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Nakamichi 480

Two Head Stereo Cassette Deck (1979)

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Nakamichi 480

Description

The 480 is a truly superior product, designed and built by Nakamichi to deliver the utmost in quality and performance.

It incorporates engineering innovations in every important area, which includes magnetic heads, transport and electronics.

Advanced design enables the 480 to realise the full potential of the latest in magnetic recording technology; the metal particle tape.

Specifications

  • Type: 2-head, single compact cassette deck

    Track System: 4-track, 2-channel stereo

    Tape Speed: 4.8 cm/s

    Heads: 1 x record/playback, 1 x erase

    Tape Type: type I, CrO2, Metal

    Noise Reduction: B

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

    Signal to Noise Ratio: 62dB  (dolby B)

    Wow and Flutter: 0.06%

    Total Harmonic Distortion: 1.2%

    Input: 50mV (line)

    Output: 0.6V (line)

    Dimensions: 450 x 135 x 289mm

    Weight: 6.4kg

    Year: 1979

    Price: USD $395 (1981)

  • Type: 2-head, single compact cassette deck

    Track System: 4-track, 2-channel stereo

    Tape Speed: 4.8 cm/s

    Heads: 1 x record/playback, 1 x erase

    Tape Type: type I, CrO2, Metal

    Noise Reduction: B, C

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

    Signal to Noise Ratio: 68dB  (dolby C)

    Wow and Flutter: 0.06%

    Total Harmonic Distortion: 1.2%

    Input: 50mV (line)

    Output: 0.6V (line)

    Dimensions: 450 x 135 x 289mm

    Weight: 6.4kg

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Reviews

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rating
Reviewed Feb 16th, 2019 by geleven

I was born in a home with a 480 laying around. Currently 26.
I want to address my mixed feelings on this machine and the Nakamichi brand in general, through my experience with that particular unit.
Firstly, 480 is a beautiful model, with a clean, robust, distinctive serious-looking design. It certainly puts later ugly top-of-the-liners, like RX, ZX and even the fabled Dragon, to shame.
It feels great to use, gives of a very hi-techy warm feeling, especially when it's reeling the tape, very satisfying and fast.
It sounds great. Warm sound. Packed with all the cool features from the era (dolby, metal e.t.c).
In general, it feels like a small marvel of mechanics...
HOWEVER, it tends to break very regularly.
Mine experienced most of the common problems, like broken eject mechanism, broken power button, all kinds of transport fails, and for some reason even the belts - idlers tend to wear off really fast somehow. Plus every time it does break, service becomes increasingly hard & expensive.
While all that may sound reasonable to you, for a 1979 deck, I have another humble deck from 1979 laying around this whole time. The Technics M-33 G. Never changed the goddamn belt on it, nothing ever broke, plus I used it more regularly, because half of the time I wanted to listen to a tape, 480 was out of order. Only thing M-33 G ever required was some cleaning with contact cleaner, THAT'S IT! And that is how it should have been for an expensive nakamichi as well, IMO.
I also looked over some common problems for all Nakamichi models, and I saw some of the problems I experienced with my 480 are common to other higher-end Naks as well..
So, in conclusion my experience dictates to me that the Nakamichi brand might be a little overhyped and overpriced after all.
There are other decks you can get with a more reasonable pricing and probably requiring less maintenance.
BTW current state of my 480: out of order, due to some electronic failure.

 

Comments

re: 480

Looks like childhood

richard scott colyn's picture

re: 480

Just recieved a 480 as a gift from my father in law, as he upgraded. Broke out some of my old mix tapes - mostly tdk sa 90s from the late 70s, EARLY 80s. Hooked it up to my Pioneeer sa1500td reciever - rebuilt and recapped and 58wpc of vintage "ooomph" and a pair of large Advents with rebuilt crossovers. . This thing sounds just as good as my 80s Pioneer P-D70 CDplayer that was rebuilt and modified by Hi-Fi Heaven in Va. And quiet. It looks and sounds brand new. For one of the lower end models, this Nak is really a sleeper. I am not what you woild consider an "audiophile", but i listen to music EVERY day. Just recorded the Original Master Recording of "The Captain & Me" by the 'Dubes CD on a NOS BASF chrome 90 on this deck, and for a 2 head deck, i think it is a jewel!

re: 480

Sadly I paid 119 usd for this deck . Purchased it in non working condition. All belts are super lose and the tire idler is like a rock expired. Have ordered new belts and tire idler was very tough to remove . Boiled it in hot water for 3 mins then cut the tire on one side and removed the tire . Gave the tire to someone who will make a new fresh rubber tire the same size as the original one . After all this I really hope the deck works .
I have not even heard the deck. 119 usd is just too much I paid for it .

re: 480

Just found one of these at the local Good-Will for $3. Not a scratch on the outside. Had a slight chatter in the playback mechanism but a little lubrication and it runs good as new. I am impressed with the wide frequency response on this thing!

Nakamichi 480

Just bought one of these for $5. Underneath the dirt there was not a mark on it and it performs beautifully! Thanks for the manuals :-)

Nakamichi 480

This service manual is a big help in maintaining an old beauty.

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Nakamichi. To purchase 480 spares or accessories, please contact the company via their website or visit an authorised retailer.