Yamaha TC-800GL

Natural Sound Stereo Cassette Deck

Yamaha TC-800GL cassette deck mario bellini

1975 (Jun.)
Initially sold for ¥75,000

A perfectly balanced flywheel and precision tape transport mechanism. Capstan roundness and surface evenness tolerances twice as stringent as other manufacturers — within 1µ. Closely regulated capstan clearance and angle. It all adds up to less than 0.06% (wrms) wow & flutter, and an outstanding 58dB singal-to-noise ratio (Dolby on). The Yamaha TC-800GL is also a triumph of styling and stereo engineering. Lying flat or tilted forward on its fold-out support, it offers full control convenience and visibility from any operator position: standing, sitting or reclining.

The original TC-800 had a high filter and a microphone on/off switch but was quickly supplanted by the TC-800GL, which sported Dolby noise reduction, a limiter switch and mic/line mixing. Both models are listed with the same price and release date so it's unclear what the strategy was. The TC-800 was however also produced in a few white units. Both models were later superseded by the TC-800D which added a DIN connector and auto CrO2 tape compatibility.

What's relevant about this tape deck is its outworldly design. It could be well considered the first "Yamaha's black box" as it definitely sets the tone for some of the language later adopted for synthesizers, but it's from 1975, roughly ten years before the RX5 and QX3 which look like close relatives (which also sport some features commonly used in Bellini's works for Olivetti from the late 1970s). Thanks to a support flap it can firmly stay on a table in a wedge-like position which looks like nothing produced at that time.


  • Three-way-power versatility
  • Automatic recording with timer
  • Super-hard permalloy Rec/PB head
  • Automatic tape switchover
  • Limiter circuit
  • IC Dolby circuit
  • Pitch control
  • Memory rewind
  • Extended-range level meters, LED peak indicators
  • Full auto shutoff
  • Mario Bellini Design
  • Mic mixing
  • OTL integrated circuit headphone amp
  • Snap-off cassette pocket
Yamaha TC-800GL brochure cover
Yamaha TC-800GL brochure cover
TC-800GL input details
TC-800GL input details
TC-800GL cassette pocket
TC-800GL cassette pocket