I wanted a Reel To Reel for years. And i wanted a machine which i am capable of servicing and there shouldn`t be that big hassle when i need parts.
After digging into the matter i came to Akai. This Brand has a lot of Fans and quite a lot of them are still around in good condition.
When i had the opportunity to get an Akai GX 630 D for a resonable price from an Ebay-seller with good reputation and nice contact by phone i hit it.
When it got delivered i had some serious heartbeat but all turned out great, the machine was as good as promised... Even better! It came to me completely untouched, the electronic trim pods were still sealed, everything factory preserved and in best working condition.
The GX`s secret is the record/play heads wich are provided with a thin layer of glass. This glass layer makes the heads nearly never wear off. The Tape has no abrasive impact to the heads and Akai gave lifelong warrantry.
The mechanic is well designed, too - all is strong, logic and well built, no flaws for me to see.
With its three motor design the unit gets along with just one peese belt- for the counter.
The engine logic controls are safe made, You may press rewind(ffwd) and right after that hit the play button and the Akai stops the wind, waits for three seconds and engages play. Same when hitting wind straight from play: the engine switches in high speed with not a second delay.
Try hitting play without pressing the stop button first on a Revox A77 and You`ll do this exactly one time because the machine does as told: without hitting the brakes it goes from wind to play. Imagine...
To the acoustic quality of the Akai GX 630 D i can make it short: with new tape used You hardly hear a difference between source and tape. I tried many tapes now and when recording on used ones i recommend Maxell, had the best results with.
New tapes i order at Musikhaus Thomann (I am German, natively), they provide the best to get.
I love sitting down, have a spliff and listen and watch the reels spin while watching my aquarium is pure relaxation.
The Akai GX 630 D is worth the dime and a great machine to start the reel to reel hobby with.
Last advice: use the original Akai NAB-adaptors! Only they have the pattern on the back that fits the reel-tables. For meeting the difference in width between PVC and metal- reels Akai put a pattern on the reel tables and the adaptors to wind the tape exactly in the middle of the reel. Shown on 2nd pic.
Other aftermarket adaptors don`t fit that exacly, causing the tape to shuffle along the inner side of the reel.