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Hitachi D-900

Stereo Cassette Tape Deck (1978)

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Hitachi D-900


Type: 3-head, single compact cassette deck

Track System: 4-track, 2-channel stereo

Tape Speed: 4.75 cm/s

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

Motor: DC servo motor

Tape Type: type I, CrO2, FeCr

Noise Reduction: B

Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz  (Cr02 tape)

Signal to Noise Ratio: 63dB  (dolby B)

Wow and Flutter: 0.05%

Total Harmonic Distortion: 1.5%

Input: 60mV (line), 0.3mV (mic)

Output: 0.5V (line)

Semiconductors: 19 x IC, 57 x transistors, 62 x diodes, 3 x zener diodes

Dimensions: 182 x 435 x 254mm

Weight: 8.5kg

Year: 1978



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Reviewed Aug 20th, 2019 by tperkjr

This was my first 3-head deck, a step up from an Akai 2 head model. Performed excellently, but eventually I sold it to upgrade to a metal-and-Dolby C capable model from Luxman



TBL's picture

re: D-900

I bought a silver body D-900 early this year (2015) as a project deck. Surprise!!! Nothing went too wrong, and there were only the counter and the rewind/fast wind that didn't work. I went to the open market and spend ~US$10 buying all four rubber belts, 1 for the motor/capstans, 1 for the winding mechanism, and 2 for the counter.

It never stops amazing me against my Nakamichi 582Z and 580M. It even puts up a good show against my Eumig FL900 (= OEM by Alpine/Luxman), even though the D-900 does not have compatibility with metal tapes.

Someone showed me the recording/playback heads in the Hitachi family. I believe the heads in this D-900 are made of glass crystal ferrite, similar to the Akai's but even better in some ways. For instance, the D-900 gives HF to 18,000 Hz with chrome tapes (+/- 3 dB), bettering my Akai GX-95 Mk. II. In real life use, it excels my Akai when making recordings on lower grade tapes, such as C-120 ferro tapes (Low Noise variety of tape formulae).

Inside, the machine was built in a plastic shoe-box. Cheap and brainless for such an expensive piece!! But hold on, coz good news comes such that the tape mechanism is heavy metal all round, and the supply capstan (with the flywgeel made of yellow bronze) is of different material from the take-up capstan's (mschine steel flywheel there), possibly cutting resonance transferred to tape bands for a purer sound reproduction. And on the large PCB behind the frnt metres, tuning up is easy, and the service manual shows clear instructions to follow. Basically, first I did the height, tilt and azimuth checks and adjustments for the three heads. Then I just had to adjust for a Dolby and a playback levels with match at the output at +3 dBU (.5V at the output jacks at 50k ohms), and I followed by adjusting bias by recording and playing back sine waves of 1.5K and 15K Hz at -20 dBU for a difference of 0 dBU (+/-1 dB). Voila! .... Ooops! I also changed the belts before all the tune-up jobs.

Sound-wise, after the tune-up, playback of pre-recorded tapes has been pleasant and warmly presented, with mid-bass aplenty, adorned by commensurately clear highs that define atmosphere in many recordings. I can listen to my old cassette tapes the whole evening hours, without much fatigue. Using it as a tape recording deck is even more pleasant than my Akai GX-95 and Nakamichi 580M and 582Z. Even tho the D-900 lacks a bias fine trim, luckily, I have made level and bias calibrations on the recording side to make it work best with TDK SA-90 tape, which incidentally does not deviate too much from Maxell UD XL, and XL IIS. So, results from making recordings has been most satisfactory. In my situation, only my Eumig FL-900 betters the D-900 in sound department.

Esthetically, the D-900 has the most muscular look of the 1970's, with thick 3.5mm all aluminium facia, large machined chrome-plated knobs, metres that are rediculously large and brightly and elegantly lit in a beautiful and relaxing light blue hue, and a tape well that is backgound-lit in yellow light, which I changed to a blue LED to go with the metres. But becasue its mechanism is operated by one solenoid, it works quite noisily with tapping sounds every time one presses the winding buttons, and Stop button, too. Other than that I can say, it is a piece of utmost beauty! And it has been so reliable that in half a year's time, it never let me down once..... i.e. after the new belts and tune-up.


re: D-900

Question: What good is a 3 head without a bias trimmer? Ive been looking for a 3 head Hitachi/Realistic to match a Hitachi SR-904 receiver and I currently have a Sony TC-K71 that works well but the finish does not match and I need analog meters!

re: D-900

Bear in mind, this unit was on the market when decks offering bias or eq adjustability were rare, typically only available on the more expensive Naks and Tandberg decks

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