Nakamichi DRAGON-CD/DAC Limited - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 11-16-2008, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey all,

Just an update on my quest for a Nakamichi DRAGON-DAC Limited to mate up to my DRAGON-CD Limited that I had referenced to in another thread here.

I had recently been able to pick up the rare DRAGON-CD / DRAGON-PS (120V - 12VDC) and DRAGON-RCU and had been in search of the matching DRAGON-DAC to complete the set. The odds of me finding just the DAC were going to be next to impossible, but I received a tip from a member of another forum that one might be available in Japan. So I contacted a buyers agent to see if I could negotiate a deal. Well after a few emails and a PayPal transaction, look what showed up at my door via FedEx on Thursday!

A recently serviced Nakamichi DRAGON-DAC with an additional DRAGON-PS (100V - 12VDC) in perfect condition.


DRAGON-DAC - Front





DRAGON-DAC - Back





DRAGON-PS - Front





DRAGON-PS - Back





Now added to my DRAGON-CD - Front





DRAGON-CD - Back





DRAGON-PS - Front





DRAGON-PS - Back





DRAGON-RCU





A few family shots!







You'll notice there is a slight color variation with the rosewood as the ones I received from Japan are darker, but under normal lighting conditions it is a none issue to me. I am just glad to have the complete system now. In addition, I have the added benefit of another power supply / system controller should I need it.

First off, I have only been able to listen with them together for a short while, since the new Bell'O PR-15E cabinet I received on Wednesday was damaged during shipping.





Also explains why I have all the wife's furniture pushed to one corner of the living room, as I have to await for shipper to pickup for replacement claim. As for the Martin Logan Clarity's, I am replacing the stators on those.

I did get a chance to umbilical over to get some listening in and mating the two together was definitely worth it. I will be able to post a more detailed review of the complete setup once I get everything housed permanently. The wife does not like cables stretched across the floor!

Well, best get some more listening in before the wife makes me disconnect again today!

Regards,
TB
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-16-2008, 05:10 PM
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I have 2 words for you.......

SIMPLY AMAZING!

What an amazing find! I bet it sounds remarkable! That system deserves a room to itself!

Congrats!

Regards.

"Chance favors only the prepared mind. "Louis Pasteur"

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post #3 of 14 Old 11-22-2008, 10:31 AM
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Hello,

I'm also searching the Nakamichi Dragon DAC and PS and would like to know what's your impression sonically of those 2 units. I can't find a good review on the internet.
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post #4 of 14 Old 11-22-2008, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Larryminator,

First off, before I comment on the DRAGON, I would suggest that you remove your email info from thread; you might get inundated by a rash of junk if you don’t.

As far as my DRAGON setup, it is very rare and older of course and probably the reason there is a lack of information or reviews. Only 200 were ever made and most were not manufactured for export to the US in the 120V version.

Sonically, together they are fantastic! The DRAGON-CD Limited had its own internal DAC processing, but if you wanted the best, the optional DRAGON-DAC could be ordered for an additional 5K. The DRAGON-CD came with its own PS that could also power the standalone DAC if needed (Refer to the rear of the photos of both PS above).

What is your setup, just the DRAGON-CD or do you have a PS with it. If so then all you would need is the DAC, I just happened to find one that came with an additional PS in the 100V version. Which is fine since both PS units convert to 12VDC to power both the CD and DAC, so technically I use only one and have the other as a spare.

I just happened to find a DRAGON-DAC in Hong Kong yesterday, do not think it has any of the cabling or PS, but it looks in outstanding condition, and being offered at a reasonable price. I will PM you the link so you can check it out. You might need to broker through a local agency to help with language barrier and procurement if needed.

Regards,
TB
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-18-2009, 01:57 PM
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Hi TB, judging by the photos the Dragon looks smaller than the standard size. Could you supply the size of at least one of the items, say the DAC, with l,w,d.
Also, do you know if the Dragon is an offshoot or a redevelopment of the Nakamichi 1000 series? You probably know that around 1992 Nakamichi came on the market with 1000mb and 1000p (DAC and CD bank), highly acclaimed equipments second only to the Mark Levinson 30.5/31, DAC and transport.
If the Dragon is a redevelopment of the 1000 series, the sound must be celestial despite the years past.
Many congratulation for your acquisition.
Robert
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-18-2009, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prestorob View Post

Hi TB, judging by the photos the Dragon looks smaller than the standard size. Could you supply the size of at least one of the items, say the DAC, with l,w,d.
Also, do you know if the Dragon is an offshoot or a redevelopment of the Nakamichi 1000 series? You probably know that around 1992 Nakamichi came on the market with 1000mb and 1000p (DAC and CD bank), highly acclaimed equipments second only to the Mark Levinson 30.5/31, DAC and transport.
If the Dragon is a redevelopment of the 1000 series, the sound must be celestial despite the years past.
Many congratulation for your acquisition.
Robert

Hello Robert,

First off welcome to AVS. You should find a wealth of information here, especially with current HT components.

Secondly, yes the DRAGON Limited components are smaller in size than the standard 17” + components. It also was a continuation of the 1000 Series (1991), as it was released in 95’. It further refined the 6+1 MusicBank and Acoustic Isolation Systems Nakamichi had developed for the 1000mb.

I happen to have a 1000mb and have been on the same quest for the 1000p standalone 20-Bit DAC used for both the 1000mb and 1000DAT in the series. Nakamichi did make a 1000mb/i that integrated the 20-bit DAC & Filters from the 1000p into the same chassis. It was an additional ¥ 150,000 in 1991 and I have never seen one for sale in the States.

Both are impressive feats of engineering and probably the only Audiophile CD Changers ever produced. They were also extremely expensive as the 1000mb had an MSRP of $7800.00 and the DRAGON-CD was $9700.00. The 1000p DAC was an additional $7800.00 and the DRAGON-DAC was an additional $5000.00. Both are rare to come by as only 200 of the DRAGON Limited systems were produced worldwide and I would assume that the 1000 Series gear is very low in production numbers as well.

Sound wise as you can imagine both are stellar. I have compared the two and I really could not tell the difference. There maybe a slight edge to the DRAGON as it does have the additional standalone DAC adding 4 Burr-Brown SoundPlus 24-Bit PCM1704U-J DAC’s vs the 2 Philips 16-Bit TDA1541A-S1 DAC’s in the 1000MB.

There is reference to the 1000mb in an old review of the Mark Levinson No.31 in June of 93’ at Stereophile.

Here is a photo of both of them for you to reference each components size.



Here is each of the components size and weight measurements.

Dragon-CD Limited
Dimensions - 12-5/8” (W) x 5-13/16” (H) x 11-3/4” (D) / 321 (W) x 148 (H) x 299 (D)
Approximate Weight - 18 lbs. 3 oz. / 8.2 kg

Dragon-DAC Limited
Dimensions - 12-5/8” (W) x 5-13/16” (H) x 11-3/4” (D) / 321 (W) x 148 (H) x 299 (D)
Approximate Weight - 17 lbs. 11 oz. / 8.0 kg

Dragon-PS Limited (AC 120V & AC 100V)
Dimensions - 8-1/16” (W) x 3-7/16” (H) x 9-3/8” (D) / 205 (W) x 87 (H) x 238 (D)
Approximate Weight - 7 lbs. 2 oz. / 3.2 kg

Dragon-RCU Limited
Dimensions - 2-3/4” (W) x 1-1/16” (H) x 6-1/16” (D) / 70 (W) x 27 (H) x 154 (D)
Approximate Weight - 0 lbs. 12 oz. / 0.3 kg

Nakamichi 1000MB
Dimensions - 17-1/8” (W) x 5-7/8” (H) x 14-15/16” (D) / 435 (W) x 149 (H) x 379 (D)
Approximate Weight - 38 lbs. 9 oz. / 17.5 kg
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-18-2009, 06:11 PM
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That is one gorgeous CD system! This is one system that I would LOVE to have in a dedicated 2 channel setup. Amazing, incredible, just do not begin to describe it. WOW! I am soo jealous. Congrats on a remarkable system!

If you don't mind me asking, how much did the entire Nakamichi Dragon CD system cost?


Seth
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post #8 of 14 Old 01-18-2009, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohyeah32 View Post

That is one gorgeous CD system! This is one system that I would LOVE to have in a dedicated 2 channel setup. Amazing, incredible, just do not begin to describe it. WOW! I am soo jealous. Congrats on a remarkable system!

If you don't mind me asking, how much did the entire Nakamichi Dragon CD system cost?


Seth

Hello Seth,

Thanks for the nice comments. Both the Nakamichi’s are for use in my dedicated 2-channel setup. I have them displayed in the living room with some other stereo gear while I finish my winter projects consisting of housing all of them in dedicated built-ins throughout the house.

I have a few complete vintage configurations I am planning on utilizing. Mostly 70’s and early 80’s components from DBX, Pioneer, Kyocera, and Nakamichi to name a few. The only constant are my speakers, which are some small Martin Logan Clarity. I would have liked to use some larger ML models, but we live in a Craftsman Bungalow and the Clarity’s already push the size limits aesthetically for the house. BTW, I see that you are a ML Owner as well. I took a gander at you HT and that is quite impressive!

I actually have all my current 7.1 gear for the living room stored in the basement while I finish my projects. I have yet to install my Definitive Technology Mythos Two’s, Three and Gem XL’s in the living room as you’ll notice the empty stands for the rear surrounds are in the photo with the Nakamichi gear. I did finish all my dedicated wall power wiring and interconnects, so it is only a matter of time until I can use that setup. You can also notice that the protective film and stickers are still affixed to the LCD’s, since I have to remove from the mounts one last time before I am finished.

In the mean time most of my HT watching has occurred in our bedroom. Not bad as to as I have a full Definitive 7.1 setup, 42” LCD, DVDO Edge, Marantz SR8001 & Marantz DV9600 running in there.

As far as the DRAGON Limited cost, I pieced the entire set together for about $2700.00. I do have the added advantage of an additional PS and Remote if ever needed with that price. I have watched prices of these over the years and I have seen just the DRAGON-CD sell as high as $7500.00 and as low as $800.00 (SF Bay Area CL Ad). Problem is they hardly surface for sale and when they do, they tend to be snatched up quickly. They appear more frequently in the Asian markets as that is where most were distributed. Every now and again Hi-Fi Do gets a 100V one in. Sure there are some exceptional current Players and Transports available, but few with the mystic of these DRAGONS!

Regards,
TB
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-19-2009, 12:22 AM
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Thanks for the kind words about my setup. Very cool that you also use Martin Logans. I love my Logans, and found the perfect match for my room with the reQuest, Theater i, Aerius i, and two Descents. I'll bet your system sounds amazing through the ML Clarity.

Yes there is something very mystical about the Nakamichi Dragon Limited. It is without a doubt the most elegant CD playback system ever made. The thick solid wood sides, gorgeous black gloss metal, exquisite fit and finish, and a heavy all metal remote with matching wood ends, make this a true collectors system. I don't believe that there is anything quite like this Nakamichi system that was ever offered by any other company. Truly one of a kind.

I remember seeing this CD system featured in the premiere issue of Home Theater magazine back in mid 90's and I just drooled. And every time I see these pieces I still drool. You were able to find all the pieces of the Dragon system for a very good price. This CD playback system is truly a work of art.

Thank you for giving me a rundown of your most impressive system. And once you get your 7.1 system all in place it's going to be pretty awesome.

Enjoy!


Seth
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post #10 of 14 Old 05-26-2009, 03:05 AM
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Dear TB,
I wrote to you in January this year and now I wanted to tell you that I managed to buy a complete Dragon system (CD/DAC/PS/RM) in UK already converted to 220/240 volt.
The sound is, as you said stellar and I compared it with the Audio Research CD and DAC also in my possession and honestly I couldn't find any substantial difference.
Aestheticly though there is a sea between them.
I also wanted to tell you about available literature of the system (if you don't already know):
There's been a 4 page review on the old and now defunct American magazune AUDIO, November 95 issue of which I managed to have a copy and if you send me your address I'll post you a photocopy.
I also suggest to visit this site: www. lampizator.eu, where they explain why old CD machines sound better than modern one. It is all due to the TBA 1541(A) chip, employed in the Nakamichi 1000 serie. It is a beautifull site certainly worth a visit.
Of the Nakamichi 1000 serie (CD/DAC/DAT/etc) I have a fully comprehensive set of review in Italian, published on the Italian magazine Audio Review ,with a lot of photos and interesting information.
I can't send you a photo of my new acquisition since on Avs Forum I can send photos only after 3 posts. I'll do it next time.
This is all for now.
Regards
Robert (from Italy)
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post #11 of 14 Old 05-26-2009, 08:12 AM
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Absolutley Beautiful, What can I say.
Enjoy this remarkable feat.

Nothing's Perfect So Stop Expecting It ! Glenee

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post #12 of 14 Old 06-05-2009, 06:35 PM
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I've always thought I'd keep these pieces just to look at even if they were all DOA.

2nd round OPPO BDP-83 EAP Selectee
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post #13 of 14 Old 06-06-2009, 02:30 PM
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Congrats on a wonderful setup! It truly is amazingly beautiful, IMHO. If the Dragon CD playback system does for CDs what my Dragon tape deck does for cassettes if must sound fantastic! If only my Dragon had those Urushi side panels... :-)

Cheers,
Ed

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post #14 of 14 Old 06-14-2009, 03:50 PM
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I was looking at the pictures of this DRAGON set-up......I got up and looked in the mirror.... I had turned GREEN!
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