I have a Nakamichi Dragon cassette deck. This is the model with the
auto azimuth correction, and I noticed recently when playing some old
(25 years) tapes in it that the sound was mysteriously fluctuating
between the left and right channels, sometimes moving all the way over
to one channel and staying there. All the while, the blinking light
on the deck indicating its azimuth adjustment was working. If I
stopped the tape and started it again, the sound became normal for a
bit but then would start going strange. After taking the tape out and
looking at it, I saw that it was wrinkled, but I assumed that this was
the condition the tape was already in (as I said, these were old
tapes, many of which got wrinkled like that due to being played so
much and in various consumer brand machines).
But today I played a much more recent tape and found the same problem,
and I realized that it's the deck itself that is chewing up the tapes.
Has anyone else had this problem with this model? I don't know if
it's just a deck that has crapped out on me (yes, I believe that is
the technical term...), or maybe if this is related to the
auto-adjusting "feature." (And yes, I know now that I should have
gotten the one with manual azimuth adjustment instead. But I didn't
also buy a time machine, so there's no way to fix that now.)
When I was growing up with consumer brand tape recorders, this was
usually the point when I'd pronounce a machine dead and get a new one,
but I'm wondering if there's a way to repair this problem. This
Nakamichi deck was, after all, what these wacky kids these days would
call hella expensive. And because I bought it used off of eBay almost
a year ago, I doubt I can return it (especially because it worked fine
for months). Do electronics guys typically work on this problem and
have a way to fix it? Am I going to have to track down someone who
works specifically on Nakamichis? Will replacement parts be
impossible to find?
This hasn't been a good day.
Alabama Department of Archives and History