cassettes CAN sound better than vinyl.

cassettes CAN sound better than vinyl. with a good type ii and a Nakamichi CR-7
I do agree that Nakamichi was the best cassette machine going back in the day.   But I have never heard a cassette sounding better than a vinyl LP, even at Nakamichi dealers.   Consequently, I gave up on cassettes long ago.   

I do agree that a live music recorded directly to cassette on a good machine is better than an LP recorded to cassette.  But in the few cases when I had a Tanberg reel to reel recording live music at high speed, it always sounded better than any cassette made of the same recording.  Then again, I didn't use a Nakamichi deck.
leemurray, your numerous posts about cassettes have aroused my interest enough that I think I will dust off my Nakamichi ZX7, and give it a listen again.
Perhaps Lee and viper should start a private conversation and spare the rest of us.

I'm not sure about better...

Especially if you incorporate the impact of time on tape recordings....
You can get the top end of a cassette to sound pretty good but there is not enough tape width to get all the low frequency stuff. And then we got to ask about your source. Prerecorded cassettes? They are awful. Digital? OK with me. From an LP? Can't do better than the original.  
You can get the top end of a cassette to sound pretty good but there is not enough tape width to get all the low frequency stuff.
@russ69  Actually its the tape speed that says what the bass will do, coupled with how much gain the tape head preamp will have. At some point the designer cuts off the bandwidth because with each octave lower another 6dB of gain is required (one of the side effects being that hum can become a problem). The faster the tape speed, the harder it is to play bass for this reason. 1/78 ips isn't all that fast.
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Yes! it's all true. 

mp3s are better than cassette tapes.
there, i said it.

my husband prefers  something called 128 as the quality.

- his amazing Wife
Well, you might believe it is true and are certain entitled to your opinion, however why are inserting MP3's in this thread about analog. (notice the category)
Cassettes, for me, were ever more than a way to get my curated music on the road. Now that I can get more tunes on a drive the size of a thumbnail (with easy access) than a station wagon packed with cassettes who needs 'em?
Better sounding too.
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mp3 technology has overrun the quality of cassette tapes.


No one is talking about MP3s.

Vinyl vs Cassette. Vinyl hands down.

Vinyl vs Reel to Reel. IF you have good tape, RtR is just magic.

All in all, vinyl is still better because of the tapes available and the price.

Who can afford 600.00 for 45 minutes of media.. I use to make my own RtR from master tapes.. They were pretty magical.

Now to get high quality CDs to a RtR Tape.. WHY? Because I want to..

Most of what I listen to is ripped or streamed from the MC. 20% is a real push for vinyl, tapes and cassettes..

Too easy NOT to use the old media.. Still fun though..

my husband prefers something called 128 as the quality.

- his amazing Wife

Hahaha :))
From this thread I like this signature. 

The rest is fake news
Surely Cassettes at 1.875" per second are far too slow to be able to complete with records, which in the day would have been recorded on tape running at 15" per second. That's 0.8523 miles per hour! 

At 0.15" wide Cassette tape is just too narrow and its limitations are exposed are easily exposed.
I agree with the premise that cassette as good as vinyl. Our RTR tech tweeked my CR5 and the only tape I put through it was TDK MA-XG and SA-XG that I cut for length. 
The reason cassette recorders were popular was because they could record and store music. 

They were the best available technology at the time. 

Does anyone remember when you could record music on your VHS recorders? 
There are few cassette decks that do a very good job of replicating the source. They cannot beat a good vinyl playback system but can hold their own. Nakamihcis, as good as they are, could not replicate the ambience and image like the vinyl source. The best decks I've heard in my system are Tandberg 3014s. They create better soundstage close to source. 

I agree with Ralph, you lose bass with faster tape speeds. On my RtRs the bass is better at 7.5IPS than it is at 15IPS. The disadvantage of cassettes is the tape width, not enough real estate to put music down and saturate very quickly.

They're fun none the less.
For you tape heads, any takers for my MC Hammer adams family cassingle?  Put your money where your mouth is.
Let’s think of the ways in which a CR-7 could be better than vinyl. Let’s assume that the Nak’s important caps have been bypassed by styrene or teflon, drive mechanism is belt rather than gear, and that the machine is otherwise to spec, and Dolby is not engaged; at least not Dolby C.

If one records a record onto a very good metal tape, say TDK MA (metal frame), or MA-XG (ceramic frame), then the difference between original and casette is small. Certainly less than the difference between a cold and a fully warmed up phono and cartridge.

So, if you carefully warm up your CR-7, your phono, and your cartridge, say 8 hours, 8 hours, 2 hours respectively, then your recordings should be better than a cold phono and cartridge. IMO.

So why don’t I do it? I like variety, and my cartridge may be immortal. And, oh yes, lazy, lazy ...
I used to record all my just-brought albums with a Nak and Maxell/TDK tape. Luckily I worked in an audio/record store at the time so could afford to do that. Although I could not say they sounded better then the LP, it was very close and great for everyday listening. It also kept the records pristine and was especially good when having several friends over having beers and such. Kept the records and even more important, the needle and turntable safe. Well worth it. I still have many of those tapes which are decades old now and they definitely sound better then MP3's even today.

"my MC Hammer adams family cassingle?  Put your money where your mouth is."

What on earth are you talking about? Is this some kind of famous thing like Fermat's Last Theorem? Or just ...?
The best cassette decks like the Nakamichi Dragon or any of several other high performance  Naks  (I have a 682ZX) or Tandberg or 3 head Tascams, using Dolby B, are capable of recording a signal with wider frequency bandwidth and less noise than mastering machines like the Scully and Ampex decks which were used for some of the most treasured recordings ever made. So does a cassette sound better than vinyl? It can, depending on the source of the music on the tape - and there will be no warp wow or inner groove distortion, and clicks, pops, and noise from groove wear will not spoil the sound of a tape like it will a vinyl LP with frequent playing.
A top quality cassette deck using metal or TDK or Maxell type II cassettes, properly aligned and biased, can give you a playbeck quality identical to what is being recorded, so whether it sounds better than vinyl is entirely dependent on how good the recording is - and yes, at its best it will absolutely destroy MP3’s, even 320K, and be as good or better than CDs.

Now, if what you’re talking about is a pre-recorded cassette compared to a record with the same music, being that the cassette was duplicated at a very high speed, typically 60 IPS, and from a second or third generation source tape - or worse, yes, the LP will sound better, at least when new.
Hello Leemurray2007.  I use a program called WavePad to record, de-hiss (Noise Reduction), and equalize music from cassettes and get remarkable results. The same program can also largely reduce clicks and pops from vinyl records. The program has a free version you can try out and use forever if you wish. I did get the paid for version and use it almost daily. Digital music need not be deadly. Enjoy!  I get audio books from thrift stores and digitize them for use on long trips.
Well, I will say that a few years ago I picked up an MCS 3570 tape deck on the cheap at an estate sale, and that when I hooked it up and popped in in my cassette copy of Tracy Chapman’s first album, I was shocked to discover that it sounded on par with my turntable. Granted, my turntable at that time was a Technics SL-1500 running an Audio Technica AT-3600l. Still, having been at least a decade since I’d played a cassette tape, it sounded worlds better than I was expecting.

Oh, and by the by… MC Hammer did indeed release an Addams Family song, “Addams Groove”. It is of course, perfectly dreadful.  (Former owner of Nakamichi 1000 and avid live recorder back in the day.)
The only reason I had a Dragon was to record cassettes for the car, nothing else. I was in the business at the time and got a swell deal on it.
As others have said, live mic to 2-track (or Tri-Mic) on a clean, well aligned, degaussed crystalloy or sendust Nak or JVC or Sony portable recorder certainly made for some enjoyable listening back in the day, and I have fond memories, but how can a knock-off from an LP beat the original, even on RtoR?  And never mind finding compatible playback on random decks without carefully matching head alignment. The Cassette Era SUCKED!  Good MP3 is waaay better if only because of its immunity from playback compatibility, pumping and breathing, dirt, stray fields, etc. Both formats are lossy, but in analog it’s a mess. 
The best cassette decks like the Nakamichi Dragon or any of several other high performance Naks (I have a 682ZX) or Tandberg or 3 head Tascams, using Dolby B, are capable of recording a signal with wider frequency bandwidth and less noise than mastering machines like the Scully and Ampex decks which were used for some of the most treasured recordings ever made.
That's simply not possible. The wider tape width and higher speed of reel-to-reel give it an inherent advantage over cassette. There's really no comparison. For example, that's why tape deck manufacturers used -20dB levels when they quoted frequency response for cassette decks. You really don't want to know what it looks like at 0 dB.
Aiwa made some incredible cassette decks at the same time those Naks were made, mainly the top of the line f990. I had one, but sold I owned three Awia decks. I still have both the f770 and f660. You would be hard pressed to distinguish between the source material and the tape. Awesome machines. I generally use TDK and Maxell tape type 11. Some pre recorded tapes sound absolutely wonderful on these machines. 
When I had my shop, we used to put a record on and a tape we recorded on a Nak and switch back an forth on an Audio Research/Magneplaner system.

The ONLY difference we heard was a "hollow" sound (best word I can use to describe it--same word we used in 1976)--on the tape deck. Otherwise, the Nak and the vinyl sounded the same.

FYI, back then the vinyl was played on a Linn-Sondek, I think, with either a Supex or Satin cartridge, but it has been a while, so...might have been a Thorens and Decca, but Thornes were very inexpensive back then, so we might have tried both. We used SME arms, I believe...

Biggest issue back then was that every Nak deck broke pretty quickly and had to be sent back for service. They did it, but customers were not pleased!

Given how many of the excellent bootleg live recordings from the 1970s were made on cassette decks (Mike Millard, Dan Lampinski, JEMS, etc etc) clearly quality can be had (most of these gentlemen went to Nakamichi decks with good quality microphones) in that mode. 

So compared to the average Joe whose turntable might not be audiophile grade, records themselves worn and poppity etc, the OPs statement is correct, can being the operative word.
vanson122 posts
09-28-2021 12:07am
Does anyone remember when you could record music on your VHS recorders?

Yes, the originals of many cassette bootleg recordings were stored by being dubbed to VHS tape. Given the long term degradation of many cassettes over time, that was a good policy to have.
I recently purchased and enjoy the music from a Nakamichi 
Cr3a deck. Highly recommend 
Pam, the Nakamichi salesman from California.  He has a technician who specializes in
refurbishing Nakamichi cassette decks. I’m totally impressed with
its ability to play music. But better 
than vinyl? 

My NAK BX300 sounded astonishingly good with clean and adjusted's now been mothballed and could use a tweak/cleanup and belts I imagine...also, no space in my gear heap rack...CD player, streaming devices, preamp, amp, power conditioner, laundry conditioner, a tiny nuclear power plant, maps of Cuba...
I have had the CR7 for many years and I can say that there were no differences between record and cassette with distracted listening, but paying attention and dedicating more time to listening and comparing, 9 times out of 10 you have identified the difference between vinyl and cassette a favor of vinyl; a slight haze or fog on the musical message and a slightly more compressed soundstage in the 3 directions to the detriment of the recorder.

I have had several top decks in my life, from the Pioneer CTF1250 to the Teac Z series but for me the best deck or among the best decks is and remains the CR 7 or if you want to rank the king of kings both for sound and for mechanics and ease of repair is the Studer A721 or Revox B 215 / 215S
So nobody here has a DCC? Digital Compact Cassette. Less bits than on a CD but all the mechanical problems that plague analog cassettes gone! Plus there are very good commercial tapes made from digital sources! I have the Sony DCC deck and some tapes for it from Philips classical. Sound quality leaves analog cassettes in the dust!
The problem with cassette tape is that it stretches over time and may not take-up properly on the right reel.  Nakamichi eventually fixed this problem by designing a better tape pad lifter on some of their models.  But if you own many old cassettes and don't have a deck with this design, you could be SOL.
@digitalviper is a troll who lives under a bridge. So yes, could be kenjit.......
I would never say cassette is better than vinyl. However, I was in a studio in Rochester NY in the 80s and they were using NAD monitor series decks to record my friend's band. The resulting demo tape was outstanding. I also got to listen to demos from other bands and they too were amazing. I heard a demo from a local jazz band, Cabo Frio, which blew me away. I went out the next day and bought the NAD. I still have it, no longer use it for much other than old Dead bootlegs and a few other boots I cannot find in digital format. I never heard an MP3 that sounds as good as a tape made from the NAD or a couple NAK Dragons my friends still own. 

I had a Nak head unit in my 87 Mustang GT. The system in that car was better than many had in their homes. The installer told me the Nak would not skip on bumps at high speeds. Trying to prove him wrong I popped in some Little Feat and I took him for a test drive at 100mph over some RR tracks. He wasn't lying. Never skipped a beat. 
There's really no comparison. For example, that's why tape deck manufacturers used -20dB levels when they quoted frequency response for cassette decks. You really don't want to know what it looks like at 0 dB.
Music doesn't have high frequencies at 0dB.  One of the problems was self biasing of the tape by high frequencies in the music.  Higher bias lowers distortions but limits the bandwidth at high frequencies (tradeoff) .  My Aiwa deck had HX-Pro that is basically a servo on the bias (keeps total bias constant).  It greatly extended frequency response of the tapes.  Still, it was not even close to modest TT I had, even with best tapes.  CAN it sound better than vinyl?  Of course.  8-track can sound better than vinyl if you get really cheap crappy TT.

If anyone on this planet thinks an optimum sound system designed around an optimum cassette deck, Nakamichi or no, can sound better than an optimum or even a modest high-end system designed around a vinyl source (i.e. decent TT) playing at concert or performance level gain, then please tell me what you’re smokin’ because I want some of that! Now, admittedly, I’ve never heard or spent quality time with a Nakamichi deck but 1 & 7/8 IPS? Really? Even when recorded from a live source, under optimum conditions, on a quality multi-head cassette machine, in Dolby B/C HX-Pro on the best metal tape, there’s no way! Of course, this is IMHO. Now, 15 IPS on a quality reel to reel machine? Well, that’s a whole other story! Again, IMHO, 3.75 IPS is better and 7.5 IPS better still but no way better than vinyl!

It was cool to read about your MCS deck. I had several of them in the late 70s and early 80s; forget which models. They got me started in this hobby (really an old table-top tube AM radio did) and I've just gone further and further down the rabbit hole. Back in the day, with a decent deck and table, the deck was pretty close. I had the Teac R999-X and it was very very good though as at least one other posted mentioned, those machines of the time had mechanical trouble fairly regularly. I lived near the Teac facility and could take it there, but it always cost me over a hundred bucks to get it back. For me, I always bought the record, recorded for the car, and put the vinyl away. Was fun thinking about this, thanks OP for starting this thread.
I can see a reel to reel master tape sounding better then vinyl .
Nakamichi Dragon was the best of the best , and if cassette 
Was of good quality it can sound very respectable .
not as good as a top  turntable which is $$.