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Tuesday
Mar292016

Boombox or Bust?

In this video I take a look at a truly awful portable stereo that could date back to the 1980s, but is more likely from the early 1990s. This appears to be part of a shipment bound for foreign shores which somehow got diverted to the UK and then lay forgotton about in a warehouse for 25 years.  

If you want to buy one of these (for anything other than listening to) - here's a link to a seller on ebay in the UK. 

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Reader Comments (12)

Utterly awful! ;)

Btw, wattage back on speaker elements does not say anything about their power output... it's only there to tell you how many CLEAN watts they can take for INPUT before going away to oblivion...;) Which is this case is about when you set the volume on '11' on this setup! 8-) 20 Watts they say for the amp huh?, I would guess about 2 CLEAN watts if not even worse.

The funny switch you showed inside is for swicthing the tape amp beetween rec and play mode, they use the same amp for this, not like your 3-head Pioneer which have separate amps for REC and PLAY. This kind of connector is always prone to bad connection, wear, dirt, noise and other kind of mishaps in the long run!

March 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMatte

I used to have reps trying to sell me stuff like this all the time. My customers were a little bit more discerning and din't want basically "Crap" for want of a better word.
Sony did produce some hight end stereo radio cassettes that are pretty well put together but had a limited market.
Nice to see the past though. Thanks again Matt.

March 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Travis

Those flashing LED's look really cool, reminding me from Knight Rider KITT's dashboard LEDs and voice modulator :)
I have here a late 80's, could be even from 1986, a Sanyo Model no. M W 708F portable radio with two cassette players, one of them has record feature. No flashing LEDs though but it has CD/Line In connectors. Pretty noisy power supply when connecting the power cord to wall socket.
Another one I have is 1992 Sharp QT-CD7 portable radio with cassette and cd-player. CD-player doesn't work very well anymore, it's skipping and stuttering while trying to play the cd. The thing which moves the laser head is noisy when it returns from the end of the cd to home position but cassette player still works ok. No flashing LEDs in this one either though.

March 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterFinn guy

How much does that beast weigh when you fill it with D cell batteries?

March 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Excellent review of a classic stereo system bought by people who couldn't afford anything better (like me ;-D). I still have one similar to this: a Sanyo stereo that sounds as well as you can expect from a boombox (I don't remember the model though it's hidden at the bottom of a closet). The quality of the materials is similar in all: you got what you'd paid. And, of course, it was a high D cell battery consumer. Sometimes, when I want to remember those teenager days, I switch it...

March 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJaume Martí

Good review as always. But I do not know why I remembered the good old hammer of justice...;)

March 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterchorondus

Just a heads up that this type of device would've got nowhere near a Dixons store.

They sold unbranded items with their own trademarks, e.g. Matsui, Saisho, but they were all reasonably decent enough in terms of build quality (maybe not in terms of technology), and most would last a few years.

In fact my mum had the Saisho twin cassette stereo shown at 1:10 in the top left. I wouldn't be surprised if it was still used now.

The "International" junk that you review would've been sold at non-chain stores, most likely those variety stores in town centres. The seller who claims they were destined for Dixons is either misled or telling an outright lie. Certainly something to avoid with a bargepole.

April 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDuncan Hill

Funny video!

I am one of those who had a horrible, unbranded, portable tape radio, used the cheapest tapes I could buy, and recorded music from the radio. When I got a Sony Megabass CD player as a present, I couldn't beleive the audio quality that thing produced...

BTW I remember a boombox a friend of mine had. It was from the US, and I remember that the thing couldn't output full volume when plugged in to a home plug (110V). It did worked when powered from the thousand batteries the thing housed. It had only a tape deck, but it was big and beautiful.

April 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCalvinH

In the late 70's maybe 1980 I was working at Lafayette Radio in Livonia MI USA and in came Stevie Wonder and his entourage (two rather large fellows) He was interested in a "Boom Box" portable stereo etc. He purchased one in the $400 price range ( I think we topped out in the low 700's) (I don't recall the brand (Possibly an AIWA) but what struck me is that when he paid with his American Express card he signed the signature portion with a Thumbprint which I guess makes all the sense in the world.. Pretty sure he bought batteries too.

April 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMark

I find it hard to believe this is actually from 1990. 1986 does sound more likely to me. For one, the styling is VERY 80s. By the 90s, these kinds of machines were trying to look more sophisticated on the outside. Second, there's a phono input- not an "Aux" or CD input. By 1990, a manufacturer attempting to polish a turd like this would tout its "DIGITAL-READY" capabilities, not feature an old fashioned phono jack.

One plus, however, is that each of the equalizer sliders are independent... Usually they'd tie two sliders together in order to appear to have more EQ bands. TACKY! :)

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Buckmaster

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