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AIWA AD-1800 Cassette Deck

Updated 24 May 2020


AIWA AD-1800 is a very interesting cassette recorder. It is getting more challenging for the collector to build their range of quality cassette decks, especially of the top loading format. The smoked lids can be cracked or scratched through use and lower the overall desirability of an item. Many people appreciate the VU Metres and sliding guides that are not generally available in 1980s equipment. I look at how the AIWA AD-1800 cassette player rates.

AIWA AD-1800 Cassette Deck

AIWA AD-1800 Cassette Deck


A top-class AIWA stereo cassette deck with Dolby and DNL system.


• Two built-in noise reduction systems • Achievable signal-to-noise ratio better than 65dB • With the Memory rewind system, the tape can be stopped automatically at any preselected point • The special precision mechanics with a large flywheel result in minimal pitch fluctuations of less than 0.05% (WRMS) • For recordings: a 2-stage signal level indicator with LED (light-emitting diodes), in addition to the VU instruments • A newly developed ferrite clay head with 4-point adjustment • Auto-stop • 3-way band selector switch LH, CrO2, FeCr, as well as automatic switchover for CrO2 bands • Repeat and forward search button with control tone • Dampened cassette ejection system and numerous other extras that distinguish this device

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AIWA AD-1800 Description

The AIWA AD-1800 cassette deck is the cassette deck I use on a regular basis in my vintage hifi set up. My particular AD-1800 has aged a bit and the slider knobs have gone missing over the years. I have to wonder why someone took them off in the first place.

They do not make tape deck form factors anymore and I think that this is a shame. Everyone is going off and buying expensive Pioneer and Denon DJ decks because they are really good to use. There must be some market to integrate a retro-style tape deck configuration into the mix.

The basic layout of the tape deck is excellently proportioned on the AIWA AD-1800. On the front panel there is a microphone and headphone socket. This is convenient when I want to privately listen to some music on a desk of side table.

The top panel is covered by a smoky Perspex finish that was common for the time. I can see why this was popular as the turntable style Perspex cover gives the AIWA AD-1800 a quality feel to it. When I lift the lid back, I am presented with the tape deck mechanism on the left side and the control panels on the right side. The slider mechanisms are very well labelled, but they can be prone to getting dirt in them and giving a scratchy sound when they are moved. I hadn't realized that they do not use slider mechanisms on modern tape players anymore because I have found it difficult to get replacement slider knobs.

I really like using my AIWA AD-1800 tape deck player and it sits well alongside other vintage equipment of the era.

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