Christopher White - 03/25/2014
Of all the cassette decks I've owned over 40 years in Hi-Fi/audio the Yamaha K560 is my favourite! True, a Nakamichi Z1000 is smoother and a little more dynamic - and only a little, a Pioneer CTF1000 is fine enough, my brother's Nak DR2 is just fine too and there have been several other decks over the years. I have now a much newer Yamaha KX380 in mint condition that was inherited from my mother and rarely used, still, it's the K560 I want to listen to my cassettes on.
I first bought it in the early 90's and I used it regularly for almost three years and have great memories of so much fun listening to this deck, recording directly from CD at the time, as the CD player had no headphone jack. I played around recording both with and without Dolby, the latter being very successful with Maxell UDII. Best tape of the lot though was and is Sony Metal XR, very flat frequency response and wonderfully dynamic, bringing the best performance from the head, Dolby B working very well with this tape. TDK SA is good, as is the TDK Metal, though I don't like the peakier top end with that metal formulation, the Sony being as good as it gets in my experience.
What kept me listening with a huge smile on my face all those years was the sheer sense of life coming from my headphones, either from the inbuilt jack or via a separate headphone amp. The onboard headphone amp is a little more forward and a touch grainier than via the signal from the analogue outputs, yet I enjoy it all the same. I was particularly impressed with the bass quality, something I am very picky about as this affects the timing and pace of the music, a Sony Walkman Pro was only a very small amount in the superior by comparison.
Removing the lid and the base exposes a very nicely made bit of kit, good quality parts and an excellent layout of the various sections of the circuit board. I've since replaced the power supply capacitors with fine quality Nichicons and the power supply diodes with faster Vishay versions. I also swapped out the opamp in the headphone section with a top class AD825, one of the finest opamps of it's type that I've come across and one I use in another hybrid headphone amp. I'm looking forward to hearing how the headphone outlet sounds now, maybe it will be brilliant here ... or maybe not.
All in all, one of the most fun bits of kit I've used over the years and once it gets it's new drive belt shortly, it will have a new lease of life for years to come.
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