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  The Marantz PMD430: The Best Tape Deck Ever Made?

      Date posted: March 15, 2007

 
An AIG Online Exclusive I realized at the time, mid-1989, that buying this tape recorder and selling my Nakamichi CR7 would be viewed by readers and other audiophiles as sheer insanity. Now, more than 15 years later, I still have my PMD430, and yet another one to last me through my dotage. Don’t see many CR7s coming up on eBay any more, if any are still in use.Marantz PMD 430 Cassette Deck But I’m not going to knock that once great machine. I come not to praise nor to bury CR7 (I’ll get to that later), but to marvel at the longevity of this little professional Marantz, many of whose siblings have toiled for decades in courtrooms and other places where accurate archiving is in order.

There were just two stereo models, the PMD430 being the 3-head version, featuring Dolby B and dbx noise reduction. The single-motor transport uses a belt-driven capstan system for low flutter, and while not bullet-proof, the mechanism has been reliable and unfussy. Record speed is very accurate, and variable playback speed allows tuning to pitch of recordings made on other machines. After I bought the second one (which was actually a CP430, made for the European market but otherwise identical), I had its speed synchronized by All-In-One Electronics tape-deck whiz, Boris, after he had made some other circuit board repairs earlier this year.

A few weeks later I decided it might be interesting to once again measure the original 430 along with the newly acquired one. I first ran curves in Summer 89 (Volume 9 #1), and was quite astonished, not just at the frequency response, but the fact that it would maintain those curves at Dolby calibration level, something no other cassette deck in my experience had ever managed. As I noted then, “As you can see, it is almost ruler flat, with just the slightest evidence of the beginnings of tape saturation above 15 kHz. What this tells us is that with this tape [TDK MA-X], especially if one switches in dbx and the limiter (both off for measurements here), it is almost impossible to drive this recorder into distortion.”

Would all this still be true? Well, measurement techniques have been refined over the years, and now I can simply hook up the recorder to my AudioControl SA3050 1/3 octave spectrum analyzer, fire up its pink noise generator, set levels, and put it into record. I chose 3 tapes of current vintage, a TDK MA 90 Type 4, Maxell XLS 110 Type 2, and Memorex dB 60 Type 1, planning to show results for all 3. But due to the virtually identical traces with all 3 (and a few other Fuji and other tape brands), and the difficulty of photographing the 1/3 octave measurements (follow the bouncing balls!), I opted to show just the one above, which is the TDK MA. The less potent tapes showed a dB or so greater rolloff at 16 kHz and above, the ferric down 3 or 4 dB at the highest frequencies, while the Type 2 and 4 had strong energy to 20 kHz. It is worth pointing out that full waveforms can be reproduced by analog tape at these frequencies, something 44.1 digital is incapable of doing. Note also that the rolloff at the lowest frequencies is partly the captured bounces of the “balls”, as well as some moderate slope in response.

Marantz PMD 430 Cassette Deck

The deck shown above is my 17-year-old PMD430, but the performance of the CP430 (numbered with a 2, since they are visually identical right down to the vinyl protective case) was virtually identical after Boris’s cleanup and tuneup. In all those years, I’ve made many outdoor recordings with trains, loons, storms, and so on, as well as annual recordings of the Branksome Hall Girls School Christmas Carol service, and other regular concert recording gigs. In recent times, it has been a loyal backup to my various portable DAT recorders, as well as preserving many CBC Radio 2 concert broadcasts for continued listening. These days I use either almost exclusively in dbx mode, which maintains the extraordinary high frequency headroom (which Dolby doesn’t), as well as reducing noise by 30 dB without any audible consequence. Though I’ve heard dbx pump in other applications, especially when used for dynamic expansion, here it works perfectly, with no noise modulation that I can discern, either.

I you find this performance a little incredible (as in unbelievable), note at photo top that the record/play controls are down (on), the Pause button closest to the meters is not engaged, and the Monitor button below Record and Play is out (tape), all this clearly designating off-tape monitoring in progress. The Limiter button is also out (off), and the meters can be seen to read just a hair above Dolby level. Seventeen years and still performing at spec or better! And a well used (and well loved) portable deck at that!

I’ve owned open reel machines that don’t even come close to this at 7 1/2 IPS, and here we’re operating at 1 7/8 speed. My considerable experience with open reel machines has been less successful, most of them being very finicky for setup, prone to excessive head wear, and very choosey about what tape brands they will tolerate. Not so here. Also, like many other professional recordists, I’ve been hit by the bad binder problems of the 70s, and now have a closet full of 7 1/2 and 15 IPS tapes that demand head cleaning after every track to retain any high frequency response. Luckily this curse did not spill over into the cassette genre, which has proved to be a very robust medium. Most of my cassettes have retained their playback quality, even tapes that spent dozens of seasons in various nooks and crannies of my numerous cars. Would that CDs were so robust!

So, if I’m seeming a little optimistically nostalgic about Philips’s humble little invention of 40 years ago, it’s nice to be able to show the proof of its evolution into a true audiophile format in the 80s. In the case of the Marantz PMD430, it is an evolution of excellence that has endured into the 21st Century.

Andrew Marshall


Comment:

Hi, I came across this article with interest. I am a musician and love analog sound and recently bought a Marantz Cassette Recorder CP 430. I would be very grateful if you could recommend a suitable high quality stereo mic for use with this machine.

Regards, Gerard

AM Replies,

As you’ve no doubt observed, the CP/PMD430 has a pair of 1/4″ TS (tip/sleeve) microphone inputs, but the left is also TRS (tip/ring/sleeve), so you can plug both types of mike in for stereo recording. SONY has several excellent electret types that plug in directly, including the excellent ECM-99 stereo mike.

What you should be aware of is that the 430 has no microphone powering for electrets, so you need types that have internal batteries (usually AAs) for this purpose. There are also lots of dynamics that can also serve, but these may not have the high-end crispness of the electret condensers.

Comment:
My Marantz PMD430 is an excellent machine, and it still works well.  However, the tape runs fast.  That is, when played back on another machine, the tape is being played back slower than it was recorded, so it sounds slow.  The tape mechanism needs a speed calibration adjustment.  I’m sure there is an adjustment for it somewhere, but I can’t find it.  Can you point out where it is located?

AM Replies:

The speed calibration pot is on the bottom of the circuit board, so you remove the bottom plate. I believe it is clearly marked. However, it’s a tricky hit-and-miss operation that will require a calibration tape to determine speed via frequency. In other words, a technician has to match the frequency on the tape to the same one on a very accurate tone generator; I believe the tone frequency is around 3 kHz, also used to measure flutter.  He then has to make sure a signal recorded from the generator matches the source exactly, using a digital frequency meter.

That said, I would strongly advise you to take the recorder to a qualified technician in your area. That’s what I did, because I have two of these machines, and I wanted their speeds to exactly match. Also, as you know, you have variable speed control on playback, so it’s the record speed that has to be calibrated. You might also want to find out if your other machine is running at proper play speed. Good luck in getting things properly matched and set up.

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103 Responses to “The Marantz PMD430: The Best Tape Deck Ever Made?”

  1. Gerard Farrelly c-ie Says:

    Hi, I came across this article with interest. I am a musician and love analog sound and recently bought a Marantz Cassette Recorder CP 430. I would be very grateful if you could recommend a suitable high quality stero mic for use with this machine.

    Regards, Gerard
    www.stoneandfarrelly.com

  2. Al Adams c-unknown Says:

    Hello I recently Purchased one of these Marantz PMD430 Recorders for $23 Dollars at a Midland, Michigan, Fea-Market it came with Two Dead Battery Packs and a Dead Power Supply AC Adapter, I put Three half Dead D-size Batteries in it and it Runs!! I also tried a DC power (Bench Variable Voltage DC Type {Heath-Kit Zero to 15 volt 10 Amp} ) set to 4.5 Volts DC at about 2/3 of an amp if I remember Right and the PMD430 works GREAT! Al

  3. Jean Watford - New Zealand c-nz Says:

    Hi I purched a Marantz PMD221 in January 1997. Only 2 minor repairs is that time. It has been used 10 hours a week since 1997 plus long weekend dance conventions. It’s nearly ready for retirement. Any good replacements available anywhere?

  4. Bob c-au Says:

    Hi Andrew, I loved reading above article because I’m also a very dedicated owner of a Marantz CP-430 that motivates me to keep my music tape collection. (and maybe future generations?)

    But I have a problem with me Marantz CP-430 that need to be fixed or this fantastic analog cassette-deck is to be junked. Who can fix it I wonder? Maybe you can give me some advise? I’m happy to send the unit it anywhere in the world to someone who can fix it!!!

    This is the strange problem regardless of tape playing:
    N.R. in DOLBY B position, only RIGHT channel is heard!
    N.R. in OFF position, only the RIGHT channel is heard!
    N.R. in dbx position BOTH channels can be heard in stereo!!

    I hope you understand how irritating this is on a otherwise perfect working unit.
    Ciao
    Bob

  5. Steve c-unknown Says:

    Have you tried Superscope?

  6. Steve c-unknown Says:

    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for the great info. I recently picked up 2 PMD 430s and I’m looking for a good mic. Will electret mics work if they are powered(battery or phantom)?

  7. Plez Hill c-unknown Says:

    Hello. I have four Marantz PMD 430s. I recently used one of them to record a lecture before a live audience in San Francisco. The recording was made in stereo with Doby B using two Audio Technica 4047 mics for the subject and one 4033 to record the applause from the audience. The mics were hooked-up to a 1402 VLZ-pro mixer with two channels going from it to the PMD430. The 1 1/2 hour lecture (three tapes — 90 minute tapes recorded on one side only) were then played and recorded onto a computer digital track for editing. The final results were amazing and utilized to generate a commercial CD.

  8. Speed adjustment on PMD 430? c-us Says:

    Hello. I recently unearthed my 1989 Marantz PMD 430 to play some old tapes. It appears that it is running at about double the correct speed…like chipmunks singing.
    Adjusting the speed can’t put the tapes back into normal speed.
    I did a search for All-In-One Electronics (Boris) and I’d like to get this repaired/adjusted.
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks,
    robkinghorn@msn.com
    952.220.3250

  9. Andrew Marshall c-unknown Says:

    Hi Rob,

    I suspect what has happened is that your PMD430’s capstan drive belt has broken, and the tape is being moved by the takeup reel belt. You don’t say where you are, but All-in-One Electronics is at 50 Wingold Avenue in North Toronto off Dufferin north of Eglinton, and their phone # is 416-789-0668, and the contact is Rob Tracy.

    cheers, Andrew

  10. Greg c-us Says:

    Hey, I’m a musician with an ever expanding (digital) home studio that now includes some high end API and other outboard gear. I just found a PDM430 in the trash on my street in Brooklyn…and it works!!! I really going to have some fun with this unit. I’m immediately impressed with the plethora of features and was thrilled to read your post and find out that this little thing indeed ROCKS!

  11. Andrew Marshall c-unknown Says:

    Hi Greg,

    All I can say is run with it, but make sure that if you can’t test and align it yourself, get a professional to do so, and also have the belts and switches checked and cleaned. That way you can get the performance it’s really capable of. The heads last forever, so that’s the ;east of your worries. Have fun!

    Andrew

  12. Steve c-unknown Says:

    One of the few drawbacks to tape recordings is how they react to some digital effects if you plan on sending recordings to a computer. Digital reverbs won’t sound good with tape recordings because of the low bandwidth. Besides that you can’t beat the natural compression that analog tape gives you. Digital will never be able able to simulate it. With the right mics you don’t need any noise reduction, allthough some digital noise reductions work very well with tape sources. I plan on using the 430 for my field work in school.
    I recently got 2 PMD430s and a Sony TC-D5M but nobody anywhere will sevice the Sony because the parts aren’t available, so the Marantz is the way to go.
    If you want to try a multi-track cassette recorder look for a late model Japanese made Tascam. They sound great too.
    Love that tape sound.

  13. Angel c-us Says:

    Hello,
    I just bought a PDM 430 and I ma very satisfy with sound. The unit plays perfect, I will like to know if when in play mode and reaches the end if is suppose to auto stop. When I FF and RR it does stop.
    Thanks,
    Angel

  14. Tim Wooding c-gb Says:

    I have a cp430 tape recorder and at present cannot find a supplier for a rb430 battery. Anyone have any ideas ???/ Thanks in advance. Tim

  15. Anonymous c-us Says:

    Andrew or anyone,
    I just bought a PDM 430 and mine when in play mode reches the end does not auto stop. Is this the way the 430 works or someyhing is wrong with the autostop in play mode.
    Thanks,
    Angel

  16. Alan c-us Says:

    My Marantz PMD430 is an excellent machine, and it still works well. However, the tape runs fast. That is, when played back on another machine, the tape is being played back slower than it was recorded, so it sounds slow. The tape mechanism needs a speed calibration adjustment. I’m sure there is an adjustment for it somewhere, but I can’t find it. Can you point out where it is located?

  17. freqazoidiac c-unknown Says:

    hey there, just finished ripping apart my PMD-430
    to replace the drive belts.

    It turned out to be a very painless affair, but you do have to unlock this baby
    it’s packed in there, and like a sandwich.

    Marantz did good ! They made things easy to get to and not fussy to take apart or put back together.

    Genius.

    the pics will be on my blog soon.. freqazoidiac.blogspot.com

  18. Andrew Marshall replies: c-ca Says:

    I can’t believe how many responses I’ve had to this review. I guess the PMD/CP430 is keeping the cassette format alive, at least in the pro and location recording fields. When last I had to change belts, I turned to All-in-One-Electronics in Toronto. I find when I take these kinds of portables apart, I just lose half the tiny screws, and can’t fix them anyway. That was especially true of my little Denon DAT portables.

    So, congratulations on your “Black Belt” in cassette repair!

  19. Plez Hill c-unknown Says:

    It appears that the PMD 430 fills a niche in analog recording marketing segment. I hope the recording manufacturing industry is aware of this marketing segment and steps up to the plate in satisfying it future needs — there is money to be made here.

  20. Andrew Marshall c-ca Says:

    Actually, Plez, there are quite a few companies out there mining this rich niche, starting at the top with Nagra, and including others like ZOOM, M-Audio, Edirol, TASCAM, Sony, and so on. The SD card seems to be coming the de facto recording medium for handheld recorders, now up to 8 Gig for extnded recording time even in high resolution formats. I’d love to have dime for every H2 that’s been sold, in cluding the 3 that I’ve bought for Aaron and myself. He uses his for spot sound captures in his film post-production work, and I use mine for outdoor recording.

  21. Leigh Hanlon c-us Says:

    I recently had my PMD430 given a tuneup by Superscope Technologies. Turnaround was less than a week.

  22. Plez Hill c-unknown Says:

    Leigh, what was the final cost for the tuneup including shipping? Thanks.

  23. Leigh Hanlon c-us Says:

    Superscope is located in Illinois, so I might have had to pay some taxes. It came to $169 USD. The shipping back to me was included.

  24. Plez Hill c-unknown Says:

    Thanks Leigh. I know that I will have to use them in the future.

  25. Rao Inala c-unknown Says:

    Hi: I have a Marantz PMD430. Can someone give info on a repair service station. My unit intially was not able to rewind .(Good tapes) It now donot seem to Play at all. any help? Rao Inala.
    My email is Dr.RaoInala@hotmail.com

  26. Andrew Marshall c-ca Says:

    Hi Rao,

    Please note the above reference and link to Superscope technologies, who will service your PMD430.

  27. Jonathan Clark c-us Says:

    I bought my PMD 430 back in 1988, and I had problems with it from the very beginning. I’ve always tried to take as good a care of this unit as I possibly could, but it’s never lasted more than a year without need for repair. The problems are usually different each time. I’m sure it’s been in the shop well over 20 times since I owned it. (How much money does that equate to?)

    I hadn’t used my PMD 430 for about a year, and a few days ago I pulled it out of an airtight plastic bag where I’d been storing it and tried to dub some old cassettes. Only one channel plays back now, so I guess it’s going in for service again!

    When the PMD 430 working, it’s a wonderful machine, but it seems extraordinarily prone to breakdown. Has anyone else had similar problems with this model?

  28. Andrew Marshall c-unknown Says:

    Yes, Jonathan, the PMD430 is not a Nagra, and its switches are prone to intermittency, and belts have to be replaced, and circuits like the variable speed play can fail, as happened one of my two 430s. But I have to suspect that you were a little rough on yours. Cassette mechanisms are much more prone to transport problems than open reels, but we are dealing with a relatively inexpensive recorder, with fairly cheap parts, but very high performance.

    Regular maintenance is the key, cleaning heads and avoiding bad outdoor conditions. The 430 does not like very humid conditions, nor does the cassette medium itself. I may sell one of mine, since most of my outdoor recording is now in 96K digital on ZOOM and Edirol gear, which doesn’t care so much about the elements and can be covered easily (with its small size) in the field.

  29. Jonathan Clark c-us Says:

    Thanks for your insight on this, Andrew. Besides cleaning and demagnetizing the heads, is there any other maintenence I can perform on the PDM 430 myself? I’ve never taken it apart, and I know you say you lose the screws and aren’t able to fix anything when you do so. Nevertheless, I was wondering if it would be advisable to spray the recorder’s pots and switches with an electronic contact cleaner. What I’m trying to do is delay sending it in for its periodic tuneup, which it seems to need at least every couple of years. The only thing I ever use the PMD 430 for at this point is to dub old cassettes to digital media, and I’d like to avoid spending $100+ every few years just to keep it running.

  30. Larry c-us Says:

    I bought one off Ebay with issues. The right input channel works but does not record. In other words when you monitor the input the audio is OK in both channels; when you monitor off tape the right audio is faint and left side is normal. Also the DBX selection kills the audio in both channels. I was hoping to get a good working unit as advertised but the seller fibbed or is ignorant. The main reason I bought this is to record with my JVC binaural recording headphones http://art.simon.tripod.com/jvcmic/. Back in the late 70’s I made some incredible recordings with these mics and now I want to record some bluegrass sessions in the outdoors.

  31. Andrew Marshall c-unknown Says:

    Hi Larry,

    It’s obvious that your unit needs service, and cleaning in particular. The main problem with these units is contacts in the switches. You shouldn’t expect to get a perfect unit with a recorder of this age, but getting it cleaned up and tweaked shouldn’t cost too much, so look online for a Marantz Pro service depot near you. You may also want to replace drive belts, because they do age and stretch and eventually break. These are common issues with older analog recorders, but good service is still available,

  32. Pat Harrison c-us Says:

    I purchased one of these Marantz PMD 430 back in 1989 ahve it has produced some excellent live recordings. After having it this long, I’m trying to find a good quality repair company to check it out and make any minor adjustments if needed. It also probably needs a cleaning.

    Thanks

    Pat
    1-901-384-9072

  33. Michael Stenlake c-gb Says:

    Just as a matter of interest I have a large collection of cassettes from the 70s and 80s. Last week I bought a CP430 largly after reading this site. I paid £20.00 for it and was delighted with the purchase. Everything works as it should and the cassettes (Mainly classical music) played as well as I have ever heard them. I have yet to try outside recording but the unit records when tested. I am glad I searched the web and found this site. Thanks. Michael.
    Greetings to all from Wales.

  34. Matthew Johnson c-unknown Says:

    Yes, I agree. Great article. I have had a Marantz PMD430 for about 10 years now. Brilliant little machine. Do they still make them? They were in production until very recently at least. I love using mine. It is a very hands on little machine full of useful controls. Reminds me of an analog camera in a way … symbol of a bygone age yet still more characterful than its digital replacements.

    I also own the Sony TC-D5M which looks quite similar to the PMD430 in many ways. They are both fantastic machines and in my opinion represent the pinnacle of cassette recording, especially given they are both so portable and laden with very useful features. I think they both look terrific too.

  35. Harvey Wilson c-us Says:

    I’ve had mine for over a year now, along with the Marantz stereo mikes. As it’s portable, it gets more use then my Yamaha K-1020. I usually plug it into the other two cassetteless systems in the house, and find it very hard to distinguish between it and the “better speced” K-1020.

    It’s a joy to use!!

  36. Mike C. c-us Says:

    Is it possible to adjust the azimuth of the playback head on the PMD430?

  37. Kieko M. c-unknown Says:

    Hi, my husband has a Marantz PMD 222 that we would like to give away. It has a power cord and a microphone; dates from mid-1990s. As far as I can tell, it’s in great shape. We have no use for it nor any space and he was about to throw it out before I realized there might be someone out there who wants it.
    If you want it, please post here. We just ask that you pay for the shipping from Hawai’i to wherever you are.
    take care, KM

  38. Plez Hill c-unknown Says:

    Don’t throw it away. Sell it on ebay and keep the funds or give the funds to charity.

  39. Plez Hill c-unknown Says:

    If you do not want to put it up on ebay or sell it in-state, then I will take it.

  40. Andrew Marshall c-unknown Says:

    I should note for other posters on what has become a PMD430 forum, it seems, that the PMD222 was a mono recorder used mostly for court dictation or recording, and therefore is not a music recorder, notwithstanding its excellent sonic quality.

  41. Kieko M. c-unknown Says:

    Dear Andrew Marshall and Plez Hill — thank you so much for adding that about the PMD222 being a mono recorder. That’s right; my husband used it primarily for recording live and telephone interviews back when he was doing a lot of journalism. He says it has a lot of features for removing noise & interference.
    Plez: per your suggestion, I am giving it a couple of weeks on craiglist to see if it will sell locally; if that doesn’t work, I’m happy to pass it along to you. Thanks!

  42. Leigh Hanlon c-us Says:

    I love my PMD430, but I’m sure I’m not the first person who wishes that Marantz had used the same level of fit and finish as Sony. The PMD430 is a nifty machine, but it looks and feels cheap compared to a Sony TC-D5 or TCM-5000EV.

    I have the same reaction to my digital Marantz PMD660. The unit has been a great performer for me, yet it feels cheap and plasticky.

  43. Kieko M. c-us Says:

    Dear Plez Hill — I never did get any takers locally for the PMD 222, and posting on ebay seems too onerous. Are you still interested in having it?

  44. William M c-us Says:

    I have a PMD430 that is still wrapped in plastic in the original box. I worked for an electronics retailer in the mid 90’s and purchased it as a open box item at a liquidation sale…nobody knew what it was so it just kept getting pushed asside. I was in the broadcast industry in the 80’s so I had access to a mono version as a newscaster and the stero model like mine was a regular in the studios. The one I have is mint but the take-up spindal slips, only when it has a cassette in it…when I put my finger on it, it spins but will slip if I hold it. The capstan roller is fine…I suspect that the belt that drives the t/u reel is bad…I wonder if a replacement is available? I will probably put it on ebay and sell it as is but I am tempted to repair the belt if anyone knows where I might do that in South Florida.

  45. Leigh Hanlon c-us Says:

    William,

    Superscope Technologies will repair your PMD430 for $169. They turned my recorder around pretty quickly.

    http://www.superscopetechnologies.com/service/portable_tuneup.shtml

    Leigh

  46. Leigh Hanlon c-us Says:

    William,

    Just found this link to a page that lists parts for sale:

    http://www.superscopetechnologies.com/service/parts.shtml

    L

  47. Leigh Hanlon c-us Says:

    The other day I took a few moments to put batteries in my PMD430, PMD222 and Sony TCM-5000EV to make sure they were all working properly. To my surprise, the TCM-5000EV was the quietest of the three. The PMD222 was considerably noisier than the TCM-5000EV, and my PMD430 is now so noisy that I sent it back in for a tuneup since the microphones were beginning to pick up the motor sounds.

    Do the Sony machines use a different kind of motor or use a transport mechanism that makes them quieter?

  48. Andrew Marshall c-unknown Says:

    Sony will certainly make their own motors, but your PMD 430 may be making other than motor noises. It may need lubrication of gears or other moving parts that may be rubbing together. Hopefully your service person will be able to solve the problem, or if it is the motor, replace it.

  49. Charles Campbell c-unknown Says:

    Ref: #37

    Marantz PMD 222 that we would like to give away.

    If this is still available, I would like to have it for our Church to record services.

  50. Kieko M. c-us Says:

    Dear Charles Campbell,

    Absolutely, I still have the Marantz PMD 222 and would be happy to give it away for your your church services. Contact me off list at cmatteso@hawaii.edu and we can make arrangements.

    Blessings!
    K.M.

  51. Matthew Johnson c-unknown Says:

    Hi, the ‘auto-shutoff’ function has just gone on my PMD-430. I’m in the UK and don’t really want to send my machine all the way to SuperScope for repair. Would this be a simple job for someone familiar with cassette recorders to fix?

    Absolutely love my PMD-430 (and my Sony TC-D5M) as they have both been so reliable (12+ years each now) and both sound so damn good. I’ve owned numerous DAT, MiniDisc and now flash recorders and yet I still keep coming back to these two classic cassette recorders. Just something very satisfying about using them.

  52. Marantz Owner c-us Says:

    Hello,

    I just bought a Marantz PMD 430 in great almost unused condition except for one thing… the glass on one of the dials is cracked! Is there any way to open this up and replace it?

    Thank You,

    Alyssa

  53. David from the UK c-gb Says:

    Hi,interesting thread as i have a Nakamichi CR7E and was looking to buy another high quality machine mainly for playback. I have a huge collection of cassettes and have always loved the format, probably more than others, even digital. I’ve been offered a never used (with proof) CP430 complete with mains adapter, original leather case and wooden carry case. I’m wondering whether to go for it or not… It is being sold by a reputable Hi-Fi dealer and has been tested OK, though I think I should ask if the belts have been changed. Should I buy it???

  54. Anonymous c-unknown Says:

    I have a PMD222 for sale. It has been used only for three hours. If you are interested please contact me at mpayandeh@comcast.net Ronnie Payandeh

  55. GAry H. c-unknown Says:

    Has anyone come across my (stolen from me) Marantz PMD 430. I would be truly grateful to get it back. My name, is clearly melted into the battery cover and unit itself!
    Thank you!

  56. Gaston L c-us Says:

    Marantz has done amazing equipment such as the PMD430 but also cheap cassette decks unfortunately like anyone else. I have a rare Marantz SD-930 which has dbx also. After about 27 years, it works perfectly and has no belt to fail. These postings here make me very interested to get a PMD430 despite that cassette recording is not any longer done by most. Note that the only issue I know about dbx is that the drop-out (amplitude level fidelity) is affected by the expansion during playback. It is therefore advised to record once on a new tape only, preferably on a TDK MA(X) series. Regards.

  57. Roland Bert c-unknown Says:

    Bonjour to day ,on sunday 11 september 11 I bought a marantz CP430 idem PDM430 on a flea market of Villeneuve Loubet French Riviera … for 10 € = 15$ in very good condition ! and very cheap !! I am enjoy to try it with good microphone .

  58. Erik c-unknown Says:

    I am interesdted in buying the pmd 430. What is the process like for transfering to digital?

  59. Andrew Marshall c-ca Says:

    The Marantz PMD430/CP430 is still available from pro audio retailers. I saw it recently advertised at $199, so simply google “Marantz PMD430″ to see your purchase options.

    Transferring cassettes to a CD recorder or other digital gear simply involves using analog outputs from the cassette deck into the analog line inputs of the recorder, setting appropriate levels for a clean recording.

  60. Leigh Hanlon c-us Says:

    Last summer, I plugged two Shure SM58 microphones into my PMD420, walked over to Chicago’s Jefferson Park, and recorded a brief podcast.

    As Andrew points out, all I had to do to transfer to digital was plug the analog outputs into my Mac while running GarageBand.

    The stereo effect didn’t work out very well, since I simply taped the two mikes together, so I reduced the separation to the point the sound is almost entirely monophonic. Compressing into AAC and then MP3 also reduced sound quality slightly.

    If I recall, I used a Maxell XLII C60 cassette. I did not use Dolby noise reduction.

    Listen to “Chicago Nuts for Outdoor Palm Trees.” Click on the POD logo next to the headline or on the “direct download” link at the bottom of the show notes.

  61. Matthew Johnson c-unknown Says:

    Glad to see this thread is still alive and well and that Marantz are still manufacturing and selling these machines. Since I last posted here I have been using my trusty PMD430 nearly every day and it has not let me down once.

  62. Ian c-gb Says:

    With reference to posts 13 and 15,I would also like to know if the auto shut-off is supposed to work in Play mode as well as ff/rewind. My CP430 shuts off fine in ff/rewind but just stops and makes a slow clicking sound in Play mode.
    Please can anybody help verify whether this is a fault or just the design?
    I would also like to buy a pair of good mics or a combined stereo mike to make some live recordings.
    Any suggestions,please?

  63. Matthew Johnson c-unknown Says:

    In reference to posts 13, 15 and 62, I have the same problem but it developed over time so it IS supposed to stop at the end of the tape in Play mode.

    Anyone know how easy it is to fix this annoying problem?

    Good to see this thread is still going strong for these wonderful tape recorders!

  64. Andrew Marshall c-ca Says:

    Hi Matthew,

    The problem has indeed “developed over time”, and is clearly attributable to belt stretching. The drive belt in this recorder does a lot, dealing with reel takeup, rewind, capstan drive, and the auto stop function. It’s a repair that can only be easily done by a qualified technician, since it requires considerable dis-assembly to access and change the belt.

    The next stage will be loss of speed stability, as the belt continues to slacken and lose tension.

  65. Dorian c-unknown Says:

    I have two of these. Wonderful for production, recording and DJing. The live from tape monitoring, great mic preamps & limiter… can’t say enough good things about these decks.

  66. pawel mickiewicz c-unknown Says:

    yo
    bought my CP430 on e-bay few days ago. i`m bit concerned, because he`s very quiet, recording signal is very low as well. anyone know what can i do? how to fix it?
    i even thought that the head can be fake. how can i check it?

  67. GlassWolf c-unknown Says:

    Best? I’d go with the Nakamichi Dragon, CR-7A, or RX-505, or the Sony KA7ES over the Marantz, myself.

  68. Andrew Marshall c-ca Says:

    AM Replies to GlassWolf:

    I sold my CR-7A after testing the Marantz. The former’s auto azimuth was its own secret, which made its tapes incompatible with other machines. There are several TEACs that are better built and perform at least as well as any Nakamichi ever made, using real metal parts rather than all the plastic found in even the best Naks, which are temperamental beasts, somewhat like a poor man’s Stellavox.

    Sorry, but that’s the truth from one who knows all three brands well.

  69. Hayden Berry c-unknown Says:

    Andrew, great review. I want one of these. Are they good from a musicians point of view in recording instruments to get that analogue sound? Or perhaps mastering onto cassette? Do you have any experience with this?

  70. Andrew Marshall c-ca Says:

    Hi Hayden,
    The Marantz PMD430 is an excellent machine, with very low distortion and high headroom, especially for a cassette recorder. The limiter is also very good and quite unobtrusive. Its sound is very analog, sweet, and a little fuzzy compared to a comparable digital recorder like the ZOOM H2n.
    They are available in the used market, and have been produced new up to a few years ago, so good samples may be possible to find, especially in Europe, where the model number was CP430. They were never sold through the consumer wing of the company, but through Marantz Professional.
    I have made many outdoor and some concert recordings with this deck. It is especially good outdoors (3 D batteries), with a good stereo microphone like the Shure VP-88 mid-side type. I still have two of these Marantzes, one a PMD, the other a CP, and they are identical except for the AC power adaptor.

  71. julie paull c-gb Says:

    hi all CP430 users !! (the European version). apparently identical but made for the european market. i have one that i accidentally broke the in socket and is now shorting..i was wondering where i could get it repaired, i live in london, u.k. does anyone have a company, name or address for repairing my much loved and cherished marantz ? if so please help. thanks any info. welcome.write to:-
    julie@g-forcerecords.com

  72. Gaston L. c-unknown Says:

    Finally, I got a PMD430 (See comment #57),this post motivated me to buy one. It is a great sounding portable analog recorder with dbx. Is it the best deck? No. Maybe best portable (analog)before the Sony TC-D5. I have two Marantz decks better than the PMD430: the SD-930 (by far) and the SD-820; Both with dbx but with direct drive, auto-azimuth (930) and microprocessor for bias and equalization. There are other great decks, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfW-kJ4E1s8 Also the Revox B215 was great. In my opinion, there is no best deck! Why? No deck combine the best features together: digital direct drive dual capstan (i.e. Nak Dragon,)the display of the Onkio TA-2090 (dBX), dBx and its acceptable artifacts (Dragon does not have dBx). HxPro (headroom extender) is nice but not essential, auto-reverse adds azimuth errors (Dragon excepted), 3-head design, etc. Double-Dolby/dbx is nice but not essential. Long story short: PMD-430=great analog portable machine. For less than $30, buy it. Don’t record over 0-dB even with dBx, there is not enough headroom. The PMD-430 can play great music recording (from CD) and deliver audio enjoyment.

  73. oatstao c-ca Says:

    Hi All.

    The PMD430 is simply a fun machine and in my experience dependable. I have had mine for 4 years and the belt was getting slacky - I learned how to take it apart to repair it just takes some patience and organization.
    So I found out you can order new belt kits from Marantz Super Scope (here in Canada and most likely USA) Around $10 bucks.
    I have done mostly Tape transfers of commercial tapes to Digital and Field Recordings of environmental sounds and have had superb captures. Remember it’s not just the tape or tape recorder - the mics are part of the fun to play with. So far my favorite mics are pretty cheap Radio Shack mics I found at the thrift store - one Condenser the other capsule. My point is low budget can go along way with creativity.

  74. Zak c-au Says:

    Well after reading this thread I bought a cp430 from the Australian broadcasting corporation auction. I will report back on my expierience once it arrives. I also bought a mint ecm99 still in its plastic wrap!

    I make music with found sounds and ipad samplr app. I really love tape sounds and look forward to getting my hands on this deck.

    If you want one, the ABC auction still have 10 left on eBay. Regularly serviced and says they are in very good working condition :)

  75. Alexander Polovets c-unknown Says:

    I’m missing DC power supply adapter for my PMD430 - can I use other brands of variable voltage adapter like COBY?

  76. Matthew TenBarge c-unknown Says:

    Just scored a PMD430 on eBay for $49USD including shipping. Years ago I had a PMD201. Mono. No noise reduction. Two head. Nevertheless I made some great live recordings of campfire music. People still ask me for copies. I have a Walkman Pro and they’re good but mine has issues that I won’t go into. I’m looking forward to stereo, dbx, three head. I need to find a reasonably priced microphone.

  77. oatstao c-unknown Says:

    Hi again.

    In the past 4 years the belts for 430 have more than doubled in price. I got a belt kit 5 dollars cheaper ordering from Germany than from Canada.

    This time when replacing a belt when putting it back together I have now distortion in my output and it is low volume. And an issue I was having with it not playing certain tapes still remains so I think I may have to find a replacement since the Motor probably is having issues and the circuit board is not the easiest to navigate for me and doubt if I will find the problem but I will spend a few hours looking.

    One issue a tech mentioned at tapeheads forum that this article does not address is the Wow and Flutter of these units. While I have no issues audibly with it, I have no way of measuring the small variations and he claims out of over 20 he repaired all of the units have basically consumer grade 0.5% W/F which doesn’t impress me as I would like to keep things pitch perfect. I will also investigate this claim further if I can find a way to measure it without fancy expensive tools.

  78. Jonathan Clark c-unknown Says:

    Back in 2009, I posted on this forum that my PMD 430 seems to require servicing every couple of years, no matter how little I use it or how good care I take of it. This continues to be the case. My latest problem is that some cassettes won’t play at all, while others shut off somewhere in the middle and refuse to turn, even though I can get those same tapes to play on other machines. I’ve sent my PMD 430 in to have this same problem fixed probably half a dozen times in the 27 years I’ve had this recorder. When I get it back from the factory authorized repair service center (I’ve used many different ones over the years), it always works fine for a year or two, then this same problem returns. Every time I’ve sent the PMD 430 in for this particular malfunction, I’ve asked the technicians if they thought the motor was going out and should be replaced, since it appeared to be weak. They’ve always told me no, that the motor was fine, and that it was simply an adjustment problem. Any suggestions?

  79. oatstao c-unknown Says:

    Jonathan Clark : Yep exactly the same as my unit
    which I am retiring now. I don’t like that issue at all and
    really is aggrovating when in the field and it’s having issues with a 60 minute tape inexplicably then it plays a 90 minute tape with no problems.

    The key question to find out now is - what is the pot or part that needs to be adjusted as you mention at the end of your comment. What is the adjustment problem? I bet they won’t tell you . I have a service manual so I may try to source the problem when I have time but since you have taken yours to a tech a few times and paid for service, try to get your tech to explain what adjustments they are talking about. That’s probably the best bet.

  80. Jonathan Clark c-unknown Says:

    When I’ve questioned the technicians about what the problem was, it seems like they’ve always replied that the sensitivity of the automatic shutoff feature that stops the transport when a cassette gets stuck or has too much tension was set too high. Apparently this setting gets out of adjustment periodically just from regular use. If I knew how to adjust this myself, I could save many hundreds of dollars. Does anyone have any insight into this?

  81. oatstao c-unknown Says:

    Jonathan Clark :

    Do you own a service manual? Let me know if you want it I have PDF copy - I can determine alot with it, but I’m not an expert.

    Thanks Johnathan. This is probably the biggest problem with the 430.

  82. oatstao c-unknown Says:

    Curious how one would adjust the ‘tension’ as both big Brass flywheels and the main capstan on the motor are in fixed locations. - I think we’ll have luck figuring this out.

  83. Jonathan Clark c-unknown Says:

    No, Oatstao, I don’t have a service manual for the 430. I’d appreciate if you’d me send a PDF of it to mariachero@mac.com. So far, on service fees alone, I’ve spent many, many times the 500 bucks this machine originally cost me. I use this recorder only sporadically, but I still have a need to transcribe cassettes, and any tricks I could learn that would save me from pouring more and more money into this relic would be appreciated. My local authorized Marantz service center charges a minimum $160.00 fee for any work they do on a PMD 430, and this seems to me a lot of money to shell out every two or three years, decade after decade.

  84. John c-unknown Says:

    My PM430 has suddenly started recording over anything I try to play! Hitting play turns on the red record indicator and the machine erases the tape! I need to know where I can get it fixed or get a service manual if someone still has one.

  85. Hebrew c-nl Says:

    Hi,

    Can soneone please tell me where I can find a good working marantz pmd430?

    Loveisreal, Yudah

  86. oatstao c-unknown Says:

    Hi All. This is mostly directed to Jonathan Clark.

    Our discussion about the ‘auto stop’ function.

    Best place to get the service manual is hifiengine - which has the pdf to download for free but you sign up with a valid email.

    It does contain the information one needs in terms of the part and it’s function / location.

    It is called L072 auto stop. I had thought this was the part when I looked at it and the manual confirms this. It leads to the board which hovers above the motor and that board has a Pot on it. Some of the print is smeary and hard to make out so I’m not 100% it that’s the correct pot as there are a few more close to the motor but I have a hunch that is the right one.

    So now there is no technical information (at least what I can make out) of which variation of the pot makes it more or less sensitive. It’s now a matter of direct testing.

    I have new belts and would feel it’s a shame for them to go to waste so I will be experimenting. Please anyone else go download the PDF and take a look and a collaboration can always help better understanding.

    I don’t see why the Motor would be shot. I’m not sure of the date my unit was made, but the motor itself has a date stamp of December 1988. So a possible replacement or maybe I have one of the last production runs of this unit.

  87. oatstao c-unknown Says:

    Ok I’m silly -as I overlooked figure 4.3 - this PDF is not ‘text searchable’ as I find out after I make my comment.

    - mechanism and circuit description -

    4.3 tells you everything about how to adjust AUTOSTOP .

    hifiengine.com for PDF service manual.

  88. oatstao c-unknown Says:

    Hi All - so I decided ‘while I was at it with the hood open’ to make a short video to show the physical locations of the auto stop pot and the auto stop mechanism.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqJNEZALBuk

    Hope this help and please download the Pdf from the link - do not host it elsewhere as that is the terms to the free download- all it takes is a valid email address.

  89. Paul c-unknown Says:

    Hello, The right channel on my Marantz PMD430 cassette player has a little less volume than what is coming from the left side. Even the VU meter does not swing as far as the left one. This is evident while using headphones. Also the built-in speaker is a little weak as well. Any thoughts out there? Thank you, Paul

  90. John c-unknown Says:

    Hello there,

    Just a general comment on the CP430.

    Excellent recorders on every front - if you do a direct playback comparison with a Revox A700 running at 15ips with a blindfold on, which sound would you prefer - yes, I was staggered too!

    To replace drive belts and line up the speed adjustment is extremely simple, Marantz too have usefully labelled the record, play and meter level adjustment pots on the mother board.

    All I can say is an exceptional machine - I know why they sold for nearly £800 in the 1990’s.

    John Shaw.

  91. John c-unknown Says:

    Hi,

    I often hear that the Marantz CP430 / CP230 recorders present speed fluctuation problems from time to time.
    In my experience this fault can be caused by several issues.

    1) A build up of tape oxide on the capstan itself.
    2) A worn belt running on the flange of the motor pulley.
    3) Mis-aligned speed pre-set (RM05) adjustment on the PM01 motor board.

    If these three items are checked and adjusted to reference speed, the recorder will run stable at all angles.

    Hope this helps ?

    John Shaw.
    www.shawsounds.com

  92. David C c-us Says:

    What is difference between PMD430 and PMD420, which is the one I have? Are both good for music playback for purpose of digitizing in a computer?

  93. David C c-us Says:

    I lost the power supply to my machine. I see from the labelling that it requires a 4.5V supply, but what are the milliamp requirements so that I can get an off the shelf replacement.

  94. Yang c-unknown Says:

    my newly bought 430 develops a Jonathan Clark’s like problem, that is a premature auto stop. mines dosenot cause by tape tension, the stop appears when the counter move to a next hundreds digs. i mean the counter transport has its difficult to turn all the three digs in the same time. i use some lubs and the problem partly solved. i am still finding better lubs to see the problem can be wholely come over.

  95. Art L c-unknown Says:

    The PMD-430 has 3 heads, while the PMD-420 has just 2 heads. Three heads allow you to listen to playback as you’re recording.

  96. Paul Jones c-unknown Says:

    Hello, The volume coming from the right channel is not as loud as the left side…and the volume from the speaker is not very loud. Any thoughts/
    Thank you, Paul

  97. John Shaw c-unknown Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Have you thoroughly cleaned the Rec/Play heads, this is a common problem when a lot of cassettes now are shedding their oxide !
    Other than that you need to line up the playback gain control presets with a tone tape and read off on a meter.

    John.

    john@shawsounds.com

  98. Paul c-unknown Says:

    John Shaw, I do not have a tone tape and doubt I could perform the work you suggested. I also don’t know if anyone in my area Springfield, Mo could do the work…any place I could send it? Thank you, Paul Jones

  99. John Shaw c-unknown Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Sorry, I don’t know of anyone in your area.
    I service these Marantz recorders myself but am based in Essex UK.

    Kind regards and best wishes,

    John Shaw.

  100. Paul c-unknown Says:

    Mr. Shaw, Thank you all the same for taking the time to reply. Best regards, Paul Jones

  101. Matthew Johnson c-unknown Says:

    Hi John Shaw

    I’m based in East London and I am wondering if you service Marantz tape machines just for yourself or for others too?

    If you do service for others I wonder if you’re also able to service my Sony TC-D5M Pro as well as my Marantz PMD 430 as it’s so hard to find anyone these days who knows what they are doing with quality cassette machines.

    Do you have a website or contact details if you are able to carry out the work?

    Besy wishes,

    Matthew

  102. Paul c-unknown Says:

    Mr. Shaw, I have what I think is a strange finding. As stated above regarding my Marantz PMD430, the right channel volume is less than the left (with headphones on) I decided to “tinker” with it and when I adjusted the RK03(L) pot, it also lowered the volume of the right channel as well??? Why would the left pot adjust the right output as well??? I have headphones on and made the best adjustment(s) I could without the test tape…any suggestions as it is still weaker on the right side??? Thank you for your time.
    Best regards, Paul Jones

  103. John Shaw c-unknown Says:

    Hello Paul,

    I assume all your checks have been tested with the side switch set to stereo not mono?

    Another thing to check is the Rec / Play head alignment - this is adjusted by a screw located from the top of the head cover on the machine.

    Kind regards,

    John.

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