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    

Studer A721 - Professional Cassette Tape Recorder Nakamichi Dragon 110-230v Dual Voltage Cassette Deck. Not WorkingPristine Vintage Sony Tc-118 Sd Console Cassette Tape Deck Recorder Stereo HifiNakamichi 680zx 2 Speed Cassette Deck Powers Up But No Tape MovementTeac R-h300 Cassette Tape Deck Dolby B/c Japan Teac Reference 300 99p No ReserveKenwood Kx-1030Hitachi D-5500 M Stereo Cassette Recorder W/ Remote ControlNakamichi Dragon - Cassete Deck - Fully Serviced And Ready To Go With ExtrasTechnics By Panasonic Rs-m85 Professional Cassette Deck, Rack MountVintage Renowned Tandberg Tcd-440a 3 Head 3 Motor Stereo Cassette Deck 1970'sNakamichi Dr1Vintage Pioneer Kp-500 12vdc Fm Stereo Cassette Under Dash Car RadioPioneer Ct-f1250 Cassette Deck Serviced In Original Box With Manual & BrochureVintage Sony Tc-k677es Stereo Cassette DeckVintage Pioneer Stereo Cassette Tape Deck Model Ct-f1250Sony Tc-ka2es Stereo Cassette DeckPioneer Kp-500 Car Stereo Tape Player Cassette Deck W / Equalizer,powers,as IsSony Dtc-87es Digital Audio Tape Deck Recorder Player Dat1976 Pioneer Stereo Cassette Tape Deck Ct-f9191 As/is Vintage Phase Linear 7000 Series Two Cassette Player Powers On / Needs ServicePhilips Dcc 882 Tuner/dcc Combination Philips Car SystemsYamaha Kx-580se Hi-fi Stereo Cassette Tape Deck B/c/s Japan Play Trim Hx ProVintage Nakamichi Dragon Cassette Tape Deck Broken Parts Repair ProjectAiwa Ad-f990 Cassette Deck - No ReserveVintage..rare Sony El-5 Elcaset Cassette Deck ...readWmd6 Sony Professional With Case Rebuilt By Sony Engineer Of 37 YearsPioneer Multi Cassette Changer Model Ctm6r Vintage 'new" Panasonic Tape Recorder With Fm/am Radio Model# Rq-512sNakamichi System One Cassette Deck 600Handles Rack Pioneer Ct-f700 1250Pre-owned Alpine Eq. #3312 & Pioneer Cassette Deck Super Tuner #keh-3600Vintage 1987 Yamaha Natural Sound Stereo Cassette Deck K-540 High End DigitalCassette Duplicator 4 Tape Duplicator By RecordexNakamichi Lx-5 Discrete Head Cassette DeckSony Automotive Cassette Player Xk8dPioneer Vintage Car Cassette Deck W/ Amplifier Kph-838 & Gm-40 Super Nice WowMarantz Portable Cassette Recorder Pm221 3 Head Pro Tape Deck - Excellent Cond!Nice Pioneer Ct-f7272 Stereo Cassette Tape Deck ComponentDenon Dr-m44 Rare Silver With Wood Sides For Repair As Close To Mint You'll Get Jvc Kd-v6 3 Head Cassette DeckMarantz Double Cassette Deck Pmd510 ProfessionalKenwood Kx-603 Vintage Cassette Deck (rare Gunmetal Finish Kx-630 Ka-9150 Match)Original Marantz Model 5030 Stereo Cassette Deck Handbook Of InstructionsNakamichi Rx-202 Realistic Cassette Tape Player Scp-25 Deck. Stereo Dolby Hifi. Vintage ComponentVintage Harman Kardon Hk-2000 Variable Speed Cassette Deck Superscope C-104 By Marantz Professional Cassette Tape Deck Player/recorderSansui Sc-3330 Cassette Tape Recorder Player Ex Cond Scarce With Rack Handles Nakamichi Bx-150 2 Head Cassette Untested Powers On Super Clean .99 No Reserve!Sony Tc-wr97es Dual Stereo Cassette Tape Deck Wood Cabinet For Parts/repairNakamichi Cp-1 Cd/ Full Logic Cassette Player 100+ Pcs Mix Cassette Tape Machine Square Common Belt Assorted Universal RepairVintage Rotel Rd-12f Front Load Stereo Cassette Deck Never Used In Original BoxTechnics Rs-tr311 Hx Pro Double Cassette Deck Player Recorder - New Old StockPioneer Ct-w616dr Double Cassette Deck Auto Reverse – Excellent ConditionNakamichi 500 Dual-tracer Cassette Tape RecorderDenon Drm-700 3 Head Stereo Cassette Tape Deck Recorder Player Works GreatVintage Yellow Panasonic Rq-711s Cassette Tape Player Recorder W/cordSanyo Rd 5370 Stereo Cassette Deck/recorderVintage Akai Gx-r60 Stereo Cassette Deck. Excellent Condition.