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Measurements of Nakamichi Dragon Cassette Deck

sergeauckland

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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.

I had a Nakamichi 482Z, which at the time was the cheapest of their three-head Dolby C machines that had adjustments for bias, sensitivity and EQ, albeit all manual and all internal. Still cost me some £450 in 1980. I then exchanged a Michell Gyrodec/Kuzma/Mr Brier for a brand new Technics S-VHS to get over the problems of the cassette format, mainly 45 minutes maximum recording time, which was no good for unattended recording of the Proms from the radio. All that went away when digital recording came available, and recording time was limited only by the HD capacity in the PC.

S.
 

Frank Dernie

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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.
I disagree with you.
As a person who has been a keen amateur recordist for over 50 years, both of live music, radio and records, DAT was the first time I made recordings where I couldn't hear the difference between the microphone feed and the recording. It doesn't matter whether it was 14-bit or 99-bit, it was enough to be transparent. In retrospect if I had listened a bit more carefully maybe I would have heard a tiny difference, but since I was used to hearing obvious differences with tape (reel-to-reel as well as cassette) the similarity was so striking it sounded perfect to me in comparison with what I was used to.
 

maty

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About the Carlos Gardel 78rpm singles collection:

iZotope RX3 3: Manual declick
Audacity 2.0.5: equalization, speed correction, labeling, splitting

Very soft declick with ClickRepair - Manual declick on loudly clicks - No denoise

A treasure, the less you manipulate it better.
 

Thomas savage

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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.
I love them, a friend got a model and Iv always long after it despite having no use for the thing, talking of beautiful things that one longs for but can’t afford,,,
4C144F9E-98B6-4DF6-BFE2-F9E2570CEA23.jpeg


I almost blinded myself taking this photo last night.
 

maty

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An I can differentiate, with good recordings: MP3 320kbps vs FLAC 16/44. And between FLAC 16/44, 16/48, 16/96 and 16/192, 24/44, 24/96 and 24/192. I did not the test with 24/48. I have a thread with the files from a very good 24/192 file. Not in the open Internet, off course.

technical-thread.png


24192-2496-2448-1648-1644-files-desenfoque.png


foobar2000-untitledb.png


Why not open Internet?

https://nauscopio.wordpress.com/201...pe-rx-2-hum-remover-vst-plugin/#comment-14182

Hoy en día la gente quiere que se lo den todo hecho, con el mínimo esfuerzo. Son más perezosos que entonces, más desagradecidos y mucho peor educados.

The test was yeas ago. Now, imagine...
 
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sergeauckland

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@Frank Dernie

Then you are disagree with the engineering design used and the botched that was made with the bits (undestandable by technological limitations of the moment) and bandwidth (wrong choice) that Philips did then.
I don't disagree with the choices at all. 44.1 and 48k were chosen because both are multiples of the TV line frequency for PAL and NTSC, and the Sony PCM-F1 television encoder system was originally used for mastering CDs, with the audio held as data on U-Matic cassettes.

In any event, 44.1/16 was and still is audibly transparent, so was not a flawed choice. furthermore, Sony always used 16bit DACs in their CD players, Philips chose to use 14bit 4x oversampled DACs, which, if you do the sums, have damn near 16 bit resolution, so again not the wrong choice.

You really need to understand the history.

S.
 

bennetng

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In those days I gave away many excellent recordings on Maxell UDII chrome and TDK SA metal tapes
The best tapes I have are TDK AR-X and Super CDing II. Used to have some Maxell matel tapes but couldn't find them now, they smelled great even after long term use. However I guess restorer-john may think my collections are low level garbage anyway;)

I used cassettes to record music on game consoles as a lot of games don't have OST released. However there are a lot of emulators now, they sound great and very flexible.
 

maty

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The problem is, again, the REAL WORLD not the theory or the maths. The filters are not perfect, and other problems. You need 48 kHz to avoid problems and so have a safety margin.

The decision seemed correct by the multiples but it was not. Hence the 48 kHz, 96 kHz, 192 kHz ...

Off course, many years after, we have cheap DSP.
 
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Werner

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So you replayed ancient test tapes of unknown condition, test tapes suitable for resp. level, speed, and azimuth, and you put the blame on the deck? Was that Dragon recently serviced anyway?

When I refurbish a 3-head Nak I usually end up with a pretty stellar performance, for the format.
 

Werner

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Btw, I can see that Nakamichi deck is H3 predominant :(.

Analogue magnetic tape is H3-dominant. Has nothing to do with the Nak.

And if a deck is H2-dominant it is an incompetent design.
 

maty

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7.5 IPS 4 track?

Original Cast*, Richard Kiley, Joan Diener, Irving Jacobson, Robert Rounseville, Ray Middleton ‎– Man Of La Mancha
Label: Kapp Tape ‎– KTA 41109
Series: Red Label Series –
Format: Reel-To-Reel, 7 ½ ips
Country: US
Released: 1966
Genre: Classical, Stage & Screen
Style: Musical

Tracklist

A1 –Original Cast* Overture
A2 –Richard Kiley, Irving Jacobson Man Of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote)
A3 –Joan Diener And Ensemble* It's All The Same
A4 –Richard Kiley And Ensemble* Dulcinea
A5 –Mimi Turque, Robert Rounseville, Eleanore Knapp I'm Only Thinking Of Him
A6 –Irving Jacobson, Joan Diener I Really Like Him
A7 –Joan Diener What Do You Want Of Me?
A8 –Gino Conforti, Richard Kiley, Irving Jacobson, Ensemble* The Barber's Song: Golden Helmet
B1 –Robert Rounseville To Each His Dulcinea (To Every Man His Dream)
B2 –Richard Kiley The Impossible Dream (The Quest)
B3 –Harry Theyard And Ensemble* Little Bird, Little Bird
B4 –Ray Middleton, Richard Kiley, Joan Diener, Irving Jacobson The Dubbing
B5 –Harry Theyard The Abduction
B6 –Joan Diener, Richard Kiley Aldonza
B7 –Irving Jacobson A Little Gossip
B8a –Joan Diener, Richard Kiley, Irving Jacobson, Robert Rounseville And Entire Company* Ducinea (Reprise)
B8b –Joan Diener, Richard Kiley, Irving Jacobson, Robert Rounseville And Entire Company* The Impossible Dream (Reprise)
B8c –Joan Diener, Richard Kiley, Irving Jacobson, Robert Rounseville And Entire Company* Man Of La Mancha (Reprise)
B8d –Joan Diener, Richard Kiley, Irving Jacobson, Robert Rounseville And Entire Company* The Psalm
B8e –Joan Diener, Richard Kiley, Irving Jacobson, Robert Rounseville And Entire Company* Finale (The Imposible Dream)
Companies, etc.

Manufactured By – AMPEX, Elk Grove Village, Ill., U.S.A.

Credits

Choreography – Jack Cole
Conductor, Directed By [Musical] – Neil Warner
Ensemble – Bruce MacKay (2), Gerrianne Raphael, Marceline Decker, Ralph Farnworth*, Ray Dash, Renato Cibelli
Illustration [Cover] – Al Hirschfeld
Lighting, Other [Setting, Costumes] – Howard Bay
Lyrics By – Joe Darion
Music By – Mitch Leigh
Other [Aldonza] – Joan Diener
Other [Antonia] – Mimi Turque
Other [Book, Musical Staging] – Albert Marre
Other [Cervantes (Don Quixote)] – Richard Kiley
Other [Costumes] – Patton Campbell
Other [Dr. Sanson Carrasco] – Jon Cypher
Other [Sancho] – Irving Jacobson
Other [The Barber] – Gino Conforti
Other [The Housekeeper] – Eleanore Knapp
Other [The Innkeeper] – Ray Middleton
Other [The Muleteers] – Shev Rodgers, Harry Theyard, Eddie Roll, John Aristides, Fernando Grahal, Antony De Vecchi, George Marcy
Other [The Padre] – Robert Rounseville

Notes
Mastered, duplicated and quality audited exclusively with Ampex professional recorders, on Ampex tape.
Ampex, Elk Grove Village, Ill.
Barcode and Other Identifiers

Rights Society: ASCAP
 
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DonH56

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Boy this thread has gotten hard to follow...

I had full Dolby and dbx stacks pro and consumer back in the day but there were always trades in the sound. Even splitting into frequency bands did not completely eliminate dbx's pumping. I used to use songs with a steady chord playing whilst a (tom or kick, one beat at a time) drum began playing to illustrate the problem -- it was very obvious/annoying. And Dolby C had its issues, too... I never could really warm up to it, though made a number of recordings using it because it was demanded. I thought it worked better in a car...

I never had a Dragon; like many others, it was a wish, but well out of my price range (though I managed to acquire a number of far more expensive toys, like a big Studer 2" mastering deck). IIRC my two-tone measurements (SINAD, sorry John) ran in the 50's and 60's dB for the best cassette could do (including a Dragon -- didn't own one, but the store I worked sold them, so I was able to play with and measure them). Low-end R2R didn't do much better; I thought 3 3/4 ips was a travesty and waste of tape. While 7.5 ips was good enough for most of my personal recording from records (and saved in tape cost), I used 15 ips and 30 ips in the studio. I am struggling to remember what I measured but I think it was routinely in the upper 70's and pushed to maybe 80~85 dB in some cases if I was careful in levels and head alignment and bias. Since records were limited to around 65 dB or so most of the time there was not a lot of demand (commercially) to go higher in dynamic range, and back then (late 1970's/early 1980's) the auto market was pretty big so cassettes were routinely compressed for that environment (Dolby C came in towards the end of my time doing that kind of stuff). I do not remember SNR off-hand but have no reason to doubt John's numbers. I do remember seeing 20~30 dB difference between SNR and SINAD most of the time, proving to me that distortion was a bigger issue than noise floor for most cassettes (and R2R's, for that matter).

One thing a lot of folk did not realize was that machine-to-machine alignment was generally not that great for consumer products, and that was one of the things Nak sought to solve. You could easily lose 10 dB by taking a recording made on one deck to another and just playing it back.
 
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