Discuss: Walkman's Fortieth Anniversary

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July 4, 2019 at 05:39:28
Specs: Windows 10, 1.4 GHz / 5610 MB
Hi all,

This week's poll question is about news that Sony's Walkman has turned forty. Discuss here if you think Sony gets enough credit for its contribution to mobile music, and, if you like, the poll results themselves.


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July 4, 2019 at 06:59:38
nope, not old enough ;)

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July 4, 2019 at 08:44:03
The Walkman was more "evolutionary" than "revolutionary". Personal audio devices had been around since the Regency TR-1 in 1954 (even earlier if you factor in the few "personal" portable tube radios available before this). Sony put together a package that included stereo and a cassette-player (many AM/FM portable radios were and had been available prior to the 1979 introduction of the Walkman TPS-L2 ). Still, it was very unusual to find any device that let the user control their music in the way the Walkman did. Fast-forward another 18/19 years (1997-8) and you arrive at the first commercial mp3 player, the SaeHan/Eiger MPMan (which the Diamond Rio improved on and made successful). But with time's advance, there's little room now for a "single-use device". Smartphones have pretty much dominated the "personal audio device" category for a decade or more....

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

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July 4, 2019 at 08:50:41
I still have a couple of them kicking around - one with cassette, one without.

I used to wear the radio only version when I worked in a metal fabrication shop. That was before the invention of earbuds, so what I & many of my coworkers did was remove the ends from the headphones, put them inside our hearing protection earmuffs, then run the wire inside the back of our shirts to a Walkman clipped to our belts behind our backs. Management was OK with it. I got to listen to heavy metal while banging on heavy metal. :-)

I still use the cassette version at work occasionally. I have it sitting on my desk, connected to an old pair of computer speakers. I generally only use it when my cube-mate has the day off (he has SiriusXM, lol).

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July 4, 2019 at 15:09:31
No doubt today in this age of increasing puritanism and ‘uman rites’ it would have to given a gender neutral. Or else have at least two versions; one called a walkman, and the other a walkwoman; or even a third called a walkperson...

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July 7, 2019 at 06:44:54
Oddly enough (given the timing of this post), I finally found the one-and-only "true Walkman" that I ever purchased (WM FX290 with Cassette/AM/FM/TV/WB):


Remember getting it for a super discount (<$30) at a Walgreens many moons ago. Of course the TV bands are useless now (TV having gone "digital" in 2009), but I stuck a battery in it and (like riider) hooked up a pair of external computer speakers and she fired right up. The MB "MegaBass" function makes the cheap speakers sound not too shabby, and I now have (another) emergency radio for (near frequent) power outages we have in the NC mountains. Nice too that it only needs 1 AA battery. Even picks up the local NOAA channel.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A

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July 7, 2019 at 08:36:38
I used to record my daughter singing on one (she became professional). It produced excellent recordings too if you used a decent mike.

I used to keep the head carefully cleaned but after lending it to said daughter for a few years the high notes never sounded so good. I suspect it had no maintenance and the head gap increased due to abrasion.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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July 7, 2019 at 12:18:52
There was also the professional walkman as well; no radio included.

Two versions - one with standard mini jack mic input, and the noticeably more expensive xlr (balanced) input. Neither Pro version was cheap and the xlr really OTT cost wise.

To keep them up to spec they required regular servicing, cleaning and such. And they weren't exactly kind on the battery consumption as I recall. I still have my (mini jack) version - batteries removed of course to preserve it from battery rot over time?.

Aiwa made a similar device to Sony's Walkman (mit radio included). It was a good machine. Only weak point was (is) the little metal(?) record tab inside the tape cavity which had to move or not (cant remember just now which) - or be pressed back against a "micro switch "- to allow recording. Other than that it was fine machine. Still have that too. There was a JVC one too (think it was JVC - if not apologies to JVC) ) but it was atrociously assembled inside; flimsy wiring all over; flimsy construction and soldering too.

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