By:  Scott Johnson
Updated:  October 15th, 2016

Welcome to my Nak FAQ web page

DIY - Add remote capability to CR-1

DIY - Add remote capability to RX-202

DIY - Replacing Flip Mechanism Belt on RX Series

DIY - Replacing RX-202 Idler Tire

NEW - Mod to Pioneer RT-909 to use my Akai RC-70 wireless remote


First of all I'd like to promote my line of Wireless Remote Receivers

Nakamichi System Remote tape deck wireless remote receiver
This unit adds wireless remote capability to the Nakamichi system remote tape decks (Cassette Deck 1, 1 Limited, 1.5 as well as the DR-series). This unit can independantly control two system remote tape decks from one receiver. In the past you needed one of the newer Nakamichi system remote receivers or preamps, but, now you can control it directly. No dedicated remote, use any universal remote control (programmed for Sony VCR.)

Wireless Remote Receiver for the Nakamichi 730 Receiver
This unit adds wireless remote capability to the Nakamichi 730 receiver which duplicate the functions of the original RM-730 remote setup. Remote functions include: Volume Up/Down, Tuning Up/Down, Preset A/B/C/D and Power On/Off.

Check out my new web page devoted specifically to the Nak 730 Receiver.


Remote control adapter for the Nakamichi ST-7 / ST-7E / ST-70 AM/FM Tuner
It controls the following functions: Memory 1-8, Shift/Non-Shift, AM/FM and Tuner Up/Down. Like the IR Remote receiver for tape decks this one also uses any universal remote programmed for Sony 8mm VCR, Beta VCR, TV or tuner. Costs is $50 plus shipping.

*New Repair service for Nakamichi ST-7 tuners that don't hold their memory presets, only $25 plus shipping. While I'm at it I replace the cap on the display board that is a frequent failure part that will black out the display.

Wireless remote adapters for Teac at

Wireless remote adapters for Tascam at

Wireless remote adapters for Revox and Studer at

Wireless remote adapters for Akai at

Wireless remote adapters for Otari at

Wireless remote adapters for Technics RS-1500US, RS-1506US, RS-1520US and RS-1700US


Wireless IR Remote Receiver for remote capable Nakamichi Tape Decks. Many of the highier end Nakamichi tape decks have a remote jack on the back. Nakamichi made wired remote controllers, but, these had a cable. Nak made two options for going wireless, but, they are still very expensive. Nak made the RM-580 which came with a remote that would just control the deck. The other option is to connect the tape deck to a Nak CA-7 preamp which has a wireless remote. I'm glad to announce that there is a third option. I have designed and built an IR Remote Receiver that uses any universal remote programmed for Sony VCR. This remote receiver with 3 in 1 universal remote is available for only $70 plus shipping. For more information go to my tape deck remote web page. Here's a picture.



New Links

Here are a couple more of my Nak related web pages:

Nakamichi Model List with brief description, links to picture and brochures. Nak Model List

Nakamichi remote list with compatibility information and links to pictures Nak Remotes

Check out my new Nak 730 Web Page with lots of pictures and stats from recent eBay auctions.

My Web Page with pictures of Nakamichi Calibration Tape and Gauges.

There's a new web site on the net dedicated to Nakamichi Tape Decks.  It's by Luis Peromarta and the URL is Luis Peromarta's Nak Site
Luis also has some nice pictures of the following decks 550, 600II, 1000ZXL, CR-7E, Dragon

Luis has set of photos on how to take the control motor apart and clean it. This is the control motor used to move the cassette transport into the various modes (play, stop, rewind, etc). This control motor is only used in Sankyo transport decks like the BX, CR, DR, MR series as well as the CassetteDeck series, ZX-5 and RX-202 (I don't think I missed any). Symptom would be flashing lights on the transport control panel and unresponsive to mode changes. Follow Andy's control motor rebuild instructions. Tom Brucker at HiTech Service has a simple procedure for getting these motors running again. First, do not use alcohol as it strips the lubricant off. Buy some Caig DeoxIT (5% Cramolin) spray. It's available from MCM Electronics, P/N 200-230 for $18.99 at last check. De solder one reel motor wire and clip on a 9-12 Volt DC power supply. Spray the DeoxIT into the holes in the back of the motor and run the motor for 30 seconds. Reattach the wire and you're done.

Henk has created a web page of frequently asked questions for the 480-series. Henk Nak 480 Series FAQ.


  I recently sold one of my Nak Tape Deck Remote Receivers to Jeff over at TONE Publications. In case you've never heard of TONE Publications they are an on-line magazine publisher that currently has two magazines. TONE Audio for high end Audio and TONE Photo for mid to high end digital photography. I'm currently going through my first issue of TONE Audio and it's excellent. I encourage everyone to check them out. Here's a like directly to their TONE Audio magazine download page.

I've started posting some of the Nakamichi Technical Bulletins that I have on my web site.

Nakamichi PA-300II Mobile Power Amplifier Owner's Manual
NR-0001 Adjustment Procedure for New Type Head Base Block on 700 from S/N 3709323 and 1000 from S/N 3107001
NR-0002 Modification of Erase Head and Pressure Roller Arm Ass'y on 700 Tape Deck from S/N 3714701
NR-0003 Modification of Erase Head and Pressure Roller Arm Ass'y on 1000 Tape Deck from S/N 3109651
NR-0004 Modification on Erasing Head on 1000II Tape Deck from S/N 3142481
NR-0005 Modification on Erasing Head on 700II Tape Deck from S/N 3743601
NR-0006 MHX Motor Ass'y and Governor P.C.B. Ass'y Modification Procedure on 500 Tape Deck up to S/N 370140
NR-0007 MHX Motor Ass'y and MHX Governor P.C.B. Ass'y on 550 Tape Deck from S/N 3601871
NR-0008 Motor and Governor Ass'y Modification on 600 Tape Deck from S/N 3814501
NR-0009 Modification of Reel Hub Ass'y on 600 Tape Deck from S/N 3839226
NR-0010 Addition of Protector Circuit on 420 Power Amp from S/N 4504581
NR-0011 Addition of Protector Circuit on 620 Power Amp from S/N 4104902
NR-0012 Modification of Monaural Circuit on 410 Control Preamplifier from S/N 4604101
NR-0013 Modification on Usable Sensitivity of Tuner Section on 630 FM Tuner from S/N 4203553
NR-0014 Modification of Idler Pulley Ass'y on 600 Tape Deck from S/N 3840811
NR-0015 Modification of Idler Pulley Ass'y on 550 Tape Deck from S/N 3671371
NR-0016 Modification of Idler Pulley Ass'y on 500 Tape Deck from S/N 3528141
NR-0017 Modification of Idler Pulley Ass'y on 550 Tape Deck from S/N 3306101
NR-0018 Modification of Idler Pulley Ass'y on 250 Tape Deck from S/N 3206101
NR-0019 Modification of Record Amplifier on 350 Tape Deck from S/N 3305951
NR-0020 Connecting Diagram for 550 Tape Deck & ADS
NR-0021 Modification of the Capacitors on the Logic Control Circuit on 1000II Tape Deck from S/N 3145181
NR-0022 Modification of the IC501 of the Capstan Motor Governor Circuit on 1000II Tape Deck from S/N 3145181
NR-0023 Modification of NF Circuit on 620 Power Amplifier from S/N 4107852
NR-0024 Modification of Shut-off P.C.B. Ass'y (Hall IC System) on 600II Tape Deck from S/N A206.7 07601
NR-0036 Countermeasure for Unexpected Shut-Off in Playing or Recording (580/581/582) 5/16/1979
NR-0037 Countermeasure for Unexpected Shut-Off in Playing or Recording (580/581/582) 8/20/1979
NR-0038 Addition of Belt Stopper to Capstan Motor Ass'y (580/581/582) 2/16/1982
NR-0040 Elimination of Squeaking Noise (any Standard Mechanism) 2/16/1982
NR-0052 How to Replace Damaged Stud of Mechanism Ass'y (any Standard Mechanism) 5/16/1988
OOD-SI-3115 Countermeasure for Breakage of Eject Linkage Holder in Mechanism Ass'y (480 and 580 series) 11/10/1988
PRO-01 Modification of MR-1 for Non-Standard Equalization

I have a couple of Nakamichi magazine ads up now. The first one is from Audio magazine, December 1992 for the DR-series, RE-series and the second one is from Audio magazine, May 1990, for the mobile audio line (CD-760, TD-560, CDC-101, DAC-101 and PA-304). The third one is for their System 4 which consists of the CR-4A, CDC-4A and TA-4. The forth one is for optical drives, OMS-1000, OMS-7 and OMS-5. The fifth one is for their UDAR (Uni-Directional Auto Reverse) decks whcih include the RX-505, RX-303 and RX-202. The sixth one is for the ST-7, CA-5 and PA-7. #7 is for the Music Bank with Ray Manzarek (co-founder of the DOORS). #8 is the RD-450 Mobile Cassette AM/FM Receiver. #9 is the Mobile Sound RD-series including the RD-260, RD-360 and RD-460. #10 is titled Super Model and features the AV-8, DR-10, DVD-10 and MB-10. Hope you enjoy these ads. SJ.

Jeff Galin over at Electronics Service Labs (ESL), the premier Nakamichi tape deck rebuilder in the US and probably the world, is loosening his grip on genuine Nakamichi belts. They aren't cheap though. Capstan belt for BX-1, CR-2, DR-8 and all the similar transports (Sankyo 2-head single capstan decks) for $34.75. Capstan belt for BX-300, MR-1, CR-4, CR-5 and CR-7 (Sankyo 3-head direct drive double capstan decks) $44.75. 480 series, 580 series, 680series, ZX-7, RX-303, RX-505 and all similar transports (Nak P/N 0C08096) $55. <--- This is the one that must be genuine OEM to meet the published W&F spec. All other replacement belts so far are not up to snuff. Contact information for Jeff at ESL is or 860-529-3700.

A guy in France has manufactured a replacement for the little black gear on the Nak TD-1200 super linear torque motor. If you have a TD-1200 that has a tick, tick tick noise when playing a tape, then your little black gear is cracked. This gear was only available from Nakamichi as part of an assembly for about $50. Now it's not available from Nak at any cost. Denis Parseghian has a replacement gear. He can be reached at or on ebay. His ebay name is dennisthemalice. His price is $39USD. In either case it's less expensive than the motor assembly from Nak (if they did have them for sale). Denis now manufactures the flex cable for the cassette tray. The flex cable is $149 USD.

Henk Schenk has created another Nakamichi web site

I have added a wireless remote control added to a Nak RX-202. Of the three decks in the RX series only the RX-303 and the RX-505 have a remote jacks on the back. I cut a hole in the back of the deck and added a jack and then wired it into the deck. I then plugged in one of my IR Remote Receivers and it worked great. If you want your RX-202 modified to accept external remote let me know.

I found out about a web site that has a lot of info and manuals for older hi-fi equipment. check them out. They claim to have 1170 manuals in their library.

Everything pretaining to Belts or Idlers have been moved to it's own web page. <Click Here>.
Orange Cap Disease
Tape plays fast for the first second or two and then suddenly plays normal
Dragon makes a clicking noise while NAAC light is flashing
Loose contact problem on 700 & 700II
Nakamichi Tape Deck Calibration Procedure
Head and Pinch Roller Cleaning
Potentiometer (POT), Switch Cleaning
Level mismatch between channels
How often should I demagnetize my heads
Noise during mode changes (Nak mechanism only)
Nakamichi CR-7A Record Equalization Correction
CR-7A Reviews
ST-7 Tuner Reviews
What is NAAC?
Where are various Naks made
Reel and mode motor on Sankyo mechanism decks
Flywheel bearing shaft
IEC1976 & IEC1981
Differences between the RX-202, RX-303 & RX-505
RX-505 Noise
Souping up your deck
CR-7 High resolution Playback Azimuth Adjustment
Comments on T-100 Audio Analyzer
MR-1B and equalization differences (applies to the MR-2B also)
Auto-Stop Problem Nakamichi Standard Transport Decks
Sendust Heads
Awesome response of Nak heads
Nakamichi Heads
What decks have the CUE features

A lot of what follows is from the Naktalk Mailing List.  You can sign up to be on this mailing list by going to  Thanks go to Wouter for starting and maintaining Naktalk all these years.

Nakamichi USA Website

A little Nakamichi history, but it's not very interesting. Try going to then Corporate -> History, Milestones, Museum and Accolades. Below are the units they highlighted.
1974 - 500 2-Head Cassette Deck
1975 - Nakamichi 550 Portable Cassette Deck
1975 - 600 2-Head Cassette Console
1976 - 350 Versatile Cassette Deck
1976 - 250 Cassette Player
1977 - 430 FM Tuner
1977 - 1000 II Discrete 3-Head Cassette Deck
1978 - 530 Receiver
1978 - 730 Receiver
1979 - 680ZX 2-Speed Cassette Deck
1980 - 1000ZXL Computing Cassette Deck
1980 - 700ZXL Computing Cassette Deck
1981 - 581Z Discrete 3-Head Cassette Deck
1981 - 682ZX Discrete Head Cassette Deck
1981 - 482Z Cassette Deck
1981 - 700ZXE Auto Tuning Cassette Deck
1982 - ZX-9 Discrete Head Cassette Deck
1982 - Dragon Cassette Deck
1983 - RX-202 Uni-Directional Auto-Reverse Cassette Deck
1983 - RX-505 Uni-Directional Discrete Head Auto-Reverse Cassette Deck
1983 - TD-1200 Mobile Audio Cassette Deck
1983 - PA-300 Mobile Audio 2-Channel Power Amplifier
1983 - SP-400 Mobile Audio 3-way Speaker System
1984 - BX-300 Discrete Head Cassette Deck
1986 - ST-7 AM/FM Stereo Tuner
1986 - CA-5 Control Amplifier
1988 - TA-1A High Definition Tuner Amplifier
1988 - DAT-1000 and 1000P DAT Recorder and A/D and D/A Converter
1988 - OMS-1A Compact Disc Player
1991 - 1000mb 7-disc MusicBank System
1995 - Dragon CD / Dragon DAC
2005 - The Kobayashi System - Mobile Sound System, CD Player, Amplifier, Speakers

The Wikipedia has a really good history of Nakamichi in their Free Encyclopedia

Nakamichi or as it was called in the beginning, Nakamichi Research, was founded by Etsuro Nakamichi in 1948.  Esturo was an acoustic engineering officer in the Navy doing sonar research.  After the war he started Nakamichi Research doing research and development in electromagnetism, magnetic recording, acoustics and communications.  The company initially designed and developed portable radios, tone arms, speakers and communications equipment.  Within 3-years an open-reel tape recorder was introduced under the FIDELA brand name.  This tape recorder used proprietary technology developed by Nakamichi Research and it won critical acclaim for it's high level of performance at the time.  Nakamichi manufactured open-reel tape recorders for major brand name companies, but, not in their own name.  By 1957 they company was also manufacturing magnetic heads and tape recorders.  Nakamichi Research studied methods of reducing the noise common to early tape recordings.  The result was a consumer high fidelity deck using a simplified form of Dolby's complex compression-expansion noise reduction system, as well as the best tape heads and mechansims Nakamichi could design.  Nakamichi Research became Licensee Number 1 for the new Dolby noise reduction system, and the product of this innovation, a reel to reel deck, was introduced in 1969 under the KLH brand name.  When the compact cassette format was developed, Nakamichi became involved with the making high quality tape decks, but, again, under other brand names.  Nakamichi went on to build the world's first Dolby-equipped, high bias capable compact cassette deck for Advent.

In 1972 Nakamichi introduced their first tape deck to bear their name, the 1000.  It was designed to provide reel-to-reel quality sound in the compact cassette format.  It quickly established Nakamichi as one of the most influential audio electronic products in history.  Before the introduction of this deck everyone believed that the compact cassette could not be considered a hi-fi format.  It was the biggest, most costly and most complex deck ever devised.  It had a long list of firsts.  The first cassette deck to have three head, the first to have a fully electronic transport, the first to have an azimuth adjustment system (record head) and peak reading meter.

Kozo Kobayashi joined Nakamichi in April 1971.  Kozo was deeply involved with the development of all of Nakamichi's legendary audio products.  Kozo is currently the Managing Director of Nakamichi Corporation and is also responsible for the R&D Division in Japan as Chief Engineer.

Etsuro's only son Takeshi Nakamichi joined Nakamichi Corporation in April of 1972 and was involved with the launch of the 1000.  Takeshi is currently the President / Representative Director of Nakamichi Corporation.

Noteworthly Products with description of what makes them special.  A more complete list can be found here.  Nakamichi Model List
1972 - 1000 Discrete 3-head cassette deck. First product for Nakamichi. First cassette deck to feature 3-head.  A landmark product.
1974 - 500 2-head cassette deck.  This deck was one of the first to incorporate Crystalloy heads, DC Servomotor and dolby.
1975 - 550 2-head portable battery powered cassette deck.  This deck had a built in 3-point microphone mixer.
1975 - 600 2-head console cassette deck. First 2-head to offer the performance of a 3-head deck.
1976 - 350 Portable cassette deck.  This deck featured a Focused Field Crystal Permalloy R/P head and Dolby-B.
1977 - 430 FM Tuner This tuner was perceived as one of the super tuners in it's day.
1977 - 1000II Discrete 3-head cassette deck.  Follow on product to the incredible 1000.
1978 - 530 Receiver.
1978 - 730 Receiver. No buttons, no levers, no switches.  This receiver used a Touch Sensor Control System.
1979 - 680ZX - 2-speed Cassette deck.  This deck was the world's first high fidelity cassette deck to
1980 - 1000ZXL Comupting Cassette Deck.  First deck to be equiped with A.B.L.E. (Azimuth, Bias, Level, Equalizer) and RAMM (Random Access Music Memory).
1980 - 7000ZXL Computing Cassette Deck.
1981 - 581Z Discrete 3-head Cassette Deck.
1981 - 682ZX Discrete Head Cassette Deck
1981 - 482Z Cassette Deck
1981 - 700ZXE Audo Tuning Cassette Deck
1982 - ZX-9 Discrete Head Cassette Deck
1982 - DRAGON Cassette Deck. This is the first deck to feature NAAC (Nakamichi Auto Azimuth Correction).
1983 - RX-202 2-head Uni-Directional Auto-Reverse Deck.
1983 - RX-505 3-head Discrete Uni-Directional Auto-Reverse Deck
1983 - TD-1200 This is Nakamichi's first car audio tuner/cassette deck. It featured the same NAAC that was in the DRAGON.
1983 - PA-300 70W/ch mobile power amplifier
1983 - SP-400 3-Way mobile speaker system
1984 - BX-300 3-head Cassette Deck
1986 - ST-7 AM/FM Stereo Tuner
1986 - CA-5 Control Amplfier.
1988 - TA-1A High Definition Tuner Amplifier
1988 - DAT-1000 and 1000P Nakamichi's first DAT product.
1988 - OMS-1A
1991 - 1000mb 7-disc MusicBank System
2002 - Kobayashi System. Mobile sound system named after Nakamichi's Chief Engineer Kozo Kobayashi.

Tape plays fast for the first second or two and then suddenly plays normal
This is most likely caused by hardened grease on the pinch roller pivots which plague the Nakamichi standard transport decks.  Take the cassette door off and without a tape put the deck into play.  The pinch rollers should engage the capstans without any delay.  Press down on the pinch roller.  Once you press down enough to overcome the spring it should move freely.  If this is not the case then the pivot needs to be cleaned and new oil added.  Try using 99% or greater alcohol on the pivot while moving the pinch roller to work it in.  This may or may not work depending on how hard the grease is. If it doesn't get easier after about a half hour then the whole pinch roller will need to be removed. Note: This will require realignment of the tape guides after reassembly. This is a job that requires a trip to a competant service person who has the required gauges. The pinch roller pivot pin is just pressed into the white plastic. Carefully grab the pin and gently rotate it back and forth while pulling on it. Once out you can use harder chemicals like MEK to remove the hardened grease. Clean thoughly, apply new grease like molytone or lithium grease. Reassembly by slowly pushing the pn back into the plastic of the transport.

Dragon makes a clicking noise while NAAC light is flashing
The clicking is the NAAC motor trying to rotate the playback head beyond normal travel. This should also result in a really bad sounding playback with greatly reduced treble. This is usually caused by a tape travel problem. Check to make sure the pinch rollers move freely (see problem mentioned above). Incorrect pinch roller pressure can cause the tape to skew. In some cases causing the edge of the tape to get chewed up or worse the whole tape. I heard that the Dragon pinch rollers can be removed fairly easily by taking off an e-clip and washer. Realignment should not be necessary. Next, clean the pinch rollers really really well, 3-4 swaps with 99% or greater alcohol or Intraclean by American Recoder. The surface of the pinch rollers should NOT be shiny. It should have a soft matte finish. If that doesn't fix it then check the back tension. Tape skewing can be caused by not enough back tension. Next check the tape guides. You can do a quick visual check, but, to be completely sure the guides are ok requires tape guide check gauges. One person on Naktalk said that his clicking Dragon was caused by the direct drive capstan motors not being in sync. I don't know what would cause that, but, I'm sure it is a rare occurance.

Orange Cap Disease
What is it?
Orange Capacitor Disease is unofficial name given to the failure of little orange metalized polypropylene capacitors that are used in many Nakamichi tape decks.  For some unknown reason these capacitors are very prone to failure and usually result in rustling, crackling or lack of audio in one, or sometimes both channels.  When an orange capacitor fails in a tape decks bias oscillator, the usual result is an ability to erase, low record level in both channels and/or a varying of the record level.  The ultimate solution would be to go through your deck and replace all the orange capacitors.  But, that would require a full electrical calibration. The more practical solution is to replace only the bad cap(s), but, finding the one or two caps that are bad isn't easy. But narrowing it down to the section isn't too bad. The bias circuits and the Dolby circuits are usually the most prone to develop problems.

Which  units are affected?
The only Naks that are NOT subject to orange cap disease are ones made before 1978.  For tape decks that would be the  250, 350, 500, 550, 700, 700II, 1000 and 1000II.  All of the rest are potential Orange Capacitor Disease units.

What are suitable replacement components?
The prefered replacement capacitor are polypropylene because of their sonic qualities, but, polyester or polystyrene have been used with success and no noticeable degradation of sound quality.  The replacement capacitors should have a voltage ratings of at least 50 Volts except for ones used in the bias oscillator which should have a rating of 100 Volts or highier.

The tolerance is the first letter following the 3 digit value. The letter J indicates 5% tolerance, K indicates 10% and I think the G indicates either 2%. I need to research that one.

One good candidate is the Panasonic ECQ-P (Z) series polypropylene caps that are carried by Digikey. They run about $0.23-0.60 depending on value. Another good candidate are Panasonic ECQ-B series polyester caps.  They are similar in size to the original are very inexpensive. For the 100V caps you should the ECQ-B series (because the ECQ-P caps don't come in 100V). One of the best caps are the green Matsushita caps. I'm not sure who carries these. Also Vishay-BC Components MKP metalized polypropylene or MKT metalized polyester

Another place to get caps is Mouser They carry AVX, Vishay-Roederstein MKT metalized polyester, Wima MKP2 metalized polypropylene and Xicon. Try the BQ-series polyester film caps from AVX, the MKT1817 and MKT1818 polyester film caps from Vishay or the MKP2 polypropylene film and MKS2 polyester film caps from Wima. Most of these series aren't very complete (may have missing values that you need). The most complete series at Mouser is the Xicon PF series.

Newark also has caps, but, I don't like their web site and have a hard time finding what I need over there. They carry the Cornell Dubilier caps, the AVX BQ-series and Vishay MKT371 serues polyester caps.

How to determine the capacitors value. The caps are usually labeled with a three digits and two letters.  The first two digits are the value and the third is the number of zeros to give you the value in pF.  For example 561 = 560pf or 0.00056uF, 332 = 3300pF or 0.0033uF and 683 = 68000pf or 0.068uF.  Don't worry about the last two characters. I think they are the voltage rating and/or tolerance.

Orange caps used in the 480 tape deck
0.00056uF = 560pF (561) - C139, C239
0.0030uF = 3000pF (302) - C113, C213
0.0047uF = 4700pF (472) - C118, C218, C302, C303
0.033uF (333) - C120, C220
0.068uf (683) - C305 is hosting a nice web page created by Kannan.

When going through the parts list in the Nakamichi service manual look for capacitors whos description starts with "CP"
There is usually a letter at the end of the description, G, J, or F

RX-505 List of Orange Capacitors
Dolby NR P.C.B. Assy
330pF (331J, 100V) - C142, C242, C150, C250
4700pF (472G, 100V) - C111, C211, C148, C248
0.033uF (333G, 100V) - C107, C207, C145, C245
Main P.C.B. Assy
330pF (331) - C106, C206 Service manual says 820pF (820J, 100V) should be here
330pF (331J, 100V) - C116, C216
2200pF (222J, 100V) - C115, C215
0.01uF (103J, 100V) - C119, C219
Main Logic P.C.B. Assy
0.018uF (183G, 100V) - C624
There are probably another two caps inside the bias oscillator module.

RX-202 List of Orange Capacitor
Main Board (Dolby)
390pF (391JC) - C107, C207
3000pF (302JF) - C115, C215
0.01uF (103GG) - C135, C235
0.033uF (333G) - C136, C236
4700pF (472GB) - C153, C253

Tape Selector Board
8200pF (822JG) - C327
1500pF (152JG) - C327
There are probably two more in the bias oscillator can.

4066 Quad Analog Switch IC
On some decks Nakamichi use the 4066 quad bilateral analog switch. This part can go bad and a suitable replacement may be hard to find since there are so many different variants. People who service these decks recommend the Maxim MAX4066CPD as a suitable replacement. The the CPD+, ACPD and ACPD+ suffix parts are also suitable. Do not use the 74HC4066 or the ANT4066 as they are not fully compatible.

No record or erase problem
One common failure in the 480, 580, 680 series as well as the ZX-7 & 9 decks that can be attributed to Orange Cap Disease is the failure to erase and record. This is usually caused by a dead bias oscillator. Replace the orange caps and the two transistors in the bias oscillator circuit. In the 480 series replace C302, C303, 4700pF mylar 100V and Q301, Q302, 2SC945. In the 680 series decks it's C321, C322, Q301 and Q302. The capacitors are 4700pF mylars and need to be rated for 100 volts or more. The transistors are 2SC945.

Loose contact problem on 700 & 700II
The 700/700II are, however, very prone to "loose contact disease", so one almost always needs to take the deck apart and tighten each & every individual contact spring of every board edge connector in the unit, including those used as cable interconnectors, such as on the logic board.

Nakamichi Tape Deck Calibration Procedure
A lot of people have been asking about how to calibration their Nak decks themselves and I have not seen any good web pages that explains this procedure.  So I said to myself, "I'm going to start one."  Right now it's nothing more than an online version of the Nak 660ZX calibration procedure.  Later on I will add notes on how it applies to other decks other than the 660ZX.  I have broken it down to two web pages.  One for mechanical and one for electrical calibration and alignment
Mechanical Calibration & Alignment Procedure <- Sorry this is linked to my old Geocities account which Yahoo shut down
Electrical Calibration & Alignment Procedure <- Sorry this is linked to my old Geocities account which Yahoo shut down

Head and Pinch Roller Cleaning
There has been a lot of discussion on NakTalk over the years regarding head cleaning.  First I'll start with the No, No's.  Do not use drug store alcohol with a purity of less than 98%.  Standard rubbing alcohol or isopropanol is typically only 70% pure alcohol with the rest being water.  Denatured alcohol is Ok since it contains 99% ethyl and methyl alcohol with only trace amounts of water.

Just about everyone has their own ideas on what to use.  I'm not sure what Nakamichi officially says, but, when I used to go to the Nakamichi parts department in Torrance, CA they had a display on the counter for American Recorder's Intraclean S-711 head cleaning solution.  They were careful to say that they are not officially endorsing their product, but, they did say that they use it on all the decks that come in for service.  Unfortunately S-711 is no longer available because of a ban on 1,1,1 Trichloroethane. American Recorder now has Intraclean S-721H which is pure Hexane.  S-721H is $15 for a 2 ounce bottle that should last the home user virtually forever.  With some of the older high end Naks they included a small cleaning kit containing a bag of cotton swabs and a small bottle of what I believe is just isopropyl alcohol (probably 90% or better, not sure). While this kit was included with some decks it is not recommended because of the possible high water content.  The important thing is to use something that will evaporate quickly and not sit there.  The worst thing is if water sits on the metal parts.  (S.J.)

Some people like using an old Ampex head cleaning solution from the 50's & 60's.  It is basically carbon tetrachloride. It works great, but, was banned many years ago because of it'seffect on the ozone layer. American Recorders Intraclean S-711 is no longer available either because it's ingredient 1,1,1 Trichloroethane also deplets the ozone layer and has been known to cause cancer.

Stephan Sank says he uses MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone).  It's cheap and an excellent cleaner, but, is known to cause cancer and can royally screw up plastic.  Use in a well ventilated area and don't let it touch anything except the heads and pinch roller. It will melt the plastic parts and can even cause damage to the anodized aluminum front panel.

(Thanks to Jeff Galin at ESLabs for some of the information contained above.)

Potentiometer (POT), Switch Cleaning
Read Caig Laboratories FAQ on Potentiometer and Fader Maintenance.  These guys make some of the best chemicals for removing oxidation and protecting contact. Bottom line for switches and contacts use DeoxIT Gold, formerly ProGold. For pots and fader use DeoxIT FaderLube, formerly CaiLube MCL. The solvent in Deoxit could damage the carbon track in vintage pots.

Static noise during playback on 2-head BX deck
This is possibly caused by the Record/Playback switching relay. Try going back and forth between play and record about a dozen times. If the static is a little better then it's the relay. Try opening the top of the relay and spraying DeoxIT or ProGold by Caig Labs on the relay contacts. If that doesn't work try tightening a screws holding the boards in place, especially the ones that connect board ground to chassis ground.

Static noise during playback on LX-3 deck
This is quite possibly caused by the record/playback Switch. This switch is thin and about 3 inches long. It is connected via a cable to the transport and switches when the transport goes into record. Try disconnecting the cable and move the switch back and forth a couple dozen times. If you have some DeoxIT by Caig Labs squirt some in, that'll help reduced the oxidation on the contacts and keep it from oxidizing in the future.

Level mismatch between channels
Your complaint with the rec level controls is a fairly inevitable problem that almost always exists in ZX's & most other things with 2 channel level controls:  mismatch of resistance per position of each potentiometer.  Only expensive precision pots can be counted upon to match & to stay matched, but this is one area where Nak chose not to spend the extra money.  The only cure for the symptom is to replace one or both controls.  But, you'd have to do a really difficult measurement of resistance per position of each control to assure an improvement of balance tracking.  Even if you do this, unless you retrofit with precision pots, you may not have good balance tracking six months or six years down the road, do to thermally induced changes in the resistive elements.
So, I really think the best solution is to carefully calibrate your meters & try to rely on them.

Stephen Sank
Champlain Valley Speaker Company, aka Talking Dog Transducer Co.
Owner of Cloud Microphones

VU meter on one side is pegged or work intermittantly
This has be noted on 580 and 680 series decks. One channel is pegged and the other channel works fine. It's most likely orange cap disease. Try replacing C117, C119, C120, C217, C219, C220 and C326 on the 580 board. On the 680ZX try replacing C901, C902, and C903 on the FL Indicator module. On the 680ZX the problem is most likely C901, which I think is 4700pF.

How often should I demagnetize my heads
This is another subject that has come up time and time again. There is no right answer.
The following is from Kermit Gray from Woods & Waters/KVG Labs
B&W does recommend every 50 hours. I'd recommend every 10 hours for pre-1983 Nakamichis and any 1970s cassette tape recorder. If you're running a 30-ips reel-to-reel, demagnetize after every cleaning (which occurs at the end of each tape, or every 30-minutes), or not more than every 4 hours if it's a Studer or 3M 79.
Ray Rayburn has created an excellent web site explaining the proper use of a head demagnetizer.  Cleaning and demagnetising

Sankyo Transport Control Motor Problems
The motor used in Sankyo transport decks is a major source of problems in these aging decks. The problem is seen as a deck that seems to not respond to front panel controls (play, stop, rewind, etc.) and on some decks where the transport mode lights flash after an attempted mode change. This is caused by a dead spot that has formed on the control motor stator. A short term fix is to open the deck and give the motor shaft a little nudge. This usually gets it out of that dead spot, but, it will get stuck again. Some people has had success with spraying Caig Labs, DeoxIT into the holes on the back of the motor and cycling the deck through the modes several times. A better solution is to remove the motor from the transport and after spraying in the DeoxIT to let it run for several minutes using an external power source between 4-9 Volts. This will help the motor brushed to scrap away the carbon in the dead spot. A more permanent solution is to disassemble the motor and use very fine grit sandpaper or steel wool to clean the stator while spinning the thing with and electric drill. Apply some DeoxIT and reassemble. There is one more possible solution. Replace the motor. Now these motors are no longer available from Nakamichi, but, two suitable replacements have been found that will require a few minutes of modification to the deck. The Mabuchi RF-370C-15370 motor from MCM Electronics for $32.65 (out of stock at last check) is a very close substitute. The Johnson RF-370C, P/N 174693 motor from Jameco Robot Store, for $2.49 has a slightly longer shaft, but, it will work fine. The mounting holes are 17mm apart on the motors and 16mm apart on the Nak transport. Take a small rat tail file and elongate the two holes on the transport to mount the new motor.

Noise During Mode Changes (Nakamichi Standard Transport Only)
The Nak decks that use the standard or classic mechanism (not the Sankyo mechanism) are prone to developing a noise when changing modes, especially when going into stop.  This is caused by the oil on the cam drive gear drying out.  The simple fix is to add a drop of oil to the gear shaft.  Do not get any on the gear where the belt is.  Only on the shaft.  Do not put too much on.  It only needs a drop or less.  Here is a service bulletin issued by Nak NR-0040 that shows exactly were to put the oil.

Nakamichi CR-7A Record Equalization Correction
The Record equalization correction was incorporated after S/N A130-08677, during the last quarter of 1985 so only decks pre S/N A130-08677, was afflicted with the record EQ mistake.

I should point out that the CR-7 EQ upgrade is *not* an update to IEC2. It is to correct a problem with the auto-calibration system not achieving an optimal setting when used with tapes that have "hot" HF response (such as TDK SA-X).  The result is a depressed response in the mid-high region.  Nakamichi had a service information bulletin out on this (00D-M-0298) and I have performed the mod to my CR-7 with dramaticly improved recording performance on tapes like SA-X, SA-XG, MA-X and MA-XG. The later production CR-7s (A130-08677) should already have this upgrade from the factory.
-Ti Kan

How to determine if your CR-7A has the mod is to first check the serial number on the back of the unit. If the S/N is after A130-08677 the it has the mod from the factory. If the serial is before then you need to open the deck, hing up the two boards that obscure the bottom board and look toware the back for the EQ section and locate R122/R222. A mod'd unit should have a rather large 0.33ufd film cap with two small resistors attached. An unmod'd unit will just have single resistors.

Stephen Sank posted the following on Naktalk years go. Stephen has sort of fallen off the face of the earth so don't expect him to be able to do the eq and gear idler mods for that price if at all. I've posted this previously on Naktalk. The CR-7's produced before serial no. A130-08677, a number I have right in the top of my head, sounded rolled off at the very top end on tapes it auto-cal'd & recorded. Something I noticed shortly after selling the first two or three.  This was due to mistakes made in the design of the rec eq & rec amp circuits. At this serial number, production was corrected & a modification bulletin was issued. Also, units before around serial number A130-09400 also had the infamously unreliable rubber tire based reel drive mechanism, and require the "gear drive upgrade". On units that need both mod's, I charge $325, including complete maintenance & calibration. The rec EQ mod alone, $225 incl. maint/calibr. & the gear drive upgrade alone, $175 incl. maint/calibration. Obviously, well within the range of keeping you deck & getting the needed work done. I've only recently had time to finally do the mods on my own CR-7, even though I've been doing other people's units for something like ten years. I warranty such mod work for one year. I have no idea what other facilities charge for the eq mod, nor how many of them are even aware of it. When I moved to my own shop four years ago & called Nak in California to get a new copy of the mod procedure, the tech there had no idea what I was talking about, until he went digging for it.

ST-7 Tuner Reviews

What is NAAC?
NAAC stands for Nakamichi Auto Azimuth Correction.  Only the Dragon home deck and the various versions of the TD-1200 for the car have NAAC.  It works by splitting the gap on the right channel into 2 gaps.  Each gap is then separately amplified, send through a 3-6 kHz bandpass filters and waveform squaring circuits before they go to a phase comparator.  The phase comparator then feeds a circuit that drives the PB head azimuth motor to minimize the error.  NAAC has a funny scheme for when it operates.  NAAC operation is started when the transport is put into play or when audio is silent for approximately 2 seconds.  100mS after music is detected the NAAC light will start flashing at a 2 Hz rate and will continue for about 6 seconds.  The azimuth motor is driven to find the point of least phase error for about 3 seconds then it will stop for 3 seconds and adjust again for about 3 seconds if there is still some error.  After 10 seconds NAAC will stop even if it hasn't found the correct azimuth.  NAAC will restart again when music resumes after a 2 second or more period of silence or when the direction of tape travel is reversed or when going to stop and back to play.  NAAC does NOT continuously adjust azimuth through out the tape.

NAAC light off - System was reset
NAAC light flashing - System is currently adjusting
NAAC light on - System has completed it's adjustment

More information can be found on page 4 of the Dragon brochure.  I have posted a scan here: <- Geocities closed. I will relocate this file in the future.

Where are various Naks made
From some of the replies to my query about Nak decks manufactured in countries other than Japan, I suspect that the lower grade decks were slowly phased into subcontracted manufacturing during the 1980s.  By the 1990s, most Nak decks were manufactured in other Pacific Rim nations.  In some cases, quality issues became an issue as subcontracting increased.  Appears that the BX, CR series decks were done mostly in Taiwan, possible South Korea, and the late 1980s mobile components were done predominantly in Hong Kong.  Here's a start to short list what my speculative chronology is for Nakamichi cassette deck manufacturing locations from the 1970s thru 1990s.....

Nak Tri-Tracer series - Japan
Nak ZX/ZXE/ZXL series - Japan
Nak LX series - Japan???
Nak Dragon - Japan (& later Taiwan???)
Nak CR1 thru 4 - Japan & Tawain
Nak CR5 & 7 - Japan???
Nak RX202/303/505 - Japan
Nak DR-1 - Japan
Nak DR 2/3 - Malaysia & Taiwan (S.Korea?)
Nak Cassette Deck 1/1.5/2 - Japan and maybe Taiwan & S. Korea
Nak DR 8 & 10 - Japan and maybe Malaysia too
Mobile Nak TD 500/700/1000 - Japan
Mobile Nak RD 460 & TD 560 - Hong Kong
Mobile Nak Amps - Japan & Hong Kong
Mobile Nak Speakers - Japan & Hong Kong

Comments, corrections and/or opinions, please add your views to the
list I've started above!!!

K.J. Bleus
Madison, WI USA

Check out BleusNak CyberSpot Portal

Reel and mode motor on Sankyo mechanism decks
I would very much recommend, though, stocking a few reel motors, P/N CA80205A, for CR-7 or any other Sankyo mech deck worth keeping, as these eventually develop dead spots and aren't easy to overhaul.  The mode motor will do the same thing, but, it's really easy to take apart & de-carbonise, so not much point in buying spares.  If you want to get a spare the part number is CA80007A. New info. I'm not sure it's the same motor, but, at least on the CR-4 and probably many other decks that use the Sankyo gear drive and possibly the Sankyo rubber tire idler as well. The original can be replaced with a Mabuchi RF-510T with some modification to the mounting plate. I believe the holes on the motor are further apart on the Mabuchi motor.

-Ron has a good step by step for removing the reel motor on Sankyo transport.

1. Remove top cover. How: remove two screws, 2 on each side.
2. Remove cassette well door.
3. Remove front part of the cassette case (24). How: remove 2 black countersunk head screws on the left. Hold the left side and pull forward and to the left to disengage. Note location of the spring on the left plastic bracket and make sure it's correctly positioned prior to reassembly.
4. Remove the cassette back plate. How: remove 2 black screws from the top of the plate. The plate fits into slots in the cassette guides at the bottom of the well. Pull the top of the plate forward and up to disengage.
5. Remove the left hub. How: press down on the hub. This exposes a 3.2mm plastic washer -- pull it off, then remove the hub, a metal washer, a plastic spring holder and a spring, in this order.
6. In a similar fashion, remove the right hub.
7. The reel motor plate is held by 2 screws and a nut, all accessible from the rear. For now, remove the upper left screw and loosen (do not remove) the 4mm nut. You may use a 5/32" nut driver.The plate and motor will remain in place.
8. Mark the positive terminal of the reel motor with a dab of red paint, if not already so marked. Unsolder the motor leads.
9. dismount the capstan motor. It is held in place by 4 screws, all accessible from the front. How: put a piece of plastic sleeving on each capstan, for protection. Manually lift the head block as far as it will go and use a strong rubber band hooked to the post at the top to keep it in place. Top left screw is located under the left hub hole, a bit to the left. Top right screw is located about 1/2" above the right cassette guide. Lower right screw is located under the right pinch roller. Lower left screw is located under and to the left of the left pinch roller. Its head will be hidden under a segment of an L bracket (16). To expose the head (partially), push the L bracket segment down. Use a thin Philips #1 screwdriver. Once the capstan motor standoff is free, release the L bracket. This will keep the screw captive, so it will not fall out.
10. Remove the reel motor plate with the reel motor attached. How: Move the capstan motor back so as to permit access to the lower screw holding the reel motor plate in place. Use a right angle Philips #1 screwdriver. Loosen the screw (do not remove).
11. Replace reel motor.
12. Reassemble in reverse order.

Flywheel bearing shaft
I haven't yet seen a CR-7, CR-5, BX-300 or MR-1 motors go south.  The only problem I ever seen with them is once in a while finding one needing the left flywheel shaft bearing lub'd, for which "Prolong Precision Oil" works great. The service manual lists Anderol 456 diester bearing oil, but, this is very hard to find, (Data sheet). The bearings on the capstan are oil impregnated bronze bearings. To do the job right you need to clean out the old oil by soaking it in something like acetone or MEK for a few days. Then dry for a day (leave it in the sun to bake it out a bit) and then soak it in the new oil for a couple days.

Oils and greases
The Nak service manuals list several types of oils and greases to be used for various parts in the machines. For example Anderol 456 diester in the paragraph above. There is also Mitsubishi Diamond EP-56 hydraulic fluid for the reel hub shafts. MSDS. Molykote X5-6020 mineral oil grease for the cam motor pulley and capstan thrust portion, Data Sheet. Floil GB-TS-1 for reel hub assembly and back tension spring.

IEC1976 & IEC1981
Nakamichi decks in general adhere to the original IEC1 standard.  Other makers' decks since around 1980 have been made to more or less to the IEC2 standard.  This standard was created due to the fact that nobody but Nak was able to make tape heads that had 20kHz response, even being at -20dB, without a large amount of treble equalisation.  Nakamichi chose not to use the IEC2 standard a)because they didn't need it, and b)because the heavy treble boost severely increases distortion in the treble at all but very low levels.  The B version of the MR1 was created strictly to silence rumours among professional users that Nak-made tapes did not play back correctly on other decks.  But, with the evolution of tape heads in general, the incompatibility is all but non-existent, except with really crappy decks that aren't worth using to begin with.  So, I would absolutely say you shouldn't worry about finding the rather rare MR-1B.  But, you should positively NOT buy an MR-1 unless you have positive confirmation that it has the gear type reel drive mechanism.  Fully half of all MR-1's were made before this mech was in the production line, and have the very high-maintenance rubber tire driven reels.  The only sure way to confirm gear drive is to have the seller remove the cassette well back plate, a matter of two screws, and show you the white nylon gear sitting smack between the reel tables.  The MR-1 is an excellent deck, being a pro version of the BX300.
-Stephen Sank

As for playback EQ, the Sendust head 2-head models, i.e., CR-1/2, as well as RX202, BX1/2/100/125/150, DR3/8, MR-2, CassetteDeck2/3, were actually "off standard" per usual Nak standards, having been made closer to IEC-2 (the easier to meet standard used by the other "crap" deck makers), due to the poorer high frequency playback ability of the Sendust vs crystal permalloy heads, so should theoretically make tapes that sound more normal on other maker's decks. This does, however, say that these decks are "crap" compared to crystal permalloy head Naks (i.e., all 3-head Naks, plus the 580, 550, 500 and 350 2-head decks). I agree with this statement, but also say that the 2-head Naks are still far and away better than almost every other makers' best decks.

Paul Carrington's explaination
I know Richard Hess was doing research on this.  It is my belief that Nak used the IEC 1976 equalization (along with others).  Later, BASF is alleged to have made an error which resulted in an alignment tape with a peak of approx 4 db above 12kHz.  This had the effect of extending the freq response from playback heads at the expense of headroom and highier distortion.  It was brought to the attention of the IEC and they agreed on a compromise which I believe reduced this peak (to 2db?).  The new equalization was referred to as IEC1981.  Nak continued using the IEC 1976 equalization as they did not consider it necessary to introduce the change as their heads were capable of extended response without adopting the 1981 equalization, and they did not want to reduce the headroom or increase distortion.  Other manufacturers follow IEC 1981.  That is my understanding of the situation .... I have been trying to get hold of the IEC 1976 and 1981 alignment tapes to do a comparison and see what the difference really is but I have not been able to do so!  Nak published their equalization curve in some of their service manuals.
Paul Carrington

Differences between the RX-202, RX-303 & RX-505
The RX-303 & RX-505 use the classic Nakamichi transport, not the newer (cheaper) Sankyo transport that the RX-202 uses. The RX-202 most likely has the small rubber idler problem too, I don't think any came from the factory with the gear idler assembly. The classic transport in the RX-303 and RX-505 are essentially updated LX-3 & LX-5 models, respectively, with auto-reverse and inferior 9-segment LED bar graph meters.  The reel drive idler on the RX-303 & RX-505 is via rubber idler, but, the tire is about twice as large and thick and lasts for 10-15 years before needing to be replaced, so not prone at all to losing friction like the small idler on the RX-202.  The RX-202 has buttons that are flat where the RX-303/505 has buttons that stick out and are angled.  The RX-202 used a Sendust playback head where the RX-303/505 use Crystalloy heads. The RX-505 has a CUE feature that lets you hear the tape in semi fast forward and rewind mode. The RX-303/505 all have 8-pin DIN wired remote connectors on the back. Not all RX-202's got this connector. There is a change over serial number, but, I don't have that number handy.
RX-505 service manual and brochure
RX-303/RX-505 brochure, RX-202 brochure, RX-202 User's manual, RX-202 Service Manual

Cassette window on RX series decks
The cassette windows for the RX-202 is different from the one on the RX-303 and RX-505.  The RX-202 one is a little shorter.  The P/N of the RX-303/505 windows is 0H04345A, but, don't try getting one from Nakamichi, they don't have any.  See picture.

RX-505 Noise
Thanks for reply of my RX-505 problem. I think that my RX-505 may have a power supply problem. (maybe grounding fail.) When I touched or moved the power cord, the noise varied (increase or decrease). So I tried to tighten the grounding screw which Stephen Sank pointed out.  The screw is nearest the front and to the right, with the soldered grounding lug under it. Careful not to turn it so hard as to strip the threads in the aluminum bracket.

Souping up your deck
General rule is replace ceramics, mylars and polysters in the audio path and the power supplies for the audio path where possible/affordable with propylenes & styrenes. Otherwise bypass, with attention to keeping values the same in eq circuits. The classic electrolytic cap is aluminum. Tantalum is just a different kind of lytic, but with markedly different properties & generally more compact. On the supply caps, you only need to worry about the 17V supply, as the 12V supply is not involved with audio. The most improvement will be gained with bypassing the caps that are after the regulator. On the first big cap after the reg, I'd add 6 to 10uF of polypropylene + at least 0.0022uF of polystyrene.  Then I'd add at least 0.1uF of good polypropylene or polystyrene to the supply line at each entry point to each amp stage of each channel.
Stephen Sank

Tantalums & aluminums are electrolytic types that should be bypassed with as large a film cap as will fit.  Ceramics should be replaced when possible, bypassed with 5 percent or more of value otherwise, as should mylars & polyesters.  The exception is when the caps are in EQ circuits, where, if bypassing, you should replace the original cap with a similar cap of a reduced value, to arrive at the original value once bypassed.  I am not sure, but I think S.P. refers to a polyester.  Don't have a 700 here right now to compare the schematic reference to.
-Stephen Sank, Cloud Microphones

Essentially, the upgrading consists of:
1) Soft-recovery rectifiers & generous high freq bypassing(propylene & styrene caps) into the audio power supplies.
2) Replacement of all 4558/TL072 format dual opamps in direct rec/pb signal path with OP275.
3) Bypassing of all Pb signal path caps w/styrenes, and elimination of coupling caps where possible.
4) Bypassing of all "in stage" power supply filter caps in rec/pb signal path stages with styrenes.
5) Bypassing of all Rec signal path caps w/NPO ceramic SMD "chip" caps(due to budget limits), including input amps.
6) Replacing of all significant shielded signal wiring(excluding head wiring, due to budget) with LAT IC-200II cable or RCA MI-13322
silver/copper mic cable.  No where near as much wiring to replace as in the ZX-7/9, and no overly circuitous routes, but I was able to shorten some runs a lot.
7) Removal of AC line cord & installation of standard IEC power cord connector.

I think that covers it. But I may be forgetting one or two things. May not sound like a lot from the description, but, man, it was a lot of work!  And, of course, I did a complete recalibration after mods.
-Stephen Sank, Cloud Microphones

Replacing the opamp IC's for the pb & rec amps & input/output line amps is always a positive. My favorite is the Analog Devices OP275. Then, I'd say replace bridge rectifier diode unit that supplies the + & - 12v supply rails with Harris HR4120 soft recovery epitaxial discrete diodes(4 single diodes as opposed to the 4 diode unit).  Next, get a bunch of small value, say 0.0022ufd RelCap RT polystyrene film caps & parallel one with every electrolytic capacitor you can identify as being either in the direct signal path or on the power supply rails to the dolby & amp IC's. By this point, you'll likely be spending about as much as you'll want to, and have done 70-80 percent of what's possible to get sonic improvement from. All of these parts can be purchased from Michael Percy Audio, , who is my favorite high-end parts supplier. You have to download his catalog in .pdf format, then fax or email the order. The OP275's can be had cheaper from Newark & a couple of other places, but the small number you'll need wouldn't make the difference amount to much. On the caps & diodes, he's the cheapest I have found.  His catalog is also rather educational.
-Stephen Sank, Cloud Microphones

Power Supply Filter Caps
In the power supply of the Nak decks are large electrolytic filter caps. Over time these caps can dry out and loose their capacitance, increase in equivalent series resistance (ESR) or short out. I turned on my RX-505 one time and the lights didn't come one. I opened the cover and found one of the fuses had blown. Using an ohm meter I checked the power supply outputs. One was shorted. The filter cap has shorted and blew the fuse. I replaced the cap with one from an old computer power supply, replaced the fuse and it worked again. Having the filter cap short was rare. Most of the time the caps start loose their capacitance and the ESR increases. Many meters these days have a capacitance mode. This works in most cases, but, sometimes the capacitance measures Ok, but, the ESR is too high. For this you need an ESR meter. These typically are very expensive. Here is a web page comparing low cost units Years ago I bought the EVB one in kit form. That unit is available here for $69.95 (Canadian) in kit form and $129.95 (Canadian) assembled and tested. It works great and has a little chart on it which lists typical values for different capacitance and voltage rating capacitors. Battery life is excellent. Mine is still on it's first battery.

Tape Deck Upgrades - Souping up your deck
The following is from Stephan Sank regarding upgrades that can be done to Nak decks to make them better.
1) Soft-recovery rectifiers & generous high freq bypassing (propylene & styrene caps) into the audio power supplies.
2) Replacement of all 4558/TL072 format dual opamps in direct rec/pb signal path with OP275.
3) Bypassing of all Pb signal path caps w/styrenes and elimination of coupling caps where possible.
4) Bypassing of all "in stage" power supply filter caps in rec/pb signal path stages with styrenes.
5) Bypassing of all Rec signal path caps w/NPO ceramic SMD "chip" caps(due to budget limits), including input amps.
6) Replacing of all significant shielded signal wiring (excluding head wiring, due to budget) with LAT IC-200II cable or RCA MI-13322 silver/copper mic cable.  No where near as much wiring to replace as in the ZX-7/9, and no overly circuitous routes, but I was able to shorten some runs a lot.
7) Removal of AC line cord & installation of standard IEC power cord connector.

What does the "A" at the end of the model number mean
Nakamichi has a standard note on this. Here it is:
NOTE: "A" Version Model
Nakamichi components are sold in more than 50 countries many of which have
strict safety regulations to which Nakamichi products must comply.
Models designated by an "A" have been produced for the United States and
Canada and comply with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and/or Canadian
Standards Association (CSA) standards as well as with applicable state/provincial
and federal safety requirements.
Nakamichi has authorized its local distributors to warrant only products which
have been produced for their respective areas.

Flameproof Resistor
In many of the Nakamichi tape decks there is a 1/4 Watt Flameproof fuseible 1 Ohm resistor. It might be labeled in the service manual parts list as FP 1 Ohm 1/4 W. Here is a picture. When this fuseible resistor blows it should not be replaced by just any 1 Ohm resistor. This part is an off the shelf item if you know where to look. Here is a list of sources. Radio Shack in the UK has it as part number 267-1660. They are 0.072 pounds with a minimum order of 10. This part is actually a Tyco Electronics/Neohm part number FRN50J1R0/S. You can also buy this part from a Sharp part dealer as part number VRG-ST2EG1R0J.

Common Dragon tape deck problems
Dragon eats tapes. Tape skews off to one side and crinkles the edge of the tape. First clean the pinch rollers and capstan really well. If that doesn't cure the problem then the capstan motors might not be turning at the correct speed. The likely cause of this is a bad motor drive transistors on the motor drive board. If you have a scope you can monitor the motor drive waveform and compare it to the other phases. All phases should look nearly identical.

Capstan motor does not turn. Check power to the motor drive. If that is good check the motor drive waveform with a scope. It's likely that a pair of motor drive transistors on the capstan board have failed.

CR-7 High resolution Playback Azimuth Adjustment
Some people have wished for a way to get better resolution from the playback azimuth adjustment pot on the CR-7.  Stephen Sank looked into this and found a way to do it.  Add a 100K resistor in parallel with R831 on the Logic PCB.  R831 is a 100K and added another 100K in parallel will reduce it's resistance to 50K.  The one drawback is that the total adjustment range of the head is now reduced by half.

Comments on T-100 Audio Analyzer
The T-100, as far as I know from use & from it's manuals, measures weighted or unweighted RMS peak w/f, as opposed to RMS average.  The weighted mode is nearest to average RMS measurement.  I have no idea what the mathematical formula is for deriving the average value, honestly.
-Stephen Sank, Cloud Microphones

How to self check a T100. Connect the line outputs to the line inputs. Input level attenuators should be full clockwise (clicking position on these 10 turn pots). The oscillator and input attenuator track eack other with the master function knob, but the scale and input attenuation levers only affect the input measuring section. The block diagram is actually a handy way to familiarize the T100 operations
-Tom Brucker

The T-100 Audio Analyzer is an amazing tool. The dual 100 segment meters are a joy to work with. Built in test tones, wow&flutter meter, speed calibration, etc, can't be matched by anything built today. I personally have two that I use to tweak the racks of MR-1's with.

Bleus has a scan of the brochure on this web site.
MrBleus' Nakamichi CyberSpot

Direct link to the T-100 Brochure

Some T-100's develope an issue where the display surges in brightness. This is probably due to a bad cap or two in the plasma display circuit. Replaced C709 - 1uF/350V. You might want to also replace C707, 708 & 709 which are all 10uF/160V. If that still doesn't fix it try replacing Q709, C705 and C706.

MR-1B and equalization differences (applies to the MR-2B also)
The following is from a Service Information document from Nakamichi dated, 6/10/87. It explains the root cause of why tapes recorded on Nakamichi decks sound different on other decks and vice versa.

To enable users to produce tape on the Nakamichi MR-1 which sound acceptable when played on cassette decks using playback heads of inferior quality, Nakamichi has made available two versions of the MR-1, called the MR-1 and the MR-1B.  The "B" designation denotes a machine which has had its record and playback equalization altered to conform to the IEC March 1981 equalization, rather than the earlier IEC standard which Nakamichi has followed since the introduction of our first products into the United States market in the early 70's.

These two models are not differentiated in any way on the front or back panels, both are identified as being MR-1's.  MR-1B models are generally marked with a small white dot affixed to the bottom panel near the rear of the machine....   ... The following general observations can be made about certain characteristics of the MR-1B as compared to the MR-1.

Playback response -- aprox. +4dB at 15kHz using Nakamichi playback response tape DA09002.  Flat response using BASF IEC standard PBFR tape.

Record characteristics -- Distortion approx. 0.1 to 0.5% higher than normal at 0dB, depending on tape type.  Maximum record level (before 3% THD is reached) about 2dB lower then MR-1.

The following is from Nakamichi Techinical Information
bulletin dated 8/27/85
The following modification is offered in order that the record/playback characteristics of the Nakamichi MR-1 may be altered to closely resemble the many decks with non-standard equalization.  It must be noted that record/playback performance of the altered unit will be diminished.

The following is from Dolby Laboratories/San Francisco
    Nakamichi MR-1 IEC E.Q. Modifications
Due to the number of inquiries by licensees and clients of Dolby Laboratories requesting information modifying the record and playback equalization in the Nakamichi model MR-1 cassette deck to current IEC standards, the following information is provided as a guideling to assist in these modifications.  They should not be considered absolute, as the modifications described may vary depending upon who's
playback alignment standard (playback e.q. mod.) and which blank tape stock (record e.q. mod.) is chosen.

In my experience, it is very rare to see a 482 or later 3-head Nak with significant head wear, thanks to the simple but incredibly effective & ingenious pad lifter, but it certainly sounds like you have a severely worn Pb head.  It is possible that the same degree of wear in the record
head will not significantly affect performance, but you won't be able to be sure until you replace the Pb head, if you actually do that.  Buying
direct from Nak Japan, the head should be quite affordable.  Nak USA is about 50 percent more.  BTW, you guys, I have a 482Z on my bench right now, and it is very much a crystal permalloy head, identical to the 582, 680, etc., and not a Sendust.  Hadn't worked on one in a long time, so I had started to doubt my memory.  As far as I know, Nak has never made a 3-head with a Sendust Pb head.  Only the R/P head on the 480 & later two heads was Sendust (but NOT the 580, which has a crystal permalloy R/P head!).
-Stephen Sank, Cloud Microphones

Auto-Stop Lamp Problem on Nakamichi Standard Transport Decks
This problem occurs on most of the Nakamichi Standard transport decks.  It sounds exactly like the light source for the auto-stop reel motion sensor is dead.  If you remove the front panel, you can then follow the belt from the take-up reel table down to a perforated wheel that is black in color. A small circuit board will be next to it with a small lamp on the side facing you.  If you turn on the deck and the lamp does not come on, it bad. This is a very common failure.  The lamp is Nak part #OB08466, but any same-size lamp that is 12V at 25mA.

I'm currently 'repairing' a LX-5 of a friend who suffers from the 'broken auto shut-off pcb lamp'. This is a common failure and I guess also because this light is always on when the Nak is switched on.  So I was thinking, isn't it possible to replace this lamp with a led so it will last longer?  I guess some modifications are needed then...  So is this doable or do the experts say, stick with the lamp? Stick with a lamp.
Wonderful as your diagnosis "Check the stop button light - if it is not working then it is the culprit for very low volume of playback " from July 8th worked out to be the very problem with my lately bought 582 well! Thinking it was due to an electronical failure, the problem ended up to be a simple bulb!  Thank you Kannan for your advise.  Thank you Wouter for this site (by the way, I will register this 582 soon)!
I checked the schematic for the ZX-7 and the 481, their shutoff circuits both use a 12V 25mA lamp with a series resistor and are powered from a 12V line.  They both also use a PH104 phototransistor.  The ZX-7 uses a 100 ohm series resistor, the 481 uses a 220 ohm series resistor.  I couldn't find any techical info on the phototransistor and I don't know if the LX-5 uses an identical circuit or not, but it's probably similar.

Sendust Heads
The only deficiencies of the Sendust heads is bass rolloff at 25-30Hz, rather than 12-15Hz, and mildly depressed HF PB response(not so much on the 480/LX-3/RX-303), which is EQ'd on the record amp side in the BX & later 2-heads.  The single capstan 2-head decks are less prone to lose HF with wear due to not having the pressure pad lifter, so the tape is forced into the wavy wear areas.  I certainly agree that head wear is last place to look for HF loss, but in this 482 case, it seems fairly definite.
-Stephen Sank, Cloud Microphones
Here is some general info on tape heads

Awesome response of Nak heads
On 3-head Naks as far back as the 582, my measurements have yielded "usable" response out to 35 kHz rec/pb on TDK SA & MA tapes.  But the relly impressive thing is the low freq response.  -3dB @ 12 Hz MA, 16 Hz SA.  That's what really distinguishes Nak heads.
-Stephen Sank, Cloud Microphones

Nakamichi Heads
BA04927  Head Assembly (TD-1200)
CA08311  GA01294 RP-9E Record/Playback head (480Z)
CA08137  P-8L Playback Head Ass'y (482Z)
CA08300  R-8L Record Head Ass'y (482Z)
CA08524  GA02216 R3LH - Record head, replaces GA02034 (BX-300)
CA08525  GA02085 P-8LH Std Trans Playback Head (RX-505)
CA08659  R-3L - Record head, 3.5 micron gap Crystalloy (BX-300, CR-5, CR-7)
CA08658  P2H-L, P-2H3L Playback head, 0.8 micron gap Crystalloy (BX-300, CR-5, CR-7)
CA08757  P5D Playback head (TD-300)
0G01365 E-2D (RX-202)
0G01371 RP-2G (RX-202)
GA00101  P53 playback head w/mount
GA00102  R-52 Record head w/mount
GA01050  R-8L Record head see GA02084 (481, 582, 582Z, 681ZX, 682ZX, LX-5, RX-505, ZX-7, ZX-9)
GA02007  R-52 Record head
GA02012  R/P-53 Record/Plaback head
GA02013  P-53 Playback head
GA02014  E-54 Erase head
GA02017  E-8L Erase head See GA02103 (480Z, 481, 482Z, 582, 582Z)
GA02034  P-8L Playback head See GA020?5 (I think it is GA02085) (481, 582, 582Z, 681ZX, 682ZX, LX-5, RX-505, ZX-7, ZX-9)
GA02039  See GA02012
GA02040  R/P Head-BL
GA02083  E-8LH - Erase head (680ZX, 681ZX, 1000ZXL, 1000ZXL Limited)
GA02084  R-8LH Record head See GA0221? (680ZX)
GA02085  P-8LH Playback head 680ZX
GA02101  See GA02132 (Playback head for 1000ZXL)
GA02102  See GA02133 (Record head for 1000ZXL)
GA02103  EOK Erase head (682ZX, LX-5, ZX-7, ZX-9)
GA02132  P-8LZ - Playback head (1000ZXL Limited)
GA02133  R-8LZ - Record head (1000ZXL Limited)
GA02162  PA-1L - 0.6 micro gap Crystalloy Playback head 4-track/2-channel-stereo (Dragon and maybe the TD-1200 also)
GA02201  E-4F Erase head (BX-300, CR-5, CR-7)
GA02203  P2C-3L Playback head Laminated-Crystalloy core, 0.8 micro gap(TD-400 TD-500 TD-700)
GA02217  R-3LZ Record Head for GA02133
E-2D - Erase head (BX-100, BX-125, RX-202)
E-8L - Erase head (ZX-7, 680ZX)
P-8L - Playback head, 0.6 micron gap width, Crystalloy core (ZX-7, 482Z, 1000ZXL, 700ZXL, ZX-9, LX-5, RX-505)
P-8LH - Playback head, 0.6 micron gap width, Crystalloy core (RX-505)
P-9F - Playback head, 0.6 micron gap width, Crystalloy core (670ZX, 680ZX)
PA-1L - Playback head, 0.6 micron gap width, Crystalloy core, 4-track, 2-channel stereo, split gap - 1 channel in each direction (Dragon & TD-1200 all versions)
R-8L - Record head, 3.5 micron gap width, Crystalloy core (ZX-7, 482Z, 680ZX, 1000ZXL, 700ZXL, Dragon., ZX-9, LX-5, RX-505)
R-3L - Record head, 3.5 micron gap width, Crystalloy core (BX-300, CR-5, CR-7)
RP-2D - 1.2 micron gap, Record/Playback head (BX-100 BX-125, RX-202)
RP-2G - Record/Playback head (RX-202)
P2C-5D - Hard-Permalloy core, 1.2 micro gap (TD-300)
The 1000 used a 0.7micron playback head and a 5micron record head. I don't know which P/N.

What decks have the CUE features
The CUE feature allows you to hear the tape while playing at 2-3x normal speed.  In this mode the volume is greatly diminished because the extreme high frequency content.  The following decks have this feature:  580 series, 680 series, 700 ZXL, 700ZXE, 1000ZXL, ZX-7, ZX-9, RX-505 and the Dragon.

Different type of azimuth adjust used on Nak decks.
I just want to clarify the azimuth schemes of the various decks with azimuth adjust capability.

The 660ZX, 670ZX, 680ZX, 681ZX and 682ZX automatically adjust the record head azimuth to the stationary playback head during record auto calibration.  On the plain 680 the record head must be manually adjusted to the playback.

The ZX-7 and ZX-9 has user adjustable record head azimuth.

The CR-7, Cassette Deck 1, DR-1, TD-500, TD-700 and TD-800 have manual playback azimuth adjustment during playback only.  On the CR-7 (and maybe the Cassette Deck 1 and DR-1 too) the front panel azimuth pot is bypassed and the playback head is automatically adjusted to the record head during recording.  When switching to play the head rotates back to the position indicated by the azimuth adjust pot.

The Dragon, with NAAC, automatically adjusts the playback head to the tape during playback and is automatically adjusted to the record head in record mode.  No manual adjustment is possible.  The TD-1200 with NAAC performs exactly like the Dragon, but, in play only since is doesn't record.

Of course ALL the decks have azimuth adjust screws for the service person to tweak.  If you don't have the calibration tapes and equipment necessary to make these adjustments please don't.

Service Code for TD-1200
If you have a TD-1200 you know that there is a 5 minute wait from the time power is first applied to when you can enter the service code to unlock the deck and start using it. When I used go to Paris Audio here in Torrance they would enter a special code before entering the unlock code. I asked what that code was and the saleman said it eliminates the 5 minute power up timer. Did you know there is a service code that you can enter that will eliminate the 5 minute wait? You will still need the unlock code however. The service code is 41113. Just enter this code followed by your decks unlock code and it will unlock without waiting 5 minutes. Thanks for Denis in France and Alex in Australia for that.

Differences between ZX-7 and ZX-9
The ZX-7 and ZX-9 are nearly identical decks. They look identical except for the white lettering on the ZX-7 and the gold lettering on the ZX-9 and the phrase "Super-Tuned Edition" on the ZX-9. Under the hood the biggest difference is the capstan motors. The ZX-9 uses a "FG servo, brushless, slotless, coreless, Super Linear Torque Direct Drive motor" where the motors shaft is the take-up capstan, known as Direct Drive. The ZX-9's supply capstan is driven from the take-up capstans flywheel via a belt. The ZX-7 uses a lower quality PLL servo motor that drives both the take-up and supply capstans via a single belt. This difference in motors translates into differing Wow-and-Flutter (W&F) specs. The ZX-7 has a respecable Weighted Peak W&F of 0.08% and Weighted RMS of 0.04%. The ZX-9 has a Weighted Peak W&F of 0.045% and Weighted RMS of 0.022%. The ZX-9 supposedly has highier quality components in the playback amplifiers and a slightly different EQ standard, but, all the other published spec on the two decks are the same except for power. The ZX-7 is 40 Watts and the ZX-9 is 50 Watts. Frequency Response, Signal-to-Noise Ratio, Total Harmonic Distortion, Crosstalk, etc are all the same.

I believe that the ZX-9 and Dragon are the only two decks using the Classic (non-Sankyo) tape transport to have a directly driven capstan. The Dragon actually has both capstans directly driven, but, that is because it had to to support it's auto reverse feature. These are not the only Nakamichi decks to have directly driven capstans however. When they went to the Sankyo mechanism the direct drive capstan became standard on about half the 3-head models. The followings Sankyo mechanism decks have direct drive: ZX-5, BX-300, MR-1, CR-7 and CR-4.  The following Sankyo mechanism decks did NOT get direct drive: CR-5, CR-3, DR-1, DR-10 and DR-2. I am unsure of the Cassette Deck series.

The first page of the ZX-9 owner's manual has the following to say:
You have chosen an extremely fine cassette deck. The Nakamichi ZX-9 can be called a "Super-Tuned Edition" of that tape enthusiast's model, the ZX-7, with still further improved transport mechanism and amplifier circuitry as well as generally brushed-up basic performance.
In particular, the adoption of a direct-drive principle employing a unique "Super Linear Torque" DD motor stands out among the innovations. It permits a further reduction of wow-and-flutter and modulation noise.
By improving upon these basic performance features, the high precision tape adjustment facilities for azimuth, record/playback sensitivity and bias can be put to use still more effectively for achieving perfect results.

Please take the time to read this manual in its entirety to fully acquaint yourself with the various features of this cassette deck.

Thank you.

Nakamichi Corporation.

Bleus has the brochures of the ZX-7 and ZX-9 on the web at
Here are some pictures of a ZX-7 rehab project.  Sorry it's in Japanese, but, there are a lot of good pictures.
Brief history and review of the ZX-7 and ZX-9.
ZX-7 & ZX-9 user's manual plus ZX-9 service manual

ZX-9 Direct Drive Motor Failure
One possible cause of motor failure on the ZX-9 is C516 and/or C524 on the DD motor board. These capacitors are wired in parallel and if replaced should be replaced with a single 2200pF mylar capacitor installed in either location. Use 1% or 2% tolerance caps.

Eject problem on 480 and 580 series decks
On the 480 and 580 series decks the eject mechanism is connected to the eject button via a linkage wire.  This linkage needs be to firmly held in place on the transport side or nothing will happen when eject is pressed.  There is a fairly high occurance of this holding mechanism breaking and causing failure of the eject mechanism.  Nakamichi issued a service bulletin OOD-SI-3115 to address this issue.  Unfortunately this service bulletin says to fix the problem with a repair kit which is no longer available.  I personally had this problem on my 480Z before finding out about the repair kit and fixed the problem by holding the linkage in place with a big glob of RTV (aka Silicon Rubber).  Since RTV does not allow you to move anything after it's cured it is very important to align the linkage before allowing the RTV to cure.  Hold the linkage in place with one hand while pressing eject with the other.  The sold open when the eject button is pressed down almost all the way.  Play with it a bit to find the optimal position.  Now squirt in the RTV and don't touch it for about two days.
 OOD SI 3115      Page 1     Page 2

Cassette Deck 2 Won't Play
I believe starting with the Cassette Deck series Nakamichi went to a crappy motor for the capstan motor. The symptom is the deck won't play. FF and Rew work fine, but, play engages for 1-2 seconds and then goes back to stop. This problem is caused by a dead capstan motor. As far as I know they are marked SHE2L and SHU2L. Tom Brucker said that Teac used at least one of these motors and had a hell of a time with them going bad. Kenwood apparently uses the same motor. I hasn't been confirmed but the CassetteDeck 1 Limited and 1.5 might use the same motor, but, if you hear otherwise let me know. I'm not sure, but, the DR-3 ad DR-8 might have the same problem. I'm not sure if Nakamichi went to a different motor for the DR decks. The good news is the motor is still available from Encompass as a Kenwood part. for $27.65 the last time I checked.

1000ZXL vs 1000ZXL Limited
Wouter asked Hideo Goto about the 1000ZXL LTD when there were heavy discussions going on on naktalk.  He asked him how many were actually made and this is his answer:

Anyway, I reply regarding your last question.
1000ZXL-limited, it was not big changes from 1000ZXL for the actual sound quality.  However the playback head was selected out!
The official spec was not changed because a filter circuit has cut the high frequency.  PB head can play back up to 40, 50kHz!
That is an advantage.  And the total number of model is not clear.  We guess it was around 100 units.
I  am sorry for the response that was so late.

Tha's for now.


Other differences between the two units.  All individually matched parts, flywheel machined from solid brass, gold plated terminals-the very highest quality throughout, gold plated front panel and controls, rosewood cabinet, NR-100 Dolby C-Type NR Processor, clear acrylic dust cover, cabinet cloth to cover entire unit, individual performance data.

If you are a 1000ZXL fanatic and want to meet others like you join the 1000ZXL yahoo group. Ben Stratford is the group moderator.

Link to a 1000ZXL Limited brochure
1000ZXL brochure, user's manual, service manual and operating instructions

Luis has a nice web page on his 1000ZXL refurbishmen Part1 -; Part II -

1000ZXL and 700ZXL autocalibration or A.B.L.E.
The 700 ZXL and 1000ZXL both come with A.B.L.E. The A.B.L.E. computer analyzes each cassette to determine its characteristics and precisely adjust Azimuth, Bias, Level and Equalization (that's where the ABLE comes from) for optimum performance. The 1000ZXL uses four frequencies:  400Hz, 2.4kHz, 7.2kHz and 20kHz.  The 700ZXL uses three:  400Hz 7kHz and 15kHz. The CR-7 also has Auto Calibration which only uses two frequencies:  15kHz and I think 400Hz.

CR-7 Auto Calibration
Playback head azimuth alignment is first tested by the time proven "phase comparison" method. If an interchannel phase error is detected playback head azimuth is adjusted in 1.3' increments until the error is corrected and that correction is confirmed 10 times.  Once the head is aligned, Dolby level is checked at 15 points, independently in the left and right channels, and the gain of each recording amplifier is adjusted to ensure Dolby tracking within 0.3 dB.  Bias is adjusted by recording a 15 kHz tone and checking playback level at 15 points independently in the two channels.  Bias is adjusted and the playback level rechecked until 15 kHz response is within 0.3dB of nominal.  Since bias and sensitivity are interrelated, the calibration procedure is repeated a second time.

Once the deck is calibrated the microprocessor stores the bias and level data in memory. Separate memories are provided for each tape type (I, II and IV) so the proper values are recalled the next time a tape of that type is mounted and sensed by the Automatic Tape Selector. At the end of the procedure, the CR-7 rewinds the tape to the point at which it began auto calibrating and enters REC/PAUSE, ready to record.

What are the differences between the DR series decks (DR-1, DR-2, DR-3, DR-8 and DR-10)
They are all basically the same except the DR-1 has user adjustable playback azimuth, adjustable output level and gold plated RCA jacks. Except for cosmetics the DR-1 is the same as the Cassette Deck 1.  The DR-2 and DR-8 are the same as the Cassette Deck 1.5. The DR-3 and DR-8 are single capstan, 2-head decks. The DR-1, DR-2 and DR-10 are dual capstan, 3-head decks. All have a System Remote jack on the back so that I can be controlled from a compatible receiver.

Repair for broken posts on Classic Transport
The following is a DIY from Willy Hermann Services on how to repair the plastic spacer posts that commonly break on the Nakamichi Classic Transport decks. You will know that these are broken if the cassette transport doesn't sit right in the deck or the cassette door is not aligned correctly with the front panel. The 2nd link is the repair job by Luis in Spain.

Nakamichi Calibration Tapes
The service manuals for most Nak decks mentions only 7 calibration tapes.  They are listed below.  The prices listed are from the Nak Retail Price List from 1988-89.  As far as I know they are no longer available from Nak.

DA09001 - 20 kHz Playback Frequency Response Tape - This tape has an accurate -20 dB level signal of 20 kHz.  It is used to verify playback frequency response.  $95
DA09002 - 15 kHz Playback Frequency Response Tape - This tape has an accurate -20 dB level signal of 15 kHz.  It is used to verify playback frequency response.  $76
DA09003 - 10 kHz Playback Frequency Response Tape - This tape has an accurate -20 dB level signal of 10 kHz.  It is used to verify playback frequency response.  $70
DA09004 - 15 kHz Azimuth Tape - This tape has a 15 kHz signal recorded on it and is used for aligning the PB head azimuth.  $130
DA09005 - 400 Hz Level Tape - This tape has a very accurate 0 dB tone of 400 Hz recorded on it.  It is used to calibrate the output balance/level and meter level.  This tape should be used before doing any kind of tape level/bias adjustment.  $50
DA09006 - 3 kHz Speed & Wow/Flutter Tape - This tape has an accurate 3 kHz signal recorded on it.  It is used for adjusting the decks captan motors and for measuring the decks speed error as well as wow/flutter.  $60
DA09007 - 1 kHz Track Alignment Tape - This tape has a 1 kHz signal recorded on it, but, it's recorded on either side of the tracks center.  It is used for adjusting the PB head height.  When using this tape the PB head is adjusted for minimum signal out, NOT maximum like the 15 kHz azimuth tape.  $90
DA09008 - EX (Normal bias) Reference tape.  $12.34
DA09011 - Tape Travelling.
DA09012 - Track viewer.  $200 back picture
DA09013 - Torque Gauge
DA09021 - EXII Reference tape.
DA09025 - SX (CrO2 Bias) Reference tape.
DA09039 - Not a tape - Tilt Check Gauge
DA09061 - 5Hz RAMM Speed Check Tape
DA09071 - Tape Travelling Cassette Tape
DA09082 - Torque Gauge FWD
DA09088 - Not a tape - EH Tilt Check Gauge S
DA09090 - Not a tape - Stroke Check Gauge S
DA09091 - Not a tape - Tape Guide Height Check Gauge S
DA09092 - is not a tape, but, rather a gauge for adjusting record and playback head height
DA09100 - Reference ZX Tape
DA09101 - Not a tape - Test Unit
DA09102 - Reference EXII Tape
DA09103 - Reference SX Tape

The DA09001-9003 are only used to verify the frequency response.  They are not needed to do a calibration on a deck.  They will tell you if your azimuth is off, but, you shouldn't adjust your heads azimuth to these tapes.  While the azimuth has got to be pretty close, these tapes are most likely not produced on the precision equipment needed to make an actual azimuth tape and therefore aren't guaranteed to be acurate.

The DA09004 15kHz Azimuth Tape is one of the most important tapes for calibrating you deck.  Although a genuine Nak tape would be nice, any of the Azimuth tape will be fine, even the Emtec 10 kHz Azimuth tape.  With this lower frequency adjusting for maximize output level might not work as well.  There are two things you can do to get a more accurate reading.  Adjust for maximum level on a VTVM, then fine tune by adjusting for minimum phase shift on a scope.  Another way is to again adjust for maximum level on a VTVM, then short the Left and Right outputs together and fine tune for maximum level.  When the phases are the same the signal is a maximum.  When the phases are opposite, they cancel and the output is a minimum.  I used to use this method with a Dorrough stereo test set which had a switch on the front to sum L & R.

The DA09005, 400 Hz level tape is another important one.  There is some question about what is considered 0dB.  I think the Nak tape is 400nW/m (nanoWebers per meter), but, other cal tapes may use a different flux level (magnetic strength) for 0dB.  Try to use a genuine Nak cal tape.

The DA09006, 3 kHz Speed and Wow/Flutter Tape is another generic tape.  Any similar calibration tape can be used.  The DA09007, 1kHz track alignment tape is a really special one.  Only Nakamichi has it.  Other calibration tapes can be used to aligning the cassette decks playback head height, but, DO NOT use the procedure in the Nakamichi service manual.  It won't work.  What other cal tape manufacturers do is record a narrow stereo signal down the center of the audio tracks and then you adjust for maximum signal out.

Here are a couple links to Non-Nak Calibration Tapes <--Link no longer works

There is a calibration tape for sale by Electronix.  DON'T BUY IT.  It is utter crap!

There is a guy on ebay (User ID:  el355) selling a calibration tape that he claims is a genuine Nakamichi calibration tape for NAAC.  Personally I don't believe it.  He says the P/N is DA-09005X2.  I've never seen a tape with that number before, I've never seen any Nak service manual reference any special calibration tapes specifically for the NAAC system and I've never seen a Nak cal tape in a TDK MA-R shell (alluminum alloy frame with clear side covers).  It's a nice shell, but, Nak cal tapes are in generic black shells.

Ok, I need to say one more thing about Cal tapes.  Most of the non nak cal tapes are recorded using using the IEC 1981 standard.  Most Nak decks do not use this standard, they use the earlier one.  As far as I know the MR-1B, MR-2B, later CR-7A's and everything after the CR series uses the IEC 1981 standard.  Everything before uses the IEC 1976 standard (I may be incorrect on the year).  The IEC 1981 standard came about because of the crappy heads the other guys were using.  They didn't perform well at high frequencies.  The IEC 1981 standard introduces a bump of a few dB in the high end during recording.  When a tape is played back the bump is eq'd out.  Since Nak heads were so good they didn't see the need
and did not conform to the new standard until much later (when people started complaining that their tapes sounded dull to everyone else decks and their tapes sounded overly bright when play back on Naks.)  The disadvantage of the IEC 1981 standard is reduced headroom in the high end.  So really the older standard is better, but, only if played back on another Nak.  You can convert your older Nak deck to the newer standard, but, it requires modification in both the record and playback equalization circuits as well as a complete calibration using IEC 1981 cal tapes.  The Nakamichi calibration tape part numbers I wrote in my earlier post are for the earlier standard.  Not IEC-1981.

Luis Peromarta is making his own calibration tapes with his Dragon. While I'm not a fan (because I have genuine Nak cal tapes) a lot of people seem to like them. He is in Spain and sells them for 75 Euros plus 5 Euros shipping to western Europe and 10 Euros for shipping elsewhere. He has a nice web page for them Luis' Calibration tapes

Nakamichi Gauges
DA9042 E.H. Stroke Check Gauge (for the following decks, not a complete list, 680ZX, 582, 581, 481 S/N A30601001 through A30604798, 480 S/N A304.501001 through A304.516703)
DA9047 Stroke Check Gauge (for the following decks, not a complete list 481, 581, 582, 1000ZXL, 680ZXL, Dragon, LX-5, RX-505, ZX-9)
DA9090 Stroke Check Gauge (for the following decks, not a complete list BX-300, Cassette Deck 1)
DA9091 Guide Height Gauge

Nakamichi Receivers
530, no remote, 1978-1979, $690
730, 105Wx2, remote optional, 1978-1982, about $1390
SR-2A, 30Wx2 STASIS, no remote, introduced in 1986, discontinued in 1988, $449
SR-3A, 45Wx2 STASIS, no remote, introduced in 1986, discontinued in 1988, $695
SR-4A, 60Wx2 STASIS, w/remote, introduced in 1987, discontinued in 1988, $995
TA-1A, 35Wx2 STASIS, w/remote, introduced in 1988, discontinued in 1989, $329, no output for tape deck or CD player
TA-2A, 50Wx2 STASIS, w/remote, introduced in 1989, discontinued in 1989, $595, controls 1 tape deck and 1 System Remote CD player
TA-3A, 75Wx2 STASIS, w/remote, introduced in 1989, discontinued in 1989, $895, controls 2 tape decks (1 w/azimuth) and 1 CD player (CD is System Remote)
TA-4A, 100Wx2 STASIS, w/remote RM-4TA, introduced in 1989, discontinued in 1990, $1295, controls 2 tape decks (1 w/azimuth) and 1 CD player
Receiver1, 80Wx2, w/remote, introduced in 1990, $899 in 1990, $949 in 1991, controls 2 tape decks and 1 CD player (all are System Remote)
Receiver2, 55Wx2, w/remote, introduced in 1990, $549 in 1990, $649 in 1991, controls 1 tape deck and 1 CD player (all are System Remote)
Receiver3, 37Wx2, w/remote, introduced in 1990, $349 in 1990, $399 in 1991
RE-1, 80Wx2, w/remote, introduced in 1992, $799
RE-2, 55Wx2, w/remote, introduced in 1992, $599, controls 1 tape deck and 1 CD player (all are System Remote)
RE-3. 37Wx2, w/remote, introduced in 1992, $399
RE-10, 100Wx2, 1998?
AV-1, 100W/30W/50W, w/remote, introduced in 1992, $1200
AV-1s, 100Wx5, 1997
AV-2, 70W/20W/35W, w/remote, introduced in 1992, $850
AV-2s, 80Wx4, 1997
AV-3s, 55Wx4, 1997
AV-10, 100Wx5, w/remote,
AV-500, controls 1 tape deck (System Remote)
IA-1z controls 1 tape deck and 1 CD player (all are System Remote) Remote is RM-1m
CA-1 Audio/Video Control Amplifier
R1, minisystem receiver
Soundspace1, AM/FM, CD, introduced in 2001
Soundspace2, AM/FM, mp3 player, introduced in 2001
Soundspace3, CD player, introduced in 2000
Soundspace5, 3-disc CD changer, introduced in 2000
Soundspace7, introduced in 1992???
Soundspace8, 5-disc CD changer, introduced in 2000
Soundspace8.5, introduced in 2004
Soundspace9s, introduced 2001
Soundspace10, 5-disc CD changer, introduced in 2001
Soundspace11, 5-disc CD/DVD changer,
Soundspace12, 5-disc CD changer, introduced in 2000
Soundspace21, 5-disc CD/DVD changer, introduced in 2000

420 and 620 Power Amplifier
There amp have a bad habit of blowing up it's entire output stage when something goes wrong. When that happens it can blow your speaker. It is highier recommended to add the protector circuit if it doesn't already have it. On the 620 the service bulletin is NR-0011. On the 420 the service bulletin is NR-0010.

Nakamichi Manuals
Service manuals for Naks and many other brands is available from
By clicking on the british banner you get the site in english.
Cost for a service manual is about 15 Euros.

Antechlabs has some original Nak owners and service manuals for sale.  They also have manual for lots of other brands as well.  Check them out.

You can also get manual from Mike Thomason, aka techman777 on ebay or from his web site
At last count he had 222 Nakamichi service manuals, owner's manuals and bulletins.

You can also get manuals from
At last check they had 213 different Nakamichi Service manuals.  All of the manuals are $14.99 to 16.99.  One guy complained about poor quality and another said that he did the instant download and then didn't get it.  Calls to their office went to a recorded outgoing message. I don't know. has four Nak Owner's manuals at last check.  They are the 480Z, 550, 582Z and 680ZX.  His prices are listed here.  They also have service manuals, but, his list is not on his web site.  Check here for more information.

I have original service manuals of the Dragon CT Turntable, ST-7 Tuner, 730 Receiver, 660ZX, BX-300, MR-1, 480Z, EC-200, EC-200H, PA-150, PA-300, PA-350, SP-400, TD-300, TD-500, TD-700, TD-1200 and LA-50. Copies are available for purchase.  Email me at  I'm also offering a CD filled with product brochures and reviews from magazines.  Hours of fun reading.

Tomas Larsson's Nakamichi web site.
If you want to contribute a manual to Tomas' web site you can uploaded it to

I just found out about a few new place to get all kinds of manuals.  I don't know anyone who has gotten a manual from them, but, they look reputable.  Then there is  Again I don't know anyone who has gotten a manual from them.  Last one,  Same story, I don't know anyone who has gotten a manual from them.

Various brochure, user's and service manuals can be obtained for this source
1000ZXL, 480, 582, 680ZX, BX-300, CR1, CR-2, CR-7A, CR-5A, Dragon, LX-5, NR-200, RX-202/303/505, ZX-7 & 9 and a few others.  Check the links at the bottom of the page!

I heard about a new site called Manuals-In-PDF that has 247 Nakamichi manual available for paid download. They are between $9.99 and 16.99.

Nakamichi CD player laser pickups
Nak P/N ???? - Sony KSS-151A OMS-7A, OMS-70, OMS-5A, OMS-50
Nak P/N ???? - Sony KSS-123A OMS-7AII, OMS-5AII
The KSS-151A is a really difficult laser to find. There is a guy in Hong Kong that sell on eBay, but, he is very expensive. $199 plus $15 shipping

Nakamichi CD player spindle motors
Nak P/N OC83432 - RF-320CH-10570 or Russell Industries CD20
Nak P/N OC8193 - RF-310T-11400 or Russell Industries CD23
Russell Industries

What's my Nak worth
Well the best place to look is check out the completed auctions on ebay.  You can also take a look at  They have a list of models with years made, retail price and used value.

What did my Nak sell for when new?
In 1974, the list prices were as follows:
700      $700
500      $500
1000    $1000

The following is from the Orion Blue Book.
580      $650
550      $560
600      $600
600II    $655
680     $1350
680ZX   $1550
682ZX   $1800
ZX-7    $1250
ZX-9    $1550
CR-7A   $1695
1000ZXL $3800
I will get more prices up when I get some time.

Archival CD blanks
This is a little off topic, but, I wanted to include it.  The CD blank discs commonly found at the store should not be used for archival purposes.  The data on them can be lost after a few years due to degradation of the recording layer.  There are a few archival CD/DVD medias out there.  The one I know about is Gold MAM series from Mitsui which have a rated lifetime of 300 years.  As far as I know they are only availabl from their web site.  Only the Gold discs are archival.  The standard silver discs are not.

Another archival CD-R blank is the eFilm Archival Gold disc from Delkin Devices.  I suspect these are just rebadged Mitsui Gold discs.

A Naktalk subscriber mentioned Verbatim DataLifePlus series.  The name DataLifePlus sounds good, but, I have not seen any information that these are guaranteed for any length of time.  Verbatim also makes a MediDisc for storing medical information, but, again, no claims of extra long life.

Also mentioned on Naktalk, maybe by the same person are the CD-R discs made by Taiyo Yuden.  Taiyo Yuden may not be familar to may people, but, they are a big manufacturer of electronic components and probably one of the largest makers of blank CD and DVD media.  The Taiyo Yuden web page for recordable media isn't very spectacular.  It just lists what they manufacture and that's about it.  Again no claims to having long life discs.  I have heard that their discs were good, but, no data to back that up.

Kodak has a series of discs called Kodak Gold where were regarded as some of the best blank discs, but, they don't make them anymore.

There is a new one, but, this is for DVD disc. It's called M-Disc. They can only be written with LG burners that have the M-Disc logo on the front. The laser needs to be of highier power because it needs to actually burn away a thin layer of metal in order to create the pit. The drives are not any more expensive than non M-Disc capable drives. The blank discs are about $3 each and they will outlast you. Here is their web site

Bulk Tape Erasers
Should you use one for is it just snake oil? Bottom line, yes, you should use one if you want the best S/N ratio when recording over a used tape. Here is an article -> Gramaphone. Here is a good place to buy some of the best bulk tape erasers and head demagnetizers ->

How to get replacement parts
Nakamichi parts are handle now by a company named ESI Distributing.  It's a logistics and distribution company located in Woodland Hills, California with their warehouse not far away in Canoga Park.  They are in charge of many Japanese audio company's parts distribution, including Nakamichi, Akai, Kenwood, Sanyo, etc ...  Contact Eddie at 818-702-1109 or try Lynne at  From what I hear, they have practially no parts for their tape decks. They basically only carry parts for the newer products like the SoundSpace line.
ES International
5900 Canoga Avenue
Woodland Hills, CA  91367
818.887.0700 office
818.702.6344 fax
Their web site is, but, don't bother going there.  They have no parts information or on-line ordering.

In Europe you can try Bower and Wilkins
or which also takes you to Bower and Wilkins site.

You could also try one of the service shops listed below.  But probably post your request on the Nakchat Yahoo Group or on NakTalk email list.  To sign up for NakTalk go to

Pinch rollers for classic mechanism decks can be purchased from Bala at 79Labs.  His email address is bg3009ATyahooDOTcom  Replace the AT with @ and DOT with .
Bala also sells replacement boards for some of classic decks as well as capacitor kits for curing Orange Capacitor Disease.

Phono Preamps
Borbely Audio all FET Phono Preamp
Elliott Sound Products Hi-Fi Phono Preamp
Hagerman Technologies "Bugle" Phono

Where to get service

Tom Brucker/Hi Tech Service
2934 Nolensville Rd.
Nashville, TN 37211
Attn: Tom Brucker
hitech77 @ or hitech @

Willy Hermann Service
7 Beaconsfield Ct.
Orinda, CA 94563
925-376-2146 (9-5 Pacific Time only)
Web Site: &

Vision Video Labs
Attn:  Jerry

Audio Lab
36 JFK St
Cambridge, MA 02138

Liberman Sound
224 Professional Bldg
El Cerrito, CA  94530
480, 730, BX, CR, LX series, Dragon, MR-1, MR-2
(they will not work on 250, 350, 500, 550, 700, 1000, TA-2, TA-3, TA-4, TA-4A, some are due to lack of parts availablity and other are because they are just crap to begin with)

Approved Audio Service, Inc.
49 Commons Dr.
Litchfield, CT  06759

Electronics Service Labs
1807 Berlin Turnpike
Wethersfield, Connecticut, 06109
These guys are, in my opinion ridiculously expensive.  They don't want to repair a unit, they was to completely refurbish it to like new or better than new condition and they charge several times what the deck is worth.  Their work is excellent, but, again very expensive.  If you cherish your Nak more than anything else in the world (and have a lot of money) then these are the guys you want to do the work.

256 Nth Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

For Tandberg try
Peekskill, NY

Nakamichi lists 7 service centers in the US on their web site.
Nakamichi USA Service Center List

In Canada:
All-In-One Electronics
50 Wingold Dr.
(416) 789-0668

In Europe:
Bowers & Wilkins
Several people on NakTalk say they have used these guys and would recommend them..

167, Barrack Rd
Christchurch, Dorset
BH23 2AP, UK
Tel: 01202 473901
Open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Luis Peromarta

In New Zealand try:
Axent Audio, but, the last I heard they don't want to work on Naks anymore.

Nakamichi Corporation
Nakamichi USA, Inc.
1500 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA  90404
(310) 392-1155
(310) 392-1030 FAX

Brochures for a bunch of analog gear from a variety of manufacturers.  All are DjVu compressed.
350, 480-2, 550, 580, 581-2, 600II, 680, 6x0ZX, 681-2ZX, 700, 700II, 700ZXE/L, 1000II, 1000ZXL, BX-100, BX-125, BX-300, Cassette Deck1/1.5/2, CR-5A, CR-7A, DR-1, DR-2, DR-3, Dragon, High-Com II, LX-3, LX-5, MR-1, RX-202, RX-303, RX-505, Silver Collection, T-100, TD-500, TD-700, ZX-7, ZX-9

Nak tape deck valuations

Japanese brochures for older Naks like the 700II, 1000, 700, 500, 600 series of components, 400 series components, 550, 350, 250, 1000ZXL, 700ZXL, 700ZXE, LX-3 and LX-5.

Pictures of the old Nakamichi building before and after it was leveled

Pictures of the 550, 600II, 1000ZXL, CR-7E, Dragon and ZX-7 as well as a T-100

Classic cassette tape references

NY Times article on tape lengths

History of Cassette Recorders
    Little history of Nakamichi
    Another page of Nakamichi information on the same site

Amazing collection of pictures of cassette tapes from virtually every manufacturer. 547 pictures in all.
Dysoplex "The Blank Tape Gallery

Picture of Bala Ganesh's 1000ZXL over haul

Removed prices from

Japanese web site for CR-70

Japanese web site details repair of High-Com II

HiFi World review of the 480

HiFi World review of the CR-7

Tomas' Nakamichi fan site
This site has a variety of Nakamichi User Manuals, Service Manual, Reviews and Brochures.

MrBleus' Nakamichi Cyberspot

MR-1, MR-2, BX-300 remote jack pinout

Russian site with lots of advertisements and brochure scans for many Audio brands as well as Nakamichi

Nakamichi Prices

Magnetic and Audio Tape Terms/Information

0 dB Reference Level Explained

High end audio equipment (Japanese)

Calibration fixture project

Nakamichi Reference Cassette Series tapes were duplicated in real time on ZX-9 decks in Japan on TDK MA metal tapes

IN-SYNC LABs did real time duplication on 582 decks in the US
Crystal Records also used Nakamichi real time duplication, but, don't know which decks they used. Possibly modified MR-1's
Quadim used about 120 IEC-2 modified MR-1 decks in California. At some point it was sold to David Manley (founder of Manley Labs) and then sold to me!
Pink Room in England had about 100 RX-505's
AAPEX in Los Angeles had 102 MR-2's. Masters were on an MCI 1/2" tape
Resolution Inc. in Winooski, Vermont (USA) used 400 NAD 6050's then in 1986 replaced them with 250 Revox B215's
Klaritty Kassette used 50 Revox B215's
Mobile Fidelity used ZX-9's
Nakamichi prerecorded cassette tapes used ZX-9's
Terry F. worked with a real time duplicator that used 200 very specially modified RX-505's
CopyTech Corporation (Carlos) in Pureto Rico did real time duplicating on 50 MR-2's in the 80's through early 2000's

Wouter's Wiki site

Kermit Gray created a list of web sites that sell parts for the DIY'er. In particular wire and silver wire. for bulk cable and connectors [Belden, Alpha mainly] [Neutrik] for bulk cable and connectors [Belden, Alpha, Deltron, some off brand but good OFC cables.] [Deltron, Neutrik, Switchcraft] for bulk cable and connectors [Belden, Alpha mainly] for bulk cable and connectors [Belden, Mogami, Canare, ProCo.] [ProCo, Whirlwind, Neutrik, Switchcraft] for bulk cable and connectors [Belden, Mogami, Canare, Whirlwind, ProCo] [ProCo, Whirlwind, Neutrik, Switchcraft] for silver wire for silver wire for bulk audiophile cable for bulk cable (Carol and off-brands that aren't too great] and connectors [WBT, Neutrik, house brand]. Silver wire (Australia). for DIY Cable Supplies [Malaysia] [Surplus sales only.]