Nakamichi 1000 DAT Repair And Restoration

Nakamichi was known mostly for their cassette decks but they built a few outstanding digital products like this digital audio tape deck.

This Nakamichi 1000 DAT needs some repair and restoration as the sound played back has a lot of distortion.

Thick aluminum up to 3/16 of an inch thick as well as solid copper and heavy copper plate throughout the chassis for electromagnetic shielding..

The workmanship and the attention to detail of this Nakamichi 1000 DAT would rival most of the high end stereo equipment of today.

I have removed the bottom covers from this Nakamichi 1000 Digital Audio Recorder (DAT) during this repair and restoration.

The power supply sits at the bottom of the chassis. Like all of the assemblies in the Nakamichi 1000 DAT modular plug-in connectors are used.

As I have a distortion issue I have removed the faceplate so that I can take a better look at the drive assembly.

With the faceplate removed it's much easier to see how the tape is loading/unloading as well as how the tape is running along the tape path.

With a playback issue the first step is to clean up the tape path. Many tape drive issues are caused by a dirty tape path.

In this case even after cleaning the tape path of this Nakamichi 1000 DAT I still had distorted audio when playing back a tape.

I now have removed the Nakamichi 1000 digital audio tape drive unit from the chassis so that I can take a closer look at it.

It's always a good idea to take pictures before you start to remove any cables so that you can reference them if needed.

I notice that there are some 30 year old electrolytic capacitors on the assembly that attaches to the Nakamichi 1000 DAT drive unit.

 I have started to replace the capacitors. I have the drive out of the unit so it only takes a few minutes and a couple of dollars to replace them.

With new capacitors in place I'll reinstall the assembly to the drive unit and continue to troubleshoot the distorted audio issue.

I tried reseating the various plug-in connectors within the Nakamichi 1000 DAT but this didn't help the playback distortion issue.

I also reseated the cables on the RF amplifier assembly that attaches to the drive assembly and again that didn't help with the distorted audio.

One thing that made the troubleshooting of this Nakamichi 1000 DAT difficult was that I couldn't find a service manual for it.

This is the first unit that I have ever worked on that I couldn't find a service manual but I'll have to make due without it.

I set up a small table in front of my main workbench so that I could hook the cables up from the faceplate to the chassis.

With the faceplate hooked up I could use it to control the unit as normal. I could load/unload the tape, play, rewind etc.

I could see that the tape tension appeared to be questionable in this Nakamichi 1000 digital audio tape recorder..

I took a good look at the tape path and I couldn't see anything obvious during this Nakamichi 1000 DAT repair and restoration.

I removed the pinch roller and cleaned it up well but that didn't help me with the distortion issue

Without a service manual I worked on this DAT from my experience with other tape decks. Not the best option but the only option.

I finally fixed the distortion issue in this Nakamichi 1000 DAT by adjusting the back tension slightly.

I reassembled the Nakamichi 1000 DAT. I then installed it into a stereo system with the 1000P and 1000MB for testing.

I did some recording as well as playback. I also played back on my Fostex D-15 DAT. It sounded good so I think the setup is close to being correct.

This Nakamichi 1000 Digital Audio Tape (DAT) Recorder repair and restoration in complete. It's time for some music!