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Inherited old stereo equipment, need help?

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mattables

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Alright, here it is, I just inherited some old stereo equipment.
1. Marantz 4400 Tuner/Preamp/Amp (1978-ish)
2. Akai Reel to Reel Tape deck (1981-ish)
3. Akai cassette deck (1981-ish)
4. Pair of Sansui SF-2 speakers. (Picture)

Can anyone tell me about this stuff? The Marantz is in great shape and I plan on having it serviced by Circle Stereo in Austin, Texas(They repaired my old Mcintosh equip). But I don’t know anything about the rest of the stuff.

Matt
 

zaphod

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mattables said:
Alright, here it is, I just inherited some old stereo equipment.
2. Akai Reel to Reel Tape deck
Matt
for the r2r, check out these two sites:

slbender (careful of the nekkid leedy :) )

and Frank Oomens pages (careful of the wealth of info :) )

oh, and daveman has some great pics (dave's not home :) )

finally, there is a yahoo group reeltoreel with a lot of really helpful people (including frank).

reels are great, i'm looking for an AKAI GX-270D-SS myself (machine number six).
 

roberto

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mattables said:
Alright, here it is, I just inherited some old stereo equipment.
1. Marantz 4400 Tuner/Preamp/Amp (1978-ish)
2. Akai Reel to Reel Tape deck (1981-ish)
3. Akai cassette deck (1981-ish)
4. Pair of Sansui SF-2 speakers. (Picture)

Can anyone tell me about this stuff? The Marantz is in great shape and I plan on having it serviced by Circle Stereo in Austin, Texas(They repaired my old Mcintosh equip). But I don’t know anything about the rest of the stuff.

Matt
Hola Matt. As I remember, the Marantz 4400 was the top of the receiver´s line at the time. It has a scope that it is used for tunning the FM broadcast and for stereo image. The sound was good, and a lot of power for a receiver of that time. Regarding the Akai´s tape decks, you don´t provide models, but all I can say is that perhaps for the systems of now days, they don´t worth it, because of their high signal to noise ratio. Analogue is great, but these decks, even with dolby, had too much noise for my liking. Hope this can help!
Regards from Costa Rica and happy listening!
Roberto.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Matt,
Roberto is correct. I too inherited some equipment. Besides the possible sentimental attachment you have to decide is this something that you will use.

The Marantz would be a piece I might keep, the other pieces I would sell. Where I live it is difficult to can any decent radio reception so I do not have a tuner/receiver but I am sure your situation is not as bad.

Unless you have a lot of reel to reel music or are going to do some taping of live music it is not worth keeping. The quality of CD's and recordable ones to basically put an end to the reel to reel. Tom Dac, our illustrious Web Master, has (?) a deck and can give you some more insight.

The cassette deck is the same advice. Unless you have a large collection of tapes or do a lot of taping to cassette it is not worth keeping.

The speakers, although I do not know the specific model, were never what one would call sought after. Now I do not mean they are bad at all but in that time there were other speakers that were more popular. Sansui was not known for their speakers but for their electronics. I would keep them for possible rears, extentions or for another system.


Hope this helps a bit


Jeff
 

jjqiv

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On a similar note, I just bought a vintage Fisher 400 tube receiver from ebay. It is very similar to the Fisher 500c that just received a pretty darn good review in stereophile. I used to have a tubed Heath Kit receiver during my high school and college days that was a hand-me from my dad. It needed a little work, so I put it, some KLH speakers, nice cassette player, and an AR TT in some shared storage at our rental unit. We used my wife's (girl friend at the time) cheap all-in-one receiver (cd/cassette/TT/tuner/equalizer) for a few weeks, we decided we had to get it mine fixed. A few weeks later, we went to pull it out the storage area and it had disappeared. Needless to say, we were kind of bummed. That receiver just made some beautiful music.
 

mattables

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zaphod said:
reels are great, i'm looking for an AKAI GX-270D-SS myself (machine number six).
The R2R is an AKAI GX-280D-SS with all of the manuals and cables.
Tha cassette deck is the GXC-735D.

Hope this helps

Matt
system 34
 

roberto

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mattables said:
The R2R is an AKAI GX-280D-SS with all of the manuals and cables.
Tha cassette deck is the GXC-735D.

Hope this helps

Matt
system 34
Hola Matt. Well that is a good reel to reel at that time, but in now days the signal to noise ratio is too much. The tape hiss is very evident. The cassetee deck to my ears has too much wow and flutter. Don't miss understand me, but when you listen a piano, some notes has a "vibrato" that the piano does not have and dynamics is also a point of view. I know these are not too good news, but if you can avoid these flaws, you will have extra equipment with you. Also take care how much money you are going to spend in fixind them, because of the today's value of that goods. I have the blue book from Orion, and if you want, send me an e-mail at roberherrera@gmail.com and I will send it to you...
Hope this can help, and regards from Costa Rica,
Happy listening and trust your ears!
Roberto.
 

mattables

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Roberto,

Thanks for all of your help. As of now, I am keeping the Marantz. My current system uses old McIntosh equipment, and I love the look and sound of these old amps, so the Marantz will fit in nicely. However, I just plan on using it for the AM/FM tuner, and I think the O-Scope is pretty cool. As for the Reel 2 Reel, I have about 65 classic rock, etc, on high-quality tape, but I have no desire at this time to set it up. I will sell it, and the other components listed above to the first person who asks. They are in good physical shape, but none of them have been turned on for over 9 years. The whole stereo just sat in a glass case, and was left untouched. Thanks again for the help,

Matt
 

zaphod

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mattables said:
As for the Reel 2 Reel, I have about 65 classic rock, etc, on high-quality tape, but I have no desire at this time to set it up. I will sell it, and the other components listed above to the first person who asks. They are in good physical shape, but none of them have been turned on for over 9 years. The whole stereo just sat in a glass case, and was left untouched. Thanks again for the help,

Matt
i'm going to respectfully disagree with roberto :)

tape has a full and long history in recorded music - there is no way that everything released before - oh, let's say 1984 - is polluted with tape hiss, and everything before that time was recorded on tape - and much of it also predates dbx or even dolby.

15 ips (inches per second), quarter inch half or full track machines will give you results that rival much of the digital world. USrecording, sells much of it's stock to studios who put their masters through one last analog tape stage to bring out a fatness to the sound (their description, not mine).

It is interesting to note, that on the back of the Soundtrack for "The Sting" there is a picture of Marvin Hamlish with his piano and a Teac 3340S reel2reel. Not an explicit advertisement for Teac, but a picture of the musician and the tools he uses to make the music we enjoy.


most home use machines and tapes ran at 7 1/2 ips, and while not good enough to act as a master for dubbing, can and does give excellent results on machines such as the Pioneer 707, or machines from Sansui, Sony, Akai or others.

for many audiophiles, the two track pre-records from the 50's and 60's are the gold standard for pressings, and many people claim that the quad recordings of the groups such as the Moody Blues or Pink Floyd best capture the original intent of the musicians/producers.


but all that aside :)

the GX-280D-SS is a great little machine, many were sold and they are often on ebay. They do have a known failure (see slbender's pages for details) but that aside, they make a great little 4-channel. I was looking for one a while back, but decided eventually to get a GX-270D-ss to avoid the known issue of the 280 series.

the GX indicates that it has the "famous" akai glass heads. effectively indestructible from the normal wear of tape running across them.

the SS indicates a 4 channel machine (as do the 4 VU meters :) ) allowing you to play discrete quad tapes such as the Moodies, or Floyd or even Elvis Live from Hawaii (viewed by many as his greatest recorded concert and incidentally intended to be released as a quad recording).

My big concern is that the machine has sat idle for 9 years. I have an akai 400D that sat idle for a similar time and it died after i started using it - the switches got noisy and the internals (belts and so on) got gooey.

you will greatly increase the price you can get for the 280 if you can make sure that it runs, or have it given a once over by a tech.

on the matter of the cassette deck, I concur with Roberto. bad media, bad medium, just bad bad bad :)
 

roberto

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zaphod said:
i'm going to respectfully disagree with roberto :)

tape has a full and long history in recorded music - there is no way that everything released before - oh, let's say 1984 - is polluted with tape hiss, and everything before that time was recorded on tape - and much of it also predates dbx or even dolby.

15 ips (inches per second), quarter inch half or full track machines will give you results that rival much of the digital world. USrecording, sells much of it's stock to studios who put their masters through one last analog tape stage to bring out a fatness to the sound (their description, not mine).

It is interesting to note, that on the back of the Soundtrack for "The Sting" there is a picture of Marvin Hamlish with his piano and a Teac 3340S reel2reel. Not an explicit advertisement for Teac, but a picture of the musician and the tools he uses to make the music we enjoy.


most home use machines and tapes ran at 7 1/2 ips, and while not good enough to act as a master for dubbing, can and does give excellent results on machines such as the Pioneer 707, or machines from Sansui, Sony, Akai or others.

for many audiophiles, the two track pre-records from the 50's and 60's are the gold standard for pressings, and many people claim that the quad recordings of the groups such as the Moody Blues or Pink Floyd best capture the original intent of the musicians/producers.


but all that aside :)

the GX-280D-SS is a great little machine, many were sold and they are often on ebay. They do have a known failure (see slbender's pages for details) but that aside, they make a great little 4-channel. I was looking for one a while back, but decided eventually to get a GX-270D-ss to avoid the known issue of the 280 series.

the GX indicates that it has the "famous" akai glass heads. effectively indestructible from the normal wear of tape running across them.

the SS indicates a 4 channel machine (as do the 4 VU meters :) ) allowing you to play discrete quad tapes such as the Moodies, or Floyd or even Elvis Live from Hawaii (viewed by many as his greatest recorded concert and incidentally intended to be released as a quad recording).

My big concern is that the machine has sat idle for 9 years. I have an akai 400D that sat idle for a similar time and it died after i started using it - the switches got noisy and the internals (belts and so on) got gooey.

you will greatly increase the price you can get for the 280 if you can make sure that it runs, or have it given a once over by a tech.

on the matter of the cassette deck, I concur with Roberto. bad media, bad medium, just bad bad bad :)
Hola Zaphod...well regarding the tape recorder, I still have a Revox A-77 4 track(with dolby) and a Teac A-6100 2 track. I also have a dbx matrix with over 200 10 1/2 " reels. When I said that the Akai´s have a lot of signal to noise, it is because my CLS IIz reveals that I have a humm noise from it, besides the hiss. If you want the best, get a good reel to reel, but with all respect, the Akai will not be the right deck (to my ears) to be used with ML. I also have over 2000 lps, so I know what analog is...I have three turtables, Oracle delphi 7 with Sirex tonearm, Golmund Studio with the T-3 tonearm and a Linn 12 with Magnepan unipivot tone arm. If you want to enjoy digital, you have to stop listening analogue. I also got from my dad, (1921-2000) his system with all his reel to reel tapes and his McIntosch power amps (two 2105 and a C28 pre) with Hartley 24" woofers. If you might recall, Conrad Johnson had Syntesis speaker line and he had the top to their line. I go to my mom´s house and play with this system once in a while. So please don´t get me wrong...I do know what the Akai can give for sure, I have a workshop here in Costa Rica where I service most brands, and Akai is one of them...I don't recommend it unless you use it for background music. Also I´m not saying that the Akai is bad, it is just the truth about the high signal to noise ratio that this machine (GX-280D-SS) has. -42dBs to - 45 dBs, meassured with a Teac tester model 860 for tape repair. You can meassure -70 dBs plus 30 more of the meter scale with this tester. I am an analogue man. The digital sound, even with SA or 24 bits digital format is great, but I like more analogue, and we know it is not perfect...but it is surely closer to the real thing. (please forgive my spelling).
You can have them there in your system to show them, the look of reet to reek tapes are great together with all the components chain. Akai´s look is one of the best, they are beautifully machines. But again, trust your ears...as I said before, this is my liking and it is just that. Trust your ears, and if you like them, I don´t see why not...this is just my point of view...some might like them, others might not.
I wish you a very happy listening, and regards from Costa Rica,
Roberto.
 

mattables

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Wow, thanks for all of the info and opinions. I took the marantz and a turntable to William at Circle Stereo to fix, and I also had the R2R in the car. He saw it and said that he restores them all the time. He said they are tons of work to restore, but when "back to their original splendor, they are wonderful machines...if you like that sort of thing." He convinced me to have it cleaned and restored-he was also aware of the problems with the 280 and would be sure to check them all out. It will cost me some $$$, but it sounds like it will be worth it. So, I will soon have a working R2R, that I will still be willing to sell. I would like to add, I don't have any bias with Circle Stereo, I have just never met anyone who takes such great care and expertise in restoring vintage stereo equipment. If any of you need this kind of work, I urge you to give them a call.

Matt
 
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