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Nakamichi CR-4

Three Head Stereo Cassette Deck (1988-90)

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Nakamichi CR-4


The CR-4 Cassette deck incorporates such highly refined original Nakamichi features as the discrete 3-head system and diffused resonance double-capstan transport.

The circuit design reflects the latest amplifier technology.

Each deck is individually and carefully adjusted at the factory, to guarantee optimum performance.

The outstanding recording and playback quality is complemented by attractive appearance and exceptional ease of use.


Type: 3-head, single compact cassette deck

Track System: 4-track, 2-channel stereo

Tape Speed: 4.8 cm/s

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

Motor: 1 x reel, 1 x capstan, 1 x mechanism

Tape Type: type I, CrO2, Metal

Noise Reduction: B, C

Frequency Response: 20Hz to 21kHz  (Metal tape)

Signal to Noise Ratio: 72dB  (dolby C)

Wow and Flutter: 0.027%

Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.8%

Input: 50mV (line)

Output: 0.5V (line)

Dimensions: 430 x 100 x 265mm

Weight: 5.9kg

Year: 1988


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Reviewed Oct 05th, 2015 by Namikis

One of the best Nak decks of the modern era without having to go into the crazy expensive Dragon / CR7 levels. Can be a pain to swap out pinch rollers, otherwise straightforward to maintain.

Reviewed May 01st, 2014 by joe_g101

I sold Nakamichi at retail for 3 years, and through ownership of this model learned much about Nak, and their customer service, or lack thereof. I owned my 1st CR4 briefly, and although was pleased with it's performance, the cassttes were poor when played on other brands, typical with their head alignments, but there is more to it than just that. It was quickly stolen and replaced, and I received a complete lemon the second time around. Frequency response was rated within specs, and indeed had a 3db downpoint of 22K with a chrome formulation. This was verified at a Nak clinic. Unfortunately, the unit was 2db down at 1K. Despite the remarks and printout given by the Nak technician at the clinic, Nak refused to fix or replace, denying that the frequency resonse down points were not only representative of the high and low frequency response. Not a smart move when relying on a salesman to sell your product. I learned more about their methods of head alignment and fudging eq curves in order to avoid scrapping heads. The mechanism for the transport is excellent, and a real step up from the idler tire fiascos of the BX100/150/300 - but there are many fine machines, for less money, that will easily equal the performance of a properly functioning CR4, and without the pesky problem of producing tapes that will only sound best when played back on the machine it was recorded.



Repair Question

I just picked up this CR-4 while traveling. Got it quite cheep in a second hand shop ($5.00) in a very rural area. Was out on shelf, no box, no guarantee, but it's a Nak and did I mention cheep? Anyway, pressing play makes the idler turn a half tick but that is all. No play, reverse or forward. No noises to imply a bad mechanism that is running but not making contact. All lights, switches and buttons seem normal. No outer signs of abuse, slight scratches along front top edge. From reading up this seems like a very nice deck that is worth repairing, me first as long as I can do it without killing it, or possibly a shop (if it isn't going to send me to the poor house). I have no cassettes anymore but I love audio and I have an old BX-150 that played the few reaming cassettes I had better than anything else.

Any comments on likely cause or ease of repair for this machine? It seems to be one of the best, or near the top of what Nakamichi made. Thanks.


I have a CR4 myself with the same symptoms. Wonder if you have fixed yours and what has been changed to get it working again.


Transport troubles

My CR4 had similar problems, it went back to the repair guy twice as the first time he just cleaned a few contacts and it seemed ok but went wrong soon after. Second time round it was the control IC that had to be replaced. FYI I had similar troubles with several other Nakamichis from the BX range some of which were scrapped as it didn't seem economical to repair them.. I would say this might be their achilles heal as otherwise they are superb cassette players and recorders.

TBL's picture

re: Transport troubles

The CR4 has a 4-lobe cam driven by a worm geared motor. That system controls all the ff rew play rec and pause actions on the head bridge.

I think often, either the grease at the worm and round gear had frozen grease, or the driving motor got lower torque due to aging. At that point, nothing happens to the transport system. No ff rew play rec or pause, at all.

Just re-lube the gears, and disassemble and rebuild\clean the motor. It doesnt cost a thing if diy'd.

I did that on my BX-300. A 2 hr job to me.

Hope that helps.



The CR-4, have a Direct Drive, dual capstan machanism and built in oscillator to adjust bias and sensivity!Dolby ICs are Sony CX20188, for high quality decks!
Playback amp is full discrete!

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Nakamichi. To purchase CR-4/CR-4E spares or accessories, please contact the company via their website or visit an authorised retailer.