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The 3000/4000/5000-series

The models from the 3000, 4000, and 5000 series are all single motor decks. Both 3000-series and 5000-series contain only one model. The 4000-series contains a lot of models and is probably the best selling series in Akai's history because of their low price, reliability and durability.

The sets from the 3000 and 4000 series are all three-head sets; some have a built-in main amplifier but most of them don't.

3000D (ca. 1968 - ca. 1970)

The 3000D is the only set from the 3000-series and probably the first Akai set with only one motor and three seperated heads. The front panel says this is a "solid-state" set and thus works with germanium semi-conductors.

The motor only has one speed and a couple of friction wheels to drive the reel tables. The higher 7.5 i.p.s. speed can be obtained by shifting the speed change sleeve over the capstan spindle. When the lower speed is used, the speed change sleeve was "stored" on the front panel of this set. There is a seperate switch for setting the equalization. All tape functions are controlled by two large levers, like Akai already did for many years.

This mechanism appeared to be accurate and robust and most single motor sets were equiped with this mechanism. Sony favoured a one lever control which also worked fine but was much more complicated. Akai continued using this system until the GX-4000D in 1984.

At the end of the tape the power could be shut off. The 3000D prnciples were continued into the 4000-series for many years.


3000D Specifications

Track system: 4-track, 2 channel stereo system

Tape speed: 3.75 ips and 7.5 ips (7.5 ips with adapter)

Total Wow and Flutter: Less than 0.15% @ 7 1/2 ips.

Frequency response: 30 to 22,000 Hz +/- 3 dB @ 7.5

30 to 14,000 Hz +/- 3 dB @ 3.75 ips

S/N ratio: Better than 50 dB @ 7.5 ips

FFWD/RWD time: 150 sec. using a 1.200 ft tape at 50 Hz and 120 secs. at 60 Hz

Main motor: induction motor; model:

Reel motors: n.a.

Heads

Erase Head:

Recording head:

Playback head:

Dimensions: 300 (H) x 400(W) x 140 (D) mm.

Weight: 11.5 kg.

Power consumption: 30 W.

Listed new: about $ 300.00


4000D (ca. 1970 - ca. 1972)

This deck looks very much like the 3000D, so I will give the 3000D description here as well. The difference can be found in the heads they used. Most sets from the 4000-series have the "one-micron-gap" technology. Those heads have a gap which is only 1micron wide. "A higher frequency range could be achieved by using these heads", says the Akai 1971 magazine. However the specs according the frequency range of the 4000D are similar to the 3000D specs!!

The front panel says this is a "solid-state" set and thus works with germanium semi-conductors. The motor only has one speed and a couple of friction wheels to drive the reel tables. The higher 7.5 i.p.s. speed can be obtained by shifting the speed change sleeve over the capstan spindle. When the lower speed is used, the speed change sleeve was "stored" on the front panel of this set. There is a seperate switch for setting the equalization.

All tape funcions are controlled by two large levers, like Akai already did for many years. This mechanism appeared to be accurate and robust and most single motor sets were equiped with this mechanism. Sony favoured a one lever control which also worked fine but was much more complicated. Akai continued using this system until the GX-4000D in 1984.

At the end of the tape the power could be shut off.


4000D Specifications

Track system: 4-track, 2 channel stereo system

Tape speed: 3.75 ips and 7.5 ips (7.5 ips with adapter)

Total Wow and Flutter: Less than 0.15% @ 7 1/2 ips.

Frequency response: 30 to 22,000 Hz +/- 3 dB @ 7.5

30 to 14,000 Hz +/- 3 dB @ 3.75 ips

S/N ratio: Better than 50 dB @ 7.5 ips

FFWD/RWD time: 150 sec. using a 1.200 ft tape at 50 Hz and 120 secs. at 60 Hz

Main motor: induction motor; model:

Reel motors: n.a.

Heads

Erase Head:

Recording head:

Playback head:

Dimensions: 300 (H) x 400(W) x 140 (D) mm.

Weight: 11.5 kg.

Power consumption: 30 W.

Listed new: about $ 300.00 in 1971


4000D-PRO (unknown)

This is an extremely rare deck from the 4000-series. It's a 3-head 2-track deck with 7.5 and 15 ips speeds.

Basically that means it is a 2 Track stereo machine, not the usualy 1/4 track, and won't play normal 1/4 track pre-recorded tapes. There are five machines that Akai made like this, for 2 Track Stereo: the 4000D-PRO; GX-400D-PRO; GX-600D-PRO; GX-630D-PRO and the PRO-1000.

I have neither seen this deck for sale anywhere nor in any Akai magazine. Therefore the year of manufacturing is unknown to me.

Since the VU meters and input knobs look a lot like those used on the GX-230D I guess it's a 1975 deck.

It has a much thicker capstan speed change sleeve than the other decks from the 4000-series and a smaller pinch roller as well.

To obtain a better tape handling the 4000D-PRO has an additional tension arm near the left reel.

Its functions and mechanism are like the other decks from the 4000-series but this PRO model does not have a sound on sound switch.


The 4000DS (ca. 1972-ca. 1976), 4000DB (1975-1976) and 4000DSMKII (1976-1978)

The 4000DS is the succesor of the 4000D and has an additional sound-on-sound function; hence the "S" behind the "D". It also has a tape selector switch. Although the heads remained the same, a higher frequency range was achieved again, probably by using silicon semi-conductors. Mounting the reels on the reel-tables still took place by means of rubber reel retainers, although built-in reel lockers already existed for some years. Maybe they did that to keep the price low.

The 4000DSMKII has been a very succesful set and it sold lots of copies. Unfortunately it doesn't have a high resale value because of probably worn out and unavailable friction wheels.

The 4000DB is almost like the 4000DS. Like its modelnumber implies, Dolby encode and decode sets are present here which achieved a better signal to noise ratio. Akai also dropped the rubber reel retainers here in favour of the built-in reel lockers; i.m.o. something they should have done years before.

The 4000DSMKII is an improved version of the 4000DS. Except for the Dolby switch it looks exactly like the 4000DB. This one has been available in both silver and black finish.


4000DS Specifications

Track system: 4-track, 2 channel stereo system

Tape speed: 3.75 ips and 7.5 ips (7.5 ips with adapter)

Total Wow and Flutter: Less than 0.15% @ 7 1/2 ips.

Frequency response: 30 to 23,000 Hz +/- 3 dB @ 7.5

30 to 16,000 Hz +/- 3 dB @ 3.75 ips

S/N ratio: Better than 50 dB @ 7.5 ips

FFWD/RWD time: 150 sec. using a 1.200 ft tape at 50 Hz and 120 secs. at 60 Hz

Main motor: induction motor; model:

Reel motors: n.a.

Heads

Erase Head:

Recording head:

Playback head:

Dimensions: 314 (H) x 406(W) x 194 (D) mm.

Weight: 11.4 kg.

Power consumption:

Listed new: $ 350.00


GX-4000D and GX-4000DB (1978 - 1984)

This famous Akai set has been in production for many years. It's also this model which can be found most in on line-auctions and second hand goods websites.

The GX-4000D is again an improved version of the 4000DSMKII but has been equipped with Akai's GX heads, which are guaranteed for 150,000 hours of use and also achieved a higher frequency response.

The functions are again similar to those on the earlier 4000-series sets except for an extra "output" knob on the front panel and the thoroughly face-lift the GX-4000D has undergone.

Auto shut off is no longer present in the power switch but the motor will be turned off when the tension arm falls down; the VU meter lights remain on. The track selector knob is no longer mounted on the head cover but next to it. The capstan speed change sleeve (no, it still has a single speed capstan motor) is now hidden under the head cover when the lower 3.75 ips speed is used. This head cover can easily be pulled off when the heads need to be cleaned or demagnetized.

I think the mechanics and/or motor of the GX-4000D have been improved as well since the wow and flutter specs have been decreased by 50% according to the earlier 4000DSMKII. Signal to noise ratio is just like the 4000DB with Dolby N.R. activated.

Even the GX-4000D has been available with Dolby N.R. although this version is only seldom seen. I guess it even has not been available in Europe.

The Dolby switch on the GX-4000DB came in stead of the S.O.S. switch on the GX-4000D. However, the GX-4000DB still has an S.O.S. capability. How? To turn on the S.O.S. function you have to pull the left line in knob which has a built-in switch to obtain S.O.S. This pull out knob has also been used on the 4000DS and the 4000DSMKII for mono use.


GX-4000D Specifications

Track system: 4-track, 2 channel stereo system

Tape speed: 3.75 ips and 7.5 ips (7.5 ips with adapter)

Total Wow and Flutter: Less than 0.15% @ 7 1/2 ips.

Frequency response: 30 to 22,000 Hz +/- 3 dB @ 7.5

30 to 14,000 Hz +/- 3 dB @ 3.75 ips

S/N ratio: Better than 50 dB @ 7.5 ips

FFWD/RWD time: 150 sec. using a 1.200 ft tape at 50 Hz and 120 secs. at 60 Hz

Main motor: induction motor; model:

Reel motors: n.a.

Heads

Erase Head:

Recording head:

Playback head:

Dimensions: 300 (H) x 400(W) x 140 (D) mm.

Weight: 11.5 kg.

Power consumption: 30 W.

Listed new: about $ 300.00


4400 (ca. 1972), 4400D (ca. 1973) en GX-4400D (ca. 1975-1976)

The 4400 is probably the only model from the 4000-series with a built-in main amp. Its head cover reads: "convert-a-deck". A switch to turn on the main amp says "pure deck/complete system". The models from the 4400 series are a little higher than those from the 4000-series. When you remove the back panel you will see the extra height is a little deceptive. Akai made an additional L-shaped frame upon the standard 4000 chassis to create the extra height.

This higher set makes the reels fit into the face plate, which means you can also use the dustcover when the reels are in motion, something which is impossible with the 4000-series. All sets from the 4400-series have an output knob. Both 4400 and 4400D haven't been available in Europe as far as I know.

The GX-4400D has been available in Europe and is provided with Akai's Glass and X'tal Ferrite heads. All other specifications are like the 4400D. This GX-4400D is older than the GX-4000D but has about the same specs and provisions.


GX-4400D Specifications

Track system: 4-track, 2 channel stereo system

Tape speed: 3.75 ips and 7.5 ips (7.5 ips with adapter)

Total Wow and Flutter: Less than 0.1% @ 7 1/2 ips.

Frequency response: 30 to 23,000 Hz +/- 3 dB @ 7.5

30 to 16,000 Hz +/- 3 dB @ 3.75 ips

S/N ratio: Better than 60 dB @ 7.5 ips

FFWD/RWD time: 200 sec. using a 1.200 ft tape at 50 Hz

Main motor: induction motor; model:

Reel motors: n.a.

Heads

Erase Head:

Recording head:

Playback head:

Dimensions: 355 (H) x 412(W) x 194 (D) mm.

Weight: 12.5 kg.

Power consumption:

Listed new: $ 400.00 in 1975


4440D

Unfortunately I don't know anything about the 4440D. I only have a bad picture from that set. The shape of this deck is more like the 1700 sets. This set hasn't been available in Europe as far as I know; even in the U.S. it's pretty rare. I would be pleased if anyone could supply details and/or better pictures


X-5000W (ca. 1970 - ca. 1971)

The X-5000 has nothing to do with the sets from the 3000- and 4000-series: it has no 3-head system. The X-5000 ( and also the X-1810 and X-2000S ) are some of the few Akai reels with both a built-in main amp and the cross-field recording system. The main amps have been provided with integrated circuits.

Since the X-5000W has a two speed motor and a capstan speed change sleeve, it has three or even four speeds.

The X-5000W has a three mode equalizer switch, two microphone inputs, auto shut-off feature and of course left/right volume and rec level knobs. This set is pretty rare anywhere.


X-5000W Specifications

Track system: 4-track, 2 channel stereo system

Tape speed: 1 7/8 ips, 3.75 ips, 7.5 ips and 15 ips(?)

Total Wow and Flutter: Less than 0.13% @ 7.5 ips

Frequency response: 30 to 22.000 Hz +/- 3 dB @ 7.5 ips

S/N ratio: Better than 50 dB

FFWD/RWD time:

Main motor:

Reel motors: n.a.

Heads

Erase Head:

Recording/Playback head:

Bias head:

Dimensions:

Weight:

Power consumption:

Listed new: $ 400.00 in 1971



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Last Update - 2-7-2004 5:00 PM.



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