The cassette Walkman is 30 years old. I must admit the young me was less than impressed when she first saw the concept (I remember thinking ‘I doubt many people will want one of those’) but got to listen to one in a record store that also sold audio goods and the sound through headphones was, for the time just amazing.
Good First Choice
In reality I only ever owned two cassette Walkmans. The first was a veritable Rolls Royce: The Aiwa TP-S30 (pictured). It was for me a multi function device because it could record as well as play back so I got to record some college lectures (in binaural stereo too), use as a dictation machine and for a brief period even turned its hand to discretely recording a few live rock concerts (bootlegging, moi?).
Preserved In Sound
I also have quite a few recording of now long passed extended family members and friends. Believe me these are a much better long term record that photographs.Through these recordings they all live on.
It was built to last but eventually the metal casing cracked and the top section where the operation buttons sat disintegrated completely (this section was actually metal effect plastic) and the lid to the battery compartment also cracked to the extent that it could then only be powered from the mains (hardly portable).Despite these failings the cassette play/record mechanism itself could have easily kept working. The Aiwa must easily have put in 10 years of faithful service.
I eventually replaced it with a Toshiba which was cheap, plastic, sounded awful in comparison and soon broke.
So fond memories of what for a generation today would seem an absurdly antiquated technology but they were the mp3 players of their day and part of the evolution of portable audio devices.
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