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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 11th Jul 2016, 7:56 pm   #1
george1960
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Default AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

Seen one for sale and wondered if it is worth getting for a restoration. Can anyone please advise before I purchase?
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 8:25 pm   #2
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

They were a nice machine. The performance wasn't earth-shattering but it all came in a self-contained unit. The late 4000 series was a better performer but wasn't as convenient. The main problem, which I think was cured by the 1722, was the cam operated by the function levers. This was made of an alloy that disintegrated. I'm sure others will be able to advise whether this machine is likely to suffer from that. There's been a lot of discussion on this forum about these and talk of someone remanufacturing them but I don't know if this happened.
Other than that I'd change the motor start/run capacitors and check for head wear.
Of course it all depends on price and condition and the use you'll be putting it to.
Glyn
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 10:52 pm   #3
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

Depends on price/condition I suppose but in the seventies, both these machines were very welcome on the market. Not that cheap but affordable and bridging the gap between obviously [but sometimes versatile] domestic recorders and professional machines that were largely out of reach.

The "mu-metal" crumbly cams were heavily featured on here at one time and some people made them up for themselves in proper metal but this was always about the 4000 series. I bought one from a Forum member just in case but my 4000DS has not failed so far. I'm not sure that a "cure" was ever achieved but I don't know that much about the 1700 series

I was never that keen on earlier Tandberg machines and the joy stick controls [despite high quality recording] but I do have a 3300X now that I use to playback archive material and I find that excellent. A sort of 4000 equivalent perhaps Akai were great at getting the maximum out of simple basic features such as using one drive motor allied to professional but basic features like VU meters and a higher speed which meant these decks were within reach. Others may, no doubt, see it differently!

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Maybe I stand corrected-there's a Cam thread re the 1720L for a start!
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 11:03 pm   #4
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

"mu-metal" no, that's a nickel-iron ferromagnetic material. The Akai cams were a non-ferrous zinc-and-rubbish alloy.

I think mumetal was something like 75% nickel which made it quite pricey. It certainly doesn't crumble.

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Old 11th Jul 2016, 11:25 pm   #5
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

The crumbly zinc aluminium alloy that we're talking about here is known as 'pot metal'.

There's no strict formula for it so stuff made from it can be quite variable in quality, sometimes there's nothing at all wrong with the parts and whilst other bits crack and crumble over time

Pot metal:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot_metal

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Old 11th Jul 2016, 11:26 pm   #6
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

Yes you're right David that's the stuff they wrap round a CRT or TR for screening isn't it?

I used to know the name of the crumbly stuff it's been mentioned here in the past. "Monkey Metal" is the derisive term perhaps? It looks similar to the product you can buy for metal repairs, that mixes into a mouldable grey paste and sets very hard. Now what's that called Who are you and what are you doing in my house?

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Ah that's it Steve-what a relief! I'd mixed up Mu with Monkey-so near but so far away!

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Old 12th Jul 2016, 6:38 am   #7
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

Metal toys used to be made from this stuff, we used to call it monkey metal where I lived as a kid. A bit like chewing gum wood that pallets are made of,. In a nut shell cheap rubbish. I had a 1721L that was affected by this, made a replacement out of pear wood which works well.

That aside the 1722 is a half decent R2R, though like all Akai's a bit of a pain to work on. The 22 I had didn't suffer from cam rot, and I never had it apart so can't comment on the cams. Whatever, replacements are pretty easy to make.

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Old 12th Jul 2016, 10:35 am   #8
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

i have a 1722l, and yes the cams can be a problem but not always, as a self contained stand alone unit i find it very handy and sound is not bad, outside speakers improve it i find.very crammed inside and this can be a pain when working on it, from my experience though from the ones ive owned a good clean inside and some deoxit on the switches together with lubricating and some love and its been all thats been needed. yes not a bad unit at all. a shame so many are converted to guitar amps, sacrelidge.
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Old 12th Jul 2016, 2:01 pm   #9
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

Agreed but "opportunism knocks" I suppose-especially if the cam has crumbled or there are other faults mechanically. The 4000 is protected with no amp/spkr to exploit!

In the sixties I had a cheap domestic r to r machine which [unusually] could be switched through to use as a [2.5 watt] PA-like some projectors. I fed a guitar into the mike input and used an external Spkr to protect the one in the recorder. The mis match gave really good distortion without damaging the amp section. I was probaly lucky though.

The "reel" advantage of the Akai machines from my point of view was the 7" spools combined with professional looking inputs and meters. Cheaper machines with 5" spools and magic eyes had their limits. Being able to use a 7" spool of LP tape meant two hours of continuous recording at 3.75. This removed the frustration of not being able to record longer programs without having to turn over a tape or cassette. Also, over a lengthy evenings recording, I could pop to the pub, only needing to return every two hours or so

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Old 12th Jul 2016, 2:52 pm   #10
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

A problem with the 1720 series was that you couldn't leave 7" reels on and put the lid back on. Not much of a problem but some complained about it.
Glyn
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Old 12th Jul 2016, 3:16 pm   #11
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

Be prepared to put work into this.

These are single motor drives, which means that all functions are driven via a series of belts and rubber idlers on linkages. The controls are two rather crude levers, which also mean lots of mechanical linkages.

You will need to dismantle and clean said linkages of old grease (which also afflicts Sonys of this era) and replace or recondition all the rubber parts. As Glyn said, the motor caps will probably be past it.

Personally I would only go for this kind of deck it the price were right, i.e. extremely low. They're nothing special.
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Old 13th Jul 2016, 8:08 am   #12
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

That alloy is probably what is known as Mazac and used for any number of cheap and nasty components in various industries. I have a 1721 and 1720 and agree with the above about performance. They sound reasonable on the internal speakers and work well for a simple and basic machine. I have found the rubber parts to stay in good condition apart from needing a bit of wet and dry on the pinch wheels and replacement drive belts. I had to make a cam, the small one that activates fast forward. I am sure this broke due to hardened grease syif you get one of these don't operate the levers until you have stripped and greased all the mechanism (it's not difficult ) There's then a chance of the cams surviving. Clean switches and controls and check /replace motor capacitor (s) and that's about it
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Old 13th Jul 2016, 11:40 am   #13
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

Hi
If this machine isn't quite up to it I'd consider broadening your scope. Without getting into Revox territory there are a few decent models from Sony (eg the TC366 and 730) which I'd say outperform the Akai, though that's only my opinion. Some had built-in, or at least inclusive, speakers if that's what you're after. Tandberg and B&O are also good one-motor machines though come up less frquently. Then there are examples from Teac and Philips, though you do need to be careful with the latter.
Hopefully the 1722 will do the job for you, though the advice given above is very valid.
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Old 13th Jul 2016, 11:52 am   #14
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

Quote:
Originally Posted by george1960 View Post
Seen one for sale and wondered if it is worth getting for a restoration. Can anyone please advise before I purchase?
Cam problems aside we don't know what the OP is expecting from the machine once restored.

It's always difficult to answer questions like "is it worth restoring". The answer depends on what the asking price is, what the condition is, how much effort the restorer is prepared to put in, availability of spare parts, how easy the item is to work on and many other things.

It might be better to decide what class of machine is required, what budget is available and work from there.
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Old 13th Jul 2016, 12:16 pm   #15
george1960
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

the price is going up way to much now , dont think its worth it after all
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Old 13th Jul 2016, 12:25 pm   #16
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

there's crazy prices on ebay for these which are unjustified. They are a decent but basic machine and solidly made apart from those cams. The Tandbergs fetch crazy prices for the more desirable models. I think they are good machines but probably need a lot more restoring than the Akai and I don't think the engineering is as solid. Once sorted though the Tandberg is abetter performer than the Akai to my limited knowledge!
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Old 13th Jul 2016, 12:27 pm   #17
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

Just been looking on ebay, you are right really stupid prices not much less than 30 for a basic machine
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Old 13th Jul 2016, 1:02 pm   #18
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

When it comes to financial worth, an item is worth what someone is prepared to pay for it, so it's pointless complaining about unrealistic prices. If the asking price is too high the item won't sell.

Discussion about prices on eBay are definitely off topic as far as the forums are concerned.
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Old 13th Jul 2016, 1:29 pm   #19
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

George, what do you intend to use the machine for? As Graham said, it would help when it comes to suggestions.
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Old 23rd Jul 2016, 2:10 pm   #20
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Default Re: AKAI 1722-L reel to reel

George seems to have lost interest but ...just for completeness, "Milliput" was the grey expoxy metal filler I was trying to recall in post 6*.

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