No need to present one of the most enduring "cutie" designs !
A very mysterious engine when shown with its nearly completely opaque DC-77 dustcover, the GX-77 received a japanese Good Design award in 1982.
The GX-77 sold extremely well as it came at the right time, with the right features and the right design - like the Sony TPS-L2 in 1979 or the equally ravishing and contemporary Sony PS-Q7. The common point of all three being their size : compact.
The silver version is by far the most common ; the semi-black sold much less : this was 1981 and silver still was king, whether in thin aluminium or in plastic. It is better in silver anyway.
One supplementary version was finally not released : it swapped the EE tape possibility for a Dolby B noise reduction. It was otherwise a regular 77 but only a few early samples made it through distribution.
However, the finish and build quality of the GX-77 are on the cheap side of things : too much plastic to sustain the good design itself.
The same is true of all the other Akai cuties of that vintage, some of which I own : AM-U61, GX-F71, ST-S61 etc.
It was cleary time to make cheaper for a brand, in 1982, couldn't be sustained solely by its reputation or souvenirs of old monsters such as the PRO 1000.
Like many contemporary Akai, the GX-77 was built in Saitama - Saitama had seemingly become throughout the 1970s the production center for many brands and OEM providers.
Despite its worldwide success, the GX-77 isn't a particularily good recorder nor a distinguished mechanical design.
Even if its loading system resembles (visually) that of the Technics RS-1500U series, open-reel decks were on their way out and Akai was already in trouble, indirectly operated by Mitsubishi / Diatone as it was since 1979 - and using the latter as frequent OEM provider long before that.
Akai in high-fidelity was clearly out of the competition in 1982 and would spend the rest of the 1980s gradually vanishing, despite the short-lived A&D (Akai &... Diatone) joint lineup attempt.
Akai in the studio, on the other hand, was to gradually become a major force in the music industry with its "S" series of samplers and MPC production sampling/sequencers.
In hifi, Akai's last real novel development was the GX-625 which was first presented in Japan in a happy bright red finish - this puts us to 1979 nevertheless.
The rest, however well remembered, like the GX-747 or GX-F91, represents more the diminishing trail of the comet than the fast and bright comet itself.
A nice, very nice, goodbye to the 1970s just the same.
I want one.
All about the GX-77 at Frank Oomen's.