Blue meter Technics 858US 8-deck. After 40+ years, they still sell.

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par4ken

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Is that the 1800dss? I was unaware that the Q8 section had quad recording capability.
Yes it is the 1800dss, I'll have to pull it out or check the manual to be sure of the quad recording capability of the Q8 section, but I believe that it does have that feature or I wouldn't of bought the blank tapes!
 

furui_suterioo

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The large motor of that machine in contrast to the toy motors used in most 8-track decks helps to make it one of the best machines to play Q8's on.
Large motor indeed(1800dss):
20210225_114336.jpg


And here is a photo of a 80dss(not mine):
20210225_115332.jpg

Yes it is the 1800dss, I'll have to pull it out or check the manual to be sure of the quad recording capability of the Q8 section, but I believe that it does have that feature or I wouldn't of bought the blank tapes!
Most of my blanks don't have the quad notch, I suppose I could melt one if i really wanted to, not concerned with aesthetics. I don't see free manual for the 1800dss, will it transfer a quad reel to a cartridge without the quad notch?
 

Quadmon

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Too late, the tapes just held me up for this Akai deck, just a few minutes ago:
AKAI Model CR-80D-SS 8 track quad stereo tape player recorder | eBay
View attachment 63700
View attachment 63701
It may end up needing some work when it arrives but that's ok with me, it looks fair cosmetically, glad they accepted my offer, <$300 total.
At the beginning of 2020 I had 3 Akai decks serviced at an average cost of $350 each. All three play very well. I paid $150-225 each for them. So $5-600 to break even. Just fyi.
At the same time I had a HK 800+ and an HK 900+ serviced total $1000. Both work well. Again fyi.
I have 250+ Q8'S. A lot are new old stock meaning I was the first to play them. I think any of you fellow members who have not heard the Q8'S would be surprised at what you hear. I would say it is similar to those who prefer vinyl vs. cd.
I've listened to these tapes on everything from a GE unit with 5 watts per channel and 3" paper speakers to the 900+ and the 15" 3way Cerwin-Vegas I use now. Have always enjoyed hearing them.
I think you would all agree that the social distancing has brought us closer to our music collections.
 

furui_suterioo

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At the beginning of 2020 I had 3 Akai decks serviced at an average cost of $350 each. All three play very well. I paid $150-225 each for them. So $5-600 to break even. Just fyi.
At the same time I had a HK 800+ and an HK 900+ serviced total $1000. Both work well. Again fyi.
I have 250+ Q8'S. A lot are new old stock meaning I was the first to play them. I think any of you fellow members who have not heard the Q8'S would be surprised at what you hear. I would say it is similar to those who prefer vinyl vs. cd.
I've listened to these tapes on everything from a GE unit with 5 watts per channel and 3" paper speakers to the 900+ and the 15" 3way Cerwin-Vegas I use now. Have always enjoyed hearing them.
I think you would all agree that the social distancing has brought us closer to our music collections.
I love the looks of the HK 800/900+, powerful too.
I was close to getting a cr80dss before which was serviced, for less than $100 more than what I paid for this one but it was sold it locally(he offered to ship it to me if the local deal didn't work out). Even with service costs, it's much cheaper than the recently sold "blue-meter" Technics on the OP.
 

dauQula

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I love the looks of the HK 800/900+, powerful too.
I was close to getting a cr80dss before which was serviced, for less than $100 more than what I paid for this one but it was sold it locally(he offered to ship it to me if the local deal didn't work out). Even with service costs, it's much cheaper than the recently sold "blue-meter" Technics on the OP.
Large motor indeed(1800dss):
View attachment 63725

And here is a photo of a 80dss(not mine):
View attachment 63726

Most of my blanks don't have the quad notch, I suppose I could melt one if i wanted to, not concerned with aesthetics. I don't see free manual for the 1800dss, will it transfer a quad reel to a cartridge without the quad notch?
The Technics 858 doesn't really need the quad notch on the tape. It has a 2ch/4ch switch on the front that determines the play or record mode. You could record quad material on a stereo tape if desired. No need to bother the soldering iron.
 

gvl_guy

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The Technics 858 doesn't really need the quad notch on the tape. It has a 2ch/4ch switch on the front that determines the play or record mode. You could record quad material on a stereo tape if desired. No need to bother the soldering iron.
I remember some 8-track blanks were made with a removable piece that would slide out for Q8 recording use.
 

par4ken

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Large motor indeed(1800dss):
View attachment 63725

And here is a photo of a 80dss(not mine):
View attachment 63726

Most of my blanks don't have the quad notch, I suppose I could melt one if i really wanted to, not concerned with aesthetics. I don't see free manual for the 1800dss, will it transfer a quad reel to a cartridge without the quad notch?
To answer your question, I don't know, but I highly doubt it. The tapes that I purchased have the notch for quad (and the removable piece for stereo). I'll check for the manual, I have a printed copy. I might post it to Hifiengine if it's not there already. It's a bit pain to copy those large fold out page schematics with a regular scanner.
 

doity

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The Technics 858 doesn't really need the quad notch on the tape. It has a 2ch/4ch switch on the front that determines the play or record mode. You could record quad material on a stereo tape if desired. No need to bother the soldering iron.
So did the Akai recordable deck have this feature too? If so, what was the point of the Quad recordable tapes.......just that they held more tape to accommodate the extra channels?
 

doity

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The Technics 858 doesn't really need the quad notch on the tape. It has a 2ch/4ch switch on the front that determines the play or record mode. You could record quad material on a stereo tape if desired. No need to bother the soldering iron.
Well what is odd after giving it more thought. If the Akai was the only deck that requrired “ the notch” for recording, then it seems like these tapes were more of a case of a product looking for a demand than the other way around. Because in theory the Convertaquad tapes would still have the extra foil splices no? It seems like the couple of recordable decks were a lot more expensive than the standalone Playback decks. No wonder I used to see so many of those “Convert-a-Quad” blanks at the thrifts. Maybe they were more expensive and no one bought them. So the companies were forced to sell off their glut of tapes for next to nothing to the record stores just to get rid of them. Just a theory of course.
 

furui_suterioo

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Well what is odd after giving it more thought. If the Akai was the only deck that requrired “ the notch” for recording, then it seems like these tapes were more of a case of a product looking for a demand than the other way around. Because in theory the Convertaquad tapes would still have the extra foil splices no? It seems like the couple of recordable decks were a lot more expensive than the standalone Playback decks. No wonder I used to see so many of those “Convert-a-Quad” blanks at the thrifts. Maybe they were more expensive and no one bought them. So the companies were forced to sell off their glut of tapes for next to nothing to the record stores just to get rid of them. Just a theory of course.
I thought it was the Technics that required the notch, the cr 80d ss does not. People still want high prices for the convert-a-quad tapes online, some are asking more than $15 just for a single unused. I have a car player, so if I do end up successfully making a home recorded quad mixtape, it would still need to have the notch for that player(Motorola tm912s). I do have some Maxell 90 minute blanks with the removable quad notch, but I'm saving those for last.

I also just noticed that there also exists a CR-80-SS, which is like the 80D-SS except with a built-in 4ch amp, p.a. mode, and a 1800-SS, which is like the 1800D-SS except with amp and built-in speakers, neat. So, counting variants of the rs-858(US,DUS), cr-80(SS, D-SS), and 1800(SS, D-SS), there a total of 7 different models with Q8 recording capability(although variations of only three different machines), anyone know of any more?
 
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Dolbytone

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.
The slot on the Q8 carts are there for all manufactures (not just the 858.. & 80(D)ss) that made Q8 capable play back decks to automatically switch the audio tracks to output 4CH (instead of stereo).

Akai 1800:
If you want to dub a 3 3/4 ips Q4 to the Q8 deck on the side of the 1800 SS just make sure the speed switch is set to low.
If you want to dub a 7 1/2 ips Q4 to the Q8 deck on the side, then you need the optional capstan from the accessory kit, and again make sure the speed switch is set to low.

QQ Link from 2004:
Akai 1800 SS Quad Reel | QuadraphonicQuad


Blurb from Reel-Reel.com:
Akai 1800D-SS Tape Recorder | Reel-Reel.com (reel-reel.com)
DESCRIPTION
The 1800D-SS was a single motor, four-channel ‘Surround Sound’ deck with
three speeds and a built-in 8-track cartridge unit which was also a four-channel
example. Copies could be from four-channel open reel to four-channel 8-track.
Speed change was effected by use of the two-speed motor and a removable
capstan sleeve.
The unit featured
four separate input levels, four microphone inputs and two headphone outputs.
It could also be used as a quarter-track stereo deck.
The 1800D-SS featured
three heads in the reel to reel section, but in an unusual configuration.
It sported a conventional two-head arrangement of one erase and one combined
record/replay head but an extra full-track erase head was fitted for 4-channel
recording.

A tape selector switch for either normal or S.R.T. tapes was provided.



EDIT: corrected speed settings.
 
Last edited:

doity

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270
.
The slot on the Q8 carts are there for all manufactures (not just the 858.. & 80(D)ss) that made Q8 capable play back decks to automatically switch the audio tracks to output 4CH (instead of stereo).

Akai 1800:
If you want to dub a 3 3/4 ips Q4 to the Q8 deck on the side of the 1800 SS just make sure the speed switch is set to high.
If you want to dub a 7 1/2 ips Q4 to the Q8 deck on the side, then you need the optional capstan, and again make sure the speed switch is set to high.

QQ Link from 2004:
Akai 1800 SS Quad Reel | QuadraphonicQuad


Blurb from Reel-Reel.com:
Akai 1800D-SS Tape Recorder | Reel-Reel.com (reel-reel.com)
DESCRIPTION
The 1800D-SS was a single motor, four-channel ‘Surround Sound’ deck with
three speeds and a built-in 8-track cartridge unit which was also a four-channel
example. Copies could be from four-channel open reel to four-channel 8-track.
Speed change was effected by use of the two-speed motor and a removable
capstan sleeve.
The unit featured
four separate input levels, four microphone inputs and two headphone outputs.
It could also be used as a quarter-track stereo deck.
The 1800D-SS featured
three heads in the reel to reel section, but in an unusual configuration.
It sported a conventional two-head arrangement of one erase and one combined
record/replay head but an extra full-track erase head was fitted for 4-channel
recording.

A tape selector switch for either normal or S.R.T. tapes was provided.
Yeah I knew that the notch was needed for other 4 channel capable decks but how many people made dupes or recordings for others? It seems like it was probably a small number. And then on top of that wouldn’t a 4 channel recording be broken up into four sides since the tapes was made also for two channel decks? You would think that a notch would make no difference. That once the splice passed by the mechanism that it would jump channels.

Not sure why they didn’t just make a Quad blank for this purpose.....or maybe they did? You would hope that Akai and Technics would have had their own blanks to go with their state of the art decks. This was a bit before my time. Like maybe 3 or 4 years but I do remember that about by 1979 8 tracks were thought of as antiques.
 

Dolbytone

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Akai Service Manual Free DL:
AKAI 1800-SS - Owner's Manual Immediate Download (manualscenter.com)


Another Free 1800SS Service Manual DL from Vintageshifi.com:
Paste the three lines below into your URL window on your browser. Hit return & DL starts.:



I couldn't find any free 'Owners Manual' DL's but there are quite a few sites that only cost $5.
 

quadsearcher

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Yeah I knew that the notch was needed for other 4 channel capable decks but how many people made dupes or recordings for others? It seems like it was probably a small number. And then on top of that wouldn’t a 4 channel recording be broken up into four sides since the tapes was made also for two channel decks? You would think that a notch would make no difference. That once the splice passed by the mechanism that it would jump channels.

Not sure why they didn’t just make a Quad blank for this purpose.....or maybe they did? You would hope that Akai and Technics would have had their own blanks to go with their state of the art decks. This was a bit before my time. Like maybe 3 or 4 years but I do remember that about by 1979 8 tracks were thought of as antiques.
Hello,
There is only one splice in any 8-track (unless it got broken and repaired). With only two selections on a quad tape, each one is twice as long vs stereo.
The notch was there to tell the deck how to count the correct number of selections, and choose head position based on that.
It gets confusing to talk about track assignments, but the tape has eight channels of information. A stereo deck head moves in a sequence of four positions per tape, each time picking up a different two tracks. A quad deck head will move in a sequence of two positions per tape, each time picking up a different four tracks (channels). In a compatible deck like these, the notch controls logic to tell the head assembly how many times to move per tape, to avoid having to flip a switch or hear the tape wrong. The same logic (mechanical switches usually, if I recall,) also controls track/channel switching.
 
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doity

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Messages
270
Hello,
There is only one splice in any 8-track (unless it got broken and repaired). With only two selections on a quad tape, each one is twice as long vs stereo.
The notch was to tell the deck how to count the correct number of selections, and choose head position based on that.
It gets confusing to talk about track assignments, but the tape has eight channels of information. A stereo deck head moves in a sequence of four positions per tape, each time picking up a different two tracks. A quad deck head will move in a sequence of two positions per tape, each time picking up a different four tracks (channels). In a compatible deck like these, the notch controls logic to tell the head assembly how many times to move per tape, to avoid having to flip a switch or hear the tape wrong.

Yeah I guess you are right about that. I always thought that the stereo tapes had more splices but 2 Stereo tracks/8 tracks equals 4 selections. So the head moved up and down THAT much. No wonder they sounded so crappy.
 

quadsearcher

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Yeah I guess you are right about that. I always thought that the stereo tapes had more splices but 2 Stereo tracks/8 tracks equals 4 selections. So the head moved up and down THAT much. No wonder they sounded so crappy.
Yup. Then some (me in the 70's) thought they could make their crappy Craig stereo 8-track sound better by adjusting the head, only to find each tape is a little different, and where the factory set the position was likely the best compromise. I sincerely hope the seller of your National didn't cut that access hole to adjust the azimuth all the time!
 

doity

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Yup. Then some (me in the 70's) thought they could make their crappy Craig stereo 8-track sound better by adjusting the head, only to find each tape is a little different, and where the factory set the position was likely the best compromise. I sincerely hope the seller of your National didn't cut that access hole to adjust the azimuth all the time!
Nothing, and I mean nothing, can make a Craig 8 track deck sound any better :ROFLMAO:. Sorry I couldn’t pass that up. I don’t know, I saw another picture from a 858US owner who had a small plastic piece protruding from the top of his where he had cut a similar hole cut out. I had no idea of what the purpose of that was so thanks for the heads up.

I have a pretty rare cassette deck that constantly monitors the head azimuth and makes adjustments on the fly. It was the only deck besides the Dragon that did that. The 8-track definitely needed something like that back in the day.
 
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