I finally got around to addressing the broken cassette player situation today and called Alactronics – http://www.alactronics.com/repair/repair.htm – They have done good work for me in the past. When I told them about the Tascam and the Sony Pro Walkman, I was told that they no longer service these units unless it is a purely electronic issue and mine was certainly to do with the transport. They no longer stock the parts to fix the transports. I guess there isn’t enough work out there. I ventured to ask then, based on this state of affairs, if it might be cheaper to replace than to fix my units, even if I had grown fond of them (Tascam dates from 1993, the Sony was my second one, maybe bought 1996 or so). The reply was a resounding affirmative. So I just bought this moderately priced Alesis unit – http://www.alesis.com/tapelinkusb and now I can get started on the demos box set. And now that I’ve finally given up on using the Sony, which made awesome rehearsal recordings, I bought this tascam digital thing – http://www.tascam.com/products/dr-07.html which I’m sure will do a better job recording the SE rehearsals than the iPhone has done (the iPhone isn’t bad, actually, but it is hard to place it correctly – this thing will mount on my mini tripod).
Sad but sensible, I guess