In the battle of the home-audio tape formats, the cassette beat the eight-track hands down. Cassettes were more reliable than eight-tracks, and their diminutive size meant manufacturers such as Sony could make portable players for them (the ubiquitous Sony Walkman, 1979, was the Apple iPod of its day). But home-audio enthusiasts also liked the format, purchasing receivers with built-in cassette decks so that tracks on an LP playing on a nearby turntable could easily be captured and recorded onto cassettes, leading to the era of the mix tape. Cassette decks were also favorites of fans of the Grateful Dead, which allowed tapers to bring microphones and small decks to its shows for the purpose of recording the music and then distributing it for free.

Every electronics manufacturer made cassette decks, but standouts include Aiwa, whose mini systems lent themselves to the small cassette format. The all-black Nakamichi Dragon, introduced in 1983, combined high quality with badass styling, while most Akai decks were content to just do quality right, although the horizontal GXC-325D, with its angled VU meters, made lots of users feel like they were running professional studio gear in their homes.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Vintage Knob

The Vintage Knob

The Vintage Knob is an extensive resource on all types of audio electronics organized by manufacturer, from Aiwa to… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

2 Altec 288 Red White Blue LableLegendary Nakamichi Dragon Auto Reverse Cassette Deck/recorder AudiophileNakamichi Cassette Deck 1Sony Tc-ka1esa 3 Head Stereo Cassette Deck Es Audiophile Dolby B C SNakamichi Dragon Auto-reverse Cassette Deck.Nakamichi 1000 3 Head Cassette Tape DeckRare Vintage Commodore Pet 2001 Series Computer Chicklet Keyboard Cassette DeckVintage Nakamichi 680 Discrete 3-head Cassette Deck - Audiophile TapeVintage Sony Tc-d5m Capstan Servo Control Stereo Cassette-corder RecorderNakamichi Lx-5 3 Head Cassette DeckClassic Sony Model: Tc-k630es 3-head Stereo Cassette Tape Deck Es-seriesSony Tapecorder Tc-k88b Stereo Cassette DeckTandberg Tcd 440a Cassette DeckSony Es Tc-k679es Cassette Deck, Hx Pro, 3 Head Laseramorphous 3 Motor B&c NiceTascam 122 Mkiii Mk3 Professional Cassette Deck Recorder Three Head MechanismTascam 122 Mkiii Rack Mount Tape Cassette Deck Mk3 Used WorkingVintage Sony Wm 10 Walkman Cassette Player W Belt Clip 4 Repair Or PartsSony Dolby S Nr 3 Head Stereo Cassette Deck Tc-k611s Player/recorder Works GreatVintage Pioneer Stereo Cassette Tape Deck Ct-f750 Ct F750Sansui Sc-1330 Vintage Tape Cassette Recorder/player Gold Sony Walkman Wm-3Akai Gxc-750d Stereo Cassette Deck Japan Rare As IsNakamichi Dragon Tape Deck For Parts Or Repair - Lights Come On Nakamichi 680zx - For Parts - Includes RemoteAkai Gxc-750d Stereo Cassette Deck Absolutely Beautiful Japan RareHarman Kardon Td392 Cassette Tape Deck- New In Box, MintSae Model C102 Cassette Deck Nakamichi Td 1200 Vintage Dragon Car Stereo 1980''Harman Kardon Cd291 Cassette Tape Deck- New In Box, MintLot Of 2 Panasonic Ag-dv1000p Mini Dv Digital Video Cassette Deck Tascam 234 Pro Cassette Tape Deck Play Recorder Need RepairOnkyo Integra- Stereo Cassette Tape Deck(ta-2058) Showroom QualityVintage Marantz Equalizer Eq140 And Cassette Deck Sd242 In Good ConditionBang & Olufsen Beocord 5000 Stereo Cassette Deck TestedVintage Cassette Recorder-tape Player New In Box Like Sony, Panasonic, Ge?Rc Sct560 14-403 Pro Series Dual Cassette DeckNakamichi Dr-10 Discrete Head Cassette Deck Player Recorder *** Works Dr10 Dr 10Pioneer Ct-f950 Cassette DeckPhilips Dcc170 Digital Cassette Recorder 18 BitNakamichi 582 Z Discrete Head Cassette Deck Audiophile Grade Stereo EquipmentTeac A-450 Cassette Tape Deck Old School Vintage Mgt Audio Systems 1020 Working Car Stereo & Cassette PlayerMarantz Stereo Pmd 350u Cassette Deck Compact Disc Player Professional Audio Yamaha Stereo Receiver Model Cr-420 Okamoto 130w Natural Sound VintageSherwood Cd 345, Dual Cassette Deck Dolby B & C, MetalDenon Dr-m34hr Dual Capstan 3 Head Stereo Cassette Deck Dolby Hx Pro - TestedVintage Pioneer Stereo Cassette Tape Deck Ct-s605Aiwa Cassette Recorder Model Ad F810u W Remote ControlSony Tc-d5m Professional Capstan Servo Control Stereo Cassette Recorder/player Vintage Pioneer Cassette Car StereoCt-f900 Ct-f950 Pioneer Cassett Deck Belt Kit With InstructionToshiba Vintage Kt-rs1 Stereo Cassette Recorder, W/ Stereo Mic. & Belt ClipCt-f1250 Pioneer Cassett Deck Belt Kit With Instruction And MoreVintage Nortronics Head Cleaner Demagnetizer 8 Track TapesKenwood Kx-w891 Stereo Double Cassette Tape Deck Player RecorderAiwa Ad-m700b Cassette Deck 3head Dolby Nr, Solid State Build.Tandberg Tr-1020 & Tcd-300 Cassette Deck Fully ServicedBrand New Denon Drw-585 Stereo Double Cassette Desk Black W/ Cables W/papersPioneer Dual Cassette Deck Ctw-630r And 25 Nos Tapes Tdk MaxellClassic Professional Double Cassette Tape Deck By Sausui