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Well, the Nak 600 arrived today. After supper I unpacked it and did a quick check of the functions and cleaned it up a tad; heads, pinch roller, etc. Hooked it up to my system and grabbed the closest pre-recorded cassette and popped it in. Very unimpressive, no fidelity to speak of, very muddy sounding. Wait, says I, this can not be. Have not the troops on "tape trail" promised wondrous sound? Grabbed another cassette, a tad better but still no goose bumps. Pillaged through the pile and found a Windham Hill Winter's Solstice II and put it in. Whoa Momma!! Holy %#*&! And various other expletives.
Most impressive indeed. Beautiful sound at last. Not quite cd quality but pretty darn close.
I can see it is really going to be hit and miss with the quality of the pre-recorded tapes though. Any hints on which ones to watch for would be appreciated.
Guess I will have to order the manual and service manual now, so I can put it in top form. I noticed already that the right channel seems to consistently read higher on the meter on playback. No doubt there is an adjustment for that.
Ok, I'm hooked. So the next question is, is there any point in going up a notch or two if all I am mostly going to do is play pre-recorded tapes? Is there any one Nak that is better at that than any of the others?
Well now I can have something to look for at the thrifts besides LP's. Thanks for all the help folks, I really appreciate it.
Sorry, about that I was in a hurry and deleted the post in haste during editing it.
Like I was saying I had the same problem with my 2003 Infiniti QX4 audio system, which is made by Bose that came with a cd, tuner and cassette audio combo system. I have tried to play my precious Nakamichi 680ZX prerecorded tape collections into it I was very disappointed at the result as they sounded like hammered shit however, but yet the commercial pre recorded tapes sounded wonderful go figure eh!. Having said that as much as I like the sound of the commercial pre recorded tapes but still it can’t hold a candle to well-recorded tapes recorded from an excellent tape deck. So then, I put my Tandberg TCD-440A cassette deck to work and recorded my favorite songs unto it then I played them back to my SUV car’s audio system voila! Gone was the muted and constricted sound if anything the sound became more open, airy and very musical. As you have guessed most of the prerecorded tapes that I’m playing in my SUV now were recorded from the Tandberg TCD-440A cassette deck.
BTW, I have compared this machine to a friend’s Naks Dragon, ZX9 and ZX7 the sound was very comparable except that Tandberg was a little bit musical to my ear while the Dragon have more resolving capabilities.
Nak 660 ZX, but your post says 680ZX.
I wish I had a 440; I have a stored TCD 310. I bought a 660ZX for my brother (under $80! shipped) last year. Although it had a bad meter which the seller showed on his ebay ad (right needle only), it was otherwise just a bit dirty. Sounds wonderful and records tapes which play back perfectly on my 682ZX.
it's 660ZX. The meter on mine was doing the same I had it fixed about 2 years ago and since then this deck was placed in my basement's permanent museum display along with my other antiques audio system such as the Harman Kardon and Sony 870 ES 3-head cassette deck systems, 1940 Roger Majestic am/fm tube radio, 1940 Loewe Opta German Made tube Console stereo system just to name but a few.
BTW, I have a Wurlitzer Jukebox from the 1970 being rebuilt hopefully it'll be ready before the new year. I'm not sure where I'm going to put it as I'm running out of room in the basement.
I was lucky to find an excellent working Tandberg TCD-440A as they're hard to come by.
I only have one classical London pre recorded tape (Solti/Elgar Enigma Variations VPO) and about 10 others between my wife's an mine (Norrington Beethoven 9th, 1st HIP one and Argo Willcocks choral comes to mind). The last time I played the Elgar, it sounded good if not as good as my LP's. I use this tape as a reference because I love classical pieces on London.
You're right, it will vary dependng on selections. It's likely your Nak is in very good shape. The issue with making compatible tapes is an old one and is due to intentionally narrow recording head in the Naks.
See Naks.com and the Sonic Sense link, but scroll to other, 1st 2 questions. In other words, some people have trouble playing recorded tapes on other machines, and sometimes not.
The maintenance question is answered below and that is very helpful for us nursing Naks.
The playback sound quality degradation is more prevalent if you have prerecorded tapes that were recorded on Nak machines then played it back through the car audio system. Unless if you happens to have a Naks audio system in your car then this sort of quality degradation would not be much of a problem.
I must admit that the issue of compatibility has always been somewhat curious to me. Cassettes are recorded within a given set of standards. My expereience, a lot of years with my head inside these machines, is simple. Given accurate alignment tapes, by any manufacturer, and appropriate mechanical alignment fixtures, if required, make all tapes playable on all machines. If compatibility is a problem, it can only be one of two problems. 1) With pre-recorded tapes either the original was recorded on an out of alignment machine, not likely, or the play back machine is not aligned. 2) With self recorded tapes either machine can be out of alignment. I personally have never had a pre-recorded tape compatibility problem on any machine I have aligned. Any compatibility problem with a self recorded tape has always been the problem of the machine it was recorded on. TAPE RULE #1. The mechanics have to be perfect first then the electronics.
who can do the work like you? I am not a tech nor engineer, and it's a struggle. All I can do is the quick and dirty method with the Nak 682ZX, not do the original alignment.
I think with the clearly identified narrow head on Naks, there is an exacerbation of the problem(s).
On tapes made on my Nak, I can play on the Sony cheapie 435 and they sound great. Similarly, vice versa.
The car is an issue. I have a Acura TL 2002 model with their Bose system, had new setup with tape (Dolby B) about 8 mo ago due to tape player problem (replaced on warranty). Sometimes, tapes from Nak don't play properly in mid/highs, esp. Dolby B. Tapes made on the Sony are no issue in the car.
Car stereos have always been a problen. The narrow heads on Naks can sometimes, if not all the time,be a problem, especially on the 3 head machines. It appears to me that 2 head designs are less susceptible to this problem. Discreet heads are great on RTR machines because of their size and space available. 3 head machines are much easier to align that is why I prefer the 3 head design that combines R and P heads in one housing. The trade off, they just don't sound as good as discreet head machines. My theory, the close proximity of the heads leads to bias current leaking to the play head, only a theory. Good luck and happy listening.
As good as the 600s are they have 3 mechanical problems (due to age) that need to be addressed first and foremost. 1) the FF/REW arm sticks. It has to be removed, cleaned and re-lubricated. 2) these machines have several edge type connectors. Each connector, both male and female, have to be scrubbed and cleaned.3) The R/P switch will sometimes corrodes but always get dirty, it must be throughly cleaned. If you have the patience and dexterity the switch should be taken completely apart, lots of little contact pieces. I know this sounds like a lot but take my word for it, it's worth it. Good luck.
I'm sure this will cause quite a stir but here goes. I have personally rebuilt at least a dozen NAK 600s, complete alignment, cleaning etc. My personal preference is the 600II. With there rugged, simple one belt transport and amazing head, these machines are really great and still sound incredible over 30 years later. I consider them one of the best machines ever built. In reference to your comment, pre-recorded tapes are really a crapshoot, especially those made in the mid 60s to mid 70s. Most are recorded at way too high levels on crappy duplicating machines. As technology progressed the quality improved exponentially. If you can get a copy of David Bowie's "Lets Dance", WOW! Good luck with your 600 and don't be afraid to get it completely overhauled, it will be worth it
... but not necessarily anywhere else, and vice versa.
It's a bit finicky in terms of fine tuning, if memory serves, and benefits from frequent degaussing. When a 600 is "on", though, it sounds great! More of a hobby than its contemporary, massmarket decks.
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