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My cassette deck stopped working... So I've started using this.

Discussion in 'Tape' started by mattstech, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. mattstech

    mattstech New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    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:
    IMG_7339.JPG
    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!
     
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  2. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,984
    Location:
    West coast
    I have a tape that doesn't play right on a NAk but does on a denon. so go figure

    try cleaning the heads, rollers, capstans, and anything in the tape path.

    next up is to demagnetize the heads.

    you'll bring it back to factory newness.
     
  3. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,006
    Location:
    northern cal.
    I gave one of my better decks to my son. So I was down to just the one in another system. I was given this Technics dual deck from an 80's BPC rack system a couple weeks ago 20180131_141813.jpg . It turned out it was never used. Even the belts are still good. I didn't expect it to sound very good at all. But it's quiet, tracks well, the wow and flutter are pretty low. Its supper clean too. I couldn't find anything on the model. Probably changed for the matching rack system. RS-T17. EDIT Its From THE 90's. Maybe also sold as a RS-T170?
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
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  4. mattstech

    mattstech New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    That's very impressive. a basically NOS deck should sound excellent
     
  5. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,006
    Location:
    northern cal.
    Was still supprised that the belts hadn't gone bad or lost shape. I saw a NOS turntable where the belt had turned to goo. Its cool you found that one and it still works fine. I wonder who made the Sears deck?
     
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  6. mattstech

    mattstech New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Will open it up later today. Sears amplifier brands tended to be made by sanyo or sherwood iirc, but not sure about the cassette decks! Expect some pics soon...
     
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  7. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,006
    Location:
    northern cal.
    I saw a Fisher for sale yesterday that was spooky similar.
     
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  8. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,984
    Location:
    West coast
    belts are funny. I suspect it's one of two issues. some environments allow them to
    gracefully age (brittle vs goo) and some are goo friendly, and belt construction material.
     
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  9. mattstech

    mattstech New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    I believe fisher was one of the manufacturers for Sears. Wouldn't surprise me if this is just a re-branded version of the same deck!
     
  10. mattstech

    mattstech New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Here are some pictures of the insides... I couldn't find any recognizable manufacturers, however there were some logos on the preamp board and motors. Also, I was surprised to see that this mechanism isn't as bad as I expected:
    2018-01-31 20.40.22.jpg
    2018-01-31 20.41.27.jpg
    2018-01-31 20.40.43.jpg
    Might be fisher though as you've said. Not sure sadly
     
  11. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,006
    Location:
    northern cal.
    I happened to see the fisher on a local craigslist. It looked identical from what I could see in the picture. Who knows the fisher may be a rebrand. :dunno:
     

     

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  12. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    25,522
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    This is a Sanyo made cassette deck. Fisher also had a version (Sanyo owned then)
     
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  13. BilboBaggins

    BilboBaggins AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,221
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Sanyo, while considered low priced, was surprisingly good. Well built and quite solid.
     
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