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Thread: The Best Cassette Decks Ever? How do they compare to the Nak ZX-7?

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Bristol, UK

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    I'm Nick.

    Default The Best Cassette Decks Ever? How do they compare to the Nak ZX-7?

    I've thoroughly enjoyed the recommendations on the Cassette's Not Dead thread... but it's left me wondering if my ZX-7 is 'up there' or not...

    My personal criteria for any deck is going to be based upon it's playback capabilities. The one thing that the ZX-7 I currently own doesn't have is playback azimuth control. This has bothered me for a while because I don't like to fiddle with the azimuth on a machine once it's properly set up; otherwise you end up fiddling with it til kingdom come

    In my opinion, playback azimuth control is the keys to the kingdom as far as tape playback is concerned. Get the transport, heads, electronics sorted and the result will still be poor if the original recording was made or duplicated on a machine that did not have the same alignment as the playback deck.

    Am I placing too much emphasis on the adjustable-azimuth aspect?

    How does the ZX-7 compare with the Nak CR-7 (which does have pb azimuth control). Am I likely to experience a revelation if I were to upgrade to a CR-7, Dragon or Tandberg 3014/911?

    Are there any other decks I should be considering - bearing in mind my objective is to have the best machine for playback - so two heads working in perfect harmony is just as good as three!

    I'd be interested in your views
    Nick
    My system...


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  2. #2
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: A Strangely Isolated Place in Suffolk with far away trains passing by...

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    I'm David.

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    I'm not going to cr@p on this one, but I liked the ZX7 a lot (can't remember what the main difference between the 7 and 9 was now).

    I'm going to stick me neck out and state that the best Naks from the 682ZX onwards were all very similar for the most part. The varying azimuth only working on good tapes (pre-recorded ones that needed adjusting often beat these auto machines I found). The only machine that seemed to change for the better during its life was the Dragon, as the last ones had improved meter response and a slightly clearer sound in line with circuit developments IIRC.

    The big Naks to watch were the 700ZXE/ZXL which could suffer switch problems and the 1000's which weren't always the most reliable. Once your generation of machines came along, the internals had been modernised and refined and they rarely gave trouble.

    If you see a good CR7 at a reasonable price, give it a go whilst keeping the ZX7, but personally, I wouldn't go out of my way to "must have" a CR7 at any cost.....
    Tear down these walls; Cut the ties that held me
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  3. #3
    niklasthedolphin Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beechwoods View Post
    I've thoroughly enjoyed the recommendations on the Cassette's Not Dead thread... but it's left me wondering if my ZX-7 is 'up there' or not...

    My personal criteria for any deck is going to be based upon it's playback capabilities. The one thing that the ZX-7 I currently own doesn't have is playback azimuth control. This has bothered me for a while because I don't like to fiddle with the azimuth on a machine once it's properly set up; otherwise you end up fiddling with it til kingdom come

    In my opinion, playback azimuth control is the keys to the kingdom as far as tape playback is concerned. Get the transport, heads, electronics sorted and the result will still be poor if the original recording was made or duplicated on a machine that did not have the same alignment as the playback deck.

    Am I placing too much emphasis on the adjustable-azimuth aspect?

    How does the ZX-7 compare with the Nak CR-7 (which does have pb azimuth control). Am I likely to experience a revelation if I were to upgrade to a CR-7, Dragon or Tandberg 3014/911?

    Are there any other decks I should be considering - bearing in mind my objective is to have the best machine for playback - so two heads working in perfect harmony is just as good as three!

    I'd be interested in your views

    You could try to purchase one of the very few TCD 911.
    It comes with playback Azimuth.
    Maybe you will get a revelation, maybe not.
    You won't get any better playback, though.

    However, your ZX-7 is already up there in the elite.

    I had some Nakamichi decks (ZX-9; CR7; Dragon) and considered them in the very top end with Revox and very close to Tandberg.

    The ZX-9 is IMHO/E the best of the bunch.

    What is about PB azimuth that makes you so keen on it?
    Best results will come from tapes recorded and PB'ed on same deck.
    With the one exception of TCD 910/911 which were build as a pair with paired electronics.

    Let me know if you find a TCD 911.



    "dolph"


    P.S.: TCD 911 is produced in ~40psc.

  4. #4
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Bristol, UK

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    I'm Nick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by niklasthedolphin View Post
    What is about PB azimuth that makes you so keen on it?
    Best results will come from tapes recorded and PB'ed on same deck.
    With the one exception of TCD 910/911 which were build as a pair with paired electronics.
    I play back a lot of tapes recorded on other machines, so I can't rely on the recording azimuth being correct in the first place. That's the main reason I have this penchant for variable playback azimuth!

    Quote Originally Posted by niklasthedolphin View Post
    Let me know if you find a TCD 911.

    P.S.: TCD 911 is produced in ~40psc.
    Good Luck indeed. I'd read that the 911 was very limited production - the 3014 was based on the same basic design wasn't it? But in greater quantities - at least they were sold publicly?

    Thanks for your comments Dolph!
    Nick
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  5. #5
    Join Date: Feb 2009

    Location: Bristol, UK

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    I'm Peter.

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    Why don't you bring your Nak round to mine and do our own mini bake-off with my ReVox. The ReVox B215 is supposed to have auto azimuth alignment, but I'm not really sure if it is true (nothing to compare against). The ReVox has a different mechanism to the Naks - direct drive versus belt driven - so it will be interesting to put the two together.
    I would offer to come to yours, but the ReVox weighs a tonne and I really don't want to try and get it to you on the bus!
    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Bristol, UK

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    I'm Nick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by symon View Post
    Why don't you bring your Nak round to mine
    I will! Have you got your plumbed in yet? It would definitely be an interesting comparison to do!
    Nick
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  7. #7
    Join Date: Feb 2009

    Location: Bristol, UK

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    I'm Peter.

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    No, it's not plumbed in to my Quads. But that's through laziness, not through any worries about difficulty of setting it up. It can be done at a moment's notice (I think).
    Peter

  8. #8
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Bristol, UK

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    I'm Nick.

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    I have read some excellent reports of the B215 - Dragon territory though I didn't think it had playback azimuth control... we will put it through it's paces we will!
    Nick
    My system...


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  9. #9
    Join Date: Feb 2009

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Posts: 719
    I'm Peter.

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    Well, it is supposed to have. I don't understand how it can. You can tell it what type of cassette it is playing and I think that is where it does it's tricksy magic. Perhaps we can work that out when we play with them. I've never heard a Nak, so it will be fun to hear both properly at the same time - and at a louder volume than you might be used to!
    Peter

  10. #10
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Cheshire UK

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    I'm Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beechwoods View Post
    I have read some excellent reports of the B215 - Dragon territory though I didn't think it had playback azimuth control... we will put it through it's paces we will!
    Revox B215 doesn't have azimuth control beyond usual screws on the head. The mechanics there is very good - one of very few "total" direct drive mechs (even the Dragon has only an idler drive to the reel tables), however the electronics is not up to the same standard, IMHO.

    Alex

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