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Old 28th June 2002, 03:41 AM   #1
Vivek is offline Vivek  India
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Default DIY cassette deck

Hi,
Anyone got any ideas on how to make a cassette deck and most importantly, is it worthwhile? Any comment and links, if any, would be useful.
Regards,
Vivek
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Old 28th June 2002, 11:51 AM   #2
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Default DIY cassette Deck

Vivek,

Just a few suggestions:

1. The head gap for the play and record heads are different. That means, that while you can still play your cassette through a head specifically meant for recording, you wont be getting the best.

2. Most deck mechanisms have a single head averaged for both playing and recording. Such deck mechanisms are not the best ones for HiFi.

3. Try to get a ceramic head specifically meant for play back with as high an impedance as possible -- this costs more, naturally.

4. Have you ever wondered why a car cassette player on a 12V battery sounds clean? That is because automobile cassette decks have heads that are designed specifically for playback. Try to get a decent car stereo deck and work up your circuitry.

5. While on this subject, I should remind of you LM1897 -- that would be an ideal tape head preamp for you.

good luck. let me know how your project is coming up
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Old 28th June 2002, 12:22 PM   #3
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A second alternative would be to buy a good second hand cassette deck and just use the transport. Redo all the electronics and off you go. Best avoid anything with microcontrollers (unless you have expertise) as these can often control many aspects of the audio circuitry, and would create lots of unneccessary headaches trying to design around them. Otherwise tha audio is similar to a phono preamp, but with different EQ.

Good quality, reliable and well performing transports are nearly being given away at the moment.
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Old 28th June 2002, 01:09 PM   #4
Vivek is offline Vivek  India
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Thanks guys.
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Old 28th June 2002, 08:06 PM   #5
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Something to try: balanced head amplifier. But I would go with a readymade transport.
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Old 28th June 2002, 10:16 PM   #6
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I somehow very seriously doubt that you'll do better than an existing commercial design. The mechanical tolerances on the transport are such that DIY would be very hard.
The TASCAM and Nakamichi decks would be near impossible to beat... The cassette is a crappy format anyway!

just my $0.02
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Old 28th June 2002, 10:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Brett
A second alternative would be to buy a good second hand cassette deck and just use the transport. Redo all the electronics and off you go.

(...)

Good quality, reliable and well performing transports are nearly being given away at the moment.
Excellent advice! I found a lot of old decent cassete decks at ridiculous prices at pawn shops or electronics shops. Most of the times they had some minors repair to be done (unhooked casette door, etc).
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Old 29th June 2002, 12:49 AM   #8
bawang is offline bawang  Malaysia
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Hmmmm, I agree to agree with MuFollower. Excellent commercial cassette decks (not THAT readily available nowadays) are available. Anyway, I have an AKAI GX-52 that keeps me smiling. How I wish for the NAKAMICHI DRAGON......... But with the popularity of CD Burners, cassettes may be going out the door........
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Old 29th June 2002, 01:20 AM   #9
dice45 is offline dice45  Germany
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Vivek,

hate to join the downtalk (you find me no fan of tuning a '65 Volkswagen Beetle to get fit for the Rallye Monte Carlo), but methinks you are better on with a second hand cassette tape deck.

A buddy of mine tried what you intend to try and just getting the tape EQ right for recording and playback drove him crazy.
Moreover, to get the heads properly aligned, you need calibration tapes which might be hard to find nowadays.

You put too much effort to get something working not worth the effort. If you want to take a swing to it, go with a reel2reel tape recorder. This is worth the pain!

A good reel2reel can outperform a vinyl TT. Not kidding, ya know, me vinyl person
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Greets,
Bernhard
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Old 29th June 2002, 06:01 AM   #10
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Default DIY cassette deck

I have the copy of JLH cassette deck articles ( 1976 wireless world and postcript article subsequently published in WW)and a set of 5 piece ( Mother board /daughter board construcion based on old Hart electronics kit of the same design) PCBs incase Vivek is interested as I am in Bangalore india - I think he lives here as well.

The PCB set is expansive due to seperate record / replay amps on a motherboard/ relay switching and unbeatable circuitry suited for most of the ferrite /permalloy type cassette heads. The beauty of this JLH project is that you can learn about magnetic recording process and head design /influence of materials and circuit on record replay cherecteristics. I have some of the transistors as well as the special erase head for a novel bias oscillator circuit. Anybody else is welcome eventhough the cassette format is dying.
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