WHat did Audiophiles hear during Tape deck era?

How did Audiophile listened to audiophile quality during tape cassett era?
I know what you mean. I have a Sony WM D3. I have discovered a way to make cassettes sound better by damping they case. It’s called the Mystery Tweak. But I don’t reveal what it is because then it wouldn’t be a mystery any more. It’s very hush hush 🤫 And speaking of cassettes I just spent my entire stimulus check on cassettes. Was that wrong?
Those Sony WM players are crazy prices right now.
$250 up for the D3 and $600 to $1500 for the D6?
Actually the D6 sold for more than 750.– CHF in the early eighties, the D3 maybe slightly below 600.- CHF. They are built to last, except the tape heads, but the latter seem to be of very durable quality though.
So, 40 years later in todays value, in legendary Sony quality of then (they don't fabricate quality like that anymore) would cost as much as many of these "audiophile portable players" in the above 2000$ range, but without firmware & interface & standards obsolescence.
So 1500$ is a lot indeed, but still considerably less than what a 2020 equivalent pro cassette deck would cost new...
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Cassette issues were horrible.

Still recordings on your own were missing something.

i had extremely good results with a Mits  hifi  VCR for recording albums.