TDK Sharp & Clear

TDK Sharp & Clear, also known by its short name of SC, was a quality cassette that persisted through quite a few years and has seen several changes (possibly related to cost reduction). The paper sleeve is relatively plain, but in regular TDK fashion, a large area for labelling is provided.


I’ve noted three variants in my collection this far, but all variants feature the same paper sleeve design. The first variant is the “older” design, by observation. It features a more classical diamond-cut-out in the clear hub plate, and the TDK retention mechanism but in grey instead of red. The underside also features the oddball screw positioning from when TDK cassettes were manufactured in Japan. Note that Fuji AG labels have been attached to this cassette.

TDK SC E180 Top 3

TDK SC E180 Bottom 3

The spine also has the normal grey-blue print which older TDKs had.

TDK SC E180 Spine 3

This type does have a strange feature – the normally stainless steel polished roller has been replaced by a plastic fixed roller it seems.

TDK SC E180 Tape Path 3

The second variant keeps the same shell shape, but the hubs are replaced with more “Sony DX style” hubs with smaller, shorter clips. The stainless steel rollers have returned. The screw positions have moved, and are now the ‘standard’ positions. The original label is attached.

TDK SC E180 Top 1

TDK SC E180 Bottom

The manufacturer code in this variant is melted in to the plastic shell, as opposed to printed.

TDK SC E180 Spine 1

The third variant keeps the same proper-screw position shell, but replaces the reels with ones which have the wing-shape design on the clear hub plate.

TDK SC E240 Top 2

TDK SC E240 Bottom 2

Again, another Fuji AG label makes an appearance. In this case, the manufacturer data is printed in black ink.

TDK SC E240 Spine 2

While the TDK cassettes of late have still achieved respectable quality recording results, it seems that the construction of the cassettes have changed, and the quality has slowly reduced towards the end of VHS’ career.

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