Mmmm. This long-ish story isn't about a Polk product. But it's about
something I found that drives my Polks just fine...
I was driving home last night, through Cambridge, MA, and though I don't
usually pick up things set out on trash night, I noticed a coffee table
in a useful size, and so pulled up to a real "basement cleanout" pile of
stuff. The coffee table? not the best, but it'll do, so into the wagon
it goes. On top of a broken dresser, though, was the real prize, a
Nakamichi 600 cassette deck, vintage 1977 or so. Looked dirty, smelled
funky, but it's all there. I tossed it in the back of my station wagon
with the table, and headed home.
The previous owners had left a Maxell UDS-1 90-minute tape in the deck,
fully wound to one end. I plugged in the 600, powered it on, and the
meters light and I test FF for a second, just to see if the motor runs.
What appears to be about ten years in a damp and dirty basement had left
the 600 a really dirty bird. So, off comes the case (five easy screws)
and front panel (four easy screws holding on the handles), and clean
Useful links: Classic Nakamichi webpage http://www.naks.com
Service for Nak decks http://www.eslabs.com
Novus plastic polishes
Isopropyl alcohol, canned air for the dust and cobwebs, and (I highly
recommend) Novus plastic polish #2 then #1 for all plastic parts,
including the case, meters and function keys. The plastic case was
pretty nasty, but dirt and black gunk buildup from plastic deterioration
over time polished right off. Novus #2 also did the job for the metal
faceplate and cassette holder, cleaning the matte paint finish and
leaving it as close to new-looking as I think it's going to get.
All cleaned, a final cleaning applied to the heads, and then the moment
of truth: in goes a tape that I don't care if it survives the
experience (a commercial tape of Dire Straits' _Brothers in Arms_), and
I push play. And...
The deck works, and plays perfectly. Rewind, fast forward, everything
works. The VU meters apear to be working and calibrated properly. All
the tape selection buttons work quietly, as do the volume and gain
controls. In goes a TDK SA-90, and I set it up to record from a CD
source. The gain controls are quiet, too.
Recording appears to work well, too. The right channels seems to be
recording a little bit quieter than the other, but I need to watch the
VU meters some more with some other sources. It's probably a good idea
to get the deck professionally serviced and adjusted, but it really
sounds okay as it is.
I found out why Nakamichi decks are so prized. A good tape in this deck
sounds *very* good indeed.
The tape the previous owner left in it was some medium-tempo
bluegrass-instrumental stuff. Weirdo. :)
I'm stunned. This deck cost $600 when new. It was stuck in a nasty
basement in working order and left to rot. Yet Nakamichi Research Inc.
produced a machine with many moving and delicate parts that could take
this kind of abuse and bounce back easily, ready for more.
I should recall from on loan the Scott 375R (75wpc) receiver that I
found in a similar trash heap three years ago, and the set of speakers
loaned to another friend that I found on the curb two years ago, and put
together as an all-curbside stereo system..