Nakamichi DRAGON

1 9 8 2 1982
1 9 9 0

At least, this one is well remembered :)

The usual debate surrounding the original DRAGON isn't as interesting as what this monster did represent in 1983 : it was the most one could do without actually altering the Compact Cassette format's physical structure like the ELCASET did (ie. open-reel in a cassette) or Luxman's X-3K prototype should have done by completely pulling the tape out of the cassette's shell thus removing any rotating movements from the tape.

Really pushing the format to the limit and selling quite well, the DRAGON became the one show-stopper until cassettes got replaced by digital tapes, recordable CD and, ultimately, hard-drives and SSDs.

Marantz/Philips used its own MAAC split-track auto-azimuth control in the 1983 SD-930 : same concept but a very different implementation, perhaps more rational. The actual licensing of NAAC/MAAC may therefore have been also split or come from elsewhere...

This probably worked and despite its near 2000$ pricing, Nakamichi sold many many many Dragons throughout the world until the very late 1980 and as late as 1994 in Japan.

Even if Nak' did make better decks later on, the DRAGON is the one that stood out.
It still does - but I really wonder why the Etsuro brothers never made a full-tilt open-reel recorder beyond their mid 1960s Fidela and GemSonic attempts...

Nakamichi DRAGON, image 1 Nakamichi DRAGON, image 2 Nakamichi DRAGON, image 3
Nakamichi DRAGON specifications
Title Value
Heads : 1x dual-gap Ferrite/Sendust erase
1x 2t/2ch Crystalloy record
1x 4t/2ch Crystalloy play
Motors : 2x Quartz PLL DC BSL Hall motors for reels
1x DC for capstan
1x DC for NAAC correction
1x DC for transport functions
Tape speed : 4,8cm/s
Wow & flutter : < 0,019% (weighted)
< 0,04% (max., weighted)
Frequency response : 20Hz...22Khz (±3dB, -20dB input, ZX tape)
20Hz...21Khz (±3dB, -20dB input, SX or EX-II tape)
S/N ratio : > 74dB (Dolby C, ZX tape, 400Hz, 3% THD, IHF-A weighted)
> 66dB (Dolby B, ZX tape, 400Hz, 3% THD, IHF-A weighted)
THD : < 0,8% (400Hz, 0dB, ZX tape)
< 1% (400Hz, 0dB, SX or EX-II tape)
Erase ratio : > 60dB (100Hz, 0dB)
Stereo separation : > 37dB (1Khz, 0dB)
Channel separation : > 60dB (1Khz, 0dB)
Bias frequency : 105Khz
Inputs : 50mV / 50kOhm (line)
Outputs : 1V / 2,2kOhm (line, 400Hz, 0dB, maximum output)
45mW / 8 Ohm (headphones, 400Hz, 0dB, maximum output)
Black Box output : ± 10V DC ; max 125mA
Dimensions : 45 x 13,5 x 30cm
Weight : 9,5kg.
List price : 1850$ (1983)
278,000¥ (1983)
Nakamichi DRAGON : 0 topic
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page online since : may 2004
page updated : january 2011
page type : LGT / KNB
page weight : 198.53 Kb / 0 b

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