If you are my age, the first thing that would come to mind when you read the letters B-I-C is a writing instrument that is coloured yellow and had blue cap with hole in it. In this case, the instrument is fine piece of audio machinery that comes in wood veneer with a nice, black face.
BIC, which originally stands for British Industry Corporation, is a New York-based audio company that, in the 1960s, was known to bring quality British audio equipment to the US. In 1973, BIC decided to start designing and making their own line of audio equipment.
The company first released the T-2 in 1978, followed by a succession of other T-models. Coming in a gorgeous combination of wood veneer with a black face, this fancy looking tape deck does not disappoint albeit (probably) being the lowest and basest model that BIC released back in the late 70’s up to the early 80’s. The T-2 has the following specifications:
Type: 2-head, single compact cassette deck
Track System: 4-track, 2-channel stereo
Tape Speed: 4.75, 9.5 cm/s
Heads: 1 x record/playback, 1 x erase
Motor: two speed tachometer DC servo
Tape Type: type I, CrO2
Noise Reduction: B
Frequency Response: 30Hz to 18kHz (type I tape)
Signal to Noise Ratio: 62dB (dolby B)
Wow and Flutter: 0.06%
Total Harmonic Distortion: 1.9%
Input: 200mV (line)
Output: 2V (line)
Dimensions: 16.75 x 6 x 9.25 inches
One may think that “Ah, it is just two heads so it doesn’t play that well.” But, you, like I was, will be surprised on how this gorgeous box of a tape deck sounds. Check out the short demo above.
I love analog VU meters. The BIC T-2 has perhaps the sexiest VU meter that I have seen on a basic or entry level cassette tape deck. One look at it moving, you will be mesmerised. This BIC has one of the smoothest eject mechanisms on a cassette tape deck that I have ever encountered. Perhaps the only one that can beat the smoothness of the T-2’s eject mechanism, from the modest tape decks that I had audition, is on the Technics M45, which I shall do a review on soon.
Before I tested this T-2, there was a silent conundrum inside my head: what to play? Luckily, an Eagles Unplugged (Type I) cassette was handily available, so I decided to use that. What better band to listen to for the T-2 to soar that the Eagles, right?
The T-2 was matched with a Marantz AVR with a pair Dual 3-way speaker both of which I regretfully did not get the model and specifications. Anyway, the audio quality of that came of out this entry level deck was amazing. While not as amazing as, say, a Nakamichi Dragon, any cassette tape hobbyist would be thrilled to have this his/her collection.
The piano keys are quite easy to operate – no resistance. The knobs and switches operate quite silently. However, I did notice a slight noise coming from the unit that I had reviewed while either rewinding or forwarding the cassette tape. However, this unit being four decades old, one can forgive the slight noise. After all, all of us who are 40 and over hear slight creaks and croaks from our body.
Perhaps the most unique feature of this tape deck is it has two speeds available for record/playback. The theory behind this is that recording at double the speed produced a better dynamic range and had a higher frequency response. The downside of this innovation from BIC, however, is this: not all cassette tape decks will be able to play a tape recorded on the T-2 at double speed.
The other nifty feature of the BIC T-2 is a toggle switch that will allow you to protect your precious cassette tapes from any accidental recording by switching the toggle to Safe mode. It also has a separate volume dial for your headphones. Looking at either the video or the pic, one might wonder how a tape bias can be selected. Well, there is a 3-way toggle switch that has the label “HIGH-NORMAL-LO”. Type I cassette tapes are on the LO side, while Type II cassettes are on the HIGH side. The BIC T-2 does not support Type III and Type IV cassette tapes.
Audio quality wise, the T-2 can satisfy any discerning cassette deck collector. Listing to an Eagles cassette tape using this modest box was quite a treat for me. Did I mention that the VUs on this thing are sexy eye candies? Damn, they are good too look at! Compared to the Luxman KX-100, which I will do a review on soon, the T-2 produces a more balanced sound i.e. not bass heavy nor is it treble heavy. It was just spot on.
How many cassette tape decks can one have? Well, depends on the collector you ask. Although I am not a collector, if I had room to spare inside my tiny listening nook, the BIC T-2 would have had a place of honor in my very modest collection of decks.
Sexy little bugger this thing is.
Interested in getting your hands on this thing? If you are, head on to Plaka Express #50 Palawan St., Bagong Pag Asa, Quezon City and look for Sam. For only PhP 8,500.00, this black and wood baby can be yours.