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Who knows about old Nakamichi cassette decks?? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 9th June 2006
  #1
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Chaotic's Avatar
 

Who knows about old Nakamichi cassette decks??

So I picked up a Nakamichi 1000 tape deck from a thrift shop a while back. I looked on Ebay and have seen them go for $250-$700 depending on their condition. This one is in near perfect condition and I got it for $25. Its beautiful, 3 heads, mic inputs, it weighs a ton, has all sorts of cool looking electronics inside. It even has an adjustable built in limiter. They went for $1400 in the 70s!!

I just planned on throwing it on Ebay and tryin to make a couple of $$. but now Im wondering if I should keep it. Maybe I could bounce some tracks to it from ProTools and get some of that "magical" tape sound.

anyone have any thoughts on this??
Old 9th June 2006
  #2
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wow!! Nice buy man.....

Don't sell it, I love those old decks. They were the **** in those days

As far as using it for recording, well, I would use it via a mixer to convert old casettes to cds but for adding warmth: get a reel to reel

Either way, it's too good a unit to part with for what you paid for it, unless you're desperate for cash.

If the heads are not to worn, even better!!

If I see ya sell it I'll go....
Old 9th June 2006
  #3
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Actually, I also got a Revox B77 1/4" reel to reel there too for $25, but I figured the cassette deck would be easier to deal with/maintain. and I figured since it was considered top of the line at one point, that it might sound decent bouncing some drum tracks to it, and then resampling back into protools. I do hiphop mostly and like that gritty grimey drum sound, like DJ shadow, Madlib, etc.

Im not goin for that clean crispy Dre sound, so I thought the cassette deck might add some lo-fi soul
Old 9th June 2006
  #4
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Harvey Gerst's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaotic
Actually, I also got a Revox B77 1/4" reel to reel there too for $25, but I figured the cassette deck would be easier to deal with/maintain. and I figured since it was considered top of the line at one point, that it might sound decent bouncing some drum tracks to it, and then resampling back into protools. I do hiphop mostly and like that gritty grimey drum sound, like DJ shadow, Madlib, etc.

Im not goin for that clean crispy Dre sound, so I thought the cassette deck might add some lo-fi soul
You ain't gonna get lo-fi outta that deck!! I actually used it as a mastering machine once and sent the cassette to a duplicating house as the master. They called me and their first words were, "What the hell did you record this on? This is as good as some of the 15" R2R's we get."
Old 9th June 2006
  #5
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So it wont help with the sterile sound of digital?
Old 9th June 2006
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey Gerst
You ain't gonna get lo-fi outta that deck!! I actually used it as a mastering machine once and sent the cassette to a duplicating house as the master. They called me and their first words were, "What the hell did you record this on? This is as good as some of the 15" R2R's we get."
Hi

Years ago when I did private consulting/manufacturing work for the CBS record pressing plant in Aylesbury, England, I noticed the Studers that recorded the 1/8" pancakes (recorded all four tracks at once... including the reverse direction!), the cassette tape loading machines, and the Nakamichi rack mounted cassette decks that they quality monitored the finished tapes on.

Those tape recorders were the Rolls Royce of cassette recorders. I believe the ones at CBS had automatic azimuth adjustment. I wish I had one!

Old 9th June 2006
  #7
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see, the thing is, I lost all of my cassette tapes years ago in a flood. So if this cant serve a purpose in recording, I'd rather sell it to someone who could really appreciate it. I mean its like a beautiful piece of furniture, but Im a budget minded slut (nice way of saying broke), and Im gettin married, so if Im not gonna use it and I could make a few bux, then thats what Im gonna do.
Old 9th June 2006
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaotic
see, the thing is, I lost all of my cassette tapes years ago in a flood. So if this cant serve a purpose in recording, I'd rather sell it to someone who could really appreciate it. I mean its like a beautiful piece of furniture, but Im a budget minded slut (nice way of saying broke), and Im gettin married, so if Im not gonna use it and I could make a few bux, then thats what Im gonna do.
Hi

I'll give you $150 for it!

Old 9th June 2006
  #9
Gear Head
 

A Nakamichi 1000 tape deck for $25. Where the heck do people find these deals ? For $25 dollars you can’t lose. I mean if you keep it or sell it, you still win.

If it was me I would keep it for awhile. It is a tape format ! It won’t sound “cold” no matter how hi-fi quality the deck is. You can drive it super hot and it will just sing. Use it as a drum recorder and bounce the tracks into Protools. Driving the deck super hot will help eliminate the need to use a compressor. The thing that is cool about a “hi-fi cassette deck” is cassette tapes are low cost. You can buy hundreds of them and record hours & hours with no worry of cost. After a year if for some reason you want to sell it, you won’t have a huge investment in tapes. - and the tapes will still play in other cassette decks.


,
Old 9th June 2006
  #10
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well really the only thing to do is give it a shot. I just wanted to see if someone has already tried this and had sucessfull results.
Old 9th June 2006
  #11
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chalfant's Avatar
 

Let's start a bidding war!!heh
What a deal!!!!!!!

Someone else said it but I never find those kinda bargains either.
Old 9th June 2006
  #12
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurly_b
You can drive it super hot and it will just sing.

For you trivia buffs: Nakamichis (at least as recently as the mid-1980's) were the *only* cassette decks whose high frequency response was within +/- 3dB @ 20kHz when the recording level was 0 VU.

Every other cassette deck manufacturer at that time whose published playback spec claimed "20-20k" response was recording their tones at -20 because it yielded wider high frequency response; at 0 VU those same decks would roll off steeply by 14kHz.
Old 9th June 2006
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
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believe me, I always lose out on great deals, its about time karma worked in my favor. I once had the opportunity to get 2 Ursa Major Space Stations for $50, i told the guy to hold them for me and by the time I came back with my money they were sold. I also lost out on a 2 channel DW Fearn pre for $900. I had the money, I just had no idea what it was at the time. Now Im using 2 GT Bricks
Old 10th June 2006
  #14
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7161's Avatar
 

didnt those decks have some sort of unique weighting curve which made them sound good if the tape was recorded on the same deck but otherwise not?.. kinda rings a bell
Old 10th June 2006
  #15
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Crash's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7161
didnt those decks have some sort of unique weighting curve which made them sound good if the tape was recorded on the same deck but otherwise not?.. kinda rings a bell
That was kinda what I was remembering from them. I was never a fan of those decks. I always thought material recorded on one sounded odd on other decks.
Old 10th June 2006
  #16
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I own a Nakamichi 680ZX rack mount deck from the late 70's, with auto azimuth, that I got in trade for a cheapy deck. Lotsa bells and whistles. I don't know what it's worth. It weighs a heck of a lot. Excellent recorder/excellent door stop.
Old 12th June 2006
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7161
didnt those decks have some sort of unique weighting curve which made them sound good if the tape was recorded on the same deck but otherwise not?.. kinda rings a bell
Hi

I don't believe that old wive's (or old tech's) tale!

As I posted earlier, I had a lot to do with CBS Records where they pressed vinyl and wound cassette tapes.

The 1/8" tape was recorded onto a giant "pancake" fitted to a modified Studer recorder

The tape was then loaded into a packing machine that wound it into the cassettes, stuck the labels, and did just about everything else so that the finished cassette tapes, in boxes, popped out the other end at a hell of a rate.

They had several quality control rooms where samples of cassettes were monitored on Nakamichi cassette tape recorders. What a horrible job for someone that liked music!

Anyway, I was chums with the chief engineer there and he always spoke highly of the machines and they weren't custom modified.

So I think this "unique" aspect would apply more to lesser tape recorders that might have azimuth or other spec out of sorts.

The Nakamichi's were depended on to be consistent.

I supplied those guys with a custom Neve monitoring console, by the way, that had those 2087 stereo 1081's in it.

I wonder if it's still there?

Old 12th June 2006
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicalavtech
I own a Nakamichi 680ZX rack mount deck from the late 70's, with auto azimuth, that I got in trade for a cheapy deck. Lotsa bells and whistles. I don't know what it's worth. It weighs a heck of a lot. Excellent recorder/excellent door stop.

Hi

I'll give you $150 for it!

Old 20th August 2006
  #19
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Marantz CP230 Pro Deck

Quote:
Originally Posted by chalfant View Post
wow!! Nice buy man.....

Don't sell it, I love those old decks. They were the **** in those days

As far as using it for recording, well, I would use it via a mixer to convert old casettes to cds but for adding warmth: get a reel to reel

Either way, it's too good a unit to part with for what you paid for it, unless you're desperate for cash.

If the heads are not to worn, even better!!

If I see ya sell it I'll go....
I am a Canadian living in Paris and use Pro Tools with a Mac G5 system. The other day there was a pile of stuff out on the street. I went downstairs and to my amazement there was a Marantz CP230 Pro Tape Cassette recorder still in the box with a Lem Condenser Microphone. It even had the manual. I just used it to bounce a mastered stereo track from the G5 to the cassette deck via my stereo tube pre-amp. I used a high end chrome TDK tape cassette using Dolby B. I returned the recorded tape back in to Pro-Tools and added the Bomb Factory L76 and some 4 Band EQ for the upper mids and highs. Yeah, I would say that the Nakamichi could be used for a similar application. I was using analogue up until a year ago. I just sold my Fostex G24s to some guys in Brussels who wanted to record there album to analogue. If you use high grade cassette tape like the TDK SA series and record relatively hot, it can sound very nice indeed.

Last edited by benjikan; 20th August 2006 at 08:25 PM.. Reason: Typo error
Old 20th August 2006
  #20
Gear Head
 

I just happened to fire up my Nak BX-300 this weekend. I bought it new long ago. Had to be late 70's, early 80's. I remember it being quite of bit of cash for me at the time.

Had only one problem with it years ago. The transport would slip and I'd have trouble rewinding/fastforwarding. Since it has auto shutoff, sometimes in Play, it would work for a few seconds and shut down. I sent it in to Nak (it was probably 10 years old or so) and they updated the drive to some "direct drive" transport. Did it for free. Never another problem.

I don't think this was their top of the line deck at the time, but it's a good one for sure. I've gone through a lot of decks over the years but this one is still working great and sounds good.

Steve
Old 21st August 2006
  #21
Gear Nut
 
island-dave's Avatar
 

I'd love to get my hands on one of those baby's now. My brother had a Nak Dragon back in the 80's and that thing was amazing. It must have weighed about 60 or so lbs. and was really solid and rivaled any of those early CD players. We used to transfer all of our vinyl to metal tape and blow people away with the quality. I wish I would have bought it from him when he finally sold it off to go "home theatre."

Dave-G
Old 21st August 2006
  #22
YZ!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
I had much experience with the big Nak's back in the 70's.

I found it wierd that it did an amazing job recording, but for some reason the tapes didn't sound quite right played back on other decks, especially the car.

Didn't have this problem with the Ampex, Pioneer, Sony, Luxman, Akai, Kenwood, etc. Other people mentioned this problem also.
Yup.

The fact is that the Naks used non-standard rec/pb EQ curves to achieve the published specs; this may have changed in the later models but it was present in the early ones.

The effect is as you wrote: Nak tapes sound a bit dull in other decks.

IIRC, Stereo Review had an article about it at the time.
Old 28th August 2006
  #23
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dimme3's Avatar
 

I can buy one for 80$ does someone know which in & outputs it has?
I need a cassette deck for that sweet tape saturation
cheers
Old 28th August 2006
  #24
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orange's Avatar
 

for all you guys after a deck, Tim at studiosystems has a load of old nakamichi decks for sale....

http://www.studiosystems.co.uk/forsale_various.php

si
Old 28th August 2006
  #25
Gear Head
 
dolo72's Avatar
 

Ive got a nakamichi tri tracer cassette deck and i also make hip hop. These sound very very phat espeacially on the bottom end its even got azimuth control and a test tone generator so you can align every time you put a new cassette in(did i mention pitch control). Also the limiter on this thing you can smash(not that I do that anymore) with good results and you can also use the limiter without having to go on tape.
I think I remember Nakamichi had their own eq standard for cassette and that some people used to get this redjusted for the IEC standard to be a bit more playable on other cassette decks. I would stick with the original eq myself. Also I think a few people told me they have masterd to a Nakamichi in the past(70's) the other cassette deck I remember people raving about was the Sony professional walkman.
Old 28th August 2006
  #26
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LOL !!!

This is a riot.

I bought one of those decks back in the late 80`s and I believe I payed $150 back than.

The studio I bought it from was planning on going all digital around the time of the evil ADAT`s.

They had a big Mackie console and I remembered being jealous of it but now that I think back the console I owned at the time + the 8 track reel to reel combined with the cassette deck probably blew their sound away.
Old 28th August 2006
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaotic View Post
Actually, I also got a Revox B77 1/4" reel to reel there too for $25, but I figured the cassette deck would be easier to deal with/maintain. and I figured since it was considered top of the line at one point, that it might sound decent bouncing some drum tracks to it, and then resampling back into protools. I do hiphop mostly and like that gritty grimey drum sound, like DJ shadow, Madlib, etc.

Im not goin for that clean crispy Dre sound, so I thought the cassette deck might add some lo-fi soul
Well... I'm a lo fi oriented guy but I never much cared for cassette-style lo fi... too much hiss, too much speed distortion (flutter), too much high end slur...

If I was keeping it, I'd save it for cassette duty and use the reel to reel to try to capture some "tape magic" if I was so inclined. (But I've owned 10 reel machines and my "tape magic" days are pretty well over. I've kept one 1/4" deck so I can playback my 80s masters and that's it. But I DO still have the nearly $800 "pro" cassette deck I got in the mid-90s (while CD burners were still thousands)... when I bought it, I was thinking, OK, it's expensive, it's "pro"... maybe it won't sound like crap. Ha! Joke was on me.
Old 28th August 2006
  #28
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$ .02

durring the 80's my day gig was in the audiofool retail biz this was high times for naks especially the dragon which was known for being one of only two systems to deal with scueing (sp?) problems in autoreverse decks... their answer was of course to realign the head when reversed... dont like that idea the other way also nak on rx202/303 was to flip the tape over if you've ever seen one you remember....
Old 29th August 2006
  #29
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Haskell Brooks's Avatar
 

I do know that the transport on a lot of the decks used an idler wheel that ceases to work, but it's a fairly cheap fix and makes a cheap dead deck into a cheap useful deck. the one I had in the 80's had like a 60 db s/n ratio without any dolby turned on, and gave me good results in the recording of "mixtapes" and experimental music.
Strangely enough I have seen complaints about noisy equipment even among the "noise" crowd, but noise isn't usually a big deal to me. After a gloriously misspent youth my personal signal-to-noise ratio is pretty low, and my bandwidth narrow.
Old 29th August 2006
  #30
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roxxon's Avatar
 

My ex-room-mate had a Nak Dragon cassette player.
It was an awesome machine until he abused it, a little too much.
He never maintained it very well.
But for a few years...
It...
Sounded great! He got it from a TV station when they were buying new gear in the mid 1980s.
His brother used to work there. His bro asked one of his bosses who knew nothing about what this deck was worth if he could buy the Nak deck..
He sold it to my friend's bro for 50 bucks.

It was originally worth 2 thousand dollars new.
This one was in cherry shape.I recorded in 4 small to mid-level but decent studios in 1985.They all had that same deck for making copies of the masters for each band member.If I recall correctly, a place that did mass cassette duplications had several racks of these decks for mass demo master recordings.

I used it at our home for many years until my room-mate moved out.
I have always owned quality stereos with separate pre-power amps and good quality speakers.
That paritcular Nak Dragon deck rocked for years.

My room-mate really abused it and it too had transport problems later on.
It also would automatically go into record mode, the second you inserted a tape into it the final year before it died.
Pity, it was a great tape machine.

The only better cassette tape machine that I have ever heard was a $20,000.00 modified Revox in the early 1980s.
My buddy was a professional DJ and that deck was part of his live rig.
It was the best casette player I have ever heard bar none.
The Nak Dragons were easily the second best cassette tape machines that I have ever listened to.


THE DECK:

http://www.analogstereo.com/cassette...chi_dragon.htm


http://www.audioreview.com/cat/other...2_1595crx.aspx

I have never heard one of these Nak CRR-7E decks, the reviewer claims that they were the best sounding cassette recorder ever produced.
He could be right!
Then again, that reviewer never likely heard my buddy's $20,000.00 modified Revox deck!
LOL!

The Nak CRR-7E:

http://www.hi-fiworld.co.uk/hfw/olde...michicr7e.html
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