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An update on my lamp post (no, that isn't a euphemism): measured volts across the lamps is 9.7, haven't found any, but no worries there now.
It seems the Akai transistor problem mentioned in in other posts has hit. There is just hiss and a tiny bit of music in reverse playback. Forward still sounds okay.
A repair shop fifty miles down the road has given estimate of $600 to go through the deck. That includes all new transistors in the amplifier section, mechanical tune up, and bringing everything electrical up to factory specifications.
Pros for keeping it: (1 I like it. (2 If I do have it repaired I'll have a total of $600 invested. It was given to me rather than toss it in the dump.
Cons: $600 is a bunch of money for us.
So what are the opinions out there? Is an Akai GX636 worth investing $600? Or would it be better to invest that kind of money in a different deck?
I had tried other tapes, checked to see if the tape was held against the heads, cleaned the tape path, checked cables, and found nothing.
Your suggestion that it might be a switch led me to open the back and see if there was something simple that could be taken care of. There was.
The common ground on the left meter had broken free. Why is took several days after I had removed and replaced the meter is beyond me. But a few minutes of soldering, and I am listening to Mahler symphony as this typed.
And yes, my basic nature is pessimistic. I always expect the worst. Upside? A lot of pleasant surprises. As this was.
First, try other 4 track tapes. It could be just a tape problem.
Next, inspect and clean the heads and guides to be sure that there's nothing that keeping the tape from making full contact with he head surface.
I agree with Inmate51. If it was a amp issue, you wouldn't get sound in either direction.
If you like the deck and you can't resolve this "no sound in reverse" problem, stop using reverse and flip and switch the tape just like the rest of us.
And find a repair guy that won't rip you off! Those guys probably don't know one end of a reel to reel from their ass.
All new transistors? Almost sounds like the shop is going to take the scatter shot approach - replace everything and see if it works.
I doubt if the 636 has four playback amps - two for forward and two for reverse. Just offhand, I think this more of a switching problem and could be a $100 repair.
$600 is a lot of money. I'd give 'em $75 to diagnose the problem and replace the bulbs with appropriate bulbs, then decide what to do about the rest, and have the $75 applied to the final bill.
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