I acquired another piece of retro audio: an ITT SL-54 cassette recorder, which in its day was considered portable, though weighing-in at about 2.5kg with batteries, most people these days used to iPods and plastic MP3 players would dispute the word 'portable'. I acquired it from the previous owner for nothing but the price of postage, because its belts are shot.
I had the exact same model when I was a kid in the early 80s. Stupidly I gave it away in 1984 because by then I'd 'gone stereo' with my first (naff) music centre. I only needed a mono cassette recorder to use with my computer and the ITT's DIN socket was incompatible with my computer's jack-leads.
While only mono, it is AC bias and it was capable of really good recordings, either with its internal mike or via its (mike level) DIN input. It had an intelligent ALC system which, although not as versatile as a manual control, was I think unique to ITT.
I remember that at the time ('81/'82) I used to boast to my dad that its recordings were superior to those from his Pioneer HiFi system that could take these new-fangled Metal tapes. The mechanism's all-metal build-quality is from a bygone era. It could also rewind C60 in 35 seconds flat.
I've ordered a set of drivebelts from a supplier in Germany. The R/P head has seen better days too I think, so a new one of those will be on the cards. I can't make my mind up whether to buy a generic mono head or hunt-down a good stereo head and wire it for mono.
Either way I'm going to really look forward to recommissioning this (not so little) portable deck. The modern audio era is all about trying to get bits of software and comms-protocols to work seamlessly with each other and swearing at some kind of device's display in the process. In complete contrast it's good to get something 'physically tangible' to fix. Give me a set of screwdrivers, a soldering-iron and some pointed-nose pliers and I'll take on the world.