• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Measurements of Nakamichi Dragon Cassette Deck

gvl

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 16, 2018
Messages
3,420
Likes
3,963
Location
SoCal
I'm sorry, but you can't just put SINAD on a dream.
 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
12,492
Likes
37,981
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
I'm sorry, but you can't just put SINAD on a dream.

You do know cassette decks were achieving 110dB S/N in the very early 80s using dbx don't you?
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
15,786
Likes
35,684
Location
The Neitherlands
But ... did the SINAD improve that much ?
 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
12,492
Likes
37,981
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
But ... did the SINAD improve ?

It's an apples and oranges comparison and you know it. S/N is a valid, standalone measurement. So is total harmonic distortion.

Amir lumps them together with SINAD.

Of course any tape based analog format is going to have more THD than digital, but S/N is a function of how quiet the electronics and the noise reduction system are.

How will you know how quiet in real terms anything is, if you have harmonics dominating a SINAD number? Remember, S/N is measured in the absence of signal. SINAD notches out the fundamental and measures everything else. It's deceptive.
 

Blumlein 88

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
20,310
Likes
36,608
It's an apples and oranges comparison and you know it. S/N is a valid, standalone measurement. So is total harmonic distortion.

Amir lumps them together with SINAD.

Of course any tape based analog format is going to have more THD than digital, but S/N is a function of how quiet the electronics and the noise reduction system are.

How will you know how quiet in real terms anything is, if you have harmonics dominating a SINAD number? Remember, S/N is measured in the absence of signal. SINAD notches out the fundamental and measures everything else. It's deceptive.

Yes, if you've had these machines the difference in straight tape and using Dolby C is obvious and important. I don't know how the THD changes with and without Dolby C (I would think not much). But noise floors are much better with Dolby C and it usually improved the high end response on machines vs no Dolby C.
 

maty

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2017
Messages
4,577
Likes
3,133
Location
Tarragona (Spain)
I have a lot of cassettes, "durmiendo el sueño de los justos" or sleeping the dream of the just?
In those days I gave away many excellent recordings on Maxell UDII chrome and TDK SA metal tapes, thanks to my double Denon deck. New Age / Nuevas Músicas and Folk / Traditional music that could not be bought in Spain before Internet stores. Without exaggeration, about two hundred during my long stay in Barcelona. Denon CD -> Deck x2 -> two copies at the same time!

In those years Denon was a very little known brand in Spain and manufactured some products that incorporated excellent technology (CD players). But in the early nineties, or some years before, began its decline to bet on the spectacular sound and not the most realistic, like many others brands. :(
 
Last edited:

sergeauckland

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
3,426
Likes
9,053
Location
Suffolk UK
Whether the Dragon tested was set up correctly or not, is somewhat besides the point, although I would agree that the 1983 measurements are much more in line with what those could do when properly aligned.

i think the issue is that tape, whether R-R or cassette is badly flawed when compared to digital. If Amir had made the same measurements on a decent studio R-R machine, it would have shown similar issues compared with what's normal and everyday for digital. A studio tape machine struggled with more than 20kHz bandwidth or more than a 60dB S/N ratio (without Dolby) based on the 3% THD point. Distortion also was around 1-2% for 'operating level' increasing to 3% for peak level, which is how peak level was defined for studio machines. The Dragon, and a few other cassette machines were capable of as good results as a studio tape machine, the main difference being that the studio machine could do it 24/7, whilst the cassette machine only when immaculately aligned. (I'm ignoring the issue of HF saturation, as that's a result of the low tape speed of cassettes, but the fact that a Nakamichi could achieve W&F, noise and distortion specs as good as they were, (HF levels excluded) speaks volumes about their engineering quality).

Although I grew up with tape, and my early days as an engineer was working with tape, designing high-speed tape duplicator electronics amongst other things, I was very happy to give up on tape as soon as digital sound cards for computers became available. I bought a Digigram PCMCIA card which cost not far off what a decent home studio R-R would have cost at the time, but with significantly better performance and no alignment worries!

Like vinyl, tape was the SotA in the 1970s and early '80s, both however were seriously outclassed by digital, so it's unfair, I think, to judge a Nakamichi or any analogue tape or vinyl reproducer against the standards of digital. They were what they were.

S
 

maty

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2017
Messages
4,577
Likes
3,133
Location
Tarragona (Spain)
Btw, I can see that Nakamichi deck is H3 predominant :(

i think the issue is that tape, whether R-R or cassette is badly flawed when compared to digital. If Amir had made the same measurements on a decent studio R-R machine

Today, I will listen some of very good R2R I have. Maybe a musical, the original US (1966) Man of the Mancha.
 
Last edited:

Thomas savage

Grand Contributor
The Watchman
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
10,260
Likes
16,286
Location
uk, taunton
Without a record to play test and only using the dubious 'test' tapes, no real conclusions can be drawn and it's not fair on the Dragon IMO.

No assessments of the tape path, guides, head condition, pinch rollers etc?

The speed is clearly spot on based on the frequencies reported. The blue channel is clearly lower in level and the phase delay suggests the head alignment is out or the auto-azimuth is not working correctly.
I think this undertaking was just a bit of fun gaining somewhat speculative results and should be treated as such.
 

bennetng

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 15, 2017
Messages
1,634
Likes
1,691
For those who hate the loudness war, the right one is the original flac and the left one is a loopback recording through a cassette deck. At the first glance it seems that all the sins of the loudness war are gone...
zoomout.png


However, when the waveforms are zoomed, the clippings are still there, they are just distorted and of course, the loopback one just sounds as clipped as the original, with additional distortion.
zoomin.png
 

maty

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2017
Messages
4,577
Likes
3,133
Location
Tarragona (Spain)
Talking about loudness war, one more reason to realize the damage that is causing in the Culture and the Audio Industry. Ones minutes ago I posted:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-are-we-listening-to-right-now.40/post-124661

Carlos Gardel - Singles Album 01 (1927-1933) Vinyl, Odeon 10inch Shellac 78rpm

index.php


DR Peak RMS Filename
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DR14 -2.18 dB -19.41 dB 01 - La Cumparsita.wav
DR16 -1.91 dB -21.59 dB 02 - Milonga Sentimental.wav
DR18 -1.98 dB -23.86 dB 03 - El Tirador Plateado.wav
DR15 -2.51 dB -21.01 dB 04 - Rie Payaso.wav
DR12 -2.90 dB -17.86 dB 05 - Dandy.wav
DR13 -2.81 dB -18.43 dB 06 - Ebrio.wav
DR14 -3.55 dB -20.81 dB 07 - Sanjuanina De Mi Amor.wav
DR15 -2.57 dB -20.92 dB 08 - Rencor.wav
DR15 -3.71 dB -22.89 dB 09 - El Cardo Azul.wav
DR14 -2.11 dB -20.32 dB 10 - Amigazo.wav
DR15 -2.17 dB -20.05 dB 11 - Gotas De Veneno.wav
DR13 -2.27 dB -18.50 dB 12 - Resignate Hermano.wav
DR15 -2.93 dB -21.29 dB 13 - Muñeca Brava.wav
DR14 -2.34 dB -19.42 dB 14 - Calor De Hogar.wav
DR14 -2.75 dB -19.94 dB 15 - Cotorrita De La Suerte.wav
DR16 -2.08 dB -24.37 dB 16 - Que Se Vayan.wav
DR12 -3.33 dB -18.99 dB 17 - Mala Entraña.wav
DR16 -2.52 dB -22.11 dB 18 - Vieja Recoba.wav
DR13 -2.82 dB -18.90 dB 19 - Queja Indiana.wav
DR15 -2.23 dB -20.69 dB 20 - Almagro.wav
DR13 -2.46 dB -19.35 dB 21 - Un Tropezón.wav
DR13 -2.50 dB -18.60 dB 22 - Se Acabaron Los Otarios.wav
DR15 -3.18 dB -21.44 dB 23 - Viva La Patria.wav
DR15 -2.04 dB -21.60 dB 24 - El Sol Del 25.wav
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of files: 24
Official DR value: DR14
 
Last edited:

JJB70

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
2,905
Likes
6,146
Location
Singapore
I think that it should be no surprise if an old electro-mechanical device measures worse than modern digital hardware. There would be something badly wrong if that wasn't the case and it is worth remembering that digital audio technology was developed in order to break free of the limitations of analogue technology (something the new analogue hipsters are either ignorant of or ignore). That said the humble cassette tape offered affordable home recording and mobile sound at a time when those things were novel. These days people forget just what a wonderful impact the cassette tape had. With any electro-mechanical device that old the measurement can't be seen as representative of it when new. However, very few modern items (including high end) are manufactured to anything like the standards of Nakamichi products or display anything like the same depth of engineering.
 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
12,492
Likes
37,981
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
I think this undertaking was just a bit of fun gaining somewhat speculative results and should be treated as such.

True, I agree.

Amir and half of us here, probably lusted after a Nak Dragon back in the day. (me the CR-7a) We were all trying to record something, anything, with zero loss of fidelity. We spent hours, lots of money and tweaked everything to make the perfect 'recording' (mix tape).

I remember spending a fortune on the absolute best S-VHS HiFi video recorder just for recording audio as I realised cassette simply couldn't do it. A Mitsubishi HS-E70. It was phenomenal, but what did I record on it to see how good it really was? A CD. I heard flaws, the low level HF noise from head switching. It wasn't absolutely 'perfect'. The CD source was perfect and only when DAT came along, could I truly have, what appeared to be, absolute identical copies.
 

JJB70

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
2,905
Likes
6,146
Location
Singapore
I had a CR7E, it was Nakamichi's top model at the time and really did feel its price. It was hideously expensive but unlike most modern high end hi-fi the quality was commensurate with the price.
 

bennetng

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 15, 2017
Messages
1,634
Likes
1,691
Talking about loudness war, one more reason to realize the damage that is causing in the Culture and the Audio Industry. Ones minutes ago I posted:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-are-we-listening-to-right-now.40/post-124661

Carlos Gardel - Singles Album 01 (1927-1933) Vinyl, Odeon 10inch Shellac 78rpm

index.php


DR Peak RMS Filename
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DR14 -2.18 dB -19.41 dB 01 - La Cumparsita.wav
DR16 -1.91 dB -21.59 dB 02 - Milonga Sentimental.wav
DR18 -1.98 dB -23.86 dB 03 - El Tirador Plateado.wav
DR15 -2.51 dB -21.01 dB 04 - Rie Payaso.wav
DR12 -2.90 dB -17.86 dB 05 - Dandy.wav
DR13 -2.81 dB -18.43 dB 06 - Ebrio.wav
DR14 -3.55 dB -20.81 dB 07 - Sanjuanina De Mi Amor.wav
DR15 -2.57 dB -20.92 dB 08 - Rencor.wav
DR15 -3.71 dB -22.89 dB 09 - El Cardo Azul.wav
DR14 -2.11 dB -20.32 dB 10 - Amigazo.wav
DR15 -2.17 dB -20.05 dB 11 - Gotas De Veneno.wav
DR13 -2.27 dB -18.50 dB 12 - Resignate Hermano.wav
DR15 -2.93 dB -21.29 dB 13 - Muñeca Brava.wav
DR14 -2.34 dB -19.42 dB 14 - Calor De Hogar.wav
DR14 -2.75 dB -19.94 dB 15 - Cotorrita De La Suerte.wav
DR16 -2.08 dB -24.37 dB 16 - Que Se Vayan.wav
DR12 -3.33 dB -18.99 dB 17 - Mala Entraña.wav
DR16 -2.52 dB -22.11 dB 18 - Vieja Recoba.wav
DR13 -2.82 dB -18.90 dB 19 - Queja Indiana.wav
DR15 -2.23 dB -20.69 dB 20 - Almagro.wav
DR13 -2.46 dB -19.35 dB 21 - Un Tropezón.wav
DR13 -2.50 dB -18.60 dB 22 - Se Acabaron Los Otarios.wav
DR15 -3.18 dB -21.44 dB 23 - Viva La Patria.wav
DR15 -2.04 dB -21.60 dB 24 - El Sol Del 25.wav
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Number of files: 24
Official DR value: DR14
 

maty

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2017
Messages
4,577
Likes
3,133
Location
Tarragona (Spain)
The CD source was perfect and only when DAT came along, could I truly have, what appeared to be, absolute identical copies.

I disagree. 16 bits was 14 bits. And we need at least 48 kHz and not only 44.1 kHz, but it is not the thread.
 

maty

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2017
Messages
4,577
Likes
3,133
Location
Tarragona (Spain)
I know I know. Archimago has a thread about it, with the iZotope RX, the software which is almost the standard for cleaning vinyl ripping :) I am one of his oldest followers, although I do not participate in the discussion. I have from years the feed in my GreatNews RSS Reader Nauscopico. https://nauscopio.wordpress.com/tag/greatnews/

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2017/08/musings-increasing-dynamic-range-of.html

increasing-DR-with-iZotope_RX_6-batch-settings.png


I use this soft from the RX-2 edition, years ago.

[Spanish] https://nauscopio.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/foobar2000-izotope-rx-2-hum-remover-vst-plugin/

Btw, you can see in this post like the BIG is/was my problem with the terrible electrical grid!

[IMG, only link] http://maty.galeon.com/WP-imagenes/...ager-iZotope_RX_2_Hum_Remover-50_200-8000.png

Now, after I solved VERY BIG (and incredible, I know) problems: noise, DC, RF and EMI (RF/EMI on the atmosphere too):

[IMG, only link] http://maty.galeon.com/WP-imagenes/...RX-7-De-Hum-21-22050-Suggest-8-mass-added.png

Solved them, I focusing in the Win 10 Pro 1709 64 bits to achieve the best possible sound, and I have got it!!! But it is not the thread.
 
Last edited:

Frank Dernie

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Messages
6,434
Likes
15,733
Location
Oxfordshire
I had a CR7E, it was Nakamichi's top model at the time and really did feel its price. It was hideously expensive but unlike most modern high end hi-fi the quality was commensurate with the price.
I still have mine, even though I haven't used it for years. Seems like a betrayal to sell it but I should I suppose.
 
Top Bottom