The MG14D was the rackmount version of the MG1214, a gargantuan and ultimate 'portastudio'
from the mid-80s. But that, in itself, is an oxymoron in that the 'porta' bit was somewhat
It is all analogue so no 'converters'.
excellent quality but...
They used proprietary tapes, not quite VHS and not
quite Betamax. JVC wouldn't allow them to use VHS because it was an audio recorder and
video. Sony wouldn't license their Betamax format either.
So Akai were forced
to make their own tapes. However, they had a tendency to shed oxide and get a bit
'sticky'. They were also hard to come by and not exactly cheap. Painfully aware of these
problem, Akai secured a deal with TDK to make them and the quality and reliability
improved but they were still hard to come by (TDK didn't see their Akai client as much of
a priority compared with churning out ordinary compact cassettes at the time).
The MG14D had advantages over the MG1214, in particular, the individual outputs.
These issues notwithstanding, they were excellent and I made several albums on
MG1212s and MG1214. I had one myself for a good while and it was very good. Lots of high
quality TV stuff done on that.
I worked extensively with Holly Johnson on his
post-Frankie solo album, 'Blast', which was recorded on his MG1214 at his home studio. His
record company considered the recordings as 'demos' but when he went into a 'proper'
studio, our home recordings couldn't be improved upon so we hired in an MG14D and
transferred the whole lot to 24-track where vocals were redone and bits and pieces
I wouldn't touch one with a bargepole now though if only because of the
availability (or lack of) the proprietary tapes. Even if it was a bargain and came with a
large collection of tapes, I'd be very wary as those tapes would be as much as 25 years
It's shame really - had Akai been able to secure a deal with JVC (or
rather, if JVC hadn't been such arses) and they'd used VHS, I reckon the MGs would be
quite interesting collector's items now because they were innovative, rugged, well made
and sounded good ... but let down by the proprietary tape format.
/ Music Lab Machines