Nakamichi Decks

Published: May 5, 2021
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Nakamichi was founded in 1948 by Mr. Etsuro Nakamichi, starting from a small research institute in Tokyo, Japan that provided R&D for major brands, government entities, universities and organizations. Since then, it has established itself as a trusted creator of high-quality audio products, such as the Nakamichi 1000, the world's first 3-Head cassette deck.

Nakamichi decks

They were the first to use a three-head recording technique in a cassette deck. Separate tape heads were used for playback, recording, and erase. Previously the playback and recording functions were combined in a single tape head. The three-head mechanism allowed higher quality reproduction as well as the ability to hear a recording in progress - as the tape traveled past the recording head onto the playback head.

The first three-head decks were the models 1000 and 700, introduced in 1973. These lines had tape bias settings for normal bias (IEC TYPE I) and high bias (IEC TYPE II). Competitor decks offered Ferri Chrome (IEC TYPE III) whereas Nakamichi chose not to do so. The settings for the normal and high bias were labeled as EX and SX respectively. Nakamichi also sold its own brand of blank audio tapes.

When metal bias IEC TYPE IV tapes hit the market in 1978, Nakamichi made some early metal tape capable decks such as the 580M. The tape type settings on these decks were ZX (metal bias), EX (normal bias), and SX (high bias).

In 1980, Nakamichi introduced the third gen of 1000 and 700 three-head tape decks. The 1000ZXL and 700ZXL had full metal capability as well as normal and high bias abilities. They also had built-in computers for calibrating the decks to a specific tape. These computers were known as A.B.L.E. for Azimuth, Bias, Level, and Equalization. With this function, the user could optimize the deck to a specific brand of cassette to get best recording results from every tape. Hence the 1000ZXL and 700ZXL were known as 'computing cassette decks'. Also offered was a third more affordable deck: the 700ZXE auto tuning cassette deck.


A few popular Namamichi tape decks were, and some still are:

  • Nakamichi 1000 (ZXL)
  • Nakamichi 700 (ZXL/ZXE)
  • Nakamichi 580M
  • Nakamichi RX-202
  • Nakamichi RX-303
  • Nakamichi RX-505
  • Nakamichi Dragon


Find more history on Wikipedia.

Nakamichi Decks value and price guide

What's your Nakamichi decks worth in 2022? Here are some recently sold items with prices.

Item Title Date Price
Nakamichi Nakamichi DRAGON… Nakamichi DRAGON… 12/2021 $4000
Nakamichi Nakamichi Dragon all original Nakamichi Dragon All Original No 10/2021 $1625
Nakamichi Nakamichi Dragon Single Owner Nakamichi Dragon Single Owner Fabulous 12/2021 $2000
Nakamichi Nakamichi Dragon Cassette Nakamichi Dragon Cassette Deck… 12/2021 $2025
Nakamichi Nakamichi CR 70 Discrete Head Nakamichi CR 70 Discrete Head Cassette 10/2021 $1800
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices01/2022-.--

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