Nakamichi RX-505 Tape Decks

RX-505

3 head, bias fine tuning, uni-directional autoreverse (turns TAPE over, not heads). Level controls, fade muting, etc.

User Reviews (19)

Showing 1-10 of 19  
Casper   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 23, 2007]
Strength:

very good condition
very cool cassette flip

Weakness:

small speed problem

I have used my Nakamichi RX 505 for years, with a lot of pleasure :) I bought it from a friend in 1998. It´s still in very good condition, only the speed of the cassette is not constant. But you can fix it easaly...I´m not using it anymore, so if you are interested...it´s for sale. If you are interested, please send me an email: audioreview@derix.net

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
TG   AudioPhile [Sep 12, 2003]
Strength:

The ultimate high end analog reproduction, better resulting than the source by its tuned-up equalization circuits.

Weakness:

No remote? If available int he market, NONE.

A breathtaking great machine, that can only beat my ZX9 and other great decks I have listed here, thanks to its refined circuits. Same circuits used in Dragon because of the exact years they both produced. Smooth passages which can only felt in analog's warmth are highly felt on the tapes recorded by this machine.Mechanically (UDAR) also very well designed; leaving not much worry to the user to end-up recording just by one hit.Deserves, like ZX9, a five star rating.

Similar Products Used: NakZX9,RevoxB215,H1,H11,Yamaha1020/1200, Teac8030,NAD6300,SonyES
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
gregsolo   AudioPhile [Aug 09, 2003]
Strength:

Superior head design! Superior engineering! Superior build quality! Superior recording and playback! You get the picture!

Weakness:

None whatsoever!

Still the best auto-reverse cassette deck ever produced, and certainly a giant in its own right. Owners out there, please do not compare inferior decks such as Tascam, Harman Kardon CD491, and the like to this engineering tour-de-force. Also, please do not mention Nakamichi not incuding Dolby S, HX Pro, and DBX in the RX-505. The RX-505, along with all other Nakamichi decks, does not need the help of these tachnologies to achieve it's objective of superior freqency repsonse. Those Noise reduction chips are reserved for inferior decks with inferior head design! I agree with the person who said that the RX-505 should have a place in the Smithsonian as an engineering work of art. The RX-505 makes you really appreciate the warm, smooth, voluptuous sound we have to come to expect from analogue sources, unlike the harshness and grunge you get from digital mediums such as the CD format. You can see the RX-505 in action in the 1986 classic movie "9 1/2 Weeks" with Mickey O'Rourke and Kim Basinger. I too, will never mine. Long live the RX-505!

Similar Products Used: Nakamichi Dragon, CR-7A, RX-202, Harman Kardon CD491
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
kevbwood   AudioPhile [May 01, 2003]
Strength:

everything except no DBX of i guess dolby s would be good to have

Weakness:

big big big and heavy

This is the most amazing tape deck i have ever owned. i do wish it had built in DBX but a 228 processor works fine with the 505. it has a lot of features i am still trying to figure out, like i did not know that when you have an LP playing and it finishes the tape deck stops by its self after a few minuites of silence. this is new to me! but its great. sometimes the deck still wants to autoreverse toward the end af a tape instead of at the end . all ans all it was well worth 150 because i see them going for a lot more.

Similar Products Used: yamaha k1000 DBX deck
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Clint Flournoy   AudioPhile [Sep 13, 2002]
Strength:

The ultimate in analog reproduction, really lets you know how good your source is, the better the source, the better the recording. It holds back nothing sonically.

Weakness:

If there are any, i haven't found them yet.

I've owned many naks and i practically had to hock my first born to get this one. I also own a ZX7, which i'm very fond of. Playback of tapes made on this machine from albums in my wife's van,(Infinity Premium sound system)just takes me into another dimension. I've had many Naks but, this one makes my blood run cold. I often wonder how much better do they get? Strong as a Sherman tank yet gentle as feather with tape, the RX505 takes no prisoners, period, gets 5 stars from me.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
DAN   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 28, 2002]
Strength:

Very reliable, great recording quality, outstanding playback, aesthically pleasing

Weakness:

no remote :<(

Right. I've been using this machine since 1986. I purchsed it from a relative who bought it new in 1983. My 505 has been in the shop once for a light refurb (1999) at a cost of $96.31. The machine is absolutely legendary. Coupled with my Tandberg studio monitor loud speakers and H/K MkIII surround sound receiver, the music reproduction is an out-of-body experience. No joke! Just close your eyes and you would swear you are hearing the music (any music!) live. I fell in love with the 505's and Dragons way back in high school when they first came out. When my brother-in-law wanted to sell his, I begged and borrowed to scrape up the cash. A true audiophile that he is and being my music mentor, I could'nt pass up the offer. I was a cash poor college student then. I have been using it ever since and have had offers from others to purchase it. Since then I have added a Beogram 1800 turntable, and a Pioneer CD/DVD recorder. Nothing on the market today can approach the Nak 505/Dragon for there overall sound recording, relability, unique design, and good looks. This machine should be featured in the Smithsonian along side B&O for industrial design prowess. Probably will keep the RX-505 for life.

Similar Products Used: Harman Kardon, Sony
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
aargonaut   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 12, 2002]
Strength:

Sonic accuracy, staging, unidirectional autoreverse and lots of features.

Weakness:

No Dolby HX, but it is not needed!

I reviewed this piece in November of 2001 and gave it a four star rating. (See below). The only reason I did not give it a 5 star rating is because 5 star is reserved for "Giant Killers." As a close relative of the Nak Dragon, this is the "Giant!" In my opinion, only a few other Naks, the top of the line Harman Kardon 3 head decks, the professional decks such as the Tandberg 3014 and 3 head Tascam decks are in the same league.

Similar Products Used: Tascam 202 mkIII
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Gregory Solomon   Audiophile [Jun 13, 2001]
Strength:

Warm, transparent, 3-dimensional sound. Excellent build quality. Engineering marvel.

Weakness:

None.

This cassette deck was originally designed back in the early 80's on up through the early 90's. It has all the features one could ever want in a cassette deck, but it's real virtue is the sound it produces, which is nothing short of amazing. It throws up a 3-dimensional soundstage with excellent detail and tight, accurate bass. Probably the best thing I like about this deck besides the sound, is that you can insert in a tape, hit record, walk away and come back knowing you will have a fully recorded tape on both sides with automatic professional fades, no manual intervention needed. Also, when you are starting a recording, just press the autorec setup button and it will rewind the tape, if necessary, and forward the tape past the header and stop in record- pause mode, ready to record. This deck was built at a time when Nakamichi had geniuses working there. Now, judging by the products they're turning out, I'm not so sure. The RX-505 is an engineering work of art and I highly recommend it. Five stars!

Similar Products Used: Nakamichi Dragon,CR-7A, RX-202, Harman Kardon CD-491
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 18, 2000]
Strength:

Clean Recordings, 3-head autoreverse

Weakness:

Lacks status/indicator lights
Tapes played on inferior machines don't sound that great

Excellent tape deck, I've got one from the 80's. It is a beautiful machine, and works flawlessly. They really don't make them like this any more. Although it probably does not make recordings as good as the Nakamichi 1000ZX ($4000+ new, $2000 today) or the Dragon ($2000 New, 950 today), its probably the most interesting serious deck ever mass produced due to the eject/rotate autoreverse feature. If you can get one of these you should go for it. One thing to keep in mind is that tapes made on the Nak (any Nakamichi) played back on other brands of tape decks tend to sound a little "tinny" (but still pretty good) because of different recording philosophies. The only flaw in the machine is that there are not status lights for MPX filter, tape type, etc.... you have to look at the push buttons and it is hard to tell what is selected.

Similar Products Used: Onkyo TA-2056/ 2058; Nakamichi BX-125
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jason Gold   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 28, 2001]
Strength:

Very good sound quality, lots of features, unidirectional autoreverse

Weakness:

no remote, no Dolby HX


My system:

Harman Kardon AVR 500
Harman Kardon 670 (Used as phono pre-amp and to power two speakers as a subwoofer)
Harman Kardon ST8 turntable with Ortofon MM15E cartridge
Nakamichi RX505 cassette deck
Tascam 202 Mk III dual well cassette deck
Magnavox CDB650 CD player
Pioneer DV-333 DVD player (soon to be replaced with a DVD audio player)
1 pair Koss CM/1030 (main speakers)
6 Koss CM/1020s (one for center channel, two as rear surrounds, two as subwoofer and which is used as a computer printer stand)

As an audiophile friend said, I have a lot of nice old equipment. Price is an object! Thank you ebay.

I have never much liked the cassette medium. The frequency response was limited and there is too much noise. It is a limitation of the medium. My dislike was such that I never even owned one in a car. Then I leased a new truck. It came with one instead of a CD player. So, I bought a used Tascam 202 mk III dual well two head deck. (I paid $125 for it, which beats the heck out of the $600 retail) I figured Teac’s professional studio brand would be pretty good. And I was right. It did a credible job of reproducing CDs and vinyl records for use in the truck. And for most sources, it was good enough for home use. But, I started purchasing (from a local used record store) half speed vinyl masters pressed by Mobile High Fidelity Labs and some Sheffield direct to disc albums. The Tascam was lost.

I explained the problem to an audiophile friend. He owned an RX-505 which he never used. In fact, he never played his audiophile system. So, I borrowed the Nak for a year. I refused to give it back to him until I purchased one Why? BECAUSE IT SOUNDS REALLY GOOD. The only use the Tascam gets now is to duplicate tapes for other people.

So, I bought an RX-505 for $400.00, which I considered a reasonable price for the combination of the cool unidirectional auto-reverse mechanism and electronics lifted from the Nak Dragon (which is considered by some to be the best home deck ever built). The deck I purchased was an older production model (i.e., from the mid ‘80s) and had some problems. The tape heads were out of alignment, the tape head lifter mechanism squealed every time the tape heads were lifted to play or reverse the tape, and the tape bias was off (even though I used the tapes Nakamichi recommended). I took it to Nakamichi’s factory authorized repair location in Long Beach, CA. For $200, (and several return trips because they use electronic gizmos instead of ears to see if it sounds right) they rebuilt the tape transport, reset the bias, and made the deck work and sound like new.

Sonically, the Nak blows away the Tascam. Three (tape) heads are better than two. It is like sunshine breaking through clouds. Although the Tascam records the high end exceedingly well, its playback loses much of the top octive. In contrast, the Nak’s high end is marvelous and its mid-range is clean and musical. The only musical problem I have with the Nak’s sound reproduction is that the bass is a little bit heavy and not quite as tight as the original. That problem is minor and may be unit specific. For most audio sources, I am hard pressed to hear a difference between the RX-505 and the original. The only stereo sources the Nak has problems reproducing are those with extremely large dynamic headroom requirements such as the Sheffield Track Album or very detailed, crisp high ends such as the half speed master of Cat Stevens Teaser and the Firecat. In those cases, some of the quieter sections and/or high frequency detail gets lost in the tape hiss inherent in the medium. This is not a problem for most sound sources.

The deck has lots of nice features such as program seek, auto record standby, manually selectable tape types, master fade up and down, multiplex filter, subsonic filter, fine bias tune, and so forth. Given the cost of over $1,500 new, it should! I rarely use them.

This leaves the question of whether it was worth $600 for this deck in perfect working condition. The answer is a resounding and enthusiastic probably. It was definitely worth the $400. I get to protect my vinyl, I don’t have to flip the album to play both sides, and I get to take convenient compact cassettes on the road. I also get to show people the neat way the tape gets flipped. And it sounds really good doing it. I use the RX 505 almost daily. Right now, I am playing a copy of the half speed master of the Alan Parsons Project’s album entitled “I Robot” – the symbols and snare drums sound like the original, the voices are warm and the synthesizers sound like electronic synthesizers. I’ll probably play a tape of some quiet new age guitar while I go to sleep. I’m very happy with the unit.

Similar Products Used: Tascam 202 mk III
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 19  

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