Please note that we only list hi-fi recorders here and in most cases only recorders. Personal stereos are not listed unless they have a recording facility of a reasonable quality.
Acoustic Research (Teledyne) Introduced the RD-06 recorder in 1988 a couple of years after the rest of the "Black line" was introduced, it was basically a Japanese recorder either rebadged or had some final assembly in the USA. It featured 2 motors, heavy flywheel mechanism, full logic control, manual record level, digital readout real time counter, headphone socket with level control and could be controlled by an AR remote via the tuners or receivers that the company made, the USA RRP was USD 500 when it was introduced.
Akai Electric Co. The last range of decks from the company was introduced in the latter half of the 90's and the last 2 decks the company made were the DX-1200 a deck with a dolby B,C & HX Pro but fairly modest technical specifications and the dual DX-W1100 deck that has the same spec's, they were both discontinued in late 2001.
BIC When the company stopped manufacturing cassette decks in the 1980's a company called South Street Service Company bought up the spares inventory and does supply both spares and service for the company's products, BIC was one of the few cassette player manufacturer that made recorders that supported double speed.
Denon The company axed the whole range of their Professional line of cassette recorders in early 2003, these were fairly recent models originally introduced in the latter half of the 90's or later. The cheapest of that line-up was the DN-720R that features auto tape selector, Dolby B, C and HX Pro and bias adjust, next up is the DN-730R similarly featured and specified but comes with a wristwatch style remote control and other control improvements. Top of the pro line single decks was the 3 head DN-790R that features Dolby S and balanced connectors in addition to a host of other features, and has a much better audio specification than the cheaper decks. The pro style dual decks were the DN-740R and the DN-770R, both are auto-reverse decks that feature Dolby B and C but in addition the 770 has Dolby HX Pro and fully independent decks (you can record on both decks on the 770, from 2 different sources at the same time). These decks will make an excellent second hand buy as they are all fairly recent models and have robust mechanisms, the only problem may lie in buying them from radio stations were they have often seen very heavy use. Note that all the above decks feature a variable speed control, have a fast music search and are rack mountable, in addition the 730, 770 and 790 also feature some advanced automation and control interfacing options including serial ports etc.
The company also axed the upmarket consumer model DRW-840G at the same time, it's a dual deck that can record on both decks, an unusual feature on a recorder in this price range but unlike most other decks that have this feature are in actually 2 fully independent decks the DR-W840 has only one pair of ins and outs, so the only thing you gain by being able to record on deck 2 is the ability to make 2 copy's at the same time, otherwise the unit is well specified and sports a manual bias control, Dolby B, C and HX Pro and auto tape selector amongst other features. Denon discontinued the DRR-M50 in late 2002 leaving owners of the M-30, M-50 and M-31 systems with only the choice of the lowly DRR-M31 as a cassette recorder, the company has erased all info of this model from the net but it sheared the exact same specifications and features as the DDR-201SA (link in German).
Harman Kardon The company appears to never have really made them cassette decks from the ground up, they do however seem to have a knack for selecting quality OEM products to sell, their line-up in the 70's and 80's included some really good Nakamichi decks for instance, the company has manuals and technical information for most of their older cassette decks available from here.
JVC The company has minimal information on the following decks available on their website : TD-V662BK, TD-W718BK and the TD-R462BK. All of these decks were discontinued in 2001 or so and if you press on the "Features" option on the sidebar (on the JVC site) you will get the full technical specification of the decks.
Kenwood The company scuttled most of the separates audio range in early 2003 including most of their cassette decks but still has some information on them on the web including the American/Asian market models such as the CT-405, it a dual deck that sports Dolby B, C and HX Pro, auto tape sensing, manual bias adjustment and an MPX filter, all this sold for less than USD 200. The cheaper CT-401 and CT-403 models, both dual machines that have more basic features and have only Dolby B. Getting information on the European models that were discontinued at the same time is a bit more difficult find info on, the KXF-W3030 is a basic dual deck that sports Dolby B etc. in many respects similar to the CT-403 shown above it had a sister deck called KXF-3030S that had all the same features as plus a sync channel so that you can have a synchronised recording from a CD player. The KFX-W4030 is another dual deck but offers Dolby B, C and HX Pro in addition to auto tape calibration and BIAS adjust all in all similar to the CT-405 shown above this deck was also available in a sync capable version as the KFX-W4030S.
Marantz You can find some pictures and specification of early 80's era cassette recorders at Marantz homepage at classicaudio, note that some of the info is incorrect, specifically design attributes (the website claims they were designed in the USA due to that being printed on the machines while they were actually designed in Japan).
Luxman The last 2 recorders were discontinued in 2002 and were the 2 head K-322 and the 3 head K-373(both single decks). they were strangely enough only distributed in certain markets (mainland Asia and Canada for instance) but not even printed in catalogues distributed in other parts of the world.
NAD I have never been a fan of cassette recorders from this company, even though I must admit that the amps are excellent. The company has manuals online for their discontinued 613 and 616 models, well those are the only 2 listed on their site but by poking around a little we found that they also have the manual for the 602 there even though they do not link to it, odd.
Nakamichi This company was for a long time the premier manufacturer of cassette desks in the mid to high price range and one of the largest OEM manufacturer of tape decks, but the declining sales in high end cassette recorders with the advent of DAT created difficulties for them and for a time in the mid/late 90's they stopped producing recorders while the company was reorganised. After much pleading by fans they company reintroduced cassette decks to their line-up in the form of the 2 head DR 8 and the 3 head DR 10, however for a variety of reasons these did not sell well and remaining stocks were dumped by the company onto the market in 2001 at knock down prices.
For info on older products from the company we have usually pointed readers towards the The unofficial Nakamichi homepage which is an excellent source of information on Nakamichi decks from around 1980 and onwards, there are a couple of problems however, first and foremost the website has never collected information on the company's historically important early cassette products (perhaps since they were mostly OEM) and secondly the author of the website has always been somewhat paranoid about people "stealing" information from his website, this has resulted in him installing some sort of copyright protection software on his server which in some cases results in his pages displaying text backwards or completely garbled (if a copy of it is in your cache, press reload, works in most cases), if you keep this in mind the site is still an excellent resource. Another page that features scans of old brochures is the Nakamichi Cyberspot and there is a FAQ available from Sonic Sense, a company that used to be one of the leading Nakamichi repair shops, the Scott's Nakamichi page also has lots of information but beware that some of it is hersay and the usual internet Uncle Technology. UK based rag Hi-fi world has retro reviews of the 480 line and the CR7E.
Some of you may have noticed that every time a "what tape recorder to buy" question is asked on public forums the responders are always Nakamichi fans that recommend that you get an old Nak regardless of what sort of a recorder the original query was aiming for and for what usage it was intended (Nakamichi never made dual decks for instance, so if you are in the market for a new budget dual deck you are hardly going to be serviced by an old BX from the 80's). Now this is of course partly due to the enormous brand loyalty that the company has, but there is another reason for this that people often do not realise, Nakamichi recorders uses a non standard equalisation curve, it's close enough to be playable on other recorders and vice versa (the difference is only about 2db) and it is indeed an improvement from the standard Prague eq, but it means that cassettes recorded on a Nakamichi never sound as good on third party machines as they did on the original recorder and this has given the brand a bit of an invisible barrier when it comes to sound quality testing. And finally if you want to chat with other Nak owners try this mailing list. Spares & service : For repair information see the Cassette Repairs section on the grey sidebar but note that due to a head configuration that is different to other cassette decks you will have to find a specialised technician to align your machine unless it is a very early or very late model since tools made especially for Naks are needed and the company apparently no longer supplies them, belts should not be a problem, they are usually more or less standard, there were a few models that had specific widths but at the least one company is still making them. A gentleman is making infrared reciever that translates IR signals intended for any Sony VCR into control signals for the wired remote connector that is on most classic mid and high price Nakamichi decks.