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I remember when... audio tape decks led the way (March 1984)

Anyone who's spent a rainy day meticulously compiling a mix tape will have fond memories of the audio cassette. After all, presenting your loved one with an iTunes playlist wouldn't go down quite so well on Valentine's Day, would it?

Of course, finding out a player had chewed up all your hard work was all too familiar – and it's hard to be too wistful for that dreaded tape hiss – but the class-leading cassette decks offered an audio performance that stands up even today.

For much of the 1980s, Nakamichi kept ahead of the competition. Although the Japanese company's Dragon was its most celebrated player, it was the 1984 launch of the RX series that created the biggest stir.

  • The Nakamichi RX-505. The slick transport and precise engineering of the company's tape players set them apart. Indeed, our March 1984 issue sees us label Nakamichi 'the Rolls Royce of tape decks'.
  • Alongside the cassette deck Supertest, our garish cover (purple!) promotes a four-way 'Top tuners' Group Test. The winner is Sony's ST-JX500L (£165), but our reviewer seems to spend most of his time battling with indoor aerials. Thank the lord for DAB.
  • Any sonic limitations to the RX-505 were down to the tape used, so it paid to buy chrome or, even better, metal cassettes for recordings. This advert is for Maxell's MX90 – one of the elite Class 4 tapes on the market at the time.