Sony Reel to Reel Tape Recorders

Company Description

Links to a full Sony history included at the bottom.

1946 Masaru Ibuka started an electronics shop in a department store building in Tokyo. Initial products included electric rice heaters and heating pads. The company began experimenting with wire recording and were able to see a demonstration of a WilcoxGay tape recorder

1947 Masaru Ibuka founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation).

1949 Sony concentrated the business on making magnetic tape for recording. The company built Japan’s first tape recorder prototype called Soni-Tape

1950 Sony launched Japan’s first tape recorder, the “G type.” Called “G” type because it was sold mostly to the government under the trademark name of ” Tapecorder”

1951 Sony introduced a portable version of the G Type recorder, the Type H. It included an external mic and came in a suitcase-like body

1952 Sony introduced the Type M, a portable recorder developed for professional broadcast use. Radio programs that interviewed ordinary people on the street using the M Type enjoyed a surge in popularity.

1954 Sony introduced the TC-301. It was the first small tape recorder designed for the consumer market and was the start of the mass produced Sony electronic products

1955 The first Sony-branded product, the TR-55 transistor radio introduced

1950’s Sony’s TR-63 radio sold an estimated 100,000 units from 1955-1968

1957 The company name was officially changed to Sony. The name is a mix of the Latin word “Sonus” and “Sonny”, a familiar American term at the time. The 553 recorder was the first Sony reel to reel sold in America

1959 Sony introduced the Model 101, a version of the H Type that was more compact and used 7-inch reels

1960 Sony co-founder Akio Morita founded Sony Corporation of America

1961 Sony introduced the TC-777, the first fully transistorized Japanese reel-to-reel recorder with a built-in amp. Developed for the home, it used buttons instead of levers and was affectionately known as “Three Sevens”

1964 Sony launched the TC-263D reel-to-reel recorder with the familiar vertical form factor

1969 Sony introduced the TC-1150 tape recorder with a built-in condenser mic. This model used the compact cassette format and was very small and portable for its time.

1975 Sony launched the Betamax videocassette recording format

1977 Sony made its last reel to reel tape recorder, the TC-765, which would continue to be sold into the early 80s

1979 The Sony Walkman was introduced, using the compact cassette format. The Walkman was wildly successful across a huge number of models and has been given credit for keeping analog alive with prerecorded tapes achieving sales levels in the mid-80s that were previously unheard of. Some record companies reported over 50% of their sales were in cassettes around that time.

1982 Sony introduced the Digital Audio Stationary Head (DASH) standard for multitrack studio recording and mastering, makes 2 DASH recorders, the 24 track PCM3324S and the 48 track PCM3348HR

Sony History From the Sony website (Part 2- Tape Recorder Specific)

Full Sony History

General Information

Manufacturer: Sony

Years in Business: 1946 To Present

Country: Japan

Years making R-R Tape Recorders: 1949 To 2021

Pictured below are some pages from the 1957 brochure.

Here is an overview from a fully qualified technician here in Canada that shares opinions that I have heard from other similarly qualified, that Sony reel to reel tape recorders are generally not Great Service recommendations after all these years. Overview at the bottom of the page.