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  #1  
Old 01-22-2015, 04:10 PM
A.N.T.'s Avatar
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The Sony TC-177SD - One of the Greats.

This Sony TC-177SD is about 41-42 years old and is one out of two first three-head cassette decks released in 1973. The "another first" is the Nakamichi 1000 Tri-Tracer. Which one was actually released first is all but impossible to find out today.

The sound quality of this deck, after a full service (no mods except to the recording EQ to work better with modern tapes and correct playback EQ) is very good even if a bit old-fashioned in a good sense. The playback response extends up to 24kHz (-3dB) and the playback noise is surprisingly good for a deck of that age, about -65dBA for 70us and -62dBA for 120us (20Hz-20kHz BW, A-wtd, ref DIN 250nWb/m level), on par with the Dragon, for example. The Dolby B tracking is very good, even with many pre-recorded cassettes.

The recording side is not that perfect as the original EQ was designed for old tapes and a somewhat non-standard playback response. I did correct it partially, as a full correction would require a lot of work, however the recording quality is very good, the response on normal tapes at -20dB DIN exceeds 20kHz and the distortion is low on both Type I and Type II.

Below some photos and graphs.

Cheers

Alex









The playback response in the HF area using a "white noise" tape:



The recording/playback response using BASF CrO2 tape, 0dB = -14dBFS = 160nWb/m DIN :



The recording/playback response using EMTEC FE-I tape, 0dB = -10dBFS = 250nWb/m DIN :



The recording/playback response using TDK AR C-100 tape, 0dB = -10dBFS = 250nWb/m DIN :

  #2  
Old 01-22-2015, 04:34 PM
Warped Bezel Warped Bezel is offline
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True, but I had one of that series and the mechanism looks like a nightmare to work on.
  #3  
Old 01-22-2015, 04:43 PM
MarkC MarkC is offline
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Thanks for sharing the Sony with us. Impressive.
  #4  
Old 01-22-2015, 04:46 PM
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been after one of those on ebay for a while. i'll catch one at my price eventually.
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  #5  
Old 01-22-2015, 05:31 PM
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Thank you for doing this Alex. That looks really nice build inside - and the performance looks excellent too. I look forward to hearing it myself.
  #6  
Old 01-22-2015, 05:53 PM
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Very nice deck

Have you tested it with FeCr tape ?
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  #7  
Old 01-22-2015, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20tajk7 View Post
Very nice deck

Have you tested it with FeCr tape ?
Yes, it is OK for an old deck but again not spectacular on the graph. Also the FeCr tape I've used is not in a top condition, hence the channel difference at HF. The response reaches 20-21kHz though.

Cheers

Alex

The recording/playback response using Sony FeCr tape, 0dB = -14dBFS = 160nWb/m DIN :

  #8  
Old 01-22-2015, 07:21 PM
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I have about 4 Old sony 2-tracks lying around somewhere, all need work but otherwise I fully agree with how you described their sound characteristics.

and will you LOOK at that motor!!!
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  #9  
Old 01-22-2015, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dumpster Diver View Post
and will you LOOK at that motor!!!
At least it is possible to disassemble it, wash the bearings and replace the oil. It was difficult to rotate the axis by hand before I've serviced it! Now it runs very smoothly (except the tape speed is about 0.5% slow and not much you can do about it)!

Cheers

Alex
  #10  
Old 01-23-2015, 02:02 AM
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So they have delivered what they promised.



The Japan version was SONY TC-6150SD



...and there was a version with AZIMUTH control too. Just wonder why they added this feature later ...........Nakamichi

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Last edited by NEMOaudio; 01-23-2015 at 02:06 AM.
  #11  
Old 01-23-2015, 02:10 AM
Warped Bezel Warped Bezel is offline
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Alex, if you need some fresher FeCr, I can spare a couple and Sony too.
  #12  
Old 01-23-2015, 02:15 AM
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Interesting heads placement.
Is it: record, play, erase - left to right?
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  #13  
Old 01-23-2015, 02:34 AM
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Big motor anyway.
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  #14  
Old 01-23-2015, 03:13 AM
Warped Bezel Warped Bezel is offline
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I don't think so dubber09...just the controls. Sonys were still kinda weird back then, I don't know if Superscope was to blame or not.
  #15  
Old 01-23-2015, 05:06 AM
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frozen into the 80's. :)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dubber09 View Post
Interesting heads placement.
Is it: record, play, erase - left to right?
not exactly...

it is, left to right: erase, record, play (as on any 3-heads deck) and the erase head is mounted on the left roller's guide on this model.
  #16  
Old 01-23-2015, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.N.T. View Post
(except the tape speed is about 0.5% slow and not much you can do about it)!

Cheers

Alex
What about putting some masking tape around one of the pullys to slightly increase it's diameter to increase the speed? I know this is a bodge and I know you would not like doing a bodge but I did this on a boom box back in the 80's that was running a tad slow and it worked very well.
  #17  
Old 01-23-2015, 06:11 AM
Warped Bezel Warped Bezel is offline
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I would suspect that a belt is a smidge too large.
  #18  
Old 01-23-2015, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soul Music View Post
What about putting some masking tape around one of the pullys to slightly increase it's diameter to increase the speed? I know this is a bodge and I know you would not like doing a bodge but I did this on a boom box back in the 80's that was running a tad slow and it worked very well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warped Bezel View Post
I would suspect that a belt is a smidge too large.
A masking tape or any other similar solution won't work for long. The belt is correct, the problem is with a somewhat changed geometry of one of the flywheels due to cracks in it (you can see these on the photo). Fortunately it does not increase the W&F over the specs limit, unfortunately, because of that, the capstan belt rides slightly off-center on the motor pulley and the speed is 0.5% slow. The only real solution is to replace the flywheel and the capstan. As it looks a typical problem on these decks a new capstan and flywheel required, one from a donor unit is not really an option. Perhaps a new replacement can be made.

Cheers

Alex

Last edited by A.N.T.; 01-23-2015 at 07:18 AM.
  #19  
Old 01-23-2015, 09:22 AM
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Awesome job Alex! Always wanted one of those. Built like tanks, look at all that steel under the cover!!! Hardly a plastic piece in sight.
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  #20  
Old 01-23-2015, 05:18 PM
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Some infos about the Japanese version:
http://knisi2001.web.fc2.com/tc-6150sd.html



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