History of Nakamichi
Nakamichi is a manufacturer of audio, video equipment with a long tradition and a clear corporate philosophy that is evident in every product manufactured by Nakamichi. Next you’ll find where the root of the company goes and why corporate philosophy is a fundamental importance for all products of Nakamichi.
In 1972, Nakamichi launched its first Nakamichi-brand products, home audio gear that included the world's first three-head cassette deck. In 1999, the Nakamichi-brand Sound Space audio and home theater audio systems were introduced, all design-oriented products that could be hung on a wall. Nakamichi also sells a line of higher-quality mini systems, to a market similar to that sought by hi-tech companies as well as selling automotive stereo products, home theater items and as of 2006, DVD video products.
Nakamichi was founded in 1948 as Nakamichi Research Corporation Ltd (Nakamichi Kenkyujo Kabushiki Kaisha ) in Tokyo Japan. It specialized in manufacturing portable radios, tone arms, speakers, and communications equipment. Founded by Etsuro Nakamichi, it was later headed by his younger brother Niro. Etsuro's son Ted is the only remaining Nakamichi in the company today.
Etsuro Nakamichi was dreaming to create a team of best engineers and scientists that are able to work on improving existing technologies. The new company was named as Nakamichi Research and in its early years was engaging in basic research and development of optical and magnetic technologies. A few competitors Nakamichi can say about themselves that they have worked in the hi-fi-industry for 50 years or over!
The company was originally established as a research and development firm in electronics and optics but later became known as a manufacturer of quality audio products. While their cassette decks were particularly well known, the company is also credited with numerous other audio innovations, such as self-centering record players, high-end DAT recorders, and ultra-compact slot-loading CD changers. Over the years, the company managed to garner an impressive level of brand loyalty.
In the 1950s, Nakamichi developed one of the first open reel tape recorders in Japan under the Magic Tone label. In 1957 it developed and made its own magnetic tape heads. With the advent of magnetic tape at the time, the company decided to work with the format. Subsequently it went onto develop and market its own tape recorder, and during that same year, launched the Fidela 3-head Open Reel Stereo Tape Deck. Because of its experience in manufacturing magnetic tape heads and equipment, in 1967 the company started making tape decks for a number of foreign manufacturers including Harman Kardon, KLH, Advent, Fisher, ELAC, Sylvania, Concord, Ampex and Motorola.
In 1973 Nakamichi created stereo cassette decks with such high quality that they eventually made reel-to-reel tape recorders obsolete for consumers. The Nakamichi 1000 and 700 were regarded as two of the finest cassette recorders made in the mid-1970s. They had three heads, dual capstan drive that reduced wow and flutter to new low levels, and Dolby-B noise reduction to improve the signal to noise ratio. The feature that really set them apart was the adjustable record head azimuth and Dolby calibration that could be optimized for each cassette tape. Many audiophiles aspired to but could not afford a Nakamichi 1000 or 700 (whose model number was derived from the list price), so Nakamichi came out with more economical two-head models such as the Nakamichi 500 and the wedge-shaped 600.
Nakamichi pushed live recording with their Nakamichi 550, a portable cassette recorder that had three microphone inputs: one for left channel, one for right channel, and one for a center blend channel. This recorder could run from batteries or AC and was used to make very high quality recordings in the field. All of these products were known for top-notch engineering and sound quality.
In the late 1970s Nakamichi updated their machines with the Nakamichi 1000 II, the 700 II, and other midrange and low-end models. They branched out into other audio components such as amplifiers and eventually speakers, but these products were never as highly regarded by the audio community as their cassette decks.
In the early 1980s Nakamichi came out with further refinements in a successor top-of-the-line machine, the Nakamichi 1000ZXL. Prices pushed upward with this machine being $3,800 at the time. The updated 700ZXL was a mere $3,000. Low-end cassette decks sold new for under $200, with the Nakamichi name on them. This time period stands as the pinnacle for cassette recorders, as from that time onwards digital recording methods began to make inroads.
The meaning of the brand name & logo
The Nakamichi logo consists, in part, of the stylized representation of the letter "N"; it is also intended to represent in a fanciful way the earth, half of which is illuminated by the sun.
The Japanese to English translation of the word "NAKAMICHI" in the mark is "in the middle of a road" or "midway".