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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


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Reviewed May 22nd, 2017 by xagu

Great little reel to reel. Amazing sound.



re: 4000DS

Hello fellow Akai 4000DS MKII wigglers!

I have a short question: Anyone has experience of how to clean the track selector switch? I figure I have to dismantle the head block in order to take the rotary switch out. But how to clean this thing? Leave it to a technician instead?


re: 4000DS

I had a similar problem. I took the knob off and the black cover over the heads. Sprayed the switch mechanism with Electrowash while rotating the switch back and forth. Fixed my particular version of the problem .

rivaslazaro's picture

re: 4000DS

limpie con aire comprimido primero y despues use un producto como sprakleen

re: 4000DS

Hello to all,i'm looking for the both head playback and recording,for my Akai 4000DS.
Where i could find and buy these parts? Thanks and best regards.pierre.

reel to reel nut's picture

re: 4000DS

hi all
hope someone out there can help with this one , i have 2 of these decks and they are both showing the same fault there is no output from the left channel on playback when the monitor switch is set to tape they both record fine and recorded tapes playback fine on both channels on my teac x2000 and akai 636
i have replaced all caps and transistors and even the complete headblock on one with no success all swiches have been cleaned with servisol including the record slider switch as i know these can cause one channel to drop out but still nothing
thanks .

rivaslazaro's picture

re: 4000DS

si grba bien pero no reproduce un canal falla esta en placas de reproduccion verifique con oscioscopio traza de señal en esta placa hay esta falla

re: 4000DS

Probably it is due to some playback head wearing ( If the deck shows same behavior with all tapes over all).

reel to reel nut's picture

re: 4000DS

Thanks Billy but i have replaced the complete headblock with a confirmed working unit to eliminate the track selector switch too but alas still nothing :(

re: 4000DS

Do the VU's show anything in playback mode?

4000DS Track Knob Set Screw

The small set screw (grub screw) securing the Pause button and Track knob is 1.4mm . It's not in the manual, and I couldn't find it on the web. I figured it out by trial and error.

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

re: 4000DS

Have a look at the transformer, maybe you can reweld something. Otherwise you'll have to use a pretransformer. You will also have to change the frequency setting for the US model is going to run too slow because US mains are 60cps, UK ist 50cps.

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!

allopeanut's picture

re: AKAI 4000DS - inconsistent speed

If the tapes are old And worn out , they could ne gumming Up the heads .If you see rust on the heads , throw out the tapes.

re: 4000DS

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

re: 4000DS

Low Noise tapes of course - mostly called LH = Low Noise/High Output. By the way , Popular Electronics (USA) has a complete Hirsch-Houck Labs test reports way back in the Oct. 1973 issue. They used a Sony SLH -180 tape on a AKAI 4000DS and it can easily go to the 25KHz ! In the year 2016 there is no many tape brands available. http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Poptronics/70s/1973/Poptroni... just download that and you can read full test report !!!

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

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.