation I've gotten myself into. My k8B started developing front motor issues (Soon the capstan motors shortly thereafter) where they started producing a horrible whine. I'm decently alright at repairing common cassette deck issues, but these motors were totally shot at this point and required replacement. I'm not the person to dig deep enough to get to the motors, (As I'm a huge wuss and didn't want to break anything) So I ended up selling it to a local tech -Man do I miss the K8! The room was getting unusually quiet because there were none of my "background music" tapes playing, and my 200-or-so recorded tapes were just sitting in a box, unplayed. Then this caught my attention at the recycling center: Ah, the pinnacle of Sears hifi systems, LXI. Typical sears model name of a string of numbers My first impressions would be that, I'd figured the plastic transport and cheap mechanism would be loud and rattly, and the sound would be filled with wow&flutter, etc. Typical symptoms of a rubbish cassette mechanism. I mean, I could hold the thing with just one hand. "Probably bad, but whatever, it's free" "I'll use this until I find something better" At least the 1980s aesthetic was somewhat cool imho It's now in my hifi system, playing an AGFA superchrom cassette originally recorded with the K8. First of all the transport....the transport, the familiar "clunk" of a manual engaging of the heads through the piano key-style transport. It doesn't sound particularly cheap, nor does it feel like it's about to fall apart. Not going to lie, it feels surprisingly solid. Frequency response sounds like it should with a Type II cassette, rolling off around 18Khz, and bias seems correct Now for W&F, there's significantly more than my sony, but I listen to classic progressive rock and it tends to not be as obvious, as say an acoustical piece. Not to mention, the mechanism is actually VERY silent, basically inaudible when playing. FF/Rev is louder, but not significantly. I'm obviously looking for something better, but, I was incredibly surprised by how decent this deck is opposed to it's cheap looks! Have you ever came across cheaply built components that really exceeded your expectations? Let me know!