Akai 1730D-SS

I don't have much history with this deck as I only acquired it in 2018. When I decided to expand/restore my 1960-70s hi-fi system I went on the search for reel-to-reels, mostly to just look, but saw this, and a few others, at ShopGoodwill, and, on a lark, bid on it and was successful. I was interested because it is a quadraphonic deck and, really, can someone have too many of those?

It arrived in fine condition except that it would not play out of one of the rear channels. I opened it up and discovered the problem. The retainer that keeps two of the preamp boards in place was missing and the board was laying loose in the bottom of the machine. While I was in there I noticed that the motor-run capacitor was leaking its waxy contents. I set the machine aside and ordered a new capacitor and fabricated a new retainer for the preamp boards.

Some interior views below:

Once the parts arrived I start with a cleaning, removing old lubrication and replacing it, demagnetize the heads, and deoxit the switches and controls. I made a reasoble copy of the preamp retainer, which was missing, and installed the preamp. I got the motor capacitor installed and fired it up. It ran great. This really got it in near perfect working order but it still has some noise, like the wind blowing, when I played it so I ordered new transistors and capacitors. This is a known issue with Akai decks. The preamplifier boards have many of the dreaded 2SC458 transistors but they can be replaced with a KSC1845FTA which are inexpensive and easy to source. Since the preamplifier boards pop out, and component replacement is very straight forward, I ordered up more parts. At this time I have completed the front channel boards and it sounds like new. The rear channels will get their turn in the future. While in there I replaced the motor run capacitors which is a good idea in all these old decks.

I have recently been digitizing a large collection of reel-to-reel tapes and this has been my go-to machine for that process. Although it lacks auto-reverse it is still a real workhorse and played every tape without a problem. The only design drawback is, like many other Akai decks, a screwdriver is required to require the head cover when cleaning is required, a bit of an inconvenience.

Some more interior views below:


Click on an image to enlarge it.

Updated November 2020.