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Yamaha KX-500

Stereo Cassette Deck (1988-90)

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Yamaha KX-500


Type: 2-head, single compact cassette deck

Track System: 4-track, 2-channel stereo

Tape Speed: 4.76 cm/s

Heads: 1 x record/playback, 1 x erase

Motor: 1 x reel, 1 x capstan, 1 x assist

Tape Type: type I, CrO2, Metal

Noise Reduction: B, C, HX Pro

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

Signal to Noise Ratio: 76dB  (dolby C)

Wow and Flutter: 0.05%

Total Harmonic Distortion: 1.0%

Input: 50mV (line)

Output: 0.36V (line)

Dimensions: 435 x 117 x 273mm

Weight: 4.5kg

Accessories: RS-K5 remote control

Year: 1988


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Reviewed Mar 25th, 2017 by ilkkasuni

In the last few years, I have been doing some diy research among cassette decks of the 80's. In the 80's, for an individual it would have been rather awkward, even financially challenging to buy several decks and compare then with each other. Then again, in the 70's and 80's I did, but that's another story.

Anyhow. In the last few years I have systematically bought tens of decks by Akai, JVC, Pioneer, Sony, Teac, Yamaha... Just for the fun of learning about them individual models. Bought my very first cassette deck, was it in 1973.

Of the 2-headers I must say, the Yamaha line K-540...KX-500...KX-580, basically the same deck, has convinced me. This very line in sound quality beats the bull's horns out of many 3-headers. I gather, the very line was Yamaha's top-of-the-line 2-header.

The sound quality is next to excellent, if not. I own, have owned some top-of-the-line dual capstan 3-headers, and I find very hard to state whether the KX-500 fails to them. If I am not wrong, in Great Britain the KX-580, the last version of the line, got voted for the deck of the year for more than once.

I currently have 4 decks of the line K-540...KX-580, and I just love their sound. Them features, then. The cassette compartment is back-lit, the phones-out has level control with proper audio quality, the time counter display is of the largest ever. Multiple tape counter and search functions. The deck winds very, very fast. Smooth, silent. On the contrary, the otherwise excellent twin-colored peak-hold level indicator has 2 dB resolution only.

I consider mine, players for the keeps. In sound quality, of the best 2-headers I ever experienced.

Ilkka Suni,



re: KX-500

I like my KX-500U RS as well. Great sound, good appearance and nice features. I do have to ensure the gears/cam/head assembly parts are well lubricated or it will have trouble getting the transport into position correctly with some cassettes. The remote is full featured and the gear drive for the reel motor works very smoothly. For beginners, I think it is a good deck to buy because the main circuit board has the areas such as HX Pro, bias oscillator and such labeled which can be good for learning your way around the electronics of tape decks. The power supply is on a separate board, which I like to see. The design is compact and well-engineered, the drawback is these decks are cheaply made in some ways, especially the later Sankyo transport used. As long as you do your maintenance and keep the transport lubed and oiled you should not have a problem for a while at least, though. For what you can buy these for, I think they are a great deal and the sound is very good with a wide range of tapes.

re: KX-500

Thank you Ilkka for the excellent review I am an old audiophile who has owned many decks, including three Nakamichis, and I love my KX-500U 2-head deck very much. I also want to add that the logic systems on these are great, as you can program it to play a side, then rewind and replay it -- all without things like the dreaded AUTO REVERSE. Pittuui! This is what I like in a deck. Simple, solid, and those fluro DISPLAYS and great. Well enough made that I picked up a mint 1988 in 2019 and it played beautiful from the first touch and was a mess of bubblegun inside like the belts on every other tape deck!

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