YAMAHA KX-670: Black Meets Orange

Not so well known about cassette decks, but some other HiFi gear, Yamaha started KX-670 production in 1993., the era when cassette decks popularity was sharply declining. The cost cutting was popular in almost any department, so steel chassis became thinner, plastic was used all around etc. There was no trace of 70’s and great build quality… But audio gear was made simpler with much higher level of integration and some quality issues On the other side, ergonomic was very good and even getting better.

Yamaha KX-670 is a good example. It has almost everything you should ever want: track search, intro skip (playing every tune for a while), auto calibration (level+bias) with manual bias adjustment if  needed and also play trim – the thing Yamaha used for a long time, with NAD also implementing it on a some  models. Phones level is also variable. I liked the counter: works in real time and calculates remain time depending of the preset tape size.

The display is a very good one: completely orange, with large numbers and marks, not a tinny one like on Technics RS-AZ6/7 and some other machines. From the user point of view I don’t like few things: it is pretty hard to clean rollers and the door cover is made of thin plastic. There is also no light in the cassette compartment, so You will have hard time looking at the cassette in the night.

But that is all, many can live with it and putting some LED lighting shouldn’t be so complicated these days. Looking from the back, this Yamaha looks like it’s chassis is completely made of plastic. But it isn’t. It is made of single shaped steel sheet, nothing spectacular, and this one was manufactured for a professional model.

So, the backside contains holes for balanced XLR connectors which needed to be covered. Yamaha decided to cover the whole backside with plastic panel and keep just the necessary openings, cheap but clever solution.

Inside, it is all well laid and pretty neat. The transport is the latest 3 motor belt driven stuff. The same is used in Harman Kardon TD470. I was a little bit lazy to disassemble it, so no detailed pictures here. It is a good transport, nothing exceptional, but better than standard Yamaha/Technics/Pioneer/Teac ALPS two motor garbage.

The thing I did recognize are two pretty large (6.800 MFD) capacitors and also some Panasonic Premium caps, which was a surprise.

The Sound

So, how does little Yamaha KX670 sound? Very good for the price, which was around 500 USD or 1.000 DEM. Clear and crisp, Yamaha calls this kind of sound “Natural sound” but it depends of the rest of the system. If it is bright, than it won’t be so natural. If it is neutral od dark, then Yamaha will have it’s chance. The tonality of the human voice is pretty good, but misses a point just for a while. On the other side, the dynamics is much better than I expected to find. The lower end, the bass is well defined and rounded, with good shape and some weight and slam, but not in the league of big machines. Treble is somehow boosted and a little sharp. It jumps in front of the other parts of frequency spectrum and is the most evident part of it. However, it is not as relaxed and transparent as I would like it to be, so it can be frustrating from time to time and but overall it is very good and detailed. So to sum up, Yamaha KX670 is a good upper middle class deck with so many options anybody would like – it even has remote sensor, so my Logitech Harmony 555 was working well with it. Yamaha KX-670 is not K2000 monster but performs well. On the other side, I must admit that in this price class I like Pioneer decks more, but challenging Kenwood KX9050 made Yamaha a winner – Kenwood was laid back, and Yamaha was angry little beast with better dynamics, presentation and overall quality of sound, even with very cheap normal tapes.

I should mention that Yamaha performed very well during small test bench. It achieved around 20 kHz on Sony HF (normal), 22 kHz on Fuji DRII (chrome) and 24 kHz on TDK MA (metal tape) – 1 kHz -20 dB reference point and -3 dB last measurement point. This was even better than specs Yamaha has given for KX670. So, as a conclusion, this little deck was a very good machine in it’s price range, and should easily satisfy everyone except the most demanding cassette deck audiophiles. But be aware, it needs careful matching with the rest of the system, including interconnecting cables.

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