Best 8 Track Tape Deck

Discussion in 'Tape' started by 70cst, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. 70cst

    70cst 70cst Subscriber

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    I am in process of putting together a vintage system. As of now I have: a Marantz 2225 and 2230, a pair of Frazier Buckaroos and Frazier Mediterranean's, A Marantz 5020 Cassette Deck.
    I will need to purchase a TT and I want an 8 track Player. I have read that the Marantz 820/830 and 880 were good models.
    In your opinions - Who made the better 8 track player back in the day- that I can add to my system.
    Yes - I am reliving my teens at 65 years old and it feels great!
    Thanks
     
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  2. Djcoolray

    Djcoolray Super Member

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    I'd say the Pioneer RH series.....

    Had one hooked up to a Marantz back then and sounded great with some B&W 801's
     
  3. 70cst

    70cst 70cst Subscriber

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    Thanks
     
  4. 1tumbleweed

    1tumbleweed Kozmik Kowboy Subscriber

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    Historically, the best decks were most of the Akai line (CR-80, 81, 82 - NOT the 83), the Wollensaks, and the Pioneer units.

    The TDR-820 and 830 are technically Superscope models, not Marantz. Never seen an 880.

    Cheers,
    Larry B.
     
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  5. 70cst

    70cst 70cst Subscriber

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    Thanks for your reply.

    Between the Akai line and the Wollensaks - is one better than the other?
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  6. 1tumbleweed

    1tumbleweed Kozmik Kowboy Subscriber

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    All else being equal, I'd say the Akai. I've owned many versions of each, and my current daily driver is an Akai CR-81D. To me, it's the best of the Akai models. Best frequency response, rock-solid construction and a big AC motor.

    With the Wollensaks, fidelity is quite good but not quite the equal of the Akais. The earlier models - 8050A, 8055 - are preferable to the later ones where they changed from a decent AC motor to a smaller DC one. More features than the Akais in all models, however.

    Cheers,
    Larry B.
     
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  7. HTHMAN

    HTHMAN Super Member

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    I am with you there. The vintage equipment and LPs bring back fond memories, except I was never fond of that format. Endless loop, no beginning and no end, switching tracks in the middle of a song, long silence at the end of some and a cassette the size of a sandwich. At least cars were big enough back then that you had room to store a few of them.
     
  8. 70cst

    70cst 70cst Subscriber

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    Thanks Larry ... the Akai CR81D 8 track player I will seek.
     
  9. 70cst

    70cst 70cst Subscriber

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    This is what makes these site special - one can ask questions and get quality answers ...:)
     
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  10. corpblues

    corpblues AK Member Subscriber

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    I just picked up a quad 8-track deck today. An Akai CR-80D-SS off local Craigslist for a fair price. The deck is working really well so far. I don't have a quad receiver or tape to test the quad functionality but it works properly in 2 channel mode.

    In fact I had gathered a collection of 8-tracks and had been selling them off. But this is the best sounding 8-track I have heard. Think I'll hold on to some of my collection for a while.

    No 8-track is near to the quality level of my reel-to-reel's but this one is good enough to hold a space in my rack for a while. I do like the simplity of 8-tacks. The physical downside tends to be majority of 8-track tapes need the splice repaired.

    Update : After a few hours listening I'm pretty impressed. By far the best sounding 8-track I have ever listened to. I am getting some cross feed from another track, so I think the head needs a bit of adjustment which I'll tackle tomorrow. The response on this thing is pretty amazing for an 8-track.

    Update: It is working great. I put up a video of it on YouTube. I have also decided to put it up for sale on eBay and bartertown. One in this condition seems to be rare so I really not sure where to price it. I'll let the market will set the price.

    IMG_2863.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  11. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Super Member

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    In the market for one as of late...so if any can add to this list, I too would appreciate it.

    And I know a great 8 track is an oxymoron for some!:)

    Q
     
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  12. 1tumbleweed

    1tumbleweed Kozmik Kowboy Subscriber

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    The CR-80D-SS is one of only two 8 tracks capable of recording in quad - the other is the Panasonic/Technics RS-858. Several other quad 8Ts will playback in quad, but only record stereo.

    For playback only, some folks swear by the Harman Kardon 8+, but I've never encountered one. In general, recorders seem to do a better PB job, even if you have no intention of recording.

    @corpblues: Ask the question in Dollars & Sense and I'll make a suggestion.

    Cheers,
    Larry B.
     
  13. bshorey

    bshorey AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    There's an Akai CR-81D on the local Craigslist out here in the bay area. It's not cheap, it's been there for a while, maybe you can convince the seller to ship it.

    bs
     
  14. 1tumbleweed

    1tumbleweed Kozmik Kowboy Subscriber

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    Two things to be aware of on any 80-81-82 series machine:

    1. They weigh close to 20 lbs., much of which is the motor and flywheel. Adds to shipping cost, and necessity for careful packaging.

    2. They're close to 50 years old, and may need recapping. My CR-81D was recapped before I got it in 2003, and it works perfectly. Even changes tracks correctly, which can be a problem with those machines.

    Cheers,
    Larry B.
     
  15. 62vauxhall

    62vauxhall Super Member

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    I've had the 8 track bug for a few years and learned early on that Akai CR-81D's were desireable. It is rugged as stink and sounds as good as the tapes will allow. A tape without compromised fidelity sounds as good to me as an LP. My only criticism is no Pause button. I fancy making mixed tapes which pretty much needs one. But pre-recorded playback is fabulous.

    I know the CR-83D is regarded less well but wound up with one last fall. Belts, lamps, meters, head were all good. Needed replacements for a couple of the. "Bad Akai Transistors" but once done, no complaints re sound quality or features.

    Only experienced one Pioneer (HR-100) which failed and did not seem to record as well as the CR-81D I compared it to.

    Marantz (at least the TDR-820) is missing an important, in my opinion, feature which is Play Mode. Can't recall which but it either can't be set to stop after a single program or all programs.

    I've never encountered a Wollensak but I'm in Western Canada and maybe they were not sold here.

    But neither was Quadraflex a house brand of US only Pacific Stereo. I came across a model 288 two years ago and it is a nice deck. Well made, full featured, looks great and needed nothing. Everything passed inspection and worked well from the get go.

    If I had to keep just one, it would be either a CR81D or CR83D. There seems to be a more plentiful supply of CR-81D's so that plus how heavy duty it is would make look to get one of those for a first 8 track. Chances are the belt will still be good after all this time. At least that was so with the three I acquired.

    The first deck I got was a Realistic TR-803 and it is no slouch. A lightweight by CR-81D standards but has every conceivable 8 track feature (including Dolby), and has respectable playback and record quality. No doubt though, it would not stand up to long term use they way a CR-81D would.
     
  16. 70cst

    70cst 70cst Subscriber

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    Just and update ...

    For my truck I found a Pioneer727 NOS 8 Track Tape Deck, for the house I purchased a NAKAMICHI 582 3 Head
    Stereo Cassette Deck and a Akai CR81D 8 track player/recorder deck.
    Now to get everything hooked up.
     
  17. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Super Member

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    Let us know how it went.

    Q
     
  18. thomo57

    thomo57 Super Member

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    This one l just sold an it's to be dropped off this morning.
    It just happens to be sitting next to me

    IMG_6459.JPG
     
  19. Mark_71

    Mark_71 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have a Pioneer and Akai... not with me right now so I can't recall the models. Both still work very well today.

    The Akai wins on solid construction, looks, and reliability - it is the only tape machine I've ever bought that still has the original belt and it works perfectly. It was not some cheap thin rubber belt, not sure what it was made of, but it lasted. Biggest flywheel I've ever seen

    The Pioneer, while also a quality unit, sounds great, and even has a Dolby button, it's just not as cool as the Akai.
     
  20. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The AKAI and Sanyo/Wollensak decks were about as good as it got (which is to say, not too good, but not horrific).
     

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