1976 Hacker HCD-1000; Cassette Unit

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Adding further to my 1970’s audio setup, I was in the market for a 70’s cassette deck.  I didn’t fancy one of those shiny silver units and certainly not the matt black ones. I was specifically after something with wood and preferably not Sony. I have a Sony TC-131SD and to be honest I didn’t like it, in fact I’ve never much liked anything from Sony be it audio or visual.

Anyway, last week I found this rather pleasing little gem. A Hacker HCD1000, still with its original box, paperwork, allegedly working and at a Buy-it-now price I was comfortable with. Today it arrived, it was unboxed and happily arrived safe, here’s some pics. Later I’ll get it hooked up to an amp and see if it does indeed work. I’ll also scan the brochure and manual for the library.

Still looking for a schematic (see here).

1976 Hacker HCD-1000; Cassette Unit 1 1976 Hacker HCD-1000; Cassette Unit 2

The Actual Unit

1976 Hacker HCD-1000; Cassette Unit 3 1976 Hacker HCD-1000; Cassette Unit 4 1976 Hacker HCD-1000; Cassette Unit 5 1976 Hacker HCD-1000; Cassette Unit 6 1976 Hacker HCD-1000; Cassette Unit 7

 

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Marconi_MPT4
Member
Reply to  crustytv
1 month ago

Posted by: @crustytv
Hmm might have to invest in a head demagnitiser, can you still buy them?

Absolutely essential for any service and repair. Allegedly the tape mechanism is an OEM Nakamichi no less.
Rich

Marconi_MPT4
Member
Reply to  crustytv
1 month ago
Posted by: @crustytv

Hi Rich, I’ll pick one up then, though I’ve got my eye on a period one which I’d prefer. Yes, I had read that about Nakamichi as well, it would be nice to see if this could be confirmed or if it was just a myth.

I am still using my vintage Eagle International head demagnetiser, purchased in 1978 from a shop in Tottenham Court Road. It was found in a box of surplus (junk) odds and ends, all for a sum of £0.20.

Overall from the photos your HCD-1000 appears to be in fairly good condition, how does the record/replay head wear profile check out?

£35 for any type of calibration tape is reasonable when compared with those very expensive tapes supplied by Revox and others, at least cassettes operate at one speed!

Rich

Cathovisor
Member
1 month ago

Posted by: @crustytv
Hmm might have to invest in a head demagnitiser, can you still buy them?

https://www.analogueseduction.net/de-magnetising/analogue-studio-tape-head-demagnetiser.html

Cathovisor
Member
1 month ago

I wonder if the electronics owe anything to Nakamichi too? Something like the 600 perhaps?
https://zstereo.co.uk/2013/02/03/nakamichi-600/
(got one of these in its box )

Cathovisor
Member
1 month ago

Proper line-up tapes produced to very specific flux levels were horrendously expensive in the past (and still are): you would be hung, drawn and quartered if you brought one anywhere near a tape machine without first degaussing the heads and then at the very least making sure that every channel had the ‘SAFE’ button pressed (this disabled the record circuitry). If it was possible, I used to pull the bias oscillator board out too.
The BASF tapes we used were 320 nWeber/m – and I think there’s a dance track where the German woman who tells you about the levels on the tape has been sampled!
https://www.canford.co.uk/Products/25-254_MRL-TEST-TAPE-21T204
Look at the price… trust me, you only wanted to line an A800 up fully once.
The BBC also produced its own line-up tapes for 1/4″ machines at 7.5 and 15 ips.

Cathovisor
Member
1 month ago

Very reasonable, I’d say!
Azimuth on 1/4″ machines was done by using a full-width recorded tape at 10kHz and putting the two channels into an oscilloscope in X-Y and then adjusting to get the resulting Lissajous figure as a diagonal line, working on the premise that you couldn’t get the replay head that wrong that it’d end up one cycle out.
On a cassette machine you adjusted for maximum HF response (that’ll be what the 3150Hz section is for, I’d wager). It’s very unlikely you’ll need to touch the azimuth on your machine.

Nuvistor
Member
1 month ago

Most consumer decks had no alignment for equalisation, two checks were speed and azimuth, if the components were within spec that was all that usually required.

Appreciate for broadcast, recording studio etc equipment was a lot more complicated and many more checks would be required.

I had a Philips test tape, it did the job and at today’s prices would probably equal £35.

Just thinking about the azimuth on many cassette decks the adjustment screw very often had a coarse thread, not good for accurate setting.

Cathovisor
Member
30 days ago
Posted by: @Marconi_MPT4

I am still using my vintage Eagle International head demagnetiser, purchased in 1978 from a shop in Tottenham Court Road. It was found in a box of surplus (junk) odds and ends, all for a sum of £0.20.

My head demagnetiser came from AudioVision, of 8 Cowgate in Peterborough in about 1977. Happy days. And yes, I still have it and it still gets used as needed.

Cathovisor
Member
28 days ago

I still have all my cassettes, and all my LPs.
One day, I will just sit back and play the lot.

Katie Bush
Member
Reply to  Cathovisor
27 days ago
Posted by: @Cathovisor

I still have all my cassettes, and all my LPs.

One day, I will just sit back and play the lot.

I still have all of my vinyl, but some of it was “done to death” in my younger years. I never really did buy much on cassette, simply because I bought the vinyl, and if I wanted a cassette for the car, I just copied it across. There were occasions when I might have bought an occasional cassette whilst away from home – say, an excursion over to Blackpool! but that very much the exception to the rule.

As you may recall me mentioning, I bought my Steinberg audio processing software with the intention of digitising and restoring all that ageing vinyl, though I never got beyond a few specially selected recordings, but now, with the likes of BMG/Sony Music/UMO etc. grabbing up the rights to all those old recordings, it sort of makes my efforts somewhat redundant.

Some years back, when I visited a local ‘Civic Amenities’ centre, (affectionately known as “The Skip Yard”) I espied a mountain of vinyl in a corner of the yard (this was when you could actually buy and save things from destruction). I bought/saved as much as I could afford, and a friend bought a load more for her car boot stall – there were thousands of records there, far more than anyone could possibly have rescued.

The sad part for vinyl is that it is now just another raw material for ‘upcycling’ – at best, it survives as a clock on someone’s kitchen wall, and at worst, ‘drooled’ over an upturned pot in a hot oven, and turned into some hideous flowerpot.

 

Ferrographman
Member
Reply to  Katie Bush
11 days ago

@Katie Bush I have just recently ‘found’ approximately 130 78’s in my fathers garage in an old red battered tin chest. The chest  was something I remember seeing a a child, but never knew what was in it. 54yrs later I opened it, and, to my surprise found all this vinyl, untouched for so many years. It has now gone to a collector, who hopefully is enjoying the music. 

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