What are your thoughts on the Dragon tape deck?

Anyone out there with experience good or bad on the Nakamichi Dragon? Is it really that good? Thanks, Steve
Cassette tape, 1/8", running at 1 3/4 IPS, can NOT be considered a high-end source. The tape is too narrow and the writing speed is too slow. So why bother with an expensive deck? The format is a sows ear. Don
I always thought that the Tandberg 3014 was a better sounding cassette deck. Front loading, looks great, built like a tank. Nak is a good one though, and probably second on my list. I agree that cassette is not the greatest tape format, but if you want cassette, check out the 3014 as well. It can be gotten for less than the Dragon.
I have not owned the Dragon, but I have owned other top Nak's, like the ZX-7 and 9, CR-7A and 680. Contrary to Elgordo's comments, as it appears he hasn't owned one, you would quite amazed at its performance. With a good tape, you would be hard pressed to tell the source you copied from the tape you made, assuming the deck is aligned properly.
Hi, I have the Nak CR-7A and very recently sold my Dragon. If you still make cassettes, the Dragon is the best I've heard. In the car, you cannot tell the difference between a CD and a Dragon-made cassette. The CR-7A is very close in performance and perhaps easier to use because you can't manually adjust for bias and azimuth as you can on the Dragon. My Dragon was 18 yrs old but still performing flawlessly. I believe they were built to last. It is an excellent deck. FYI, in my recent experience, Dragons sell for more on eBay than they do here. In other words, you may be able to pick up one for less on this site. But if you are selling, list on eBay. It just depends on how many are being offered at the time you're looking or selling.
I agree with Sc53. I still have my CR-7A, but hardly use it as I can make any CD for the car on my computer. I also like the transportability of the CDs better, the reliability and the fact that a decent quality blank CD-R costs about 50 cents or less, which is much less than a good quality cassette tape. While the Nak's sound great (so does the Tandburg by the way), I'm not so sure it's a medium worth investing in these days.
Speaking of investing and Nak decks, let's go back a few years... I've got a 582, which was top of the line in 1980, that I've been nursing along all these years. It has 3 heads, adjustable azimuth, etc. Sent back to Nak 3x, and the third they didn't fix it right. I'd still like functionality in the casette medium.

Can anyone offer experience on how the 582 compares to these other (newer) decks?

I figure getting it fixed might cost me $100, whereas buying a used newer version would cost more. Sorry if this is an intrusion, I figure there are only a few people these days versed in the world of Nak's!
I agree with the positive sonic assessments above. It is a great sounding deck. My only negative comment about it was I found it didn't "like" a few cassettes that I had. By this I mean these cassettes would run a tiny bit slower than they should. I had my Dragon thoroughly checked by 2 different technicians before I sold it and it checked out in perfect condition. However, these cassettes ran fine in 2 other decks I had.

I have heard other stories on Nak's service, send your deck to Jeffrey at www.eslabs.com or Steven Sank at http://stephensank.com; these guys will get it right the first time and have it better than new.
Hi Peter,
I used to own the 582 WAY back in 1980. I loved that deck and it made great sounding tapes that I still play in my car! It kept breaking down, however, and finally bit the dust several years ago. I couldn't throw it out, however. It gave real pleasure while it was working. So it now lies at rest in my friend's garage, I guess waiting on a nephew or great-grandchild or somebody who wants it and knows how to repair it. My CR-7A and Dragon did not ever break down. I have them serviced by a local hi fi shop that services vintage gear. I guess they could fix the 582 also, but I think it needs new heads and capstans and everything by now, so it wouldn't be worth it.
Besides the above, some of the Revox and Studer decks are also amazing and compete with the Dragons and Tandbergs (and may be cheaper than the Dragons too).
I don't have a Dragon but own a 682ZX.Personally, I think that autoreverse has no place in a serious deck.680ZX,682ZX,700ZXL and 1000ZXL are the Nak's best.Tandbergs-3014A and 3004 are great.Yes, I can tell the difference between the source and the tape.However,put a metal tape in any of these decks and make a recording from a good turntable, and all this digital junk will be unable to compete.Cassette decks are not obsolete at all.
Inna, you base your ordering of Nak's "best" on what? This can be quite subjective, but those that have great knowledge of the Nak line would disagree with your ordering, though they are nice decks. The Dragon's auto-reverse design is excellent and if I could pick any deck, I would choose it; I do believe some other Nak's are slighly better on recording, but for playback, w/the Dragon's features, it's hard to beat!
Let's hear those with 'great knowledge'.I would also like to add that cables are very important;I use Purist Audio Maximus.
Don't take offense Inna, if you have. Go to Naks.com, sign up for Naktalk and spend some time on the list and you can gain a wealth of knowledge, if it is still being participated by many, I haven't been on there in awhile.
I just spoke with a certified Nak repairman, who told me that the mechanisms on the RX, BX, CR, MR, and DR series are inferior relative to other Nak series. He said that the best Nak tape mechanisms last for decades (still yet to have an endpoint). This includes the Dragon, the 58X series, and others that he did not mention (I assume all but those listed above).
I've owned a Dragon since 1987. It's a great cassette deck. No one has mentioned it's key claim to fame: automatic azimuth adjustment. The deck continuously adjusts the azimuth of the playback head during tape movement to match the tape in use. This ensures best high frequency response from the tape, and best noise reduction performance.

Because of auto azimuth adjustment (and dual capstan transport) tapes play back equally well in both directions, so there is no penalty for auto reverse.

The only drawback the deck has to me is that it pre-dates Dolby S noise reduction and only has B and C.
Sank says he is an "Authorised Servicer" because he is NOT an Authorized servicer, I checked with Nak, he apparently mis-spells Authorized to mislead people, because he knows it is mis-spelled, I told him. Perhaps he also hopes it will help him to avoid legal action by Nak against him, I can only imagine. I would not advise dealing with him, I began digging after he said he accomplished some repairs to my amp, and it came back in worse shape then when I sent it to him.....

Caveat Emptor

To me, it totally depends on how many cassettes you own, intend to make and listen to. I cannot speak of the Dragon from my own experience but I am familiar with the 700s, 550s and 670zx each of which I have owned or extensively used. Because I have 20+ years worth of high quality recordings and/or live or irreplaceable tapes, I consider my cassette decks indispensible. That being said, if you do not have a substantial investment in cassettes, I do not believe it is the wave of the future and even with the finest recordings through the finest equipment, there is a slight difference between source and tape.
I used to sell Nak decks back in the mid 80's, but was not all that impressed with the Dragon. I felt that it had a darker sound when compared to the newer decks like the CR7a, which was my favorite. Also, the cassettes I recorded on the Dragon never sounded that good in my car stereo deck. I agree that the ZX and ZXL decks had better mechanisms, but could not compete sonically with the CR7A- more extended on the top and bottom. For auto reverse I'd go with the RX505, watching the cassette flip makes me think how smart these Nak guys were. All this is moot as age has decomposed all my cassettes and cds players have replaced cassette decks in cars.
Anyone have an opinion on the Nak 480? My local hi-fi store has a used one for $140. I have a bunch of tapes of my sister's various bands I want burn to CD.


In regard to the above comment regarding Steve Sank. My friends and I have sent approximately 50 pieces to Steve Mostly Dragons ,700ZXLs 1000ZXLs Tandbergs, Revox and others. And refered many people .Every piece was fixed prefectly many better than new. Steve is the Best .
LUxman actually had some very good tape decks in the early to mid 80s...I wish I had the model #...but I bought one of the first decks to have dolby C...3 head/3 motor design...for around $500...it had a "mechanized" faceplate which moved when turned on/off...kind of gimmicky...but the deck itself sounded very good...compared it to similiarly priced NAK decks at the time...and it was superior...later sold it to a college buddy...who still uses it to this day...hard to find though...check ebay...
The LUxman deck was a kx-100....
Sank is capable of good work, under some conditions, but he is also capable of taking money not earned and returning gear in worse shape than it was in when it was sent. Not only that, but things he seems to never get done on time. I had to resort to threats to get an amp back weeks after it was supposed to have been fixed, that is, the agreed upon absolute deadline.

Sank said it was plenty of time, but then had lame excuse after lame excuse. It was also returned in worse shape than when it was sent. He claimed a "slight" oscillation in the right channel was the hold up, but both channels were bad, and only one was out when it was sent.

Admittedly Stasis amps are a pain to get right, due to the local rather than global feedback employed in them. Be that as it may, he claimed to have experiance with them, if so, he should have known about matching the input devices, which cures oscillation issues. He apparently did not. I do not have a transistor tester, so I cannot work on Stasis amps either, though I do not claim to be able too.

All this could easily be forgiven or over looked had he not claimed to know this amp! As it is, he makes promises he does not keep, does not refund money when he fails, and ignores his 90 day "guarentee" when it suits him to do so.

For me to not warn others of this would be irresponsible of me. Everyone but 2 people I know of who have dealt with him have at least encountered long delays, if NONE of those you know of have, I have to wonder if you are not really Steven Sank! If MOST of them have, well then, ok, that is the Sank we all seem to know. You have all been fortunate that he has not run into something he cannot fix I guess.