Tapeheads Tape, Audio and Music Forums
High quality analog audio tape for professionals and enthusiasts alike.

Go Back   Tapeheads Tape, Audio and Music Forums > Tape, Taping and Tape Machines > Cassette

Cassette All discussions pertaining to cassette decks. These include general usage, recording, playback and service questions. For subjects related to tape itself, see the Cassette Tape subforum under this one. Obscure service subjects that don't quite fit go in the Help and Do It Yourself subforum.

Donate to Tapeheads!
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-12-2017, 04:17 PM
Vinylthunder Vinylthunder is offline
TapeHeads.Net Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 63
Poor sound with nakamichi deck and cary tube amp

I been listening to my LX5 with a Marantz 2245 but today I tried hooking up the tape deck to my Cary SLI 80. This is a newer integrated tube amp with twice the power of the Marantz. The problem is that it sounds terrible and the volume is very low. Am I missing something here?

To be clear, I was having to push the Marantz a little bit harder than normal to reach normal sound levels but this was not affecting the sound quality. However, the Nakamichi/Cary combo sounds pretty bad.

The input sensitivity for the amp is 0.45V for full output and the deck should be putting out close to 1 volt with the output level set to max.

Any ideas?
  #2  
Old 08-12-2017, 04:36 PM
Niels's Avatar
Niels Niels is offline
440 Fanatic
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Moraira, Spain.
Posts: 816
Did you try putting the output level on the LX5 on 50%? Maybe you need some -20db attenuators on the cables going into the Cary from the LX5, Rothwell and others makes them.
__________________
Bryston B100 SST DA, Squeezebox, Micro Seiki BL77, MA707, Audio Technica AT33 PTG II, Rothwell MCL, Musical Fidelity V-LPS II, Cambridge BD751, Tandberg TCD 440 A, Nakamichi LX5, Martin Logan Aeon i, REL subs.
  #3  
Old 08-12-2017, 04:40 PM
CaryAudio CaryAudio is offline
Buh-bye.
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 1,188
Cary tube amps are ruthlessly revealing of everything upstream.
  #4  
Old 08-12-2017, 05:50 PM
80stech 80stech is offline
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 452
Input transformer quality or impedance mismatch ?
__________________
BX150,BX300,MR1,RX505,670ZX,ZX7,ZX9,Dragon,5*TD700 : Modded Tube Magic P46, 2*Rotel RB-870, Sony PSX555ES/Sumiko Talisman S/Borbely Phono Stage and headphone amp, Axiom Ax-5's MHZS CD33, IRD Purist passive pre, HK citation 12, Focal 706v,TAD320
  #5  
Old 08-12-2017, 06:24 PM
Vinylthunder Vinylthunder is offline
TapeHeads.Net Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 63
The reason this is weird is because the Cary sounds great when I play CDs or my turntable and the deck only sounds bad when plugged into the Cary. The headphone output on the deck sounds great. I don't have my volt meter with me but I want to measure the output. I have a feeling is going to show low values.

I don't know what the impedance is for the deck or the amp. Is not on the owners manual. Tomorrow I will have a BX300. It will be interesting to see if it shows the the same issue.
  #6  
Old 08-12-2017, 06:40 PM
john from seattle john from seattle is offline
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Tacoma Washington
Posts: 2,280
Have you checked the position of the line out or output pot to ensure it's not set really low.

The LX-5 and many other better decks will have a variable output and thus need to be set to a certain level to achieve proper levels on playback, I think for many, it's 2'Oclock or so if a rotary knob to achieve proper output levels, or it'll be either too low, or too hot and distortion can set in.

Just a thought as you seem to need to push the Marantz to get proper levels so it may be you have the output level for the deck on the low side.

If you don't have the manual, you can likely get it through HIFi Engine and view it to see what they recommend for the setting.

Also, the Cary may be not as sensitive in the preamp section and may well be very ruthless in what it presents so if your tapes are not up to snuff, it'll show as Cary Audio has already intimated.
__________________


my system Kenwood KD12-RB turntable, SHURE M97xE cart, Muffsy PP3 phono pre, Receiver: Sherwood RX4030R, TEAC A4300SX R2R, Denon DCM-370 CD changer, Speakers: sansui SP1700 and in testing/restoration phase, Sansui SP-3000, eMachines PC for multimedia use and recently got a Nakamichi BX100 cassette deck
  #7  
Old 08-12-2017, 07:10 PM
Vinylthunder Vinylthunder is offline
TapeHeads.Net Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 63
I do have the manual and I been pushing the level knob as high as it will go without distortion. It is set at about +3.

This is a little disappointing because I know how to recognize a good source and right now the LX5 is not doing it for me. With the Cary you can never tell the sound is coming from the speakers because it images so well but not with this deck. It could be a million different things, so I will just be patient and continue to work with this deck to get as much out of it as I can. Maybe replacing the caps for the power amp will help.
  #8  
Old 08-12-2017, 07:44 PM
Tapetech's Avatar
Tapetech Tapetech is offline
Repair Professional
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Washington DC area
Posts: 3,944
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinylthunder View Post
I do have the manual and I been pushing the level knob as high as it will go without distortion. It is set at about +3.

.
What level knob? If you are talking about the output level knob on the tape deck, it should always be at full CW.

If you put the tape deck level knob at full CW and you get distortion then you have a defective tape deck. Likely a defect output muting circuit.
__________________
44 years professional audio repair experience. Specialize in NAK, Revox, Sony ES.
Tim@MusicTechnology.com**** WWW.MusicTechnology.com
5418 Port Royal Rd, Springfield, VA 22151,**** 703-764-7005, EXT 107
  #9  
Old 08-12-2017, 08:46 PM
Vinylthunder Vinylthunder is offline
TapeHeads.Net Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 63
Yes, that is the one I was talking about. I didn't know it was recommended to move it all the way to the top. I am trying it that way now. I also been recording the tapes a bit hotter than before going all the way to +8 dB as recommended by the owners manual when using type II tapes. It seems to be working much better now.

By the way, the max output on my CD player is 2V which is double the output of the LX5. Not sure about the phono pre but I have a feeling that is also higher.

I also cleaned the heads and made sure all the settings on the deck were correct which they were.

I been recording vinyl to tape but next I will try CD to tape with something very simple like jazz vocals.
  #10  
Old 08-12-2017, 09:04 PM
Tapetech's Avatar
Tapetech Tapetech is offline
Repair Professional
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Washington DC area
Posts: 3,944
You may risk running the tape into distortion if recording at +8 peak with type II. +3 to +5 meter level should be fine.

Your CD player normally has much higher output level than your tape deck, so it is normal for you to turn your system volume knob up higher when listening to the tape deck.. That does not indicate any defect.
__________________
44 years professional audio repair experience. Specialize in NAK, Revox, Sony ES.
Tim@MusicTechnology.com**** WWW.MusicTechnology.com
5418 Port Royal Rd, Springfield, VA 22151,**** 703-764-7005, EXT 107
  #11  
Old 08-12-2017, 11:15 PM
Vinylthunder Vinylthunder is offline
TapeHeads.Net Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 63
i just realized that even minor discrepancies on the L&R recording levels would mess the original channel separation of the source and lead to poor imaging. i am going to try playing with that next to see if it helps.
  #12  
Old 08-13-2017, 05:41 AM
ckouli's Avatar
ckouli ckouli is offline
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Montreal, Que.
Posts: 895
"Cary tube amps are revealing of everything upstream".

This is nonsense. The problem here is of a technical nature, not subjective.
  #13  
Old 08-13-2017, 09:55 AM
Vinylthunder Vinylthunder is offline
TapeHeads.Net Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 63
I am going to try to describe what I am hearing, not easy...

Normally the sound on my Cary is focus right in between the two speakers

When speaker placement is perfect with respect to where you sit the sound appears to be coming from an imaginary center speaker

Then there is the sound stage were there is some left and right channel separation. The sound within that sound stage is dynamic, you can hear different instruments and vocals separated in space depending on how the source was mix. But it rarely appears to be coming from the speakers.

I can tell the LX5 is trying to recreate that effect and sometimes it succeeds to focus simple elements like vocals. However, the left and right channels are more defined. You can easily recognized that there are different parts of the sound coming from each of the speakers.

My question is about whether or not I should expect better results. For example, if I had the deck serviced by a professional tech.

I know that properly servicing the deck will have many benefits but this question is specific about imaging and the cassette media. As in like am I asking for something that is just not there with cassettes?

I am still learning about all this and having lots of fun. I know the tape media is great, and when you think about it, the source for all analog music was tape. Right? As in like vinyl was recorded from master tapes.

The more time I spend tweaking things the more I understand about how good tapes can be as well as their limitations. Is all part of what makes this fun.
  #14  
Old 08-13-2017, 10:32 AM
Nakdoc's Avatar
Nakdoc Nakdoc is offline
Highly Biased
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 6,622
I am confused. Did you solve the low volume problem? A tube preamp is immune to input overload, the LX5 output is 1 volt, and input impedance is very high, so that leaves hookup. Are you connecting the Nak output to the record out on your Cary? Record out impedance is 1k and would explain the low levels.
  #15  
Old 08-13-2017, 11:04 AM
Vinylthunder Vinylthunder is offline
TapeHeads.Net Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 63
Volume problem was solved but imaging quality still lacking. I am hooking up the turntable pre to the LX5 input and then out to the Cary via Aux input. No record out on the Cary.
  #16  
Old 08-13-2017, 11:16 AM
livin livin is online now
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 390
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinylthunder View Post
I know that properly servicing the deck will have many benefits but this question is specific about imaging and the cassette media. As in like am I asking for something that is just not there with cassettes?.
Im very picky when it comes to Soundstaging and Imaging. YES cassette decks are capable of amazing soundstage reproduction . Both my cassette decks and my RtR image is identical to the source image definitely not a limitation of the tape media.

I usually use Eric Clapton Unplugged album for this as it's a live performance and he sits slightly off-center of the stage, now that vinyl images his position correctly I make sure that "position" is re-created by tape too. He and his guitar have to be in the same spot.


Oh one another (major) thing that can affect imaging is bias, if the rec-level and biasing are not spot-on (for the tape being used) it can localize the sound to a speaker. I've personally experienced that too.

I think your deck needs servicing

Hope this helps.

Last edited by livin; 08-13-2017 at 11:39 AM.
  #17  
Old 08-13-2017, 11:41 AM
Tapetech's Avatar
Tapetech Tapetech is offline
Repair Professional
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Washington DC area
Posts: 3,944
Are you saying that with a CD player as source for the Cary, you have a strong center image and with the LX5 as a source, you don't have a strong center image?

Do you have any commercial cassettes (pre-recorded)? Play one of those and see if the problem persists. If yes, then you could be missing a ground connection somewhere. Perhaps on the LX5 output jacks or a bad RCA cable on the LX5 output. Try new RCA cables. Or connect a piece of wire to a screw on the bottom of the LX5 and then connect the other end to the outer shield of the LX5 output jack.

If none of the above, then your turntable could be missing a ground connection. A bad cable on the LX5 line input or a broken wire connection inside your turntable or inside the tonearm. Check wires from cartridge to headshell.
__________________
44 years professional audio repair experience. Specialize in NAK, Revox, Sony ES.
Tim@MusicTechnology.com**** WWW.MusicTechnology.com
5418 Port Royal Rd, Springfield, VA 22151,**** 703-764-7005, EXT 107
  #18  
Old 08-13-2017, 11:44 AM
john from seattle john from seattle is offline
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Tacoma Washington
Posts: 2,280
One thing to be aware of is your LX-5 is now over 30 years old as it was made between 1981-1985 and thus is likely ripe for servicing/calibration/recapping and I'd also ensure you have your channels connected right, as it right channel of deck to right channel of integrated and so on.

It's easy to swap cables around and get left mixed with right accidentally if you aren't careful, not saying you did as such, but it never hurts to check.
__________________


my system Kenwood KD12-RB turntable, SHURE M97xE cart, Muffsy PP3 phono pre, Receiver: Sherwood RX4030R, TEAC A4300SX R2R, Denon DCM-370 CD changer, Speakers: sansui SP1700 and in testing/restoration phase, Sansui SP-3000, eMachines PC for multimedia use and recently got a Nakamichi BX100 cassette deck
  #19  
Old 08-13-2017, 11:59 AM
macman007's Avatar
macman007 macman007 is offline
Live Long and Prosper..
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Hanover, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 5,095
I read all the posts, unless I missed it the speakers used are not mentioned. There are speakers that sound better with a digital source as well as amps/preamps. Sometimes analog brings something to the table, other times not so much. Some gear doesn't have good synergy. HOWEVER, considering the quality's of an LX-5, I would not think this to be the case imaging and tonal quality should be the same as the source on a decent tape, all things being equal. You may want to look into the LX-5, if it hasn't been serviced, things do really drift over time, and the fact is if your Marantz is in the same boat, it may also need service. The combination of the 2 may be pleasing because of what each gives to the other. Between the 2 you may not be hearing the truth, the Cary being more truthful to the source, in this case the LX-5

People say a well designed component shouldn't bring any 'flavor' to the music. In my experience thats BS, all gear has a 'sound'. You may want to try some tube rolling as well, thats another of those pursuits that can radically alter the flavor, for both better or worse depending on the tube/component combination...

Last edited by macman007; 08-13-2017 at 12:01 PM.
  #20  
Old 08-13-2017, 12:06 PM
Vinylthunder Vinylthunder is offline
TapeHeads.Net Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 63
Great info. Specially from livin. All cables and connections are correct and turntable and cd play as the should. The conclusion is that I should try to tweak levels and bias to see if I can make better recordings but also should plan for a full restoration by a professional tech. In brief, the LX5 can do it if working well. Thanks so much
Reply


Would you like to see your company or site here?  CONTACT US
For more Tapeheads affiliates and links, see the Links and Resources page.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The true Nakamichi Tape Deck: Nakamichi 1000 DAT deck Chris G Ones and Zeroes 29 11-09-2015 01:36 PM
Rank best sound tube amplifiers samwei Receivers, Amps, and Preamps - Solid-State 11 07-24-2015 10:00 AM
Nak LX-3 Playback - Poor Sound Quality CAPacelli Cassette 11 07-19-2015 08:10 AM
CARY SLI 80 SIGNATURE INTEGRATED Chipmunk Tube Gear - Preamps, Power and More! 4 02-11-2015 06:01 AM
JVC DD-9 Very Poor Sound? humanben Cassette 8 12-22-2012 05:10 AM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:45 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2016, Tapeheads.Net. All rights reserved, no use of any element incorporated into this site without express written permission.