Friday, February 3, 2012

Akai GX-77 reel to reel

I can't help but start with "cool". That's the word that comes in mind when I think of the GX-77. Made in the early 80's at a time where everything was starting to be 'cheapened' in order to reduce costs, this still had cues from its former generation.  Although comments on the quality of the sound vary from who you speak to, I love it. Yes, there are much better made units, and much better sounding ones. But few if any that are better sounding and better looking at the same time. Did I mention it looks cool? But more importantly.. did I mention the loading mechanism? Click on "read more" to see the video.

Here's a video that I have made of my GX-77 unit in action. I'll let the video do the talking..

I purchased this unit for a very good price from a seller on eBay. To my surprise, when I took the back cover off to have a look at the condition of the belts, it looked like someone had beaten me to replacing them. The belts were fantastic, the unit was exceptionally clean, apart from some dirty buttons and a couple of pots that required a re-lubrication it was in near mint condition.

The brushed aluminum faceplate (albeit with cues of 'silver' plastic) makes this a definite winner in my book although it did come in black which for those that remember was all the rage back then. This particular unit came with an optional dust cover, which could be bolted on and hinged over the top of the unit to make it quite discrete.

The unit sports a pair recording heads and two pairs of playback heads for each direction. This was probably the only section of the unit that needed a thorough clean the heads were covered in quite a bit of ferrite buildup.

A novel spring loaded lock in mechanism keeps the reels in place, no more rubber grommets!

So that's the GX-77, I hope you have enjoyed reading this post, if you ever get the opportunity to purchase one of these units, make sure everything works, especially forward and reverse and the loading mechanism. Earlier units had different materials used in the loading mechanism that failed over time and the resistors that controlled forward and reverse tended to be under rated and burnt out.

I'll finish this with some more modeling shots for your viewing pleasure!


  1. Fantastic looking machine...old school ..sweet memories.. 1980s... Thank you for this post...

  2. GX-77 - the most uniquely designed Reel to Reel deck ever made by any brand in the world, inlcuding AKAI themselves.
    Me too is priveleged to have one in near mint condition.

  3. Man, your photographs are just amazing, how do you do that?

  4. I still have this deck and it works great (had to change the belts last year). It does bring back memories!!!

  5. Nice blog on the AKAI GX77. Excellent video and pictures. I love the look of this machine and the tape loading system is way cool. Loved seeing it in the video.

    I agree this was an innovative design that came at the end of an era. However, it (and the similar layout Pioneer 707 design) was pre-dated by the Wollensak 5000 series that ran from 1966- 1969. Those machines are finicky and basic (one motor, lots of idlers) units, one direction, all mechanical. But the look was fantastic for the time. Thanks for this blog on the Akai!

  6. Some nasty person broke into my home last year and took all my HiFi when I was having chemotherapy, so been collecting Kenwood 21 series ( got far too much now ) lol. Never had a GX-77 but looking for one, are there any problems I should look out for.
    Amazing pictures.

  7. Just sold one of these for 100.00 today.
    Mint condition in storage most of its life.
    Needed the money.

  8. Hi,
    Where can I buy (Akai GX77) one must be good working order

  9. I have a nice one. Looking for the cover and door that goes over the heads and counter. Mine has a broke hinge which makes it hang slightly crooked

  10. I have one in working order. Has not been checked out mechanically in 7 years though. Has the lid for the unit and many tapes. Nice looking as well. Glass heads keep heads from over heating which help the unit last longer over all.