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Small "high quality" stereo cassette recorder
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PapiBlack
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#1
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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Small "high quality" stereo cassette recorder

I'm looking for a small stereo cassette recorder that I can hook up with my mixer and send tracks to. Add a little grime, wow and flutter and compression to the tracks I think need it.

The portastudio's I've seen are pretty big and have a bunch of things I don't need. Are there any good, small options?

PS. besides Nagra and VCRs, are there any small cheap reel to reel's out there that can do a better job than cassette for this?
Gax
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11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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You could try with Nebula 3 using 3rd-party free cassette samples, there are some authentic stuff for Nebula...
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14th May 2013
Old 14th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PapiBlack View Post
I'm looking for a small stereo cassette recorder that I can hook up with my mixer and send tracks to. Add a little grime, wow and flutter and compression to the tracks I think need it.

The portastudio's I've seen are pretty big and have a bunch of things I don't need. Are there any good, small options?

PS. besides Nagra and VCRs, are there any small cheap reel to reel's out there that can do a better job than cassette for this?
I use primarily cassette tape for all of my work until it goes into the computer. I've found two really great tape recorders. First, if you want a high-fidelity cassette recorder that can add a bit of grime and compression, consider used Marantz field recorders. They're fantastic. If you need wow and flutter, most of them have a pitch knob. You can move it by hand. :D

I have two Panasonic RQ-355 cassette recorders. Great recording through their own microphone and if you run audio into the line in, it's easy to overdrive in a beautiful way. Just amazing low-fidelity. If you work with the levels and keep it from distorting, it's has a nice quality - warm, flat and beautiful. See here: Panasonic RQ 355 Portable Cassette Player Recorder Great Condition | eBay
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14th May 2013
Old 14th May 2013
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Oops...the cheap ones are mono.

There's a Marantz PMD430 field recorder that outputs stereo and has 2 mono inputs: marantz pmd430 | eBay

Not as cheap - they're fairly coveted.
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17th May 2013
Old 17th May 2013
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Mind that with a 3-head cassette tape deck, you can monitor off the just-recorded tape in realtime. This allows you to use the deck as a near-realtime insert. The delay is just about 1/4 of a second or less. Way easier than recording to tape, rewinding and playing back. Especiall if you want to experiment with driving the electronics.
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18th May 2013
Old 18th May 2013
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Aside from Marantz, the Nakamichi Dragon is the beez neez for quality stereo cassette sound in recording and playback.
#7
17th June 2014
Old 17th June 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Aside from Marantz, the Nakamichi Dragon is the beez neez for quality stereo cassette sound in recording and playback.
don't forget the YAMAHA KX 1200!!!
#8
18th June 2014
Old 18th June 2014
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I'm using an old sony that works really really good actually. The problem is finding new tapes.
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20th June 2014
Old 20th June 2014
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Portable: Marantz PMD series, otherwise any top level japanese deck from 90's is fine, Sony TC-K611s is excellent 3-head unit.

I have a TC-WR635s from Sony, double deck, auto-calibration for optimal tape bias, with dolby-s on board (which is pretty rare on cassette recorders, gives bigger SNR at around 10 dB@100Hz and 24dB@1kHz). It gives me the same clean and good sounding recordings as some pretty expensive digital devices, but with more pleasant artefacts. ) If it was portable, i'd use it instead of any 2ch portable digital recorder.

If all you want is "grit", to mix it to clean recordings, just get some mid-level deck from '80s or top from '70- almost all of them gives some nice color. But cheap ones, and those from sombined units, are not nice, just plane distortion, and almost always the nastiest one.
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#10
20th June 2014
Old 20th June 2014
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Would those portable Marantz location recorders be high enough quality to use as a mixdown deck for a Portastudio?
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20th June 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SampleHold View Post
Would those portable Marantz location recorders be high enough quality to use as a mixdown deck for a Portastudio?
They'll beat any cassette portastudio, IMO.
#12
22nd June 2014
Old 22nd June 2014
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Anything AKAI with a GX head. Like the GX-65, GX-67, GX-52, GX-95. And I would choose a 3-head recorder for the reason the poster RiF described in post #5.
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23rd June 2014
Old 23rd June 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiF View Post
Mind that with a 3-head cassette tape deck, you can monitor off the just-recorded tape in realtime. This allows you to use the deck as a near-realtime insert. The delay is just about 1/4 of a second or less. Way easier than recording to tape, rewinding and playing back. Especiall if you want to experiment with driving the electronics.
You won't get much wow or flutter this way, though. It IS a better method for time alignment reasons unless you're doing a complete stereo 2bus.

For best results in terms of adding wow and flutter, you want your playback machine to be different than the recording machine. Maximum crappiness.
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4 Weeks Ago
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At my first studio job in Boston, we had an Aiwa cassette deck that matched our Ampex A440 on an oscilloscope and through the monitors (we used Ampex 456 Grand Master cassettes). Can't remember the model, but that's what we used to give clients reference mixes to take home.
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