Friday, May 1, 2009

Vintage Portables - The Walkman

Ran across THIS photo the other day, and it started me thinking of my own history with portable audio as well as what the "personal hi-fi movement" meant to the world of hi-fi in general. By the late 1970s transistor radios had been around for 25 years, so portable audio wasn't new to the scene. What was new was the notion of bringing stereo audio to people engaged in the wacky, new exercise craze called "jogging."

Sony, Akai, JVC, all jumped on the bandwagon, but the big one - the one that became the industry reference, was the Sony Walkman. Click HERE for the most popular of several Walkman museums on the Web. The Walkman brought quality stereo sound to the masses. They were relatively inexpensive and weighed 39 pounds less than a Marantz receiver! Was it just a coincidence that hi-fi gear, in general, took a sharp turn south in quality about the same time these portable units ramped up in popularity? People were introduced to this inexpensive alternative audio gear and flocked to it. The industry took notice, and started building more plastic into their units, bringing the price down to make them accessible to the everyone instead of the audio enthusiasts. See the trend here?

I'm interested in your take on this subject. Please leave a comment or send me an email.

Have any pics of your portable audio gear? Send 'em on in.

Tomorrow - Pics and sound check of my newly-acquired JBl L56 speakers. . .ohhhh. . .can't wait. :)

Want to hook up your iPod to your vintage stereo? Visit my Audio Accessory Store for some great values!

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