Though digital music accounts for much of what we now listen to, old school formats like vinyl and audio cassettes steadfastly refuse to disappear. The former is enjoying something of a healthy revival at the moment, but trying to find an album released on audio cassette is a little more challenging. Professional audio gear manufacturer Tascam is prepping for a cassette tape revival with the release of the 202mkVII dual cassette deck.
The new four track, two channel, rack-mountable cassette recorder is not designed for home mixtapers but rather professional studios, community halls or houses of worship that still need to make use of audio cassette tapes.
In fact, about the only concession to our modern ways is a USB output around back that allows for transfer of analog cassette content to digital media such as thumb drives or a computer's hard drive, a bit like the turntables from Audio Technica, Sony and others with built-in ports for ripping vinyl over USB.
The twin head decks make for extended playback and recording, with Tape 1 featuring ±12 percent pitch control. Making use of the high impedance microphone input to the front means that users can add real time commentary to a tape running in Tape 1, and record it on Tape 2.
In normal mode, the unit outputs the sound via line outputs/headphones, but the 202mkVII also offers a special playback mode where the user can monitor audio from one deck with headphones plugged into the front while the output from the other deck flows through unbalanced RCA ports to speakers, allowing for precision cueing.
Does the release of the 202mkVI signal a comeback for the almost forgotten audio cassette? Doubtful, but it's destined for professional setups anyway, not home hi-fi enthusiasts – confirmed by its rather hefty US$499.99 price tag. It's available now.
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