Solution for Transferring Tape to Digital

107MHz

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Jul 4, 2020
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Back in the '80s (I'm old), guitar playing friends and I home-recorded sessions on a Denon DRM 33 cassette deck. I have ~ dozen of these tapes and planned to transfer them to digital.

Since I have moved to digital home recording, I have a Focusrite 8i6 audio adapter that allows me to take a deck's RCA output and via USB, input it into my computer running Ableton Live DAW (digital audio workstation). From here I could edit the songs to individual FLAC files.

Stored in a closet for years, I still had the DRM 33, so this was to be my source. Unfortunately, while it was working perfectly when last used, as soon as I plugged it in, connected it to the Focusrite, and powered on, I heard a loud hum in the left channel and smelled burning electronics. It died and now refuses to power on. I assume the unit is not worth the cost of repair so looking for another solution.

I don't plan to record anything on cassette so the expense of a full featured cassette deck would be over-kill as I only need a playback unit. I'm aware there are relatively cheap USB Cassette Converters but they provide the analog-digital process and output a file. I'm concerned their AD process would be inferior to what I could attain with my system and want to edit the input myself using the DAW.

Any suggestions for a unit that just provides quality cassette transport with analog out?

If not, any suggestions on an economical deck that would yield quality playback?

Many thanks!
 

Gray

Well-known member
Back in the '80s (I'm old), guitar playing friends and I home-recorded sessions on a Denon DRM 33 cassette deck. I have ~ dozen of these tapes and planned to transfer them to digital.

Since I have moved to digital home recording, I have a Focusrite 8i6 audio adapter that allows me to take a deck's RCA output and via USB, input it into my computer running Ableton Live DAW (digital audio workstation). From here I could edit the songs to individual FLAC files.

Stored in a closet for years, I still had the DRM 33, so this was to be my source. Unfortunately, while it was working perfectly when last used, as soon as I plugged it in, connected it to the Focusrite, and powered on, I heard a loud hum in the left channel and smelled burning electronics. It died and now refuses to power on. I assume the unit is not worth the cost of repair so looking for another solution.

I don't plan to record anything on cassette so the expense of a full featured cassette deck would be over-kill as I only need a playback unit. I'm aware there are relatively cheap USB Cassette Converters but they provide the analog-digital process and output a file. I'm concerned their AD process would be inferior to what I could attain with my system and want to edit the input myself using the DAW.

Any suggestions for a unit that just provides quality cassette transport with analog out?

If not, any suggestions on an economical deck that would yield quality playback?

Many thanks!
I thought TEAC might be still selling one - but all results seem to be showing their too expensive and unnecessary twin deck.

You might be able to pick up a well maintained secondhand one.
But it would be much better if you could playback from the deck that the tapes were recorded on.

For that reason it may be worth whipping the lid off for a look or, at least finding someone to give you a free repair estimate.
 

Rui

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Mar 23, 2021
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Back in the '80s (I'm old), guitar playing friends and I home-recorded sessions on a Denon DRM 33 cassette deck. I have ~ dozen of these tapes and planned to transfer them to digital.

Since I have moved to digital home recording, I have a Focusrite 8i6 audio adapter that allows me to take a deck's RCA output and via USB, input it into my computer running Ableton Live DAW (digital audio workstation). From here I could edit the songs to individual FLAC files.

Stored in a closet for years, I still had the DRM 33, so this was to be my source. Unfortunately, while it was working perfectly when last used, as soon as I plugged it in, connected it to the Focusrite, and powered on, I heard a loud hum in the left channel and smelled burning electronics. It died and now refuses to power on. I assume the unit is not worth the cost of repair so looking for another solution.

I don't plan to record anything on cassette so the expense of a full featured cassette deck would be over-kill as I only need a playback unit. I'm aware there are relatively cheap USB Cassette Converters but they provide the analog-digital process and output a file. I'm concerned their AD process would be inferior to what I could attain with my system and want to edit the input myself using the DAW.

Any suggestions for a unit that just provides quality cassette transport with analog out?

If not, any suggestions on an economical deck that would yield quality playback?

Many thanks!
the Denon drm-800a and the 700a ,diference one uses traditional heads other with much better sound uses amourphous heads but to the drm-33 the best would be the DRM-700a or DRS-810 ,inside this two are the same but play very well older cassettes and being from denon might have the same azimuth ,i bought the first two with new belts for 100€ in 2019 ,the DRM-700a or the DRS-810 might be the best for the recordings in the DRM-33 ,i had a DR$M-44HX or similar with calibration but the top end model was like this models i refer ,allthough without calibration it records with great sound ,a thing i notice before changing the belts was the cassette i recorded there to have a notion of it´s condition sounded ok but not close to perfect, the next day before going to work it was january when temperatures go down the most or 4 degrees celsius ,when playing the cassette it was perfect it lighted till+3DB ,in the night before it were 20 degrees celsius only -4 db ,but when changing the belts, it worked perfect as the drm-700a ,and this 800a was the last with amourphous heads so your cassettes might sound perfect in the drs-810 or 700a ,but if wanting not gambling if the azimuth isn´t correct i bought a pioneer CT-S603S because of the flex function all cassettes i had that were recorded in good decks and well fabricated cassettes mainly maxell and tdk all sounded good in this pioneer with flex function which is not like play trim on NAD or Yamaha decks ,much better, i have to say that lower references in ebay restored decks will sound poor even if the azimuth is a perfect match with your older Denon that it was a very nice deck
 

ultraminiature

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Aug 13, 2010
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Back in the '80s (I'm old), guitar playing friends and I home-recorded sessions on a Denon DRM 33 cassette deck. I have ~ dozen of these tapes and planned to transfer them to digital.

Since I have moved to digital home recording, I have a Focusrite 8i6 audio adapter that allows me to take a deck's RCA output and via USB, input it into my computer running Ableton Live DAW (digital audio workstation). From here I could edit the songs to individual FLAC files.

Stored in a closet for years, I still had the DRM 33, so this was to be my source. Unfortunately, while it was working perfectly when last used, as soon as I plugged it in, connected it to the Focusrite, and powered on, I heard a loud hum in the left channel and smelled burning electronics. It died and now refuses to power on. I assume the unit is not worth the cost of repair so looking for another solution.

I don't plan to record anything on cassette so the expense of a full featured cassette deck would be over-kill as I only need a playback unit. I'm aware there are relatively cheap USB Cassette Converters but they provide the analog-digital process and output a file. I'm concerned their AD process would be inferior to what I could attain with my system and want to edit the input myself using the DAW.

Any suggestions for a unit that just provides quality cassette transport with analog out?

If not, any suggestions on an economical deck that would yield quality playback?

Many thanks!
Focusrite 8i6 is solid choice for stereo input.

Al modern current cassettes players are low-fi. Cheap motors, cheap heads and the kind of things you might have used with a ZX81 in 1981.

If you can allocate the time and do the transfer quickly you can buy a working deck at inflated price and get your money back in one or two months when you re-sell it. Some cheap Dolby S decks might fit the bill. You did not record in Dolby S but these deck had to conform to high specs to have Dolby S, some are three heads which you don't need but that also indicates a better built deck. Also they where the last quality built machines and the most likely to work with no more than new belts needed.

I was gifted a B&O Beocenter 9000. It has built in cassette, CD and radio. A high cost high design style music centre but still one of the best sounding cassette decks I have used perhaps because it used HX Pro. My old Dolby C and Dolby B recordings play back as well as I have heard on other decks. Lots of these on offer and not expensive and you are going to resell anyway.

I would like one the last cassette deck made like the Beocord 9000, the Nakamichi: Dragon, Aiwa XK-009 Excelia, Tandberg 3014A or Arcam Delta 100 but got a £200 Uher CR160. It will need some service (all works but not well) but at least there is a guy in Germany who does magic on old Uher gear. There may be others in the UK doing the same with other cassette decks but I don't have contact information. I have a Sony Walkman WM-D6C professional Walkman (sold my new mint in box one for £250 in 2009, now they ask £1200) which I used for some live performances with most of my off air and other recordings on the Uher CR240 and CR160.
 

Rui

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2021
231
53
4,870
Visit site
Focusrite 8i6 is solid choice for stereo input.

Al modern current cassettes players are low-fi. Cheap motors, cheap heads and the kind of things you might have used with a ZX81 in 1981.

If you can allocate the time and do the transfer quickly you can buy a working deck at inflated price and get your money back in one or two months when you re-sell it. Some cheap Dolby S decks might fit the bill. You did not record in Dolby S but these deck had to conform to high specs to have Dolby S, some are three heads which you don't need but that also indicates a better built deck. Also they where the last quality built machines and the most likely to work with no more than new belts needed.

I was gifted a B&O Beocenter 9000. It has built in cassette, CD and radio. A high cost high design style music centre but still one of the best sounding cassette decks I have used perhaps because it used HX Pro. My old Dolby C and Dolby B recordings play back as well as I have heard on other decks. Lots of these on offer and not expensive and you are going to resell anyway.

I would like one the last cassette deck made like the Beocord 9000, the Nakamichi: Dragon, Aiwa XK-009 Excelia, Tandberg 3014A or Arcam Delta 100 but got a £200 Uher CR160. It will need some service (all works but not well) but at least there is a guy in Germany who does magic on old Uher gear. There may be others in the UK doing the same with other cassette decks but I don't have contact information. I have a Sony Walkman WM-D6C professional Walkman (sold my new mint in box one for £250 in 2009, now they ask £1200) which I used for some live performances with most of my off air and other recordings on the Uher CR240 and CR160.
i bought that multicd player for the wall on my home office and had real good sound ,first i almost bught the one you refer the cd player with cassette and radio that open two windows ,one for each side but ended up buying the multi-cd player because i thought it was cool, normally european decks ,that i ended up buying a lot from german militar personnel that came to live in my city and worked in a NATO airforcefield and before leaving to germany they used to sell all very cheap and i was almost not believing the quality of some, philips, schneider and blaupunkt decks i also had from telefunken, grundig and Normende but this ones were also very good ,mainly normende and graundig but as expensive as japaneses brands ,many times over the japanese brands the first i refered, i even started to buy all components i could from this brands, as it always was said ,japanese know how to copy western brands ,i could also refer English brands ,mainly the speakers
 

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