Can I Connect a Cassette Deck to a New Receiver?

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Q I have become enamored with the Denon AVR-X7200W receiver after reading a review of it in Sound & Vision. Not only does it have all the features I want, it should allow me to expand my home theater/audio world with little compromise to my existing system.  

Now this is really old school, but I need to know if there is some provision for connecting a cassette deck and CD recorder.  I know the AVR-X7200W lacks dedicated tape loop inputs/outputs, but I wonder if some of its other assignable audio jacks could be used for that purpose.  Why? I have a couple of vintage cars with cassette players in them and want to preserve the original equipment aspect of the cars, right down to the audio systems. It’s great to go cruising and listen to music, no matter what the vintage, in a vintage car. Please let me know if my plan is possible with this Denon receiver.—Ed Sobiecki

A Preserving the original equipment aspect of a vintage car — now there’s a good reason finally to initiate serious discussion of the recently resurrected cassette tape format !

As you’ve noted, Denon does not provide a dedicated tape loop input/output that would allow for easy connection of a cassette or CD recorder. The AVR-X7200W is like any other new A/V receiver in this respect — receiver makers stopped including that feature not long after the success of iPods and smartphones virtually snuffed out the market for cassettes and recordable CDs.

What the AVR-X7200W does have that should come in handy for your situation is line-level second- and third-zone analog stereo outputs. Unlike many other receivers with multizone capabilities, the Denon can convert all audio inputs, including HDMI and other digital audio sources, for analog stereo output. That means you can connect your cassette and CD recorder to the AVR-X7200W’s zone 2 and 3 outputs, respectively, and record any audio source with it that you want.

The downside to this scenario? With no tape loop input or tape monitor control — features provided on “vintage” receivers — you won’t be able to monitor what you’re recording. And that could prove to be a hassle when making awesome mixtapes of classic rock driving songs. Fortunately, most cassette and CD recorders are equipped with a headphone output jack, so you could always use that as a workaround for monitoring.

brenro's picture

There are several companies that make modern car stereos that closely mimic the original radios.

Geoffrey McBoober's picture

Is that Chelsea Manning?

rhirschey's picture

Couldn't you use one of those cassette-style adapters that essentially just hookup to a 3.5mm headphone jack? Then you could just plug it into your phone and have access to all kinds of music, and still be able to take advantage of your vintage cassette player. Are you really that set on using literal cassette tapes, rather than just preserving the original equipment and putting it to use in some manner?