How to Connect a Tape Deck to a Receiver
By Darrin Meyer
Updated February 10, 2017
Audio cassettes, and the cassette decks that play them, are often left out when music fans choose the components for their home audio and/or home theater systems, in favor of compact disc players and other digital devices. Cassette decks are still available, and most stereo receivers provide an input to connect them, along with inputs for the other audio (and video) components that may comprise a home theater system. However, that input will be more clearly labeled on some receivers than others.
Identify the input on your stereo/home theater receiver that can be used to connect a cassette deck, which will be a standard composite RCA input with red and white connectors. With some models, this input may simply be labeled "Tape" or "Audio 1," but with newer, video-oriented receivers you may need to use a composite input designated for an analog video source, such as a VCR, labeled "Video 1" or something similar. The input for a CD player may be used as well; select the input based on availability and which other devices you wish to connect.
Connect a set of composite cables from the the "Out" jack on the rear of the cassette deck to the "In" jack of the chosen audio input on the receiver, matching the white and red cable connectors to their proper color-coded connection ports.
Connect another set of composite cables from the "In" jack of the cassette deck to the "Out" jack of the chosen audio input, in cases where both sets are offered for that input. By routing audio both to and from the receiver, the cassette deck can be used to record from the other audio or video sources also connected to the receiver.
Set the receiver's device input selection to the cassette deck's input (i.e. "Tape" or "Audio 1") to listen to cassettes through the stereo receiver.
Consult the owner's manuals for your cassette deck and stereo receiver for further connection and operating instructions.
Darrin Meyer has been writing since 2009. In addition to being a frequent blogger, his articles appear on eHow, Answerbag and other Web sites. Meyer has a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.