January 14, 2014

"I Need a Radio Inside My Hand:" How Boomboxes Got So Badass

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"And if you don't like that music, I'm going to play it louder and play it louder..."

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"Compared to today’s sleek micro-gadgets, boomboxes

are like electronic dinosaurs, dated as much by their ludicrous size as their outmoded technology. Beginning in the late 1970s, companies recognized that buyers wanted their radios louder and more dynamic, so they made sure each model could project a solid mix of treble, midrange, and bass, while offering options for recording and editing, too. This was what made the analog boxes so big, requiring huge speakers, cassette decks, a radio receiver, and up to 10 D-sized batteries, all wrapped in heavy-duty casing."

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The oversized radio-and-cassette-player combos quickly became a sign of status among urban youth, who knew their models by name:
The JVC RC-550; the Panasonic RX-7200; the Sharp VZ-2000. Eventually they included features like detachable speakers and keyboard synthesizers, allowing for even greater mixing capability. These monster boxes grew so large and expensive that one model, the Conion C-100F, actually included a motion detector that sounded an alarm if the box was moved. - - Collectors Weekly

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Collectors Weekly: Where did the boombox originate?

Miles Lightwood: "The boombox by its typical definition—a handled, portable, radio cassette deck with one or more speakers—was actually invented in the Netherlands by Philips in 1969. The one considered the first boombox was made so that you could record from the radio onto the cassette without having any external cables for a microphone. All of a sudden, you’ve got a very easy music-sharing culture, and the Japanese companies basically took that idea and ran with it.

"In my mind, the first device that’s like the urban boombox of popular culture is the JVC RC-550, which was a monster box. It’s got a 10-inch woofer, it looks mean, and it’s got lights and the whole package. That was made in ’75.
The oversized radio-and-cassette-player combos quickly became a sign of status among urban youth, who knew their models by name: The JVC RC-550; the Panasonic RX-7200; the Sharp VZ-2000. Eventually they included features like detachable speakers and keyboard synthesizers, allowing for even greater mixing capability. These monster boxes grew so large and expensive that one model, the Conion C-100F, actually included a motion detector that sounded an alarm if the box was moved. - - Collectors Weekly

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Lyle Owerko's favorite is the GF9696. "It's absolutely my most mint box," Owerko says. "It's incredibly shiny; it's 40 watts. The speaker grilles detach, which makes it look really mean." A Eulogy For The Boombox : NPR

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Progress: Today's Boombox

[A Tumblr for the Boombox would beBoomboxラジカセ Creators]

or.... without a lot of overthinking and blatherspeaking....

"My radio, believe me, I like it loud
I'm the man with a box that can rock the crowd
Walkin' down the street, to the hardcore beat
While my JVC vibrates the concrete
I'm sorry if you can't understand
But I need a radio inside my hand"

Posted by gerardvanderleun at January 14, 2014 10:15 AM
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Comments:

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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Ah yes, the late and unlamented African Philharmonic.

Now 'days they just slug people.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at January 14, 2014 1:22 PM

I lived in NYC back then. I don't miss the damn things.

Posted by: Fat Man at January 14, 2014 1:53 PM

"The oversized radio-and-cassette-player combos quickly became a sign of status among urban youth"

Is that a euphemism? /rhetorical question

Posted by: pst314 at January 14, 2014 5:14 PM

When they first came out I was still going to college off and on and traveling a lot with work and they were really nice and mobile. I loved them.

Once they started showing up in public places reminding what shitty taste in music most people have I didn't love them any more.

Posted by: B Moe at January 15, 2014 6:19 AM

Third world briefcase.

Posted by: tripletap at January 15, 2014 7:01 AM

Audio ASSault

Posted by: ghostsniper at January 15, 2014 1:32 PM
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