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  #1  
03-29-2018, 07:57 AM
ehbowen ehbowen is offline
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A friend has asked me to capture and digitize audio from compact cassettes. I've got two possible routes to go: First, I have a (current production) Marantz PMD-300CP with built-in A/D converter and direct USB output. The audio quality is acceptable (to my ears!), but the tape transport is Cheap China quality...not very impressive, and no auto-reverse.

Secondly, I have a Denon DN-770R analog deck which I picked up refurbished from Porter Electronics. It appears to be much more impressive from the tape transport angle. For digitizing its output I have my choice of the built-in computer motherboard audio, a Tevion USB video capture card, a (forthcoming) ATI AIW system, or a new ASUS Xonar DGX sound card. Which combination sounds (Sorry!) most promising?
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  #2  
03-29-2018, 08:34 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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I still use an Aiwa walkman from the early 90s. The audio quality is so nice on it. My old 80s stereo is worse, and all that 2000s junk sounds tinny and weak.

The next important aspect is the mini wires, or RCA.

Then the audio capture card. For audio, I used Pro Audio in the 90s, and Turtle Beach in the 00s-now. In the 10s, the higher-end Realtek isn't a bad option, and is onboard to many quality motherboards.

BTW, things like 5.1 and surround sounds seem impressive to the masses, but the cards that push that as the #1 feature are rarely the card you want. Quality audio cards usually push other aspects, if any at all. That Xonar card is all about "5.1" and "headphones" and "Dolby", yet I find it to be as impressive as a cheapy Chinese-made card. You need to look beyond the marketing, and techie/gamer nerd reviews, see how good that card really is audio-wise.

FYI: I was doing digital audio back when a 486 was the newest CPU.

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03-29-2018, 02:30 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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My current playback deck is a Sony TC-KA1ESA, a nice 3-head deck with Dolby B/C/S NR. You can get very good results from component decks from the 80s and 90s. Most of them need belts replaced by now. The "best" decks used 3 motor direct drive closed loop servo controlled tape transports, but the prices on 2nd hand decks have become outrageous.
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03-30-2018, 07:46 AM
The.traveller The.traveller is offline
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Since I am Dutch I was going to digitize my old audio tapes with an old "brand new" Philips DCC player/recorder.
Brand new because it has never been used by me. A DCC player/recorder will do anything digitally and will have the ability to enhance the quality as far as I know.

Read here more about it:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Compact_Cassette

Connecting it to my son's gaming machine which includes:

Motherboard fabrikant: Asus Prime X370-Pro
Motherboard EAN Code: 4712900665369
Which has the RealtekŪ ALC S1220A 8-Channel High Definition Audio

Processor fabrikant: AMD
Processor Type: Rijzen 7 - 1700X

CPU Cooler fabrikant: Noctua
CPU Cooler Type: NH-U12S SE-AM4
CPU Cooler Type: 120mm U-type tower cooler

Memory Type: GDDR5 - 4 * 8Gb

Grafic Card fabrikant: MSI - Radeon RX 580GDDR5 - 8Gb

SSD fabrikant: Samsung - NVMe SSD 960 EVO m.2
SSD Model: MZ-V6E250

HDD fabrikant: Western Digital
HDD Type: WDC_WD20EARS-00MVWB0
HDD Size: 2 Tb

The reason I am pointing the Philips DCC is that I believe these machine were also sold in America. Look here to buy a second hand one.
http://www.ebay.com/bhp/digital-compact-cassette

Go to
http://www.dutchaudioclassics.nl/phi...dcc_recorder/#
to read more about it and maybe find some other (service) manuals. (Sorry not for free)


Reading the wikipedia page you can read that there is a DCC which had the capability to link directly to a computer.
The manual can be found here
https://www.download.p4c.philips.com...05_dfu_eng.pdf

Read more from a Dutch enthousiast in English here. (We Dutch are so considered)
http://xs4all.goudsm.it/dcc-faq/connect.html
This person is now an American citizen.

Last edited by The.traveller; 03-30-2018 at 07:48 AM. Reason: Forgot to mention something
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  #5  
03-30-2018, 07:56 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
Dolby B/C/S NR
Most of them need belts replaced by now.
Ah yes, I forgotten about that.
My Aiwa had to be repaired a few years back, and that was a miserable experience hunting for belts.

It also has some Dolby NR, but I found it to muffle more than not. I repair in Sound Forge.

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  #6  
03-30-2018, 02:36 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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The vast majority of DCC decks need to be recapped. They suffer from the same failing SMD caps as the Panasonic AG-1980 does.
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  #7  
04-01-2018, 11:26 PM
VideoTechMan VideoTechMan is offline
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For my setup I use a Tascam 122 MkII tape deck (had serviced a few years ago), and have the TEAC C-3RX for backup going into my Tascam DA-3000 onto a CF card. I would then put the card into my workstation to make any improvements with iZotope.

As far as using the Dolby is concerned, its best to just leave it off when doing transfers. You also don't need auto-reverse. Having a 3-head deck is nice but a good 2-head setup will also do.
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  #8  
04-02-2018, 10:26 PM
swiego swiego is offline
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It cost, but I started with a Nakamichi DR-1 whose manual playback azimuth adjustment was worth its weight in gold. I later moved on upward (CR-7a, Dragon) but have a soft spot for the somewhat more affordable DR-1 which kept up with its big brothers from an archival point of view.

In any case the general recommendation would be to focus on playback deck; the sound card, cabling, capture format etc. are largely irrelevant vs. the importance of a good source deck. Unfortunately you’ll be competing against an upswing in cassette enthusiasm that is sending prices skyward.
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