(These units were built in the mid 1980's, and originally sold for about $1800.00. Hence, the date on the review header is wrong, since audioreview will not allow old dated. The going price for these units on the used market appears to be between $450.00 and $600.00 depending on whether the unit is the MK-1 (Dolby B only, optional remote control capabilities) or the MK-II (Dolby B & C, remote options installed as standard), and what shape the unit is in, and what accessories are included.
This unit is amazing! It may not have all the bells, whitles, digleberries, etc. of the modern 'glitzy' equipment, but that in no way affects the absolutely stunning perfomance of this unit. With the exception of the minute amount of hiss inherent with analog recording, copies of CDs or other digital sources are indistiguishable from the originals. The transport is exceptionally kind to tape also - it will not allow the cassette to slam into the end of the tape - it stops when it sees the leader, positions to the beginning of the actual tape, and zeros the counter. No more cut-offs due to hastily starting a tape and trying to record on the leader! (If you want to rewind to the hard stop, this can be easily overriden with the press of a single button.) The solid cast and machined aluminum transport chassis makes variance in head alignment impossible - there is not a single piece of stamped sheet metal in this transport (unlike just about everything else out there today, and in the past for that matter.) Metering and controls are excellent, and the unit can be set to auto detect tape tape, or allow manual selection. This unit also has a clock on board, and can be programmed to record or play based on a time schedule, although I have yet to use this feature. Sericeability appears excellent, and despite the age of these units, parts and service are still fairly easily available, should help be needed.
This review should also apply to the Studer A-710, which is the same unit in a rack mount case, and with balanced inputs and outputs.
Product model year for my unit is 1982, but the selections in the drop-down box provided only go back to 1995.
I picked up this deck recently as an adjunct to my other two high-end vintage cassette decks, and it has the same strengths and weaknesses as (surprise!) my Studer A710, which is basically the same deck, but with XLR ins/outs (and which is a MkII; the only real difference being that the MkII has Dolby C and the MkI does not). It is indeed a tank, but that's what I like and want in a cassette deck - there's something about a light-weight deck (like my stop-gap JVC 3-head, which seemed to weigh about a pound and a half) that does not instill confidence in me. This deck, the Studer and my Tandberg 440A are the only cassette decks I've ever owned that have Dolby circuitry that functions the way I think Dolby circuitry should - it removes tape hiss without sacrificing high frequency signals. The meters are very accurate and respond quickly to input. The four-motor drive system speaks for itself, and I really appreciate the open cassette bay (no hinged door; the cassette effectively locks to the front of the deck and is covered, if desired, by a plastic cover that snaps over the transport mechanism).
The only real complaint I have with the deck, and it is indeed a very minor one, is its drive logic processor. I find it kind of peculiar that ReVox believes it beneficial in some way for the the deck to not "play" leader tape. I myself believe it to be beneficial for tape to be wound to its end in order to prevent the tape from being damaged by either environmental exposure or careless handling, but the logic processor makes it so that tape is left exposed when the deck automatically shuts off at the end of the playing of a side and, further, doesn't allow a tape to wind or rewind fully to its end stop. I end up having to hand-wind cassettes to the stop after use, and I can't just stick the cassette in and hit play - for some reason the logic processor causes the deck to shut off after the leader has passed through the sensor but before the tape istself actually starts to play. A minor inconvenience, but annoying (to me, anyway) none the less.
The B710 would probably be best utilized by a recording studio or a die-hard cassetteophile. It probably shouldn't be purchased by the casual user as, most likely due to the age of all of the units that are still in existance (I believe ReVox stopped manufacturing this model in 1987), very few come with user manuals and the B710 has quite a few complicated and esoteric features that the average user probably wouldn't be able to figure out just by looking at or playing around with the unit. Besides, they can be pretty darn expensive, even today.
I'll agree with the other reviewer that this deck deserves a 4.5 rating, but I'll give it 4 stars to even out the balloting at where we both believe it should be.
Discontinued but still much sought after. Built like a tank. Lots of metal - weights over 10 kg. The heads are positioned electromagnetically (by powerful solenoid). My unit is about 20 years old and most likely will serve another 20 years or more. Good ergonomics; not in many decks is this easy to load a cassette. Retrofit kits for B710 MK I and B710 MK II has been available, if you want to use them with infrared remote controller B201 (or compatible). I gave 5 stars because it was not possible to give 4,5 stars. 4,5 would be closer to truth, since there is some better decks from Revox, Nakamichi and Tandberg. Nevertheless, after all these years, this unit is still nice sounding and reliable piece of equipment.