Showing posts with label UNITRA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UNITRA. Show all posts

23 October 2016

3 HEAD cassette deck rarities

vintage audio

In this article we take a closer look to some of the rarest 3 head cassette recorders. They were either market specific models or were only made in low numbers so they hardly ever show up for sale on the second hand market.

First in this line-up is the OPTONICA RT-9100H. Optonica was a brand name used by SHARP for their high-end audio gear. This model is not necessarily rare but is definitely one of the less known 3 head recorders....with 4 head. Yes it is a genuine 3 head recorder with monitor function however there was a 4th head that recorded signals to the tape for a sophisticated music search system. It was available as OPTONICA RT-9 in Japan, OPTONICA RT-9100 the rest of the world, while the black version was OPTONICA RT-6905 that came with an additional programable timer unit.

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OPTONICA RT-9100H

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OPTONICA RT-6905

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OPTONICA RT-9

The next model is from Austria and it was made by eumig (Elektrizitats Und Metallwaren Industrie Gesellschaft mbH. in Wien). Before eumig became known with their version of a rebadged Alpine, the eumig FL-900 or the famous eumig FL-1000 they made this 3 head model called the eumig Metropolitan CCD. Released in 1977 this cassette deck uses heads from WOELKE (Germany) mounted on a full die-cast chasis. Instead of the usual rec/playback sandwich head this model uses an independent playback head while the recording head is sandwitched together with the erase head and there is azimuth control for the recording head.

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eumig METROPOLITAN CCD

Moving to the next model there's a 3 head cassette deck from a turntable specialist. This is the Lenco C 2003 Direct Drive dual capstan 3 independent head cassette deck from Switzerland. (699 USD 1977)


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Lenco C 2003

Talking about turntable specialist, here's the one and only Thorens PC-650 3 head cassette recorder from 1979.

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Thorens PC 650

Part of the slimline 777 system from SIEMENS this is the SIEMENS RC 777, a 3 head cassette deck with Sendust heads. This deck could be sourced from SANYO as the smaller SIEMENS 666 system uses rebadged SANYO units. 

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SIEMENS RC 777

Another 3 head cassette deck is the ITT HiFi 8025 from 1979 (more detail here)

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ITT HiFi 8025

Last but not least here's a 3 head cassette deck from the former communist block. This is the UNITRA MDS 625 from Poland, a deck with dual capstan mechanism, 3 ferrite heads and dual speed (4,75 and 9,5 cm/s)

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UNITRA MDS 625

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11 March 2016

CLASSIC minis - The Eastern Block


ELEKTRONIKA T1 003 Stereo - 1983 former USSR
Components include the ELEKTRONIKA MP-111C soft touch stereo cassette deck, ELEKTRONICA T-003 Stereo digital tuner, ELEKTRONICA 001 Stereo graphic equalizer, ELEKTRONIKA UK-003 Stereo amplifier, ELEKTRONIKA 25AS-328 two way loudspeaker and the ELEKTRONIKA EP-050 tangential turntable.



ORBIT 002 Stereo mini system - 1985 former USSR
Components include the ORBIT MP-121 C soft touch stereo 2 motor cassette deck with quartz control , ORBIT 3-002 stereo equalizer, ORBIT UP-002 C preamplifier with electronic volume control and the 50W/ch ORBIT UM-002 C power amplifier.



ELECTRONICA 3220 mini system - Romania
Components include the ELECTRONICA 3220 35W/ch stereo amplifier, ELECTRONICA analog tuner with 5 presets, ELECTRONICA MT 3220 stereo cassette deck with piano key control.



ORION mini hifi - 1983 Hungary
Components include the ORION ST 1025 digital tuner, ORION SE 1025B (second version with TESLA transistor power output) 20W/ch stereo amplifier, ORION SM 1025 stereo cassette deck with SAN-DUST head. Recommended loudspeakers were the ORION HS9 and HS 280 however the model shown in the picture is a prototype only "designer speaker"



RFT S 3000 mini system - 1983 former East Germany
Components include the RFT SK3000 HIFI soft touch control cassette deck, RFT ST3000 HIFI analog tuner, RFT SV3000 HIFI 13W/ch amplifier, RFT SM3000 HIFI stereo equalizer and the RFT B3010 HIFI 2 way bass reflex loudspeaker. The system was available in silver and black.



UNITRA Mini Line - 1982 Poland
Components include the UNITRA ETIUDA 411 D 2 motor logic controlled stereo cassette deck, UNITRA FAUST 211 D analog tuner, UNITRA FS 015 stereo equalizer, UNITRA TRAWIATA 311D 20W/ch stereo amplifier. The system was also sold under the NICOLA TESLA brand name. The UNITRA WS-510 D was a limited edition 40W/ch amplifier.



TESLA MINISYSTEM 710 A - 1983 former Czechoslovakia
Components include the TESLA T710A analog stereo tuner with 3 presets, TESLA Z710A 10W/ch stereo amplifier, TESLA M710A piano key stereo cassette deck, TESLA AR9206 loudspeakers and TESLA G710 (based on TESLA HC43) turntable.  



Read more: CLASSIC mini



27 February 2016

BIGGER = Better ?


These are some of the BIGGEST cassette decks ever made. Were they better than a regular sized deck ? In some cases yes, they were hiding a complex mechanical construction and sophisticated electronics to achieve the best possible sound. Let's take a look at the models and the years they were made.

The AKAI GXC-570D  was first manufactured in 1975 and it features 3 heads and 3 motors.


The eumig FL-1000 was made in Austria in 1979. This is a highly regarded cassette deck.


The OPTONICA by SHARP RT-6906 from 1981 was a 3 head machine with an extra head for a sophisticated track search system. 

The PIONEER CT-A1 from 1979 is a 3 head unit with a complex tape calibration system. Briefly sold as Linear Phase 7000 a company that was recently acuired by PIONEER.


A big and beautiful cassette deck from Norway. This is the TANDBERG TCD 3004 from 1980. 


A not so well remebered model is the TEAC A-860 from 1976.


A two box solution from Technics. This is the RS-9900US from 1977.


Here is something interesting, something you would not expect. These are two models from 1977 made by UNITRA from Poland. They are the UNITRA M-601SD and the 3 head UNITRA MDS-624. 


Finally the BIGGEST of them all but never manufactured. The LUXAN X-3K, only shown as a prototype. With this system the aim was to completely extract the tape from the cassette and run it on a free and precise tape path. 


See more cassette decks that were actually manufactured here.