The tape player almost feels jurassic when you consider that subsequently the the compact disc the mini disc followed and could arguably be superseded themselves by blu ray audio. However it certainly brought back nostalgia when listen to this cassette player. As people will have noticed already due to the age of this player and due to manufacturers ceasing production of cassette players, it is now only possible to purchase these second hand. This also has it's upsides to as it provides the potential benefit of picking up a bargain for very little outlay.
Upon seeing this cassette player again, you are instantly reminded of why in it's heyday it was such a popular product. First of all, we have the sturdy rugged built design which means barring accidentally dropping this on the floor, it is definitely built to last. Secondly the attractive feature of this is the twin cassette deck facility which allowed for the easy copying of one cassette to another. This seems somewhat ironic especially when you take into consideration the uproar that copying music has generated in this day and age.
However music technology has moved on and in this regard, it becomes a matter of what extent people have embraced the compact disc. I to still own some cassettes but as they have essentially been phased out, my newest cassettes are almost a decade old. The key test of course is comparing like with like and it under this test that cassettes unfortunately lack the sparkle. I feel that in every aspect of sound reproduction, this cassette player comes up short against comparably priced cd players. There is certainly a nice bright sound to the music, you can contentedly listen to music without calling into question aspects of the sonics but compared to compact disc players, there is a definite lack of spaciousness, as a result, recordings feel quite flat and muffled and a result there is the conscious awareness that you are not hearing the sound as it was intended to be heard.
This is a solid, well built cassette player and has it's charms but for those whose primary focus sound quality, then I am afraid the tape player has clearly had it's day.
Although I haven't bought the deck myself, I have assessed it and find that it is another unit that Sony has provided for those of us who want value for money. I was involved in specifying an auto-reverse tape deck for our church to record services with and was wanting to push for this deck as the one to buy. It has all the basic features that a good cassette deck must have i.e. Dolby B&C noise reductionm, Dolby / B&O HX-Pro (which will lead to good-quality recordings), auto-reverse on both transports, AMS function for use in navigating pre-recorded musicassettes, high-speed dubbing amongst other things. I have handled the display sample unit abd found that it is built to last -- all the switches and knobs have a certain solid feel about them. Another thing I like about this unit is that a proper eject latch is used rather than one pressing on the cassette doors to open them which means that there is less likelihood for cassette doors to hang open through accidental opening. This deck is certainly worth it as an "all-rounder" deck; and I would certainly be involved in specifying this model or its successors.
The Sony TCWE435 Twin Cassette Deck hosts a great range of features including many not featured on so-called "top of the range" cassette decks, features such as digital display tape counters on both decks and pitch control which makes it perfect for worn out cassettes which have become stretched with years of use, perhaps in dodgy walkmans with bad drive systems. Both playback and recording sound quality is good and, although cassettes have a limit to how good they will play back anyway by nature, it would be hard to find anything as good as this deck in the average enviroment, which is after all what we are all likely to have. It is also unlikely that we will see any advances in cassette based technology since digital mediums have become common place (minidisc and CD-Rs and even mp3), not that much could be done to improve the Sony TCWE435 Twin Cassette Deck. The highly useful controls and displays present will get the most out of any tape in almost any condition. The Sony TCWE435 Twin Cassette Deck features Dolby B/C/Hx Pro noise reduction, which reduces (not eliminate) tape hiss. Personally, I do not play anything back with Dolby as it kills too much of the top end. I record with Dolby on and playback with Dolby off and use good quality ferric tapes and chrome tapes, mainly to go with my personal cassette player (an Aiwa one) and the combination works well for me. Whilst this is a subjective opinion and not based on scientifically measure things like "total harmonic distortion", "siganl to noise ratios" et al, what this Sony deck does is produce excellent recordings that sound good on most playback systems (I don't use midi systems as they are of such poor quality in general) and it plays well, too. Reasonably priced too and is well worth investing in now before cassette decks become rare as the makers concentrate on CD and MD systems.
Sony's "435" is a mighty fine addition to anyones seperates system. A decent host of features, such as digital display tape counters on both decks and an extremely useful pitch control on deck "A", makes it ideal for all those old tapes which we played to death in the days before we heard of CD's and minidiscs. Sound quality is good and, although Sony produce a more expensive "higher" spec machine with an aluminium front, the only real gains being decorative and different colour finish, the "435" should see you through until your tapes wear out (or you've replaced them with CD's). Smart appearance (I think this looks better than the top of the range models Sony do, although that's a subjective issue). The only points in which the unit is let down is the shorter than normal (by that, I mean in comparison with other Sony seperates in the "intermediate" range) mains lead and naff mains plug (smaller than other Sony's - petty, I know) and the amateurish, flimsy mechanical eject buttons. What the designers were thinking of cannot even be guessed at. Within a few years, cassettes will be "obslete" but this deck should see you through many years of use, so add this piece of kit to your stack.