To be released soon
To be released soon
To be released soon
To be released soon



As you would expect, it's an excellent piece of gear featuring a direct drive, closed loop dual capstan, controlled and locked by quartz oscillator, giving it a 0,03% WRMS value for W&F. So, it's the best possible mechanics you could find back then.

Pioneer CT-F1250 transport.

This is the original head as it was when I received the deck.
The original Uni-crystal head is worn and the rollers needed a replacement.

This mechanism derived soon in their famous Reference Master Mechanism that came just a few years later.

This is how my F1250 actually looks after being serviced, with new rollers and even a brand new ALPS head.

The transport is very stable and the W&F is truly very low, thanks to the quartz lock. There's also a pitch control with a light that confirms when you're back to the neutral quartz locked position, which is a feature that only very few decks offered. Only with very old, cheap and degraded tapes it can show problems but, other than that, it is an excellent mechanism.



This deck has one of the greatest number of buttons, switches and selectors of them all. It's hard to find other decks with such a big quantity of buttons.
The layout is very well designed. Although a bit overwhelming at first sight, you can quickly become familiar with it because it's as easy to use as any other deck. Only if you want to customize the screen, the return function or the level meters you may learn to use all those buttons below the fluorscreen.

The F1250 is one of the very few models that can manage the four type of tapes, from I to IV, including type III. In this review, I'll test all the tapes I already did with the SONY K909ES but also a SONY FeCr, specifically to test this rare tape type.

The level meters are really fast, probably the fastest in my entire deck collection. When you watch them while playing a tape, you'll notice that they rise higher than in other decks. For recording you may get accustomed to them and let they go higher than with others. It's a question of speed.

It offers up to... four (!) different level meter modes, which is something I've never seen in any other deck: standard, peak hold (for a few seconds), peak hold (until stopped) or average.

The average mode is very useful to quickly determine the recording level, especially when the dynamic range is high.

It has variable output level that affects both the Line out and the headphone out and it's useful when you use an external effect, like a noise reduction unit or while monitoring with headphones. Curiously, it also affects the level meters (!). Yes, when you rotate it, the meters go up and down as both are linked. However, it doesn't work when recording: it locks (electronically, though you can still rotate the knob) at position 6, which is the default position.

As many other high-end decks, it can store a counter position, so when you rewind and reach position 0 it can stop or play. Or even do a loop.

It features Dolby B (there was no C available at '78) and it can be combined with a MPX filter (for recordings from radio) or left alone.



The recording capabilities are in line with the best of the best assisted calibration systems at the time... and 15 years later.

Starting with the head, an Uni X'tal ferrite that offers quite a good performance, that goes up to 20.000 Hz with metal tapes (still very new and uncommon at that era). My F1250 got the head replaced by a brand new ALPS head that offers better S/N and lower background noise. The original head had some wear and was missing quite a lot of treble.

For calibration the F1250 offers a 3 parameter, assisted calibration system that is the most complete in my collection. It features three internal generators for bias, level and EQ (at 2.000, 400 and 10.000Hz respectively) and LED indicators to apply more or less of any of them when you're into the process of calibrating a particular tape for recording.

The system works very well, especially with old tapes from the late 70s and early 80s. However, with newer ones, especially high bias or 90's ones, it can fail. In this regard, what works best is to use a real time analyzer together with pink noise, so you can see the effect of them all to the whole frequency range in real time.
As you will see later in the tape test, with some tapes the assisted system didn't work very well...

Also there's a weird thing on this assisted system: you can follow the calibration guides but if you try to do it again, the deck will show you different indications, so you can end up with two, three, four or even more rounds until you end up completely.

Here's the result for a TDK AR Ltd Edition in round one to four, compared to my reference calibration, made with pink noise and my real time analyzer (RTA):


Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Reference cal.

Move your mouse over the buttons to see the animation

Note also that there's a difference in level. The reference level is placed at -5dB (which really corresponds to 0dB in the meters) but sometimes the result is higher or lower than desired, as you can see this time.

In my experience, the best calibration method is the one you can do with pink noise and an RTA.

As explained before, the meters are very -I mean: VERY- fast. With the F1250 you'll see the meters rising much higher than many other decks, which has its upsides and downsides. The upsides is that drums and other kicking sounds will truly show how high they go, so you can get better information from the signal you're trying to record, thus letting you getting lower distortion. But it needs that you get accustomed so you have to reassign your mental scale. If a good chrome tape can reach peaks to +3 and occasionally to +5, with the F1250 you may add +1 or +2 to them.
Yes, at first sight you might think you're recording too hot... but you're not.

The recording quality with a good tape and after it's properly calibrated, is top-notch. No doubt at all, at least with my modified deck. It can really compete with my Nakamichi Dragon without any hesitation. So you can guess. But... don't make a mistake: I state this over a completely serviced and upgraded deck. If you got one and you were lucky that it simply works or "someone"/the seller has serviced by himself, it probably doesn't perform as good as it could really do.

Better to find a specialized technician and take it to service. You can find an updated list of technicians at Stereo2Go.

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