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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pretty much everyone has heard that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Walkman. I like this reminiscence about the cassette format, which really was pretty sweet. Audio gear in general was a lot more interesting back then. You had your metal tapes, and your chrome high-bias tapes, and people had brand preferences (I was a Maxell chrome guy, which to my ears was the best sounding, and the best value). Dolby B or Dolby C was a big deal, but I favored an alternate noise reduction system called dbx, which meant that when I went looking for a tape deck to put in my car the field was narrowed quite a bit. dbx didn't sound right when played back with other systems.

People laugh now about how clunky the old Walkman were (the size of a paperback book!) but they weren't bad really. CDs wrecked everything. They eventually engineered the Walkman to the point where it was barely bigger than the tape, but a CD player was going to have to be bigger than that, and round.

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