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Vintage Tape (Audio), Cassette, Wire and Magnetic Disc Recorders and Players Open-reel tape recorders, cassette recorders, 8-track players etc.

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Old 26th Jun 2007, 4:16 pm   #1
Banksy76
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Default Akai Ds-4000 Mkii

I am considering purchasing an Akai DS-4000 MKII, does anyone have any opinions on this machine? I will be mainly using this machine in my home studio to process recordings of drums etc in order to give them a warmer analogue feel in order to break away from the cold sterile sound produced by digital mediums.
Any thoughts on sound quality, reliability, availablity of spare parts etc would be greatly apprieciated.
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Old 26th Jun 2007, 7:19 pm   #2
AndiiT
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Default Re: Akai Ds-4000 Mkii

Hi,
The Akai 4000 series of machines are a reasonably robust machine and have quite good sound quality for what was a "budget" machine in their day.

Most of them will need belts replacing and a good mechanical overhaul by now, also if you want to use the dual speed facility make sure that the metal "bush" that fits over the capstan spindle to give the faster speed is still with the machine (many of them went missing)

An alternative to the 4000DS MkII would be the more upmarket GX4000D which have glass/crystal heads for longer head life, these machines are not quite as common as the 4000DS (and 4000DS MkII) but do crop up on internet auction sites from time to time.

Reliability wise, the fact that there are still a lot of working examples of what is a 21 year old machine speaks volumes.

For spare parts I am sure that many other members of this forum could advise you on that.

Regards
Andrew
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Old 26th Jun 2007, 7:32 pm   #3
Roger13
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Default Re: Akai Ds-4000 Mkii

Hi.

Welcome to the forum. The Akai 4000 series, although very much designed as domestic/budget recorders gave a very good account of themselves acoustically. They are very sturdily built, which is why there are still so many around, and parts can be found regularly on 'that' auction site as well as through various reputable dealers.

If you can, make sure yours is a 'Mk2' version, as these were fitted with the later spring loaded reel retainers for use when using the machine in vertical mode.

On a personal note, I own both a 4000D and a 4000DS (Mk2) which still perform extremely well as far as sound quality goes - the 4000DS having the edge in terms of ultimate sound quality.

Apart from the predictable problems common to most recorders (drive belts and the like) the 4000 series does have a nasty little achilles heel. Quite commonly, the cam which operates the record function can disintegrate, leaving you with a playback only machine. The cam is easy to replace but a little harder to find. I bought mine from 'reelprosoundguys.com' in the states. Helpful people and not too expensive.


If I were to look for general 'negatives' then I would have to say that I find the 2-lever operating mechanism a little 'agricultural', as is the speed change system which uses a sleeve over the capstan (MAKE SURE THE MACHINE YOU BUY COMES COMPLETE WITH THIS SLEEVE & RETAINER, otherwise you'll only be able to play and record at the slower speed), but don't forget this was essentially a budget machine, and on balance I think the money was spent where it mattered most - sound quality. One other thing worth mentioning is that the machines can be quite mechanically noisey in operation. How much that matters only you can say!

Hope that's of some help - just my humble opinion. Others here may well have a different view.

Cheers,

Roger.
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Old 26th Jun 2007, 7:36 pm   #4
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Akai Ds-4000 Mkii

Just to reinforce what Andy says, these are decent domestic hifi tape decks but are *not* professional machines - you wouldn't have found any in recording studios back in the 70s. Depending on how serious you are about your home studio, it may be better to wait for something a bit more substantial.

Paul
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Old 26th Jun 2007, 9:36 pm   #5
DOFFERY
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Default Re: Akai Ds-4000 Mkii

Don't worry too much if the sleeve/retainer are missing, they are readily available . As mentioned the main problem on the 4000 range is the cam but you may be lucky, other parts are available & the belt is no problem either to obtain or fit. Quality wise it is quite good if set up correctly ie. bias levels etc. & the heads are not worn, however if you are buying unseen ,difficult to check these points. The other main problem if machine has been used extensively is the felt disc on the feed clutch causing problems towards the end of the tape, especially at the lower speed.

Cheers.

Doffery
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Old 27th Jun 2007, 10:26 pm   #6
ben
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Default Re: Akai Ds-4000 Mkii

I have a 4000 and agree with roger - clunky awkward transport levers and i don't like the backtension on the supply reel. unless the tape is packed it jerks.
I say tandberg td10 or td20 will blow it out of the water.
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Old 28th Jun 2007, 5:39 am   #7
RODALCO
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Default Re: Akai Ds-4000 Mkii

The sound on sound option on the 4000 DS mkII is great to add echo effects.
Mine is 30 years old and still goes fine although the backtension is a little high, probably dried up grease in the drive.
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Old 28th Jun 2007, 11:09 am   #8
jamesperrett
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Default Re: Akai Ds-4000 Mkii

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banksy76 View Post
I will be mainly using this machine in my home studio to process recordings of drums etc in order to give them a warmer analogue feel in order to break away from the cold sterile sound produced by digital mediums.
When a studio engineer talks about using analogue tape to warm up the sound they aren't talking about using a machine like the Akai. They're talking about something like a Revox A77 or better. Yes - you'll hear a difference when you record something to the Akai but you will be struggling to obtain a decent sound that isn't muddy or free from slight drop outs.

In the early 80's I spent 2 or 3 years struggling to get decent recordings with domestic reel to reel recorders. Once I upgraded to a Revox (a B77 in my case) good recordings became so much easier.

Cheers

James.
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Old 10th Jul 2007, 12:53 pm   #9
Banksy76
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Default Re: Akai Ds-4000 Mkii

Thanks very much for all your responses, they have been most helpfull. And may i say what a great forum this is, you guys really know your stuff.
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