Ah The classic Aiwa Mini HiFi Systems from the early 1980's!!
Who didn't want to own one back then??
So beautiful desirable with full size HiFi separates performance, these were testament to the astonishing design & high quality build coming out of Japan at the time...........
I have been searching for quite some time now for a set of these components & after a long time had managed to secure for myself a System 30 series comprising of tuner, amplifier & cassette deck from different sellers & mostly working!!
The cassette deck didn't work of course whereas the tuner & amp needed only a good clean up & service to get them working perfectly!
The cassette deck is extremely complex & somewhat difficult to repair & access due to it being so small & took quite a while to clean up & re-belt, all the belts had disintegrated leaving no clue as to how they even went on & indeed how the thing worked at all!!
The incredibly ingenious mechanism was designed in a way to provide sterling stability from the ground up - huge heavy flywheels for playback & fast forward/rewind & a clever tape counter/hall senser mechanism that passes from the bottom of the deck to the top via pulleys & belts!!
This is what took me the longest time to repair - waiting for a proper belt kit which turned out to be completely wrong in the end causing a real headache & producing many symptons that all turned out to be red kippers!
Some 3 months later & after being led on a wild goose neck, I worked out over many sessions of working on it, that the flat capstan belt & the reel drive belts were completely wrong leaving me as I thought initially up the canoe without a boat & very frustrated!! I was beginning to wish I'd never seen one of these systems again!
Some three months later & after lots of pondering & trying to work out what I had done wrong, I had a deck that played very badly & when it came to fast winding, the deck made an awful clattering sound, almost a cavalry noise akin to the Charge Of The Bulb Brigade!!
This was becoming a real headache & not the doodle I had originally though this would be...........
In an eggshell, as well as the complicated belt arrangement, both large flywheels have rubber inserts around part of the rim that drives a little idler wheel, one for wind & rewind respectively, a very clever & neat idea indeed - Until the idler tyres & the recessed rubber trains around the flywheels fail!
If only the shoe was on the other boot I thought as I spent a great deal of time trying to work out what to do next as I gazed at the upturned deck - it's impossible to operate the deck when removed from the chassis without shorting out dozens of wires & getting the moving parts caught up in the tentyhooks which of course just adds to the frustration............
It was more than once that the cassette deck was placed in a box & "Filed Away" until another day when I could look at it again with a fresh pair of glasses!!
To cut a long tale shorter, I eventually replaced all the rubber idlers resulting in all modes being restored & functioning correctly! :)
So I am finally approaching the home bend & time to begin reassembling this nightmare of a cassette deck & begin cleaning it up & testing through my headphones before replacing the top cover & giving it a new set of rubber
feet to replace what remained of the almost 40 year old ones.....
With a now working cassette deck, all that remained was to source some original early 1980's mini Speakers!!
Having wanted a pair of silver Realistic Minimus 7's for the Aiwa system, I soon gave up as finding a minty silver pair in the UK proved to be a wild swan chase - Plenty over the pond & at decent prices too but just to expensive to import a pair of these heavy little speakers to the UK!
While searching a few days later an old friend called round to distract me but it was great to see her after a long time, we always laugh a lot - She's a real tonic water.......
Resuming my search the next day, I found a pair of Tiny Monitor Audio Baby 1's..........Never heard of these tiny speakers before - They are like an uprated version of the Minimus 7's, same aluminium casing & same configuration, a 4 inch woofer & a 1 inch soft dome tweeter with a real crossover circuit too!! They are very heavy & these turned out to be in near mint condition when they arrived - Yes I couldn't buy them quick enough & I am so happy with them!
This little Hi-Fi system was always intended to be used in my bedroom as the Aux input would perform the stereo sound from the TV in there, so it was time to begin the install & see how she performed.........
No surprise of course to report that the results are superb - delivering solid quality audio on all sources with a startling stereo soundstage!! The amp is powerful & punchy while the little speakers sound great! I am considering an active subwoofer though as the system could do with the lower frquencies given a little help...........
The Monitor Audio's really do compliment this little system though it has to be said!!
For now though, that's the end of the story & a dream of mine since 1981 to own an Aiwa mini HiFi system!!
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