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Stereo Cassette Deck (1980)

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Type: 2-head, single compact cassette deck

Track System: 4-track, 2-channel stereo

Tape Speed: 4.76 cm/s

Heads: 1 x record/playback, 1 x erase

Tape Type: type I, Cr02, FeCr, Metal

Frequency Response: 30Hz to 16kHz  (Metal tape)

Signal to Noise Ratio: 60dB  (dolby B)

Wow and Flutter: 0.14%

Total Harmonic Distortion: 1.0%

Dimensions: 420 x 120 x 300mm

Weight: 6.6kg

Finish: silver

Accessories: wired remote control

Year: 1980


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Reviewed Sep 16th, 2016 by demort71

I won't give this deck a 10, simply because there were other decks out there in the late 70s and early 80s that were better, by pure virtue of their features and the technology used on them. That was something that money could buy, if you had it to spend.

Suffice it to say that the KD-A33 was a quality deck in its time and certainly not a cheap entry level model. JVC's top of the line model of this generation was the KD-A8 that had a MSRP of $750. That was one of the decks I couldn't afford to buy. Price of the A33 was $300 and the A55 was $360. Those were the notes made on the back of the sales brochure in 1980 that I still have. Coming up with $300 was tough enough for most people in 1980!

Quoting directly from JVC's sales brochure for their 1980 cassette deck lineup: JVC is proud to recommend the KD-A33 for the 'average audiophile'. Because we know it has better than average performance, delivering true high fidelity sound and offering a full complement of basic features... This sums up the KD-A33 quite well I think. JVC offered nine cassette deck models in 1980 and this was #4 out of nine, with five models costing more and offering more features.

The KD-A55 was the next model after the KD-A33. They shared the same specifications and basic features. The KD-A55 had a optional remote and came with a music scan feature that the A33 did not have, as well as a timer standby function for recording. Both decks had the same Sendust or Sen Alloy heads and 2 motor transport, as well as the Super ANRS noise reduction system. While the A33 was more Spartan than the A55, it could playback and record as well as the A55.

I bought a new A33 in 1981 on clearance and had it for nine years until it was stolen. I bought another A33 two years ago and probably enjoy and appreciate it more than I did my original A33. The second A33 still does a great job of playback and recording vinyl.

The A33 does a great job recording vinyl! If the vinyl record being recorded is in good shape and well engineered, then the deck will reproduce that quality of sound as well as the receiver/amp, table and phono cartridge can. What is inputted into the deck is copied pretty much spot on.

JVC's Super ANRS noise reduction feature eliminated soft noise or hiss that lesser decks were prone to produce via their drive motors and would pick up during recording. Super ANRS boosted low level signals in soft musical passages during recording, then automatically cut back on them the same amount during playback. There is also a Dolby B selection in the event that you might play the tape on a non-JVC deck not equipped with the ANRS feature, which could not replicate the ANRS feature. Later JVC decks came with Dolby C as the electronics industry standardized their equipment with the Dolby noise reduction system. At any rate Super ANRS did its job well. The ANRS feature was contained in its own dedicated IC for improved reliability.

The A33's features were pretty straight forward-left and right channel recording input knobs, Super ANRS with a Dolby B type noise reduction option, chrome & metal tape compatible, timer delay switch, record mute, lighted soft touch controls for the deck operation, 2 motor tape transport drive system with full logic control, Sen Alloy heads, optional remote control available and like the other JVC models had, cool analog style VU meters.

Like the A55, the A33 had impressive stats including .05% wow and flutter, a wide frequency response of 20-18,000Hz, THD of 1%. These specs enabled the deck to faithfully copy music played by better turntables equipped with the better cartridges of the day.

Sure, the A33 doesn't have auto reverse, which was a feature yet to be released when this deck was developed in the late 1970s. The lack of that basic feature doesn't keep me from owning this deck, as it performs its playback and recording functions so well. For a basic work horse, I think the KD-A33 is a pleasure to own and use as a daily deck!



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