Q8: Akai CR-80D-SS Q8 Recorder/Player

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JonUrban

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Please post comments and and photos of this quadraphonic tape player in this thread.
We'd love to hear from those who own or have owned this device.

AKAI CR-80D-SS

Rarity: COMMON

Average Sale Price: $70-$300



Akai full.jpg
Akai Heads.jpg
Akai Left.jpg
Akai Q8 Middle.jpg
Akai Right.jpg
 

quadsearcher

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This is timely. I have one, it's the only quality 8track deck I've heard, and wow! I couldn't believe 8tracks could sound so good. I was going to post about this one in an earlier thread because it has the dreaded crackling/static problem in all channels. It varies with moving the tape slightly, and like-new tapes are better but still noisy. I got it used 10 years ago and just brought it out this month when I ran into a bunch of Q8 tapes at a flea market. I've tried to research the problem on the web and I have trouble believing it is caused by loose oxide on the tape because I've used many kinds of tape on many reel to reels and never heard anything like it. I've even used tape from a cart on a Roland Space Echo effects unit which seems to have full range response and those tapes are dead quiet. I would expect if I spooled a cart tape onto a reel that it would sound good on a good 3 3/4 reel deck.
So tonight I'm going to look for a loose ground wire to the head, start recapping, changing out transistors, and build the Sanyo IC workaround if necessary. I just don't believe these decks were so sensitive to noise when new, but I'm open to correction.
I'd like to hear from someone who had one from new and if this problem ever occurred.
 

arnold_layne

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I get crackling on one of mine as well, but only on the right rear channel of a quad tape AND only when on program 2. Stereo tapes do not seems to cause the crackle issue.

If I move the tape (wiggle it side to side) the crackling is gets worse.

A_L
 

Q-Eight

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Best Q8 deck I've owned so far and I've had a few!

Love: The Erase Head, The Washing Machine sized Motor, the Stop/Play/FFWD controls.
Hate: Non-illuminated VU's, inability to toggle between 2ch/4ch mode, no 4ch headphone output, no pause button.

Clearly, the Good outweighs the Bad. I upgraded to one of these from a Panasonic/Technics 858. Loved the styling, lighted VU's, pause button and Noise Suppressor on the Technics, but it's motor was weak and the cartridge latching system left much to be desired. Recording on it was easy with the pause button (very useful when editing) but with no erase head and my degausser on the fritz (and the SHITTY motor in the unit) made recording impossible. The tape speed varied too much so that playing tapes in other decks was laughable. I'd almost wager that the power supply in the 858 is under sized. The lights would dim significantly when recording and restarting the motor. Took way too long to get up to speed.

My Akai on the other hand made my US Q8 of DSOTM discrete. I recorded the discrete Alan Parsons mix onto the tape, in the order of the US Q8 ;) and the Akai had NO issues. Wiped out the old recording and with steady speed made a GREAT tape to audition at car shows! (all my AMC's are Quad-Capable).
 

quadsearcher

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Well, I solved the static problem. The head needed cleaning. (Doh!) Regular cleaning didn't do it though, the middle where the pickups are actually at was clean. It was build up around the outside edges. I suppose if the tape was contacting the dirt around the edges it would be lifted up from the middle. Alcohol didn't clean it off, I buffed the edges with Flitz and then washed that off carefully with alcohol.
Now that there is no more static I could hear the LF dropping out. By substitution I found that the LD3141 IC was the culprit. I'm going to try the mod circuit found at AK. btw, as mentioned there or somewhere on the interwebs, the first two transistors before the IC, 2sc458, are very noisy and 2sc2240 or NTE199 is a lot quieter, I tried it on one channel, so I'll swap those out. :banana:
 

arnold_layne

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Well, I solved the static problem. The head needed cleaning. (Doh!) Regular cleaning didn't do it though, the middle where the pickups are actually at was clean. It was build up around the outside edges. I suppose if the tape was contacting the dirt around the edges it would be lifted up from the middle. Alcohol didn't clean it off, I buffed the edges with Flitz and then washed that off carefully with alcohol.
Now that there is no more static I could hear the LF dropping out. By substitution I found that the LD3141 IC was the culprit. I'm going to try the mod circuit found at AK. btw, as mentioned there or somewhere on the interwebs, the first two transistors before the IC, 2sc458, are very noisy and 2sc2240 or NTE199 is a lot quieter, I tried it on one channel, so I'll swap those out. :banana:
Wonder if my deck could have the same problem. I cleaned the heads as best I could, but I may have missed something as I'm still getting static on quad tapes program 2 at in the right rear channel. I have two of these decks, and my other one does not have static on the same tapes, so I know it's not the tapes.

A_L
 

Quad Linda

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The first Quad piece I ever bought. I still have it connected to my 5.1 system. The best Q8 deck ever made and the only one that records in Quad.

It could use a pause button and a rear headphone jack.

Linda
 

Quad Linda

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I love this deck! Here's a vintage ad: http://www.8trackheaven.com/Images/quad_ad2.jpg "Front panel 4-channel headphone outputs." Were they kidding? The unit in the photo is identical to mine - a 1/4" stereo headphone jack and a front/rear switch. They could have put a second jack where the switch is. Lighted VU meters would have make it way cool.

Linda
 

TVB

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I have two of these decks. The first one was a thrift store find and the second bought online because the first deck has a channel going in and out. I use the deck mainly for converting Q8s to Q4s with fantastic results. However, recording is difficult with no pause and having to wait for the tape to "come around" to get to the place you want to record. Friends are amazed when they find out they are listening to an 8 track tape. It is my opinion many tapes get tangled on the capstan because of the foil splice, which is in the process of coming off on most tapes. Another thing I have noticed is that regular reel tape does not work in an 8 track shell. The gray grahite looking backing on 8 tracks tape is apparantly required for 8 tracks to work.
 

Quad Linda

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8 tracks are a continuous loop, and need lubrication, since they are both the supply and takeup reel in one. The tape feeds back into the center of the reel. A REALLY DUMB IDEA!! 8 track is, in my opinion, the WORST format ever invented. The ONLY good thing about 8 tracks is that they were available as discrete Quad. Many titles were only available in Quad on Q8. I bought hundreds of them in the day. I've rebought everything possible on Quad vinyl and prefer to listen that way. Although Q vinyl isn't truly discrete, even CD-4, I prefer the superior fidelity and am willing to sacrifice some seperation to get this.

I love my CR-80DSS and will never get rid of it. IMHO, THE BEST 8 TRACK DECK EVER MADE! If you think prerecorded Q8 tapes sound great, you should hear some of my mix projects recorded on ConvertaQuad blanks, sourced from Quad vinyl.

Linda

I have two of these decks. The first one was a thrift store find and the second bought online because the first deck has a channel going in and out. I use the deck mainly for converting Q8s to Q4s with fantastic results. However, recording is difficult with no pause and having to wait for the tape to "come around" to get to the place you want to record. Friends are amazed when they find out they are listening to an 8 track tape. It is my opinion many tapes get tangled on the capstan because of the foil splice, which is in the process of coming off on most tapes. Another thing I have noticed is that regular reel tape does not work in an 8 track shell. The gray grahite looking backing on 8 tracks tape is apparantly required for 8 tracks to work.
 

Philip Spinner

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I had this problem on one of my decks. I put an old crap tape in and worker the recording button back and forth with the play button and it works much better now. Must have been some dust build-up. If you do this though make sure volume is down or better yet off. Makes a loud sound when going back and forth.. Could be a cheap fix.
Phil S.
 

Doug G.

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The biggest drawback in the 8-track world, whether regular two channel stereo or quad, was the commercial tapes. They were usually made on high speed duplicators so the high end frequency response is very compromised.

And the cartridges themselves were cheaply made, often with hard plastic rollers instead of rubber. Guess how long a tape will last being squeezed between a metal capstan and hard plastic roller. And that combination results in poor wow and flutter performance too.

Anyway, back when I worked at Telex, being one of the techs who maintained the stereo and quad deck manufacturing lines, I had access to RCA test tape cartridges and made my own recordings on a good recorder and people who rode in my car couldn't believe they were listening to 8-tracks.

In the words of my old friend Rick (RIP), "It's all there."

If the time, money, and effort had been spent on 8-track technology as it was on cassettes, the system could have been a very acceptable form of reproduction.

The continuous reel of tape was, however as Linda indicated, a compromise but with a well constructed cartridge and correctly made tape, it could be made to last a long time. I still have tapes I made in 1980 that still work fine. The foils are coming off some but, I mean, it's been 31 years.

Doug
 

Quad Linda

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Yes, Doug, Q8 can sound fantastic. Although, compared to Q4 or any Quad LP, it pales by comparison. I know Q8 is discrete. My ConvertaQuad mix Q8's are AWESOME. Yet, they can't hold a candle to my Q4, digital mix projects or dbx encoded tapes.

Prerecorded tapes generally sound awful, though most Q8's have better fidelity than their stereo 8 counterparts. The ONLY prerecorded tape format that sounds great is 7 1/2 ips reel-to-reel. Miles' Filles de Kilamanjaro sounds better on my prerecorded reel than it does on my Japan SACD 2ch!

Lasting a long time isn't good enough. I can play any piece of software on any other format, no matter how old it is. I don't need to repair them. When I was a teen or 20-something, I may have enjoyed tinkering and repairing cartridges and/or replacing foil, etc. Today, I just want to put it on and enjoy. Although I have a HUGE Q8 collection, I wish I had them ALL on other formats. And I don't mean conversions, which are still "listening to the Q8." I rebought most of them on Q vinyl. Although I may hurt Q8 fanatics feelings, I'm being honest. IMHO, 8 track is a LOUSY format. Yet, the piece I've owned the longest is my CR-80DSS. It has been connected to EVERY main system I've owned since early '73.

Linda
No, you can't buy my Q8's


The biggest drawback in the 8-track world, whether regular two channel stereo or quad, was the commercial tapes. They were usually made on high speed duplicators so the high end frequency response is very compromised.

And the cartridges themselves were cheaply made, often with hard plastic rollers instead of rubber. Guess how long a tape will last being squeezed between a metal capstan and hard plastic roller. And that combination results in poor wow and flutter performance too.

Anyway, back when I worked at Telex, being one of the techs who maintained the stereo and quad deck manufacturing lines, I had access to RCA test tape cartridges and made my own recordings on a good recorder and people who rode in my car couldn't believe they were listening to 8-tracks.

In the words of my old friend Rick (RIP), "It's all there."

If the time, money, and effort had been spent on 8-track technology as it was on cassettes, the system could have been a very acceptable form of reproduction.

The continuous reel of tape was, however as Linda indicated, a compromise but with a well constructed cartridge and correctly made tape, it could be made to last a long time. I still have tapes I made in 1980 that still work fine. The foils are coming off some but, I mean, it's been 31 years.

Doug
 

Doug G.

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Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that 8-track is a great format. Just that it could have been improved.

In fact, I have very little to do with it these days and have only one quad 8-track. My only quad deck lies in pieces.

Doug
 

Quad Linda

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I didn't take your comments that way, Doug. You're right, it can sound great. Most people, even Q8 fanatics have no idea how good 8 track can sound. On a killer system, it can wow most people. It's all about having one's consciousness raised. Perhaps I'm just snobby from all the high-end gear I've sold and owned.

Linda

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that 8-track is a great format. Just that it could have been improved.

In fact, I have very little to do with it these days and have only one quad 8-track. My only quad deck lies in pieces.

Doug
 

iyouwas

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I just picked up a Akai CR-80-SS.

It should arrive in about a week. Quite excited to check it out.

Really wish I had that UK DSOTM now!! ;-)
 
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