Sony TC-3520 reel-to-reel output problems


Silver Member
Username: Jrbay

Livonia [Detroit area], Michigan USA

Post Number: 558
Registered: Feb-08
I am hoping that reel-to-reel tape decks and cassettes are similar enough that perhaps someone here can answer my question.
I have finally gotten my old college roommate to unearth his Sony TC-3520 reel-to-reel recorder and more importantly all of the tapes we put together back then (yeah, yeah go ahead and laugh it was the late 70's ). The recorder looks like (or used to prior to disassembly for cleaning) the unit on the lower right at this web site:

When first trying to use the machine all of the mechanicals were frozen solid. I have all of that freed up and have 100 Q-Tips in the trash with either dirty grease or alcohol on them. So at this point everything is MOVING as it should but now the trouble is when playing the tapes the VU meters are pegged at max and the sound is really terrible. The most worrisome symptom of all is a "OVER" light flashing on my receiver.

The tape heads are clean, my question is are the heads misaligned or magnetized (or something else I am unfamiliar with)?

Many thanks for any ideas!

Silver Member
Username: Soundgame

Richmond Hill Toronto ..., Ontario Canada

Post Number: 469
Registered: Jun-08
My Dad's is almost identical to the Sony on the lower left of that website.

Jim, try listening through the headphone jacks on the RtR player. Sounds like your receiver is getting too much voltage through the RCA jacks. Don't continue do that, as you may damage the receiver inputs. Look up the error message "over" in your receivers manual, but I think it's that the RtR is sending out a maxed signal that's over the receivers input capacity.
If it still sound bad through the RtR headphone jack you've at least elimnated the RCA output stage as the problem.
Since the VUE metters are pegging on max. it's probably something to do with the heads or something between the heads and the amplification, so I think it's on the front end.
If you've got her openend up try checking for loose connections from the heads on back.
Do you have a voltage tester, try testing along the line to see what you're getting and at what point it starts to max out. It's obviously between the heads and the VUE meters so that's where you've got to start to look.

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