Beocord 8000

(1981) Stereo cassette deck, Dolby B NR, Datalink

Type numbers: 4822, 4823, 4824, 4825, 4826, 4827

 

Picture by Nick Jarman

Description

When it was launched, this machine was the top of the Beocord range. It replaced Beocord 5000, and was completely new in electronic, mechanical and aesthetic respects. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

In some ways the introduction of Beocord 8000 was sad as the mechanical parts of Beocord 5000, which B&O had designed and produced themselves, were not carried over. Instead, a new Japanese mechanism with one DC motor and three solenoids was employed. The same type was also used in the Beocenter 7000 series music centres and the Beocord 6000, but only those mechanisms which when tested were found to be the very best were used for Beocord 8000. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Beocord 8000’s most interesting technical feature was the tape counter, which gave a direct reading in minutes and seconds. This had been seen before on professional open reel recorders, but was usually based on a recorded timecode, and so would only work with tapes from that recorder. The system used in Beocord 8000 used a microprocessor to first calculate the thickness of the tape and the size of the cassette hubs, then use this information to work out the elapsed time from the number of take up spool rotations. When a cassette was inserted, it was first necessary to allow the machine to perform the measurement. Pressing the “go” key would first initiate a rewind to the start of the tape, followed by a few seconds in playback mode. As the capstan speed was known and the take up spool was also known to be empty, this part of the process determined the hub size. Next, and fully automatically, the tape would wind forward a fixed number of take up rotations, and again play for a short while. This allowed the tape thickness to be measured. The final part of the process was for the tape to wind back to the position it was in when “go” was pressed, and for playback to resume from that point. During this process the output was muted, so there were no bursts of music during the playback phases. This process was completely automatic and only required one keystroke to start. In addition, it was not necessary to enter the tape length, and even non-standard tape lengths could be accurately measured. Pressing 0, “go” had much the same effect, but in this case the playback would commence from the beginning of the cassette. The measurements were stored in the memory until the cassette was removed from the machine. As a further refinement, the numbered keys on the front panel could be used to enter the desired time of a particular item on the tape, and then the tape would be automatically wound to that point. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

In the following years, other makers offered similar systems, but in most cases accurate time measurement ceased if the tape was wound forward or back at any point, a limitation not present on Beocord 8000. If the adjustment process was not completed, then the counter would first register in “units”, but after sustained recording or playback a time display would appear, but this would be cancelled if the tape was wound in either direction. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The microprocessor that made the real time counter possible was also used to provide a digital clock for timer recording. In normal use the clock did not show on the display, but it could be programmed to start the tape either playing back or recording any time in the next 24 hours. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

While the novelty of full microprocessor control was certainly the main area of interest, it did not detract from the fact that Beocord 8000 was also an excellent tape recorder with performance well up to the standard set by previous models. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Prices

1980£483 

Further Reading

In print:

On the web: