Cassettes, again: Nakamichi LX-5

Guess I've been thinking about cassettes more and more after seeing one of the vids from John DeVore's YouTube channel. He spends a few minutes showing different tapes--from shows that he recorded, from bands he was in--and talking about their appeal. It isn't an argument for fidelity so much as an appreciation for the way that they create a very personal archive.

I wasn't in a band, but I recorded my radio shows in college. It was the late 90s and a tiny, tiny station that broadcast in AM. (Sheesh, now that I'm thinking about it, I remember two Technics SP-10s in the booth, though I never saw anyone use them.) I loved the feel of Maxell XLII cassettes and I think that you could buy them in the college bookstore, so I used them almost exclusively.

My recordings are pretty terrible, but it's been a lot of fun listening this afternoon on this Nak that I've had at the back of the closet for forever. I got it nonworking and decided today (what's a Friday in late May for, anyway?) to troubleshoot a bit. It works well enough now, though I'm planning to order a belt and idler kit for the sake of longevity.

And I have a couple of cassettes that I bought from artists on Bandcamp because they didn't offer any other physical media. So I guess I can listen to those now?

IMG_2874.JPG

IMG_2875.JPG
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I love this. Music played in a manner that, itself, brings joy. Not because of fidelity but because of what it is, and what the medium has meant to you. I've been thinking about getting a cassette deck for similar reasons (though I just got rid of the last one I had last year).

I have only a few cassettes, but they mean a lot to me. I have my mix tapes from college. I have a lot of home recordings made on a 4-track. And I have cassettes that I bought directly from bands, including a tape of early demos from Angel Olsen that I bought from her out of the glovebox of her car. They're just cool -things-. I'm sentimental to the point of naming everything of importance that i own, like its a person... so -things- mean a lot to me.
 
You should get a deck! But if you don't, I'll take that Angel Olsen. (Kidding, though I remember you telling me about buying that tape. No doubt she's a big deal now, but I love the early albums the most. "The Waiting"--I mean, c'mon.)

I'm with you, John. Some of these tapes are also dubs and mixes that friends from that time made for me. One is a mix of soul 45s that my college roommate made for me one summer after he discovered his dad's collection.

I guess this is what it feels like to be old. :)
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I had a Denon that loaded like a CD-player and I think that fact that I couldn't see the tape rolling around ruined it for me. I want the big piano key buttons that go ka-klunk, the whole archaic bag (but I also want it to sound good).

I'm ok being old... as long as I don't only exist via-nostalgia. I have to mix some new with the old.

I've been poking around at Dolby-S machines, which don't tend to have the big ker-klunk buttons but they can sound good...hmm.
 
Way nice, PM.

At one time, I was rolling pretty deep in decent cassette decks. In the late aughts, my Austin suburbs turned up at least three Tascam 122s, a pretty nice Sony, and very sweet Tandberg 3014A. From today's vantage point, I should have kept the Tandberg, but whatareyagonnado . . .
 

240sx4u

Technically It's LexusGuy
I had a Denon that loaded like a CD-player and I think that fact that I couldn't see the tape rolling around ruined it for me. I want the big piano key buttons that go ka-klunk, the whole archaic bag (but I also want it to sound good).

I'm ok being old... as long as I don't only exist via-nostalgia. I have to mix some new with the old.

I've been poking around at Dolby-S machines, which don't tend to have the big ker-klunk buttons but they can sound good...hmm.

I have one of those. For nostalgia purposes I want another Onkyo TA-R301 though. I bought one new when I was in middle school maybe? Took me forever to save up for it. They're not particularly valuable, I should buy one before the prices skyrocket for no particular reason.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
I've had one of these for decades now. My ex threw out all of my cassettes (including the only remaining copies of many of my own performances) so the urge to use it has rather dropped off. Pretty marvelous piece of machinery in my opinion.

1622756964380.png
The first I had was one like this - stolen in the mid-70s.
1622757408621.png
Replaced with this - retired to the cottage long ago. The Teac was definitely better.
1622757912584.png
 

1tumbleweed

Junior Member
For nostalgia purposes I want another Onkyo TA-R301 though. I bought one new when I was in middle school maybe? Took me forever to save up for it. They're not particularly valuable, I should buy one before the prices skyrocket for no particular reason.
Better hurry. I have a TA-R301 with some problems, paid $24 for it four years ago, now they're hovering around the $100 mark. I also picked up a TA-R410 for about the same price (seller was local, so no shipping!) Put it into service when my Nak started acting up; seems to be fine.
 
I've had one of these for decades now. My ex threw out all of my cassettes (including the only remaining copies of many of my own performances) so the urge to use it has rather dropped off. Pretty marvelous piece of machinery in my opinion.

View attachment 36923
The first I had was one like this - stolen in the mid-70s.
View attachment 36924
Replaced with this - retired to the cottage long ago. The Teac was definitely better.
View attachment 36925

I do love those multicolored buttons. The Tascams that I had were like the Teac that you pictured.

Very robust decks.

Sorry to hear about your performance recordings. That’s a shame.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
I do love those multicolored buttons. The Tascams that I had were like the Teac that you pictured.

Very robust decks.

Sorry to hear about your performance recordings. That’s a shame.
Apart from the name on them the Tascams were the same but for the noise reduction circuits - or so I recall.
 

240sx4u

Technically It's LexusGuy
Better hurry. I have a TA-R301 with some problems, paid $24 for it four years ago, now they're hovering around the $100 mark. I also picked up a TA-R410 for about the same price (seller was local, so no shipping!) Put it into service when my Nak started acting up; seems to be fine.

Point taken. I'll consider pulling the trigger sooner than later!
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
Well, you inspired me. I moved the Nak LX-3 down to the basement today so I can listen to tapes as well as get it configured to rip existing tapes (I have several which feature my father singing) to FLAC.
 
Top