Our Brand Story

 
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From the Past to the Future

1948 Nakamichi's Beginnings
1950/60s Open Reel Tape Recorder
1970s Stereo Cassette Decks
1980s(1) Peak of Nakamichi
1980s(2) Car Stereo & Black Box
1960 magnetic stripe card
1970 wireless LAN
1980 flash memory
1990 World Wide Web
2000 Google AdWords

Nakamichi's Beginnings



"When no compromise is made, the ultimate goal is reached. - Etsuro Nakamichi"


Nakamichi was founded by Etsuro Nakamichi in 1948 as Nakamichi Research Corporation Ltd (中道研究所株式会社 Nakamichi Kenkyujo Kabushiki Kaisha) in Tokyo, Japan. It specialised in manufacturing portable radios, tone arms, speakers, and communications equipment. It was later headed by the founder's younger brother Niro Nakamichi. The company was originally established as a research and development firm in electronics and optics but later became known as a manufacturer of quality audio products. While its cassette decks were particularly well known, the company is also credited with audio innovations, such as self-centering record players, high-end DAT recorders, and ultra-compact slot-loading CD changers.

Open Reel Tape Recorder


In the 1950s, Nakamichi developed one of the first open reel tape recorders in Japan under the Magic Tone brand. In 1957, it developed and made its own magnetic tape heads, as well as launching the Fidela 3-head Open Reel Stereo Tape Deck.

Because of its experience in manufacturing magnetic tape heads and equipment, in 1967 the company started making tape decks for a number of foreign manufacturers including Harman Kardon, KLH, Advent, Fisher, ELAC, Sylvania, Concord, Ampex and Motorola.

Nakamichi NAKREI FIDELA 300D. Image Source from audio-heritage.jp

Stereo Cassette Decks




From 1973, Nakamichi started to sell high-quality stereo cassette decks that benefited from the mass market's move away from reel-to-reel tape recorders to the cassette format. The Nakamichi 1000 and 700, made in the mid-1970s, had three heads, a dual capstan drive that reduced wow and flutter, and Dolby-B noise reduction to improve the signal to noise ratio. The dual capstan drive ensured superior head-to-tape contact, essentially eliminating reliance on the problematic spring pressure pads built into cassette housings. (Later models were fitted with pressure pad lifters that further improved tape travel stability and reduced head wear.)

High-end features of these models included adjustable record head azimuth and Dolby calibration. The relatively high retail price of the 1000 and 700 prompted Nakamichi to offer lower-priced two-head models, such as the Nakamichi 500 and the wedge-shaped 600.

The Nakamichi 550 was a portable cassette recorder that had three microphone inputs: one for left channel, one for right channel, and one for a center blend channel. This recorder could run from batteries or AC and was used to make high quality recordings in the field.

In the late 1970s, Nakamichi updated and broadened its model range, with revised products including the Nakamichi 1000-II, the 700-II, and the lower-end 600-II. Nakamichi branched out into other audio components such as pre-amplifiers, power-amplifiers, tuners, receivers and later speakers.

Nakamichi 1000, 700, 500, 600. Image Source from hifiengine.com
Nakamichi 550. Image Source from pinterest.com

Peak of Nakamichi


1981 - 1982
Nakamichi 1000ZXL Limited
Around 1980, Nakamichi introduced the third generation of 1000 and 700 three-head decks. The 1000ZXL and 700ZXL had full metal capability as well as normal and high bias abilities and had built-in computers for calibrating the decks to a specific tape. These built-in computers were known as A.B.L.E. for Azimuth, Bias, Level, and Equalization. The user would use this function (activated by an "Auto Cal" button) to optimize the deck to a specific brand of tape to get best recording results from every cassette. Hence the 1000ZXL and 700ZXL were known as computing cassette decks. Also offered was a third less costly deck the 700ZXE auto tuning cassette deck. A more expensive 1000ZXL Limited was also offered, with the same specifications as the 1000ZXL but with a gold plated face.



1983
Nakamichi Dragon

In the CD era (post 1983), the top line Nakamichi products were termed the "Dragon." The Dragon-CT turntable ("Computing Turntable") automatically adjusted for off-center holes in records by moving the platter in two dimensions. The Dragon CD playing system has special mechanical damping to prevent vibrations of the CD, and holds multiple CDs. The Dragon cassette deck used a special microprocessor controlled azimuth adjustment called Nakamichi Automatic Azimuth Correction (NAAC) to find the best sound for each recorded cassette tape, however because it was both expensive to manufacture and more complex as well as difficult to both service and maintain, Nakamichi sought to produce a new deck with the same excellent accuracy of azimuth but without the associated costs and difficulties of servicing.



1988
Nakamichi PA-7E (Stasis Series amplifiers)

Nakamichi licensed "Stasis" technology from powerhouse amplifier manufacturer Threshold (a class-A amplifier circuit by Nelson Pass, then a designer at Threshold, now at Pass Labs). This circuit was used in a line of expensive Nakamichi PA series of power-amplifiers, such as the PA-5 and PA-7, as well as its SR and TA series of receivers.

Car Stereos & Black Box


Early 1980s
Nakamichi 1000ZXL Limited
Around 1980, Nakamichi introduced the third generation of 1000 and 700 three-head decks. The 1000ZXL and 700ZXL had full metal capability as well as normal and high bias abilities and had built-in computers for calibrating the decks to a specific tape. These built-in computers were known as A.B.L.E. for Azimuth, Bias, Level, and Equalization. The user would use this function (activated by an "Auto Cal" button) to optimize the deck to a specific brand of tape to get best recording results from every cassette. Hence the 1000ZXL and 700ZXL were known as computing cassette decks. Also offered was a third less costly deck the 700ZXE auto tuning cassette deck. A more expensive 1000ZXL Limited was also offered, with the same specifications as the 1000ZXL but with a gold plated face.



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Our Mission

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