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Stereo Cassette Deck (1995)

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Type: 3-head, single compact cassette deck

Track System: 4-track, 2-channel stereo

Tape Speed: 4.8 cm/s

Heads: 1 x combination record/playback, 1 x erase

Motor: 1 x reel, 1 x capstan, 1 x assist

Tape Type: type I, CrO2, Metal

Noise Reduction: B, C, S, HX Pro

Frequency Response: 15Hz to 22kHz  (Metal tape)

Signal to Noise Ratio: 85dB  (dolby S)

Wow and Flutter: 0.04%

Total Harmonic Distortion: 1.3%

Input: 160mV (line)

Output: 0.5V (line)

Dimensions: 430 x 135 x 360mm

Weight: 7.6kg

Accessories: optional remote control

Year: 1995



waynewta's picture

Sony TC-KA3ES Heads won't engage. Sony claims unavailable belt.

I have a Sony TC-KA3ES cassette deck. I consider this the finest deck Sony ever made. Incidentally, the unit has an IR remote sensor built in but the remote is not supplied in the U.S. market for some reason. One call to Sony parts (after consulting the parts diagram netted me this great factory remote control, the Sony RM-J701.)

My unit has always performed flawlessly. Within the last year, the heads have refused to engage (though every other function on the unit works.) Specifically, the heads move up a millimeter or so and stop, the playback mechanism engages, but then times out after two or three seconds.

I sent the unit to Sony factory service in Laredo, Texas twice! (The unit is actually still in the tail end of it's factory warranty because I bought a close out at CompUSA before they went out of business.)

Anyway, the Sony tech claims that the head will not engage because a belt (one that he claimed was no longer manufactured or available was broken.) He did offer me the courtesy of mailing the broken unit back to me or "destroying" it, whichever I preferred. I chose to have the unit sent back.

After a little (very little) internet research, I found that the belt in question was very much available from Sony dealers around the world. I quickly secured one for about eight dollars.

After disassembling the unit tonight, I discovered that the belt in question was in perfect shape and transferring motion from one wheel to the other perfectly. So no replacement was necessary. I did find that there is a smaller belt that is engaged when the heads are brought up into position but I found that this belt, to, was not broken.

So I don't know what the problem is. If anyone has any suggestions would you kindly send them my way? In the mean time I am going to call Laredo and administer a competency test and hope that at long last they can provide a fix.

Wayne Reses

Sony TC-KA3ES Heads Won't Engage

Your small mode belt is not broken but strechted a little therfore it will not bring up the head block to the play position as it should be. Replace it with one new then you will solve the problem.

I often encounter that problem with Sony ES deck as follows:
- forward or rewind OK
- Door openning/closing OK
- press play the head block does not come up

Solution: replace the mode belt and i always have success.
If i remember the ID of this small mode belt should be 2-2,1 cm

waynewta's picture

2-2,1 cm? belt

Could you please elucidate on this? Does this specification mean an average of two to 2.1 (or 2,1) cm of belt length (i.e. 2-2,1 or 2 to 2,1) or does it mean something else?

waynewta's picture

Heads won't engage

Your description of the symptoms is right on. Now that you mention it, the small belt (I guess called the "mode" belt.) didn't look as "taught" as it could have been. It looks like a nightmare to get in there, though. Do you have any suggestions. (Also, do you have any suggestions where I can get the belt if my existing source doesn't have it? Also, does it make any sense that a company like Sony could be out of this belt worldwide? But that's what they're saying.)


i can not recommend you where to buy it but you can try to buy it online.

This is not guine Sony part but it works if you can buy the right size.

But it is difficult to replace it. There are two methods:
1. following instruction in the service manual of this. if yes you must re-ad-just the tape path again.

2. follow this link using google translate to learn how replace it but there are risk that all part of the cam gear collapsing if you do not experience with it

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Sony. To purchase TC-KA3ES spares or accessories, please contact the company via their website or visit an authorised retailer.