Question: Our band is plannning on doing some recording with a Tascam 688 and wanted to get a decent cassette deck to mix down to.
I have been looking at Tascam 122 MKII's. Used they are going for $375+. I realize that they are excellent but we were hoping for something a bit lower than that. We don't want junk but we only have so much cash! :-( Man, the dollar exchange rate (almost 50%), is killing us up here in Canada.
What are the key things that a good deck needs? I "assume" that you do need a 3 head unit! What about a tape bias switch? Is that necessary? I know there are many really good home cassette brands such as Nakamichi, would any of those models (with the necessary features) be OK too??
We have almost everything that we need now and the cassette deck is one of the things still on "the" list! ( I guess this "list" keeps getting longer as you get more knowledge at what you are doing !!! :-))
Answer: Don't do it!
I assume you are looking to buy something to literally mix down your final stereo mixes and then distribute cassette tapes from there (I have to assume that because if you had lots of money you'd be mixing to DAT and pressing CDs, right?). I can tell you that almost anything you do except mix directly to cassette will work well for that, because if you mix directly to cassette all your distribution tapes will be 3rd generation cassettes and your sound will be lost in the sonic mud.
(If you must do this for some reason, buy a BBE462 (now replaced by the 482). You can thank me later.)
OK, now the point is that you want to mix to anything better than cassette if possible, so that you don't lose quality when duping. Anything better includes the following, in approximate order of cost and desirability:
a. a HiFI VCR deck (don't laugh, it works)
Anyway, once you do get your mixes done, then go ahead and just
use a good-quality Dolby B/C consumer-type deck (i.e. almost anything
but Pioneer) to make your tapes. 3 heads generally means a much better
recorder, yes, but don't be afraid to go into the store with a good set
of headphones and a portable CD player and a blank tape and listen to
a couple of decks...just keep an open mind about the brand (except Pioneer
:-) and don't be too surprised if a $150 deck really sounds as good as
a $250 deck. And the name "TASCAM" doesn't mean "magic
sound" necessarily...it's just a solid deck.