The TC-330, also known as “TC 330”, is a Stereo Tape Recorder with horizontal-styled cassette and reel-to-reel deck, manufactured by the Sony Corporation of Japan in approximately 1971. The service manual describes it as a Solid State Cassette / Reel, at a time when cassettes were taking over, and consequently manufacturers produced combination units that could play both. The reel-to-reel section takes 18 cm (7 inch) reels, and the track format is a four-track 2-channel stereo, also known as quarter track reel to reel. This type of format is extremely useful as you can flip the reels over thereby doubling the running time.
It has a powerful high performance amplifier and speaker system, utilising 2SD28 silicon transistors in a TO66 metal package. These transistors drive the speakers directly without the requirement of an output transformer. Combined with an open magnet speaker design, the arrangement produces a unique warm sound with a powerful bass and treble response.
As well as a full record / playback DIN socket, there are RCA sockets for line out, auxiliary input, and phonograph input. In addition, there are jack sockets for microphone inputs for two channels.
It has a robust plywood carrying case with speakers forming the lid. The speaker case is also made of plywood, and a tough durable PVC layer covers it to provide protection. The build quality and style is very reminiscent of the period and the series of reel to reels such as the Sony TC-355, TC350, TC530, and TC230.
Tape Function Selector
Reel to Reel
Reel to Reel Servicing / Repair
Servicing this unit was interesting and challenging. Vintage reel tape recorders can be problematic however; this one had very few problems. When I plugged it in, there was no sound except for a hum, which indicated a problem with the amplifier section. It turned out that one of the power output transistors in the amplifier section had gone open. I replaced all four transistors with modern equivalents and now it works fine. I was also able to calibrate the bias circuitry to the precise requirement, and now the unit works as when new from the factory.
One of the problems with a machine this old is that the grease turns into a viscous material jamming all the mechanical components. Usually the play function will be jammed due to the many years of dust settling onto the sliding mechanical surfaces.
With a machine as old as this, it is probably a good idea to use the least invasive methods of repair and cleaning. I usually use an industrial steam cleaner to remove all the grease and dust, leaving the metal chassis spotless and clean. This is far better than dismantling all the mechanical components.
eBay / Cost
These were extremely popular at one time, and if you still use reel to reel then this is an unusual combination unit that is very useful.
Due to their weight, they were expensive to ship into UK, however many made it in. Due to their robust construction and design, these machines continue operating even today and people still use them.
If you had one in its original working condition, it could fetch a huge packet on eBay. Of course, as with all auctions, it all depends upon the day, and whether, there is anyone clever enough to know what it is. If you buy one of these, then you will love the sound as it is reminiscent of the 70s period, and many people become collectors of reel-to-reel tape recorders.
The only thing I would recommend is that before you buy it, it might be a good idea to get permission from the wife, because this is a large unit, and if you fling it in the middle of the bed, she might just divorce you! Apart from that, it is all good fun.
This Article Continues...Sony TC-330
Sony TC-330 Inside View
Sony TC-330 Repair
Sony TC-330 Drive Belt
Sony TC-330 Front Controls and Sockets
Sony TC-330 Audio Sockets
Sony TC-330 Cassette Heads
Sony TC-330 Cassette Transport Mechanism
Sony TC-330 Case
Sony TC-330 Level Meters
Sony TC-330 Speakers
Sony TC-330 Tape Path Alignment
Sony TC-330 PCB
Sony TC-330 Power Supply
Sony TC-330 Underside
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