Playing your tapes

with all this talk surrounding releasing music on tapes…

so far i have refrained from buying any new music released on tape because i don’t want to have to deal with yet another piece of bulky equipment in my living room (i already reluctantly brought back my CD player from the cellar). maybe i’d consider a second-hand walkman with an external PSU… maybe… but not thrilled by the quality.

what kind of cool devices do you use to play your tapes?


I have a Philipps PMC100 - Casette Player and a cheesy Synth with FM. :smiley:

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One of these bad boys. Not my actual unit pictured, but same model.


Iwould definitely vouch for these Marantz portable recorders/players. Really sturdy. But maybe already too bulky for your needs.

I actually modified one Marantz superscope c 205 to turn it into an homemade tape delay (3 heads percs).
It can still be used to operate as designed.

Otherwise, I’m using an old Nipper Stereo cassette portable player by Pathé Marconi. Really Sturdy too and portable, powers with an external 6V power Supply and has two audio outs with individual volume faders.
I also modified it to sequence the motor live with the Koma Field Kit.

(Sorry for the crappy pictures)

I have a Marantz PMD430. And this very 80s looking deck for the living room.


I’m still using my old Fisher Price. It’s mono FTW and can record too.

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happy dino face makes me happy

more low-fi devices than i would have thought… that’s part of the tape experience i guess!

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I have one of these in box somewhere. Very interested in this tape business, but discussing it offline seems to evoke strong negative sentiments from logical persons. This does elicit some desire on my part to start listening to cassettes again…

Rocking a Marantz PMD as well. And up until a few months ago I still had a car that had a cassette deck :smirk:

I recently went full “bulky” vintage and I don’t regret a second. Even those spent repairing and calibrating hardware built years before I was born :slight_smile:
This is my little corner of paradise:

That tape deck below the receiver is too old to be anywhere near state-of-the-art. Nowadays people swear by Nakamichi Dragon and portable Marantz decks, which are really too expensive IMO; later, smaller and better-sounding alternative exist (this is a good intro: None of which as lovely as those red and blue VU-meters :wink:


Using one of these which I bought brand new for something like €25 last year:

It sounds surprisingly decent, especially considering that cassette tape really isn’t a good format for hi-fi audio anyway.

I just wanted to add that modern tapes can sound pretty great on a decent cassette deck/player. I was actually surprised how nice the tone is when I started buying some current releases. It’s not super clean CD-quality and not as warm as vinyl but a good tape has its very own, unique character and I’m not talking about lo-fi hiss.


I use this one:

and if I want to be mobile, this one… though it does not work as well anymore:

and btw. I think I buy tapes for two reasons, which are usually combined: because I like the music, and I want something more than just an mp3/flac and because I am a design nerd and am attracted to certain objects.

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But to be honest I stopped buying tapes since a few months because I really don´t like having a lot of things and I was super happy as I tucked away all my vinyls and CD´s at my parents house. And every half year sorting out books is enough. I don´t wanna do this with tapes - so I am back to digital.

Don’t get me wrong, tape can sound really nice.

My point here is that back in the days it make sense to get a really good deck, high-quality tape, and use technologies like Dolby-C and HX-Pro for a few Db noise reduction and a bit more linear response because tape was the only practical way to record your own stuff or make compilations.

These days you’re much better off using digital audio if your goal is accurate sound reproduction.

So, if you want to enjoy all the niceness tape has to offer today, it makes more sense to embrace that niceness rather than trying to fight it with high-end gear that won’t ever even remotely come close to an MP3 played on your mobile phone. :slight_smile:


I’m 100% on the same page. Just generally wanted to state that tapes can sound great in a tapy way in case someone was on the fence.

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I use a refurbished Onkyo TA-R260 to play back the multiple tapes I had made in the years before digital recording became an affordable reality.


I tried transferring them to my computer, but it takes to long, and I also tried to use it to record new material, but I realized just how lazy I’d gotten with regards to sorting out multiple takes. Still, once in a while, it’s fun to listen to old material.

Though I do listen to new tape releases too, from time to time…

I have a Denon deck. Not very cool. I got it free when it was decommissioned from the Radio department at the university where I work. It’s slightly broken (in a way I can’t recall right now) but is ok for playback of my large collection of unlabelled, dusty cassettes from the 90s.

At the risk of sounding like an embittered old anachronism myself…

Sorry, guys, but I have to say, I have no interest in buying any new releases on cassette (or vinyl, for that matter), as I remember only too well from the era when it was the only way to record stuff on a budget, what an inherently poor-quality medium it is.

Having said that, I can understand the attraction of a physical realease format, given how difficult it is to make any money from downloads, these days.

I’m going to wait this one out. It’s not going to be long before fashion moves on to another obsolete format (Minidisc, anyone? DAT? DCC? Wax cylinder…?).


I’m waiting on Eric over at to release an updated version of this manually controlled player that in early 2018 will also have recording capability. The cassettes I’ve been collecting of late and my old ones will be fodder for feeding my ER-301 and various other modules in order to bring some distinctively played material into the mix. On the recording side I’m looking forward to all of the warble of a hand manipulated recording of otherwise pristine audio coming out of my modular gear and then feeding that back into the system.

Matter of fact I bought @mqtthiqs “A Year of Time” in order to sample it specifically in this manner :slight_smile:

@unity2k where are my royalties?? :grin:
@toneburst what? You don’t have a wax cylinder deck yet? All the interesting new post-beeswave is released on wax these days, you’re really missing out on the current scene. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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