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Sony TC-KE600S

Stereo Cassette Deck (1996)

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Sony TC-KE600S


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 21kHz  (Metal tape)

Signal to Noise Ratio: 85dB  (dolby S)

Wow and Flutter: 0.045%

Total Harmonic Distortion: 1.5%

Input: 160mV (line)

Output: 0.5V (line)

Dimensions: 430 x 120 x 310mm

Weight: 4.6kg

Year: 1996



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Reviewed Apr 22nd, 2019 by ilkkasuni

ONE OF THE very last properly designed consumer class hifi decks, of the '90s.

In late '90s when C cassette was dying, sadly, so many cassette deck models simply were just garbage, offering very modest frequency response, similar to that of them very first cassette decks in late '60s when C cassette started breaking through. In the '90s, I was honestly shocked, when traditional hifi brands like Pioneer and Sony even, launched deck models with frequency response limited to say some 30....16000 Hz on Metal tape.

For a single capstan 3-header in the consumer class, Sony TC-KE600S offers very good frequency response, especially with the low end promised to start from 15 Hz, on every tape type. One of course may argue whether the high end given, 17000 Hz on ferro tape and 18000 Hz on tape type II is enough, but the 21000 Hz given for Metal tape sure sounds adequate.

Soundwise, after having tested the deck on various cassette types and brands, the TC-KE600S appears quite alright, meeting what Sony promises.

This deck model is of the Sony QS series, next to their top-of-the-line ES series. One should notice, the TC-KE600S is not the same model as TC-K600ES, of the Sony ES series.

THIS DOLBY S deck offers calibration for both bias and recording level, manually calibrated with the aid of the recording level display. Manual calibration does the trick just as quickly as do automatic calibration systems, while also leaving the choice to boost especially bias for the very tape, wishes one.

The deck provides multiple track music scan for locating tracks, which Sony scan in my experience works far more reliably than does that of especially Pioneer decks.

THE WEAK SPOT of the TC-KE600S is the recording level indicator. Peak hold and very visual a meter, yet the resolution is not what the ultimate deck enthusiasts demand. From level 0 up, there is just one segment to +2 dB, one more bar to +4 dB, another to +6 dB. Approves one the fact, one cannot adjust the recording level to +1 dB, +3 dB or +5 dB, everything's just fine.

Another aspect hard to figure is, the phones out has no level control.

THE TC-KE600S TAPE transport, the level and functions display, the cassette compartment with its motorized door mechnanism, are very similar to that of for instance Sony TC-K590 of early '90s. In all, all the functions with even their speed and sound, quite appear exactly the same as those of the TC-K590, meanwhile in performance TC-KE600S beats the figures given to TC-K590, like, for instance, the latters frequency response 20...20000 Hz on Metal tape.

A nice feature, minor one though is, after loading a cassette, with a single push to the F.FWD button, the deck winds the cassette past the blank tape lead, to the very start of the magnetic tape itself. To actually wind the tape forward, one needs to push the F.FWD button twice - that is, when the cassette inserted is at the very beginning of the tape. The deck automatically tightens any slack in the tape inserted.

EVEN THOUGH Sony TC-KE600S offers no phones out level control, and the recording level indicator is somewhat inadequate, this deck is very nice for a single capstan 3-header. A hifi performer, kind of stripped to the crucial basics, yet providing them most important features for a hifi enthusiast, combined with a very good frequency response. Was I not a serious cassette deck enthusiast since early '70s, the TC-KE600S just might serve for my very hifi deck.

Wow and flutter reportedly is just WRMS 0,045, yet this deck runs tape very steadily, and I could not tell any flaws to keyboards nor strings. BTW, I honestly do not buy all those wow & flutter figures, Aiwa used to report.

TC-KE600S is remote controlled, with many of them IR remote controls by Sony.

Ilkka Suni, Finland



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