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Author Topic: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?  (Read 2938 times)

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Offline DSatz

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Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« on: April 29, 2018, 10:40:05 PM »
Hi. I have a Nakamichi Dragon cassette deck that was overhauled by Nakamichi 15 or 20 years ago, but they have since stopped repairing their old gear. Recently the deck has developed a mechanical (transport) problem which causes tape to be handled incorrectly, resulting in very poor tape-to-head contact.

I would like to have the deck repaired if possible, but don't know who to send it to. Has anyone here had mechanical repairs done on a Dragon, or another high-ish-end Nakamichi deck, in the past few years--and if so can you recommend anyone on the basis of that experience?

--best regards

« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 10:42:33 PM by DSatz »
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2018, 05:51:11 AM »
sup DSatz!

i think ESL is still the go-to

https://www.eslabs.com/nakamichi.htm

Offline old and in the way

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2018, 06:15:25 AM »
Danny Herman.  A dragon wizard.

Offline old and in the way

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2018, 06:18:20 AM »
My bad it's willy herman

Offline fobstl

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2018, 11:01:04 AM »
I just had e-mail correspondence with Willie Hermann last week about repairing my Nak 680ZX. He is on about a 9 month waiting list, mentioned he would want to do a full service which would run $500 - $600. Seems expensive, but this deck is going for up to $1500 on ebay so I'm on his waiting list for repair. Need to get my analog masters transferred.

http://www.willyhermannservices.com/

Offline ohr

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2018, 08:48:41 PM »
It has been quite a few years, but Stephen Sank has done some wonderful work on my Dragons. Give him a call and let him know about the problem you're having.  He can sometimes even walk you through the diagnosis and potential solution over the phone. My experience with Stephen has been excellent with both repairs and modifications.

Offline DSatz

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2018, 12:32:49 PM »
Many thanks for these replies. I'm in the process of moving, but when I emerge from the other end of the long dark passageway, I'll be glad to have this information to work with.

--best regards
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline nak700s

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2018, 05:17:59 PM »
I spoke to the guys over at Pro Digital http://www.prodigitalinc.com/ a while back about getting my NAK CR-7A repaired (as well as saving the cassette that's stuck in it!) and they told me they do the work and could easily save the show stuck inside.  My past experience with them was with a Sony DAT M-10, and they did a fantastic job on that.  I still haven't done anything with the Nak deck, but need to deal with that asap.  If anyone has a good experience, that they didn't have to wait forever to get theirs fixed and it didn't cost them an arm and a leg, please let me (and others) know.  Thanks.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2018, 05:58:07 PM by nak700s »
Normal: Nakamichi CM-700's >> SD 744T (or) Sony PCM-M10
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Offline rigpimp

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2018, 06:31:00 PM »
Willy Hermann in Orinda, CA.  He was and is the best on the West Coast without a doubt. 

I have a CR-5A that I am about to sell and I imagine that I will pull a premium because I have an invoice from him servicing the deck.

http://www.willyhermannservices.com
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Offline DSatz

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2018, 02:34:34 PM »
I got an email response from Mr. Hermann today. He apparently doesn't do repairs in the usual sense; he only does complete rebuilds of decks, for which he said the usual charge would be "around $750 - $800" with a nine-month waiting period.

This deck was completely overhauled by Nakamichi about 10 or 15 years ago, and I think that its problems are relatively limited in nature. Plus I am using it for playback only. So I think I will check out the other two shops that were mentioned.

--best regards
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline rigpimp

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2018, 02:52:48 PM »
I got an email response from Mr. Hermann today. He apparently doesn't do repairs in the usual sense; he only does complete rebuilds of decks, for which he said the usual charge would be "around $750 - $800" with a nine-month waiting period.

This deck was completely overhauled by Nakamichi about 10 or 15 years ago, and I think that its problems are relatively limited in nature. Plus I am using it for playback only. So I think I will check out the other two shops that were mentioned.

--best regards

Well, Mr Satz, that is crappy news.  I have been using Willy for over 10 years but he has been retired the whole time I have known him.  He has become way more popular than he could have ever imagined.   

FYI, the first and only time I spoke with Jeff at ESL he wanted my CC number and carte blanche just to send him a deck, including pre-authorization to do a head re-lap if he saw fit.  These guys are incredible at what they do and if they put their name on something they are gonna do it right, and charge us for it!

You may find someone that can do a light clean up (clean, belts, lights, re-cap, etc), or walk you through your own on the Nak-talk list.  It will likely require an oscilloscope.  Good luck!

http://lists.naks.com/mailman/listinfo/naktalk
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Offline H₂O

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2018, 09:54:19 PM »
My DR-1 is folding tape - I am pretty sure the belts are shot - would that alone cause this?  I have been seeing costs of at least $500 to perform service on Nak's and this is well beyond what I can afford.


I have repaired a number of DAT decks myself so I can get pretty hands on - how hard is it to repair a Nak deck such as the DR-1?
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Offline rigpimp

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2018, 11:49:51 PM »
My DR-1 is folding tape - I am pretty sure the belts are shot - would that alone cause this?  I have been seeing costs of at least $500 to perform service on Nak's and this is well beyond what I can afford.


I have repaired a number of DAT decks myself so I can get pretty hands on - how hard is it to repair a Nak deck such as the DR-1?

That sounds like an alignment issue to me.  I had a Dragon due that.
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Offline nak700s

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2018, 04:55:48 PM »
My DR-1 is folding tape - I am pretty sure the belts are shot - would that alone cause this?  I have been seeing costs of at least $500 to perform service on Nak's and this is well beyond what I can afford.


I have repaired a number of DAT decks myself so I can get pretty hands on - how hard is it to repair a Nak deck such as the DR-1?

As previously mentioned, alignment could cause that, as well as pinch rollers.  Belts will usually cause speed issues, and slip causing other things like shutting off or not being able to engage play, etc.

On another note, I was just given a CR-2A, which seems to work beautifully and was searching for a shelf in my storage bin for my wall unit to include it in the system, only to find that my DR-8 is reasonably accessible.  I still need to have the CR-7A repaired, because that is the only deck I'll playback my masters to transfer, but now I have others to use too  :yahoo:
Normal: Nakamichi CM-700's >> SD 744T (or) Sony PCM-M10
Normal: Crown CM-700's >> SD 302 >> SD 744T
Fun times: 3 Crown CM-700's >> SD 302 >> SD744T + 2 Nakamichi CM-700's >> SD744T
Stealth: CA-14c >> CA 9200 >> Edirol R-09HR
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Online rippleish20

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2018, 05:57:49 PM »


I cleverly waited 30 years to start worrying about digitizing my (hundreds of ) cassette masters until a couple of years ago. I discovered my D10 Pro's transport was dead and my Sony home died shortly thereafter. I'm telling you this because it lead me on a search for a decent deck and I was amazed at how hard it was to find good decks, especially without paying a fortune. I talked to ESL (I think it was ESL) and CR7a's were like $1750+ (Dragons were like $3500). I'm not surprised at all that these guys are charging a lot for service or that they have such long wait times. I finally found a a DR-1 for a somewhat reasonable cost.

There is a group on FB - with a lot of people obsessed with Cassette Decks -  and it's a great resource for help repairing decks...
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Offline nak700s

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2018, 06:47:54 PM »


I cleverly waited 30 years to start worrying about digitizing my (hundreds of ) cassette masters until a couple of years ago. I discovered my D10 Pro's transport was dead and my Sony home died shortly thereafter. I'm telling you this because it lead me on a search for a decent deck and I was amazed at how hard it was to find good decks, especially without paying a fortune. I talked to ESL (I think it was ESL) and CR7a's were like $1750+ (Dragons were like $3500). I'm not surprised at all that these guys are charging a lot for service or that they have such long wait times. I finally found a a DR-1 for a somewhat reasonable cost.

There is a group on FB - with a lot of people obsessed with Cassette Decks -  and it's a great resource for help repairing decks...

I'll look into the facebook group, it's always good to have more recourses.  I have other cassette decks too, but the Naks are by far the better ones.  After all, they made the best decks ever!  I think I have 2 TEAC's (which are pretty good) and a Sony (which is basically commercial crap).  My 2 D5's still play, but (and this is the messed up part) one won't fast forward and the other won't rewind.  I also have a D6 that works fine.  My M10 (DAT) also works well, but I have a Panasonic SV-3700 to play back DATs.  I need to have my Nak CR7A repaired, and the show that's stuck inside removed safely.  It's a Yes show that came out great (I put it in there to transfer, but it jammed and that's when the deck went down).
The CR-2A that I recently received was from a friend that's moving, and felt she doesn't need it anymore.  She brought it over for me to check out, so I cleaned it up and played a couple cassettes...now, it seems to be mine (yay!).
Normal: Nakamichi CM-700's >> SD 744T (or) Sony PCM-M10
Normal: Crown CM-700's >> SD 302 >> SD 744T
Fun times: 3 Crown CM-700's >> SD 302 >> SD744T + 2 Nakamichi CM-700's >> SD744T
Stealth: CA-14c >> CA 9200 >> Edirol R-09HR
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Offline ts

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2018, 08:35:16 PM »
My DR-1 is folding tape - I am pretty sure the belts are shot - would that alone cause this?  I have been seeing costs of at least $500 to perform service on Nak's and this is well beyond what I can afford.


I have repaired a number of DAT decks myself so I can get pretty hands on - how hard is it to repair a Nak deck such as the DR-1?

Folding tape. Is that proper terminology for munching and eating? My CR-5A is eating tape again. So tired of fixing this thing. I would consider putting it to rest, but an old friend has asked me to transfer 300+ tapes.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 08:45:43 AM by ts »

Offline jazzunit

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2018, 08:52:34 PM »
You might want to look at this facility if you're on the east coast:

https://www.eslabs.com/nakamichi.htm

Offline nak700s

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2018, 04:58:52 PM »
You might want to look at this facility if you're on the east coast:

https://www.eslabs.com/nakamichi.htm

I looked into them a couple years ago.  If my memory serves me correctly, they were very expensive.  Very. Expensive.
Please, let me know if you have a different experience.
Normal: Nakamichi CM-700's >> SD 744T (or) Sony PCM-M10
Normal: Crown CM-700's >> SD 302 >> SD 744T
Fun times: 3 Crown CM-700's >> SD 302 >> SD744T + 2 Nakamichi CM-700's >> SD744T
Stealth: CA-14c >> CA 9200 >> Edirol R-09HR
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Offline rigpimp

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2018, 05:14:43 PM »
You might want to look at this facility if you're on the east coast:

https://www.eslabs.com/nakamichi.htm

I looked into them a couple years ago.  If my memory serves me correctly, they were very expensive.  Very. Expensive.
Please, let me know if you have a different experience.

As I had mentioned on page #1 of this thread Jeff (ESLabs) wanted carte blanche and a CC# to do as he pleased which included the cost of re-lapping the heads if he felt it was warranted.  These guys don't hold back for a reason.  They put their name behind their work.

On a more recent note I reached out to him to buy a couple of idlers tires to include when I sold my Will-tuned CR-5A to rocksuitcase and he never returned my emails or phone calls.
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Offline DSatz

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2018, 05:57:00 PM »
I wrote to "eslabs" about repairing my Dragon, and was told in reply, "We do service all Dragons if the serial number is over 8000."

So my story continues to develop at the expected rate of 1-7/8 ips ...

--best regards
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline H₂O

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2018, 05:57:29 PM »
Thanks for the input - my folding issue occurred after the deck was in close proximity to an oil furnace - on two of my DAT decks I had to replace pinch rollers in the same cabinet after I moved all of this gear out of that cabinet


The Nak rollers looked ok but probably could be replaced
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Offline Popmarter

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2018, 03:19:38 AM »
there is a FB group for Nakamichi stuff, try your luck there. You can also send me a PM. One of the last professional Nakamichi goeroes in The Netherlands is a personal friend, I can ask him. He is maintaining my Dragon and CR-7 aswell.

If you just want the tapes transferred, I can help you out. I am working on the idea of offering a transfer service for ts.com members. Current recorder is a Tascam da-3000.

I know from my friend the Dragon is a very complicated unit. With special equipment you can check if the tapeheads are still ok. If not, you are screwed, as there are no longer replacements. For that reason the CR7 is a better investment, this unit has regular heads.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2018, 02:18:58 PM by Popmarter »
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Offline Popmarter

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2018, 02:24:53 PM »
Add to the previous post, I checked with my contact.

Naks ZX7 or 9 he also recommends for transfers (next to CR7). He, like Willy Herman, prefers to do a total overhaul of these machine. Reason is they are old and lot of things go wrong in the end. Overhaul means things like replacing capcitors and adjusting headplacement (which can only be done with rare gauges.) Yes, lot of money but worth it if you ask me.
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Offline DSatz

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2018, 11:55:54 AM »
Latest update: I've had a couple of leisurely email exchanges with Jeff Galin at Electronic Service Labs in Connecticut. Apparently there were three or more "generations" of Dragon transports, and going strictly by its serial number, my deck isn't one of the more recent versions that they typically work on (or perhaps, that they can work on at all--I don't know).

However, my deck was repaired rather extensively by Nakamichi back when they still serviced such things. Did they update the transport in the process? I can't determine that on my own; the diagnostic question that Jeff asked was, "Can you measure the diameter of the right capstan, accurately? It's between 2.4 & 2.8 mm." Unfortunately I can't do that.

So (since I live in NYC) I mused about getting onto a train and bringing the deck to him to look at. His reply was, "If you want to come, please make an appointment." But also: "Although a Dragon overhaul could cost $2475 to $2975, this is assuming that it has at least a 2nd generation transport."

That's a rather dismal state of affairs in my opinion. Not entirely surprising, but certainly not what I was hoping to hear.

P.S.: I just wrote to "Pro Digital Inc." ... just three hours away via Amtrak ...
« Last Edit: August 29, 2018, 12:08:02 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline MakersMarc

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2018, 12:10:09 PM »
Had a 670z and lx3 still miss them. Sold them and got rid of 3000 hours of GD on cassette to move to DAT.  :facepalm:
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Offline dynamicalories

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2018, 12:42:38 PM »
These prices are so crazy. I bought my CR-2A sometime in the early 00's off Craigslist for $35. No one wanted them then.

Offline rigpimp

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2018, 12:49:04 PM »
These prices are so crazy. I bought my CR-2A sometime in the early 00's off Craigslist for $35. No one wanted them then.

It may be that the CR-2A is not that sought after.  It is not a three head deck.
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Offline goodcooker

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2018, 01:07:21 PM »

I gave my very used and attention needing CR5a to Kris (larrysellers) last year for free since I couldn't repair it myself and locally no one would even look at it. He said that Nicky should be able to give it some attention so I sent it on out to him.
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Offline dynamicalories

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2018, 02:27:33 PM »
These prices are so crazy. I bought my CR-2A sometime in the early 00's off Craigslist for $35. No one wanted them then.

It may be that the CR-2A is not that sought after.  It is not a three head deck.

Ah, gotcha.

Offline dallman

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2018, 03:38:41 PM »
These prices are so crazy. I bought my CR-2A sometime in the early 00's off Craigslist for $35. No one wanted them then.

It may be that the CR-2A is not that sought after.  It is not a three head deck.

That may be the case but as happens in the world of reselling sometimes a great product goes unnoticed perhaps because the printed specs do not tell the whole story. I have the CR-2A (2 head) and the CR-3A (3 head). They both sound and work great. The 3A though with auto stop is a little temperamental with stopping occasionally on an old cassette, and most of my cassettes are old or older but the 2A is just a workhorse that never seems to wear down or have issues. True it does not have all the fine tuning, but it does the job.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 04:18:36 PM by dallman »
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Offline nak700s

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2018, 01:35:42 PM »

P.S.: I just wrote to "Pro Digital Inc." ... just three hours away via Amtrak ...

I had mentioned Pro Digital earlier in this thread.  I am planning to bring my CR-7A to them when I have a couple hundred bucks to spare.  Please keep us (me) informed how things go with them.  I've used them in the past for other things, and have been very happy with their work, and they were fair with their prices.
Normal: Nakamichi CM-700's >> SD 744T (or) Sony PCM-M10
Normal: Crown CM-700's >> SD 302 >> SD 744T
Fun times: 3 Crown CM-700's >> SD 302 >> SD744T + 2 Nakamichi CM-700's >> SD744T
Stealth: CA-14c >> CA 9200 >> Edirol R-09HR
Ultra stealth: AudioReality >> AudioReality battery box >> Edirol R-09HR
Simple & Sweet!

Offline DSatz

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #32 on: August 31, 2018, 04:21:59 AM »
nak700s, will do.

dallman, the preference for three-head decks isn't only because they allow "live" monitoring while recording. The optimum gap width for a record head and for a playback head are different; any two-head deck is a compromise from the start. Separate record and playback heads can each to be optimized for best frequency response (especially at low frequencies) and dynamic range (especially at high frequencies).

Furthermore, the procedure for adjusting any tape deck for recording on a specific type of tape is FAR more efficient and straightforward if the deck allows monitoring while recording. It's an almost unbelievable PITA to adjust the record bias on a two-head deck; you have to estimate, record test tones, rewind, play them back and measure them, then repeat the process until the adjustments converge on the result that you want. With a three-head deck you simply monitor the output while adjusting the bias "in real time"--allowing a slight delay for the time it takes the tape to travel from the record head to the playback head.

--best regards
« Last Edit: August 31, 2018, 04:24:21 AM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline dallman

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    • Clifford Morse
Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2018, 01:01:09 PM »
nak700s, will do.

dallman, the preference for three-head decks isn't only because they allow "live" monitoring while recording. The optimum gap width for a record head and for a playback head are different; any two-head deck is a compromise from the start. Separate record and playback heads can each to be optimized for best frequency response (especially at low frequencies) and dynamic range (especially at high frequencies).

Furthermore, the procedure for adjusting any tape deck for recording on a specific type of tape is FAR more efficient and straightforward if the deck allows monitoring while recording. It's an almost unbelievable PITA to adjust the record bias on a two-head deck; you have to estimate, record test tones, rewind, play them back and measure them, then repeat the process until the adjustments converge on the result that you want. With a three-head deck you simply monitor the output while adjusting the bias "in real time"--allowing a slight delay for the time it takes the tape to travel from the record head to the playback head.

--best regards
All of which brings me back to the days I was making cassette after cassette. It was rewarding work though...
 ;D
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Offline nak700s

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Re: Who repairs Nakamichi cassette decks nowadays?
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2018, 12:54:32 PM »
I love It when a plan comes together, or in this case, falls into my lap.  Yesterday I saw an add on facebook in a group I'm in regarding stereo repair, which specifically mentioned cassette recorder repair.  I commented asking about their experience with Nakamichi decks, to which I got a reply saying they have repaired 100's of them.  I still need to speak to them, but did mention the CR-7A that I have, with a brief description of the problem.  They seem legit so far, but I'll feel them out before dealing with them.  They are located in Huntington, NY (Long Island).  I will report back here either way...  Let's hope it's a good, reliable and fair priced outlet for us. 
Normal: Nakamichi CM-700's >> SD 744T (or) Sony PCM-M10
Normal: Crown CM-700's >> SD 302 >> SD 744T
Fun times: 3 Crown CM-700's >> SD 302 >> SD744T + 2 Nakamichi CM-700's >> SD744T
Stealth: CA-14c >> CA 9200 >> Edirol R-09HR
Ultra stealth: AudioReality >> AudioReality battery box >> Edirol R-09HR
Simple & Sweet!

 

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