• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Sony Tapecorder 101 Review (Vintage Reel to Reel)

Rate this product:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 11 8.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 25 18.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 59 42.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 43 31.2%

  • Total voters
    138

mhardy6647

Master Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
5,561
Likes
11,139
The 777 strikes me styling wise as the zillionth squeezing of the Ampex 600 series grapes. Many (most?) consumer machines back in the day tried to look either like the Ampex 600 (Roberts) or the Ampex 350 (Teac, Concertone etc etc).
giving me a good excuse to post a photo (ca. 1957) of my father runnin' an Ampex 600 at City Hall in Baltimore, MD, as mayor Tommy D'Alesandro Jr. presented the Keys to the City to WITH-AM DJ Jack Gale.
... and also an excuse to mention that Mayor Tommy's daughter is currently the US Speaker of the House. ;)

 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
37,953
Likes
162,124
Location
Seattle Area
Jeepers, maybe I should send you my Tandberg 92 to test, @amirm :cool:
My schedule is very full. Would be best to send it next year.....
 

mhardy6647

Master Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
5,561
Likes
11,139
My schedule is very full. Would be best to send it next year.....
About this time of year? I'll put it on my calendar! :cool:

Actually, maybe I'll mix it up a bit & send this instead.

1648846607365.jpeg




You might have to provide your own Tom Jones & Conway Twitty tapes, though.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
37,953
Likes
162,124
Location
Seattle Area
My sisters had an 8-track system. I remember always being horrified at how bad it sounded. The track switching was magic but everything else was awful.
 

mhardy6647

Master Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
5,561
Likes
11,139
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Sony Tapecorder Model 101 vintage Reel to Reel tape recorder. My brother found it for me at a Goodwill store. The 101 was released in 1959 and retailed for 29,800 Japanese Yen (today's conversion and adjusted for inflation: $2,377).
View attachment 196894

I must stay it looks absolutely cute! It has a lid that covers it all. With it on, it would fit right in inside any fashion store. You can get a sense of that with a side shot:
View attachment 196895

The thing weighs a ton by the way for its size. There is a fan on the back and cute little door which exposes the AC cord connection inside it.

I have been anxious to measure it but took me a long time to find a test tape. Eventually I found one that has an odd tone of 315 Hz.

Sony Tapecorder Model 101 Measurements
I must say, I was not prepared for this level of performance out of this slow running, ancient deck:

View attachment 196896

OK, it is not a CD but compare it to my modern Otari Reel to Reel:

index.php


SINAD is just 4 dB lower! If I am not mistake, distortion is actually lower on the Sony than the Otari. I am just stunned by this. Were these vintage decks all this good???

Alas, I have no other test tones to show you more measurements. I will see if I can record some and post them later.

Conclusions
I don't usually get excited with testing vintage stuff as with some exceptions, performance is not there. And most look and smell old. Not here. The Sony 101 looks practically new and performs almost at the same level of a modern Reel to Reel deck. I see one advertised on ebay in worse shape for $70. If it works, it would be worth every dollar based on this testing.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
index.php


I guess I oughta start a gofundme to get a replacement On-Off Volume knob for this poor machine.
;)
 

don'ttrustauthority

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 10, 2021
Messages
517
Likes
274
Cassettes gave wide dynamic range, almost 60 db and more with 3% distortion allowed, and then with dolby it could go to 80. But even at 60, it was not easy to tell when you were listening to a cassette except when the music is so low you can hear the hiss. I've never seen a pro cassette deck tested for distortion this way though.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
37,953
Likes
162,124
Location
Seattle Area
index.php


I guess I oughta start a gofundme to get a replacement On-Off Volume knob for this poor machine.
;)
Yes. For just $19.95/month, you can adopt this little unit and help cloths it in the form of volume knob, more tapes, etc. Show it that you have a heart and that you care about what happens to it!
 

Aperiodic

Active Member
Joined
May 2, 2019
Messages
210
Likes
321
My sisters had an 8-track system. I remember always being horrified at how bad it sounded. The track switching was magic but everything else was awful.
Except the track switching tended to occur at highly inopportune times, like right in the middle of the song 'Money' from 'Dark Side of the Moon'.
 

MYA

New Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2022
Messages
1
Likes
0
OH! Good old gear!
I used this in my boyhood in late '60.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
37,953
Likes
162,124
Location
Seattle Area
OK, so I planned this April Fools' joke for almost a year, only to have it go down as a dud. :) Teaches me to not pull stunts like this in the future!

I can take solace in seeing no one figuring out where the measurements came from. It was from my Nakamichi measurements: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ments-of-nakamichi-dragon-cassette-deck.5595/

index.php


I went in Photoshop and extended the peaks in FFT to 0 dB. This is why SINAD didn't agree with it. :D

Was originally thinking about faking the whole measurement but didn't know how to make it look like tape measurements.

The deck is real by the way. I have yet to power it on but it looks really nice and cute. I don't have any small tape reels to put on it and that is something I need to buy.
 

Jim Shaw

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
246
Likes
455
Location
Northeastern Ohio, USA, in the woods
Conclusions
I don't usually get excited with testing vintage stuff as with some exceptions, performance is not there. And most look and smell old. Not here. The Sony 101 looks practically new and performs almost at the same level of a modern Reel to Reel deck. I see one advertised on ebay in worse shape for $70. If it works, it would be worth every dollar based on this testing.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Very much in keeping with the 1st of April. I celebrated by changing the oil and coolant on my Heathkit FM tuner..
 

P_M

Active Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
118
Likes
48
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
OK, so I planned this April Fools' joke for almost a year, only to have it go down as a dud. :) Teaches me to not pull stunts like this in the future!

I can take solace in seeing no one figuring out where the measurements came from. It was from my Nakamichi measurements: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ments-of-nakamichi-dragon-cassette-deck.5595/



Was originally thinking about faking the whole measurement but didn't know how to make it look like tape measurements.

The deck is real by the way. I have yet to power it on but it looks really nice and cute. I don't have any small tape reels to put on it and that is something I need to buy.
you rascal.
 
Top Bottom