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

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par4ken

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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.
Four channel decks play four of the tracks at once, then jump to the other four. So two "sides" compared to four "sides" in stereo. A quad tape in a stereo machine plays only two of the channels at once, switch the program to hear the other two channels. Remember that while Quad was only adopted by a small number of people the industry had expected it to become huge at the time. Perhaps a bit more conservative approach by the industry might of saved Quad!
 

par4ken

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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!
Actually mine is the 1800 SS.
 

M-D-Z

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Remember that while Quad was only adopted by a small number of people the industry had expected it to become huge at the time. Perhaps a bit more conservative approach by the industry might of saved Quad!
If the 8 track format (overall) had been designed and manufactured from the “git-go” to a higher standard of (architectural) accuracy, then maybe a degree of audiophile quality could have eventually been achieved, like what we enjoyed in the Nakamichi Dragon, ZX-9, and CR-7, but the 8-trk cartridge was simply not built accurately enough to be capable of delivering repeatable audio excellence in the same way that compact cassettes eventually did as they continued to improve, becoming gems like TDK MA-R & SONY Super Metal Master cassettes, superb examples of blank media that matched the amazing quality of the best machines being built at that time.

It’s too bad that the designers and makers of physical media, and the machines to play content in truly discrete quad didn’t concentrate on the formats with much higher potential for reproducing near perfect audio results such as Compact Cassettes and Elcaset.
 

doity

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Well, I certainly think that the 8 track could had sounded better but for some reason there was no improvement year to year like there was with cassette. Why I will never understand. Maybe they could had started to use Chrome tape formulas and figured out a way to switch tracks without making the head move so frequently. Maybe they could had figured out how to use a test tone to change tracks instead of the metal splice that was prone to failure.

I mean if you think about it the cassette and the 8 track both started out about equal, with the advantage going to 8 track. It wasn’t until the late 70’s that affordable cassette decks became available with decent fidelity. People didn’t have the $1000 to buy a Nak 1000 and even the Advent cassette deck was well out of price range for most people during the quadraphonic craze.

So it isn’t like the cassette was thought of as “high fidelty” during the heyday of quad. Stereo manufacturers probably just rolled the dice and picked winners and losers with no real thought. They could probably only put the R&D costs into one tape format and figured that the cassette is it being as it was more compact. Just a guess.
 

dauQula

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Well, I certainly think that the 8 track could had sounded better but for some reason there was no improvement year to year like there was with cassette. Why I will never understand. Maybe they could had started to use Chrome tape formulas and figured out a way to switch tracks without making the head move so frequently. Maybe they could had figured out how to use a test tone to change tracks instead of the metal splice that was prone to failure.

I mean if you think about it the cassette and the 8 track both started out about equal, with the advantage going to 8 track. It wasn’t until the late 70’s that affordable cassette decks became available with decent fidelity. People didn’t have the $1000 to buy a Nak 1000 and even the Advent cassette deck was well out of price range for most people during the quadraphonic craze.

So it isn’t like the cassette was thought of as “high fidelty” during the heyday of quad. Stereo manufacturers probably just rolled the dice and picked winners and losers with no real thought. They could probably only put the R&D costs into one tape format and figured that the cassette is it being as it was more compact. Just a guess.
A continuous tape loop will have to have a splice of some kind there, metalized or not. Any pressure-sensitive tape will degrade over time, especially in a moving environment like an 8-track. I have many tapes, and on quite a few, I hear a 30hz "flutter" just before the sensing tape. This is an audio cue tone used in broadcasting back when tape carts were common. Obviously, some special decks must have been equipped with audio-sensing channel switching, though I am not aware of any that ever advertised it.
 

dauQula

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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.
Wow. Good snag. I check the Ebay board everyday, but did not see this one. You must've pounced within hours of its posting. Struggling now to add a suppression cap to the erase/change over head as per an Akai tech update to battle the ever-present static noise on the CR80D-SS. Tech update references a oscillator board not used in this model, and my service manual has and old version of the board, so I'm going crazy trying to track down the terminals of the poles of the sensing head with just a schematic (out of date as well). I've got the whole unit apart trying to get a inside look at the back of the heads. What a nightmare.
 

furui_suterioo

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Wow. Good snag. I check the Ebay board everyday, but did not see this one. You must've pounced within hours of its posting. Struggling now to add a suppression cap to the erase/change over head as per an Akai tech update to battle the ever-present static noise on the CR80D-SS. Tech update references a oscillator board not used in this model, and my service manual has and old version of the board, so I'm going crazy trying to track down the terminals of the poles of the sensing head with just a schematic (out of date as well). I've got the whole unit apart trying to get a inside look at the back of the heads. What a nightmare.
It was on the market for probably less than 15 minutes :)
 

dauQula

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Didn’t Wollensak have something like this? I know.....if you are going to go that far they should had gone all the way. Maybe the cost of the record head was cost prohibitive?
Both the Technics 858 and the Akai CR-80d-SS utilized play/record heads. Don't know of any 8 track recorders with separate record heads. With only 2 "windows" on an 8-track cartridge, there is really only physical room for 1 play/record head and an erase head/track changer sensor. The deck's record button switches the function of the head from play to record. Unlike many 3 head reel-to-reel decks, you won't find any 8-track recorders with a sound-on-sound feature.
 

dauQula

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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?
The Akai CR80 series did have a button next to the 2CH/4CH display, but it only allowed carts without a notch (2CH mode) to switch to quad (4CH mode). If the cart has a quad notch, only the quad mode can be used (4CH mode), and the button is disabled. I'll bet there was some interesting meetings in the Akai Marketing Department on that decision. The notch is also used in features on other models. The play-only Pioneer QH-666 unit will sense a stereo tape and duplicate the stereo signal to the built-in rear amplifier keeping all four channels active with double stereo. The Akai and Technics decks just shut off the rear channels in stereo tape mode.
 
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Q-Eight

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It’s too bad that the designers and makers of physical media, and the machines to play content in truly discrete quad didn’t concentrate on the formats with much higher potential for reproducing near perfect audio results such as Compact Cassettes and Elcaset.
Arg.... can't remember where I read somewhere that Sony WAS looking at taking the Elcaset into Quad territory and even had either prototype and pre-production machines at the ready. It made sense since 3.75 i.p.s. is a perfectly acceptable tape speed for quality reproduction, and with the better tape formulas and tracking accuracy of the Elcaset format.... it seemed only natural; not to mention a way to phase out reel-to-reel since here was an obviously better solution. But when Elcaset was released to even less than lack-luster sales and with the fate of Quad pretty much sealed by the summer of 1975, they never bothered to produce any Quad Elcaset decks for the retail market.
 

Q-Eight

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The Akai CR80 series did have a button next to the 2CH/4CH display, but it only allowed carts without a notch (2CH mode) to switch to quad (4CH mode). If the cart has a quad notch, only the quad mode can be used (4CH mode), and the button is disabled. I'll bet there was some interesting meetings in the Akai Marketing Department on that decision. The notch is also used in features on other models. The play-only Panasonic QH-666 unit will sense a stereo tape and duplicate the stereo signal to the built-in rear amplifier keeping all four channels active with double stereo. The Akai and Technics decks just shut off the rear channels in stereo tape mode.
The standalone Panasonic deck..... 815US?? (can't recall) is fully automatic and will also send stereo to the front and rears also the playback-only Wollensak Model 8054 will also give a stereo-all when set to 2-channel or Auto. In the world of car players, the Panasonic CQ-999 will only play the FRONTS with a stereo tape, but my Audiovox QD-500's will go stereo-all. Yeah, this lack of a standard must've really burned a few people. A few years back, I saw a Corvette at the Portland Swapmeet with a CQ-999 in the dash but only saw 2 speakers. Never did catch up with the owner, but if he was a stereo guy, might've been choked that here he bought this 4-channel "stereo" but the back speakers don't work!!

All my Craig decks give stereo-all as well. Come to think of it, I can't think of any car decks other than that Panasonic that don't engage all 4 speakers in stereo mode.
 

doity

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Arg.... can't remember where I read somewhere that Sony WAS looking at taking the Elcaset into Quad territory and even had either prototype and pre-production machines at the ready. It made sense since 3.75 i.p.s. is a perfectly acceptable tape speed for quality reproduction, and with the better tape formulas and tracking accuracy of the Elcaset format.... it seemed only natural; not to mention a way to phase out reel-to-reel since here was an obviously better solution. But when Elcaset was released to even less than lack-luster sales and with the fate of Quad pretty much sealed by the summer of 1975, they never bothered to produce any Quad Elcaset decks for the retail market.
That would had been fantastic if this would had happened. The Elcaset had great fidelity and even better than the higher end cassette decks. But the format did have some issues. I had a few of the high end Elcaset machines and the tapes were prone to a lot of dragging and squealing. But when working great their fidelity was equaled only by open reel.

I got lucky once and answered a craigslist post where someone was selling one. Went to his house and he had a few of them and loads of tapes, new and used. Evidently he used to DJ at parties and such and Elcaset was the only format that he used. Grabbed two of the Sony EL-7’s and a rare Teac Esoteric unit. Loved them but eventually grew tired of the tapes making noises and having to constantly toss tapes that had major issues.
 

par4ken

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That would had been fantastic if this would had happened. The Elcaset had great fidelity and even better than the higher end cassette decks. But the format did have some issues. I had a few of the high end Elcaset machines and the tapes were prone to a lot of dragging and squealing. But when working great their fidelity was equaled only by open reel.

I got lucky once and answered a craigslist post where someone was selling one. Went to his house and he had a few of them and loads of tapes, new and used. Evidently he used to DJ at parties and such and Elcaset was the only format that he used. Grabbed two of the Sony EL-7’s and a rare Teac Esoteric unit. Loved them but eventually grew tired of the tapes making noises and having to constantly toss tapes that had major issues.
In the late seventies and early eighties companies experimented with various back coated tapes. I have some reels and cassettes that I can't play because of they squeal when played. More standard tapes still play fine.
 

MidiMagic

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The back-coated tapes then deteriorated, made the tape uneven, and often stuck the tape layers together.

The last thing we needed then was yet another format. At the time, we had 3 forms of open reel, 8-track cartridge, cassette, records, and several other esoteric systems.
 
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