I was having a chat at work about old stereo gear and we got into talking about Walkmans. I’ve had a Walkman pretty much my entire life since I first got one in 1982. A succession of them followed, mostly Sony, but also Aiwa (who Sony owned) totalling about five or six, slowly growing in features (like auto-reverse oh yeah!) and shrinking (the first was the size a good novel).
I moved onto Discmans in about 1993 I think and had about 3 different models. And eventually MD Walkman as well, of which I had 3 from about 1999 until I think 2003.
I was a bit curious so I dug about in my garage and found some of them.
Sony Anniversary Walkman WM-EX5
This is the EX5 which is the same as my own FX5. Turns out it was released as a 50th anniversary of the very beginnings of Sony. As far as I know, its nearly the last high end Walkman released before cassettes died. Mine should still work, but I’ve lost the internal rechargeable battery and have no cassettes to try out. It did come with a separate battery pack that takes a single AA. I have that. Anyone still got any cassettes around?
Sony MZ-N10 NetMD Walkman
This is one of the last Mini Disc Walkmans released before that format died. It could connect to a computer and then download songs, exactly how your iPod works now. The Sony program was pretty annoying to use from memory. Mine still works fine, in fact I’m listening to it now
I did like MD’s. I had a small home stereo with MD and even my car ran MD as well. Thought they were a great, all the recording advantages of tapes without the “noise”. Smaller than a CD and didn’t skip. But no way I prefer them to solid state iPods now.
I can’t find any of my old Discman. I am pretty sure I let my sister use my last one after I had my first iPod. She would have destroyed it – she did that to any electronic device I gave her, including 3 Palm devices.
This is pretty close to the model I had last. It survived a bicycle crash (without even stopping playing) when I was riding and hit by a bus (broke my arm). Limited by the size of the media of course.
Then MP3s, iPods (and Zune and Creative players etc) all started sweeping all of these other formats aside. So for me, it was a decade of Walkman followed by almost a decade of Discman. Then a bit of overlap with MD and since 2003 it’s been iPods.
My girls are going to think of CDs as I do of LPs. This weird music thing that my parents have a big collection of (I’m not getting into the whole better sound argument ok, I listen to MP3 that have been copied from CDs and probably changed format a couple of times with inevitable losses I’m fine with that).
What did you guys do before MP3?