Setting Bias For Type IV (Metal)


Bronze Member
Username: Blazingarrow74

Chicago, IL U.S.A.

Post Number: 40
Registered: Mar-06
Hi Everyone ... I recently purchased a Used Nakamichi DR-3 ... I noticed that it has the Automatic Tape Type Switches and the Manual Bias Tune ... I am using Maxell Type IV (Metal MX-S) Tapes and would like some suggestions on where to set the Bias Tune with these Type cassettes ... I have heard of the Pink/White Noise Method ... and personally, would like a method more "musical" ...

The deck has only 2 heads, so the whole monitoring thing is out of the question ... has anyone any experience with this Matchup ... please shower me with some of your personal suggestions ... Thanks Everyone ... !!

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 8381
Registered: May-04

I don't know what you mean by a more "musical" method. Setting bias is done by using white noise. Adjust the bias level until what comes in sounds like what comes out. There are no more musical ways to achieve the end result unless you find your tapes still sound dull or bright after you think you've done the job properly. Bias is not a set amount of current for all frequencies. It slides up and down depending on the needs of the tape head. By "setting bias" you are merely trying to achieve the best overall results with the simplest method possible.


Bronze Member
Username: Nottingham365


Post Number: 25
Registered: Mar-06

Here is a suggestion to make a decision by ear.

Set the bias trim knob at center (12 o'clock). Select some music with a wide range of dynamics and frequencies. Set the recording levels so that peaks read about +5db. You're dealing with metal tape; don't be afraid to peak in the red. (If you are ultra conservative in setting recording levels, you will not fully exploit the capability of metal tape). Record about a minute of the music and play to determine if it sounds respectable. If not, reset your recording levels, record again and listen to the results. Once the music sounds respectable, you can concentrate on the bias issue.

Record the same passage of music with the bias trim knob at full counterclockwise position, 9 o'clock, 12 o'clock, 3 o'clock and full clockwise position. (Try the test with additional bias trim knob positions, if you like). Leave gaps between test recordings and note the tape counter readings at the beginning and end of each test recording applicable to a bias setting. Then, do some critical listening of the recordings to determine which bias setting produces the "best" results. You are trying to avoid dull and bright sounding results.


Bronze Member
Username: Blazingarrow74

Chicago, IL U.S.A.

Post Number: 42
Registered: Mar-06
Thanks So Much Jan and Ross ... I have tried both suggestions and gotten better results using actual music ... I used white noise and pink ... and then used an Old Mix LP ...

I really see what "Nak Warmth" means now ... it's so different than my old deck ... the lower frequenices are really accentuated and I must say, this is much farther from flat than I expected ... However, after doing blind tests with the tape v. Vinyl, the recordings made with the Nak sound much closer to the source than my old recordings with the Pioneer ... It's just something I'll have to get used to ...
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