Worth the risk on a Dragon?

Discussion in 'Tape' started by hamsterdam, May 12, 2018.

  1. hamsterdam

    hamsterdam AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Lawrence, KS
    i have seen a Nak Dragon for sale recently, under $500— its a repair/as is. The symptoms are:
    it loads tape and plays fine for a while but then stops and unloads cassette. The autoreverse works
    FF and FR work pretty well. Seller suspects a heat related issue with the ICs that control the capstans, but is not sure... Also, either both capstans work or neither does.

    Obviously, if repairable, This would be an amazing find. i know i have been away for a couple of years, with a number of matters on my shoulders, but i remember in 2016 buying an NAD Cassette Deck at the recommendation of a member, and another was gracious enough to send me a lower end NAD cassette for the cost of shipping while i was shopping around. i gave the freebie to my Oldest Son after i got the higher end NAD. The freebie died within a year, but hey, what can one ask for free? Probably repairable, but not priority. Anyway, i say that cuz i know there are seriously knowledgeable people here. i bought 2 Turntables, and 3 carts from members as well...i've just been spinning too many plates to be around recently.

    Thanks, and i hope all are well, and some buddies are still around



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  2. blhagstrom

    blhagstrom Mad Scientist, fixer. Subscriber

    Duvall, Washington
    I sold a busted up dragon for $500 a couple years ago.

    Restored they are stupid expensive.

    I heard there was an expert restore guy that would rebuild one for $500.

    I think once restored they were hitting $2500.

    Your mileage may vary.
  3. Vinylcafe

    Vinylcafe Linvin' the Dream

    Vancouver, Canada
    Here's what little I know ....
    Very few people know what they are doing around these decks, if you want peak performance.
    Willy Hermann out in CA, Perry Esposito in VA are a couple.
    This is not a deck you take to your local shop.
    Rebuilds can equal the cost of the deck, and then some.
    Transports need rebuilding, the NAAC is finicky.
    Once you rebuild the transport, you're likely in for a total recallibration, if the pinch roller arms need to be removed and relubricated.
    Some serial numbers are more desirable than others, some you plain want to avoid all together.
    Go over to Tapeheads, there's a ton of knowlege there.
    BilboBaggins likes this.
  4. macster

    macster New Member


    Yup! If you can't fix it, you can piece it out and get your money back. For example I paid $100.00 for the door. The blue NAAC cable is unobtainable, you got the knobs and the motors and transport etc, etc, and blah, blah. Willy will overhaul it for ~$800.00, but you have to get in line. My turn for my Dragon is in June.

  5. kmulkey

    kmulkey AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Gilberts, IL
    But if you want to get back into cassette, in a serious way, the Dragon may be the best deck out there. I got mine from Perry about 5 years ago and it's quite fantastic.
  6. Max77

    Max77 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I own a few Nak decks, the Dragon is great, certainly lives up to its reputation. Everyone of course talks about the NAAC for playback, which is great, but the manual calibration options for recording are no slouch either. I have a couple cheapo pre-recorded tapes in junk shells that the NAAC can't adjust for. $2500 restored would be an insane price, even with a full rebuild by ESL who are pretty much the masters that strip the deck down and fully rebuild it.

    And yeah--you will pay to get it fixed up. Many of the techs who know how to properly do this are backed up at least 6 months. But a fully restored Nak is a thing of beauty.
    ssmith3046 and macster like this.


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  7. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Super Member

    Love my Dragon.
    macster likes this.

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