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Akai 4000DS

Stereo Reel to Reel Tape Recorder (1973-78)

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Akai 4000DS


The Akai 4000DS is a four-track, two-channel stereo reel to reel tape recorder for use with 7" reels.

The employment of a highly efficient induction motor and boldly designed flywheel in the 4000DS results in stable tape travel and reduced wow and flutter.

This feature coupled with a three head system including Akai's one-micron gap playback head assures clear playback sound.


Track system: 4-track, 2-channel, stereo/monaural system

Heads: 1 x record, 1 x playback, 1 x erase

Motor: 1 x SSM-1 4-pole induction

Reel size: up to 7 inch reel

Tape speeds: 3 34  7 12 ips

Wow and flutter: 0.15% (7 12 ips)

Frequency response: 30Hz to 23kHz (7 12 ips)

Signal to Noise Ratio: 50dB

Total harmonic distortion: 1.5%

Crosstalk: 50dB

Input: 70mV (line), 7mV (DIN), 0.8mV (mic)

Output: 1.228V (line), 0.4V (DIN)

Semiconductors: 11 x transistors, 4 x IC, 4 x diodes

Dimensions: 406 x 314 x 194mm

Weight: 11.4kg


mkII instruction/owners manual   English Deutsch Francais -

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mkII service manual   English -

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mkII instruction/owners manual   English - len davis

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re: 4000DS

Hello All,

I'm checking over a 4000DS for a local charity I help out. It's a US model, 120V (60Hz) 35W, with no option for voltage conversion etc. How can I get it powered up here in the UK? Thanks, Chris

AKAI 4000DS - inconsistent speed

Hi all,

Just picked up a cheap AKAI 4000DS to play back a series of 7 1/2 tapes. I can successfully adjust to the speed i need, but it doesn't remain consistent, sometimes slowing down a touch for periods. On a recent play-through of a tape it also stopped completely of its own accord. Does this sound like it's something to do with the motor or belts? Forgive my ignorance but I'm completely new to reel-to-reel recorders and this is something I've been asked to do for work. Any and all help appreciated!

re: 4000DS

I just picked up an Akai 4000DS mkII. What tape do you guys recommend I get for it?

re: 4000DS

hi there, how did you go on with getting hold of tape for your akai, and what did you get ??
I had some old tape but had problems with it screeching, managed to find some unused tape on ebay,
of no particular brand it would seem, and it solved the screech problem !! paid around £10 for a reel.

re: 4000DS

In Germany you can get brand new tape from Bluthardt etc. If you prefer used tapes, BASF and Maxell is my recommendention.
Avoid Shamrock Tapes even if you get them for free.

re: 4000DS

I just purchased a Used AKAI 4000DS It works very well on Tapes I have recorded on a previous machine. The problem I'm experiencing is in the record mode the right channel produces noise. The noise is present when Idling or playing. Just turning the unit on I see the right VU meter move about 20db or so and produces a noise in the right speaker. When I record in Monaural the right channel is out of the circuit, and the recorder plays or Idols without noise. Any Ideas where I can trace it down to.
Preamp, Filtering in the right channel?

reel to reel nut's picture

re: 4000DS

Hi ,the 2 slider switches inside the machine that engage the record circuit need a blast with servisol switch cleaner then work the lever to record and back a few times ,this has worked on every akai deck ive had including 1721 and 4000 series .Hope this helps .Gordon.

re: 4000DS

Hi Don, i would first check or replace all cables, and also double check you have the correct configuration of input and outputs, to and from any other components. failing that someone else on here can hopefully help you, regards and good look.

re: 4000DS

I may be interested in the cover for the 4000ds if it is still available. How much? I also have a question. I picked up my 4000ds mcii at a flee market a few years ago. They did not even know what it was. She thought is was a projector. Any way it came with a box of about 50 ampex tapes. The play function works great however it will not record. All inputs work fine including the mic inputs. The record light just does not come on. I think the record head is probably ok and it might be an electrical issue but not really sure. Any thoughts? Also I was at an estate sale a few weeks ago where everything had to go. At the last hour I bought a Sony TC-353D reel to reel that was still brand new in the box and had never been opened or unpacked. Date on the box is Feb. 2 1972. This machine had never seen the light of day. I bought it for $30.00. I brought it home, set it up and checked everything out. It plays and records great for awhile. Then the speed seems to slow down. I re-oiled the gears thinking everything maybe dried up. Again It works fine for a while but still slows down after a period of time. Even the fast forward and rewind mode is slow. Maybe the motor bearings are dry too I don't know. Any thoughts?

re: 4000DS

The rubber belts are 43 years old!, no rubber belt holds its properties for so long, replacing all of them could be your solution.

re: 4000DS

Hi all any comments on this. To the guy who is looking for a cover, I have one on an imaculate 4000DS that comes with an original instruction manual. Owned since 1973 and hardly used. Not used on the last 26 years, a genuine barn find.

re: 4000DS

I would be interested in the cover if you still have it. I'm based in Swansea


teleido's picture

re: 4000DS

Hi Tom,

Is the cover still available? I'm interested...


re: 4000DS

hi there, i have since found a cover for the Akai, but thanks all the same, i would however be interested in acquiring two genuine Akai tape reels though, if I'm not mistaken they were metal reels sporting the Akai logo.

re: 4000DS

Hi all any comments on this. To the guy who is looking for a cover, I have one on an imaculate 4000DS that comes with an original instruction manual. Owned since 1973 and hardly used. Not used on the last 26 years, a genuine barn find.

re: 4000DS

If you still have the 4000ds cover email me I need one

re: 4000DS

Does anyone know where I can get a cover for the 4000 apparently they are up there with rocking horse poo!!

re: 4000DS

Getting that acrylic cover should be difficult, as this item was an optional extra to the 4000DS and the average purchaser of a 4000DS had a likely narrow wallet. Finding a machine with with cover, keeping the cover and resell the machine is one way...Btw. I had the luck to get my 4000DS with cover. Tip: A scratched cover can be polished with a polishing machine and chrome-polish.

re: 4000DS

Thanks for the info,, the quest continues !!

Chungalin's picture

re: 4000DS

Just by chance I’ve found 3 spares for this recorder: a capstan belt (110mm diameter, 7mm wide, about 1mm thick, in good shape) and two aluminium Track Selector Knobs. All new parts, never used. If anyone is interested, send PM.

re: 4000DS

Got also a 4000DS. Outside in very fine condition, but unused for a long time. First issue, no fast forwind. Got it open and found all grease sticky. Cleaned and regreased everything. Some contact-cleaner applied to all switches, and after about one hour of work it works fine. Maybe the longest produced R2R from Akai, as the roots of this machine were in the 60's as 3000, then 4000, 4000D, 4000DS, 4000DSmkII and so on till late 70's.
Does anyone know the difference between the DS and the DSmkII, apart from the "nipples"?

re: 4000DS capstan removal

Hi folks, I just picked up one of these, apparently in good condition. I am now "reeling" again after a few years! I think I understand the idea of removing the capstan outer cylinder to change to 3.75 IPS. I think it must not have been removed for a long time. The whole capstan spins when you turn the knurled top cap, and I'm not going to put vise-grips on the lower portion to hold it in place while removing the cap!

How can I nudge this thing off? I think I only have one 3.75 tape, but it's one of the important ones.


UPDATE: I got it off. I applied a bit of WD40, oriented the deck so I could get a better grip on the capstan with my fingers, and was just barely able to get the cap started unscrewing with my other hand. Once the cap was off, the cylinder slipped off nicely.

re: 4000DS capstan removal

Hey all, I recently found one of these in my dad's old stuff. The Akai 4000 ds! I have zero use for this. Just wondering if anyone might be interested in buying one or if you could direct me to a place to possibly get rid of??

re: 4000DS capstan removal

I have been after a 4000DS as I have an Akai XV which I have had for many years and is now starting to fail. My dad had a 4000DS back in the 60's and since he passed on I'm not too sure what happened to it. I would therefore be interested in buying yours as long as it is in good working order etc. Let me know what you would want for it

re: 4000DS

Got my 4000ds from a friend for free! This site was really what I needed got the owners manual and service manual downloaded now to get this unit up and running. Will post pics once it's cleaned and ready to go.

re: 4000DS

I have to say that this thread was so helpful to me i had absolutly no idea that there was a sleeve on this unit,this akai unit is so cool it has gotten me into the hobby of 4 track players ,absolutly amazing,i bought my 4000ds mk-2 at goodwill for 14.99 to resell it,but that is not gona happen ,this thing is so mint its like new and im keeping it,too listen to music this way is even better then lp,im in shock at how it changes the way you listen to music,these units were before my time barely ,because im 43 so i was a cassette guy, never even knew these things existed,but il never go back and by the way i only tried ipod once screw that.

re: 4000DS Only Plays Back Through One Side - Channel

Have an Akai 4000DS and will only play back through one side - any help?

4000DS not recording


My machine was working just fine, but now the record function isn't working after I opened it up to do some take up reel platter work. I do believe the electronics are fine and that this is some sort of mechanical issue. I'm not sure what I could have done. The light also used to turn on but now it does nothing when in record mode. I have signal hitting the preamps and it's visible and audible if I monitor source. I can also hear what's on the tape, but the record function is defying my logic at the moment. What should I do?

Fingers crossed that I can redeem this gem.

ellsworth audio company's picture

re: 4000DS not recording

Check to see if your record levers are making full contact with the record/pb switches.

re: 4000DS

How do you remove the small track switch to remove the cover to adjust the track heads. There seems to be a bit of over lap on the tracks. The tapes were recorded on another machine a Philips many years ago. I am hoping by adjusting the heads it will cure the problem? gus

re: 4000DS

You need a small hex-key, entering from beneath

re: 4000DS

Thank you Willemfrans found a small allan key off no bother. Will have to see if adjusting heads will get rid of double track sound?

re: 4000DS

Hi Guys, I have today purchased an Akai 4000DS. It plays back with no problem whatsoever. However, I am unable to record. When the 'Monitor' switch is in the 'Source' position there is sound, the VU meters happily flicker away and the volume can be controlled by the tape deck. When in 'Tape' position there's no sound at all, whether in Playback or record mode !! Can anyone assist? The red 'Record' light comes on but nothing has been recorded. In 'Record' mode the deck erases the tape. All help will be appreciated ! I thank you in anticipation. Kindest Regards.


I have had my 4000DS since 1984 and it is a great machine but the light (a type of glass diode) that fits between the two VU Meters has blown. Does anyone know the replacement part I need, assuming its still available that is. I have some great old recordings on AKAI, AMPEX and other tapes and some BBC Studio Masters including one for John Williams / SKYE album and it is the original masters and be a shame if I can't play them again. I did check schematic but not 100% sure of the part.

Be grateful for any help.
Many Thanks, Steve: Plymouth, England

re: AKAI 4000DS

The voltage is 6 volt.

Find a small bulb with free wires.
Just cut out the old bulb and solder the wires into
the little metal holes of the pertinax .

Allister Hadden's picture

Light Bulb

Was looking through rapidonline. com for parts . they have bulbs that have the wires on them do not remember what voltage they are . and cannot remember what the voltage is on the akai . They are not diode's they are just light bulb without fitting and are used on many bit off equipment for lighting up the meters . If they are the wrong voltage all you do is bais them up to suite . My Technics tape deck uses them on the meters and they are 18 volt . . They are called Wire ended Filaments Bulbs . 5.0 volt 41-0220 (part nos) 12 volt 41-1225 (part no ) that thiers nos .

There are other sizes and voltages hope this helps . Well checking the wiring diagram to see how the head switch is wired . Mine just spat out a contact . Needs new one or make one from another switch off the same make ,and era .
Well it is wired on the 5 volt winding off the transformer so the 6 volt bulbs will do the job and think they are just held with a blob off UHU glue .
So the Rapid Electronics part 41-0220 will do at 26 pence each plus vat min delivery is £4.99.
The do a good range off leads and connector as well .

Hope this was helpful


Hello everybody, I am the

Hello everybody, I am the owner of a Akai 4000ds for a few month's now , And I really love the thing!
But I have a problem, The RWD / F.FWD button is stuck, i cant move it , and i am affraid to pull too hard cause i might break it.. anyone has the solution?

Thanks a lot


The F-forward/F-backward knob is blokked by a steel
ball in between its base plate and that of the play-back/record knob.
This prevents using both at the same time

Sticking RIGHT Recording Level Control - Button not moving

I have exactly the same problem. Recently purchased the AKAI DS4000 from eBay. Everything working apart from the RIGHT Channel center recording level control which is supposed to pull outward to monitor a mono recording.
This is not moving at all. I do not want to risk applying too much force for fear of damaging the control or the unit.
Hence I am hearing two mono-tracks at the same time in the Headphones or from the line-outs at the back of the deck.
Makes it difficult to transfer the single track to computer.
My solution for the moment is to just use the appropriate line out (left or right) exclusively from the back of the deck to isolate the track. Monitoring through the headphones is not possible however.

Did you ever get a solution to the problem with your deck?


Stereo recording

Hi all can anyone help just purchased a 4000ds mkii all work fantastic, apart from trying to record in stereo via phono input, left channel perfect vu meter, right channel no control of input either off no sound at all or full on right channel on stereo noise. Any pointers, much appreciated

Stereo recording

Hi all can anyone help just purchased a 4000ds mkii all work fantastic, apart from trying to record in stereo via phono input, left channel perfect vu meter, right channel no control of input either off no sound at all or full on right channel on stereo noise. Any pointers, much appreciated

tape plays too fast

I purchased an AKai 4000 DS MK II and was told it worked. However, when I load a 7" reel (Epic Stereo Tape Four Track) it plays too fast. Any suggestions on how to fix this so the sound plays at the correct speed? I appreciate your help.

re: tape plays too fast

Two possibilities.
1) If you live in the US of A, the 50/60 HZ. screw between the reels should be level with the front plate.
If it is peeping out about 10mm, your device is running 20 % too fast.

The 50/60 HZ. switch at the back won't do any thing to the speed.

2) There is a sleeve around the capstan for high speed recording/playback, remove it.

Akai 4000DS playing too fast?

The Akai 4000DS uses a single AC motor to run the whole beast, a 4-pole induction motor if my memory serves.
The motor can and only does run at one speed: however, the machine can be set up to run at 2 speeds; either 3-3/4 ips (inches per second) or 7-1/2 ips.
You don't mention what the indicated playback speed for that Epic Stereo Tape that you're trying to play is supposed to be. Given that you have this problem, I'll assume that you are not very familiar with the capabilities of your machine, and perhaps about open-reel tape decks in general?
If your machine appears to be playing at some steady speed, and it sounds approximately twice as fast as it should be, then there is a very simple fix to your problem.
The Akai 4000 has a rather unique method of selecting speed! It isn't exactly intuitive, so I suppose that this is what is messing you up.
There is a switch on the front panel for EQ during playback for either of the two speeds, so that is basically just a tone control and doesn't affect what the motor does. Ignore it for the moment.
Since the motor only runs at one steady speed that is governed by the AC mains frequency (50 Hertz in Europe and most of Asia, 60 Hertz in North America & Japan), Akai uses a mechanical method to change the speed.
What they do is: They change the diameter of the capstan!
The capstan is the steel pin that presses against the big rubber wheel, which is called a pinch roller. It is called that, because if you notice, the tape is "pinched" between that steel pin and the rubber surface of the wheel/roller during playback & recording. This arrangement maintains the steady speed required for proper operation.
What Akai does to change the operating speed is that they use a metal sleeve that fits over the capstan pin, and it is held in place with an attractive little metal stub shaped like an eraser from a mechanical pencil. This little stub screws onto the end of the capstan pin, and it holds the larger diameter capstan sleeve that is used when you are operating at the higher speed of 7-1/2 ips.
I'll assume that your Epic Tape is intended for playback at 3-3/4 ips, which is the lower speed for which you need to remove the capstan sleeve and locking stub.
If this is the case, then what you need to do is to shut off the machine to stop the motor entirely, since when the machine is on the motor is always running, and the capstan is always spinning, even when you are fast-forwarding, rewinding, or just plain idling!
Once the motor stops spinning after turn off, you can unscrew the little capstan stub. This should be easy enough, given that its surface has knurling on it to facilitate grip.
Once it's been removed, the outer capstan sleeve can be slid off. You have just switched your machine from 7-1/2 ips to 3-3/4 ips...congratulations!
Now, you don't want to lose those little bits!!! There is a pin located above the black head nest cover just for this purpose: it is an exact replica of the capstan, you just put the outer sleeve and metal stub/screw on it, nice and safe!
I hope this solves your problem, I've got two of these machines and have owned one of them for 35 years. I've seen many others, and have NEVER come across one where the motor runs at a faster speed due to any defect. I think this all but impossible, given that it is a simple type that locks onto the mains frequency; no speed control circuitry is used in the machine whatsoever (servos, for example).

Akai 4000

Some of those decks had different size capstan sleeves for different speeds and maybe for different line frequencies.
You might check the voltage selection switch on the back to make sure it is correct.
Also the capstan belt might be riding on a lip around the motor pulley.
Is the speed constant? Is there wow and flutter?
Is your tape verifiable? Are you certain of it's quality and playback speed?

dropped my 4000ds mkII - stereo output broken

so ...

I dropped my akai 4000ds mkII today while moving it :-( when testing it after the accident I found everything still works ok except for stereo playback. only my right channel seems to work - left doesn't output any signal. anybody got any idea about what exactly it is i'd have to fix here? already opened it up but can't really see any loose parts ... would be great to have it working again. except for this problem the unit is in great condition (even after it fell ;-)

edit ... everything working fine again ;-)

Tape speed akai 4000

Hi there.
Anyone heard of a 4000 running at 3.25, instead of 3.75?
There's a chap near me selling a 4000ds saying some early models came out running at 3.25, hence his machine, which he is selling, will play my tapes at the wrong speed.
Although, because I plan to copy them to a computer, I can speed them up to the correct speed with software.
Is there a variable resister to alter the speed? Could that be it?
Any thoughts...

New zealand

re: Tape speed akai 4000

I have some tapes recorded in 1968 at 1.875. The slowest speed of the Akai 4000DS I have is 3.75. I plugged the Akai output into an amp, then used an inexpensive Griffin iMic, to record them to my Mac. I downloaded the free Audacity software and used its wonderful Change Speed menu item which affects both tempo and pitch. Works like a charm for spoken word audio. I set it at "-45"


Akai 4000

Most of the reel to reel decks had synchronous motors in them that locked to the AC line frequency.

reel to reel nut's picture

Tape Speed Akai 4000

Hi Steve
there is a switch between the reels for 50/60 Hz this will need to be set according to the voltage for your country (consult the owners handbook) as it alters the position of the capstan belt on the flywheel and must be adjusted with the motor running . this is almost certainly the problem as people often fiddle with things they dont understand !! it turns in or out 180 degrees with a flat screwdriver. if this doesnt cure the problem then the motor run capacitor may be faulty although this is unlikely as these are very robust machines . Good luck . Gordon UK.

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Akai. To purchase 4000DS/4000DS mkII spares or accessories, please contact the company via their website or visit an authorised retailer.