Is there a quality brand that still makes home stereos w cassette decks?
August 30, 2014 8:03 PM   Subscribe

I know Jensen and Emerson make them but is there a quality brand that still makes home stereos with a (or optimally dual, but I know that's not probable) cassette deck and CD-playing capabilities? I want an actual home stereo and not a boombox. I don't really care if it can read burned cds or anything else that one would consider fancy in the 90's. Just a stereo that plays cds and tapes that isn't guaranteed to malfunction in a year or two. Is there maybe a store I can order from that has a stock of dusty, unpurchased stereos from the '90s??
posted by atinna to Technology (10 answers total)
Would something like this turntable fit the bill? It plays vinyl albums, as well as CDs and cassette tapes.
posted by Telpethoron at 8:31 PM on August 30, 2014

Much to my surprise, TEAC still make dual decks.
posted by scruss at 8:38 PM on August 30, 2014

I'm looking for a stereo system, not just the main unit.
posted by atinna at 8:48 PM on August 30, 2014

Our brilliant 1970s stereo 'system' was made up of three pieces - a turntable, a tape deck and an amplifirer/tuner (plus later a cd deck) with speakers that connected to the amplifier/tuner. Is that what you mean by stereo system or do you mean an all-in-one with separate speakers?
posted by Kerasia at 9:00 PM on August 30, 2014

Hi Kerasia, I mean the all in one, three-piece stereo system that was so common in the '90s. Pretty much something like: this.

(edited because I'm a dummy that doesn't know how to link)
posted by atinna at 9:50 PM on August 30, 2014

There are a bunch that show up on a basic google search for a bookshelf stereo with a cassette deck (example) that seem like they might fit the bill. Could you clarify if you looking for something more specialized than that?
posted by Dip Flash at 11:10 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maybe try a pawnshop?
I found an RCA unit that has a 5 CD changer, dual cassette deck and AM/FM radio with separate left & right speakers for about $45.00.
posted by lungtaworld at 5:27 AM on August 31, 2014

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posted by taz at 6:34 AM on August 31, 2014

"Bookshelf (or "shelf") stereo" , "compact", or "mini" are, I think, the terms you want to use for searching for this kind of thing. "Home stereo" in general is kinda usually taken to mean separate components, so you've gotta refine your search terms.

I want an actual home stereo and not a boombox.

Well, even in their heyday, these kind of systems were often meant to straddle the line between "boombox" and "home stereo" - large & powerful enough to fill a small apartment, but no big deal to pack the thing up & take it to the park or whatever, you could run it on batteries or plug it into the wall. So something called a "boombox" or "portable" system might still fit the bill for you. Look at the physical size and speaker wattage.

that isn't guaranteed to malfunction in a year or two.

Yeah, even when these things were all over the place, they were meant as cheap alternatives to "real" home stereos, so it was always a roll of the dice as far as quality went. Not that some of the stuff wasn't good quality (I'm still using a pair of JVC speakers from a bookshelf system from the late 90's as my main speakers - hey, they still work and they sound good) but I dunno how much of a serious "quality" comparison you can make between different manufacturers/models for this kind of inexpensive equipment.

It's just how manufacturing works - they make the cheap stuff by the (literal) boatload, and quality control is expensive, so they don't really worry much about quality control for the cheap stuff. If it's dead out of the box or breaks in a couple of years, it's cheaper for the manufacturer or retailer to just give you a new one if it's under warranty, or to just kinda shrug and say, "well, you didn't pay much for it, you can't expect the thing to last forever."

Having said that, going with brands that tend to have a good reputation in general for home stereo/portable personal electronics would probably be the way to go. I'm thinking Sony, Yamaha, Panasonic, JVC, Onkyo, maybe Aiwa and RCA.

Is there maybe a store I can order from that has a stock of dusty, unpurchased stereos from the '90s??

Even if such a store exists, you don't wanna do that. Cassette decks have a lot of moving parts, and a lot of those parts are rubber or plastic, materials that will deteriorate over time even if the gear's just sitting in a warehouse.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:17 AM on August 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

soundguy, that was very helpful. Ultimately I'm going to buy a secondhand one online with all the features I want and hope for the best.
posted by atinna at 9:55 PM on August 31, 2014

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