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.

cassette deck
OPTONICA RT-9100H

cassette deck
OPTONICA RT-6905

cassette deck
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.

cassette deck
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)


cassette deck
Lenco C 2003

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

cassette deck
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. 

cassette deck
SIEMENS RC 777

Another 3 head cassette deck is the ITT HiFi 8025 which shows strong technical resemblances with TANDBERG. It was also available as INGELEN.

cassette deck
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)

cassette deck
UNITRA MDS 625

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