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Nakamichi DRAGON Tape Deck - Restored And Amazing

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Pickup currently unavailable at SkyFi 479

Nakamichi Dragon Tape Deck - Restored And Amazing

Nakamichi DRAGON Tape Deck - Restored And Amazing

SkyFi 479

Pickup currently unavailable

479 South Broad Street
Glen Rock NJ 07452
United States



Working Dragons are becoming more and more difficult to find. 

While legendary for the performance, they age over time and will eventually need service. 

Servicing a tape deck of this complexity is particularly difficult, truly a labor of love. Just getting the mechanism out is a long endeavor!

This particular unit received just that - a full service and test. 

We replaced all the consumable components including the azimuth belt, mechanism belt, drive wheel rubber, both idler reels with springs etc. 

The unit was cleaned, lubricated, demagnetized and fully tested for performance. 

Overall condition is Very Good with just some top plate scuffing to note that is shown in our photos.

*This listing is for the deck only. We may have one very rare and working original Nakamichi RM-200 wired remote control. If you'd like to add this to your order for an additional fee please call us.

More from its dedicated Wikipedia entry:
The Nakamichi Dragon is an audio cassette deck that was introduced by Nakamichi in 1982 and marketed until 1994.

The Dragon was the first Nakamichi model with bidirectional replay capability and the world's first production tape recorder with an automatic azimuth correction system; this feature, which was invented by Philips engineers and improved by Niro Nakamichi, continuously adjusts the azimuth of the replay head to minimize apparent head skew and correctly reproduce the treble signal present on the tape.
The system allows the correct reproduction of mechanically skewed cassettes and recordings made on misaligned decks.

Apart from the Dragon, similar systems have only been used in the Nakamichi TD-1200 car cassette player and the Marantz SD-930 cassette deck.

At the time of its introduction, the Dragon had the lowest-ever wow and flutter and the highest-ever dynamic range, losing marginally to the former Nakamichi flagship the 1000ZXL in frequency response.

Competing models by Sony, Studer, Tandberg and TEAC that were introduced later in the 1980's sometimes surpassed the Dragon in mechanical quality and feature set but none could deliver the same mix of sound quality, flexibility and technological advancement.

The Dragon, despite inherent issues with long-term reliability, remained the highest point of compact cassette technology.

Brand Background:

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's product lines are driven by an intense scientific curiosity, the passion for audio, and commitment to uncompromising quality and performance.  


Single Owner


RCA inputs and outputs

General Sound:

Accurate to the recording

Cosmetic Condition:

6 - Moderate Signs of Wear

Working Condition:

Working perfectly and tested in our lab.


Just the unit and power cord


Will be packed using our highly developed in-house process and custom packing materials.

Original MSRP:



17-3/4 inches wide by 5-5/16 inches high by 11-13/16 inches deep


21 lbs.




Link to Manual:

Recommended Cables:

Kimber Kable - RCA Interconnects - Good

Kimber Kable - RCA Interconnects - Better

Kimber Kable - RCA Interconnects - Best

Testing Process:

First steps are performed to determine if the unit is a candidate for our full restoration process or if its just in need of a light service.

We first do a  basic functionality test to ensure proper playback fast forward and rewind.  We look for smooth operation of the motors, transport engagement and associated rolling parts.  

We then do an internal physical inspection to ensure the belts and rubber consumable parts are up to spec.  

Internal components are checked to make sure that there are no signs of heat stress or damage particularly in the power supply section.  Capacitors are checked for telltale signs of predictive failure including bulging, shrunken wrappers, or physical leakage. We also inspect the PCBs for discoloration from resistors or transistors that may have been running hot. On vintage units we often spot check select capacitors for value and ESR. 

A light service will involve replacement of belts and rollers, external cleaning of heads, mechanism and boards and basic record and playback tests.  

A full restoration will often include disassembly of the drive system and replacement of all consumable and wearable parts including pinch rollers, belts, brakes, bearings.  We then clean lubricate and re-assembly the drive and perform basic mechanical alignment to ensure proper tape path and head alignment. 

Final calibration will involved adjustment of playback erase and record heads and optimization of the bias for a specific tape type.  We do this with the aid of a  Soundtech 1510A tape deck analyzer and a Nakamichi T100 unit and reference calibration tapes.  

Final listening tests are done while monitoring with our reference Grado HP1 headphones and a variety of factory and custom reference recordings.  We find that there is no better system for critical listening on tapes than the headphones specially when comparing a live feed to a recorded feed.  


 3-Head Single Cassette Deck

Track System:
4-Track, 2-Channel Stereo

Tape Speed:
4.8 cm/s

1 x Record, 1 x Playback, 1 x Erase

1 x Reel, 1 x Capstan, 2 x Mechanism

Tape Type:
Type I, CrO2, and Metal

Dolby Noise Reduction:
B, C

Frequency Response:
18Hz to 21kHz (Metal Tape)

Signal to Noise Ratio:
72dB (Colby C)

Wow and Flutter:

Total Harmonic Distortion:

Input: 50mV

Output: 1V

17-1/8" x 5-5/16" x 12"
(435 x 135 x 306mm)

SKU: 103690