The TC-153SD, also known as TC153SD, is a Portable Stereo Cassette-Corder manufactured by the Sony Corporation of Japan. This was a more improved model to the 1978 version TC-152SD, with the most noticeable difference being a bar (shaft ornament) protector at the front, over the monitor switch. Most of the design and operation remained the same as the previous model.
This model is slightly heavier, and built to the same high quality standards as the previous model. The black colour gives it a very real sense of power and presence, matched by superior electronic engineering. It measures 378 mm × 108 mm × 238 mm in size, and weighs 5.4 kg with batteries.
The electronic design of this tape recorder consists of 44 transistors, 2 integrated circuits, and 35 diodes. The integrated circuits are TA7122AP, which is a low noise audio preamplifier IC manufactured by the Toshiba Corporation. This tape recorder also has Dolby Noise Reduction (DNR) encoding / decoding circuitry consisting of discrete components.
The headphone socket provides a fixed output level; however, testing a recorded cassette on a good quality Walkman will indicate that the unit is able to transfer the higher end of the frequency bandwidth.
For more information, please also review the TC-152SD article and return to this one.
Servo Control System
The motor drive consists of the D-009F motor connected to an FG Servo System. This consists of three transistors on the servo circuit board.
I received this unit from a singer who uses only this unit for field recordings. Over the years, he has not been able to find anything that matches the superior performance of the ferrite head. Once you try ferrite, you will never want to go back to the conventional heads.
This unit had all the belts replaced, and a general clean of the tape transport mechanism with some expensive electrical cleaner. I was very impressed to see it come with the original leather style cover, which was sold as an accessory, and very difficult to obtain today.
This tape recorder is such a lovely piece of engineering that it should continue to operate without any loss in performance for many more years. Many of the components are becoming difficult to source however; I can always use modern equivalents, which usually improves the performance.
I just love vintage Sony products. If I were the CEO of Sony, I would bring back the fine ideals and vision of the founder Akio Morita.
Cost / eBay
The TC-152SD and TC-153SD were extremely popular due to the ferrite head design and superior frequency response. There are not very many units such as this apart from the high-end Technics units with their hot-pressed ferrite (HPF) heads.
These units were sold all over the world in different versions, but it was an expensive product at the time, and still of value to audio experts today.
I have seen prices go as high as sixty pounds, and it can go higher if the unit is in mint condition together with its box and accessories.
In the following pages of this multi-page article, you can see the inside construction, and features of this unit.
This Article Continues...Sony TC-153SD
Sony TC-153SD Inside
Sony TC-153SD Tape Transport
Sony TC-153SD Ferrite Head
Sony TC-153SD Speaker
Sony TC-153SD Power Supply