ArticlesAudioSony cassette recorders from the 1980s

Sony joined the cassette boombox race with some delay. In addition, as always in the development of audio equipment, the engineers of the company had their own opinion regarding both the set of functions and the positioning of the devices. As a result, both perfect ingenious components and solutions that caused some bewilderment were born. This situation fully applied to the range of cassette recorders produced by the company in the 1980s - the best of them could well be classified as hi-fi.



Sony CFS-99


A solid boombox with a traditional layout, produced since 1981. Outwardly, it differs from the design solutions popular at that time and looks very original. The beveled top panel contains all the sliders and the tuner wheel, equipped with a flywheel, and just above the cassette pocket, there is a large window with arrow indicators for recording and playback levels. The radio has a decent cassette deck with support for all types of tape, equipped with an automatic track search function (Automatic Music Sensor). The speaker systems are based on 200 mm woofers and 50 mm tweeters with acoustic lenses. The built-in amplifier delivers 4.5 watts per channel from 150 to 15,000 Hz.



Sony CFS-F40


This is one of the rarest and most unusual monoblock radios from Sony in the 1980s. She was very heavy, her weight was as much as 12 kilograms, and she was made of very high quality. The sound was powerful and punchy thanks to the large Dual Drive speakers using a passive radiator and the high long-term power of the built-in amplifier. It reached 14 watts per channel, which was a record for single-box boomboxes. Large and original arrow indicators occupied the entire upper part of the front panel, and between them, there was an LED indicating the peak signal level. For the autonomous operation of the model, 10 batteries were required.



Sony CFS-88S


An original folding boombox, the width of which reached 90 cm when unfolded. An interesting technical solution - the amplified audio signal was fed to the removable speakers through the loops on which they were attached to the central unit. If necessary, and to create a wider stereo base, the speakers could be removed and used to connect the cables hidden in the bottom of each speaker. The speakers were equipped with 200-mm woofers and 5-mm tweeters equipped with acoustic lenses. The total weight of the boombox was 9.4 kg excluding batteries, and the main visual feature of the model was a huge blue window with a tuner scale and arrow indicators. The power of the model was 2 x 6 watts at 10% THD.



Sony CFS-77


The unusual layout of this model, released in 1981, led to the fact that at first glance it seems as if the entire radio tape recorder consists exclusively of acoustic systems. They were truly impressive - the 200mm woofers and 50mm tweeters were organized into large blocks enclosed by a convex metal grille that visually dominated the front panel. The built-in amplifier was organized on the Sanyo LA4125T microcircuit. From the point of view of functional equipment, the model was rather poor, but everything needed was present, including a good cassette deck with a tape counter and a high-quality tuner.



Sony CFS-F70


One of the proprietary "tricks" of Sony was the release of miniature radio tape recorders of the highest quality, which in their sound were not inferior to large ones. True, they cost even more than massive boomboxes. So this model was only 476 x 153 x 180 mm in size, but it cost about $ 600! It housed 10 cm speakers with a huge magnet system, and the cabinet was reinforced with a metal frame. The built-in amplifier operated in bridged mode and delivered 6.5 watts of continuous power per channel, which was incredible for a radio of this size. All the controls were hidden on the top panel under a small cover, the boombox was powered both from the mains and from a removable battery.



Sony CFS-9000


In the mid-1980s, the company switched to creating multi-unit radio tape recorders, which were a cross between a boombox and a music center. In this top-end model of the CFS series, the famous flat square speakers APM (Accurate Pistonic Motion) were used, although traditional round radiators with conical diffusers with a diameter of 4 cm worked at high frequencies. The amplifier was made on the STK4301 microcircuit, and when operating on mains, it could deliver long-term power of 22 watts per channel. However, when using batteries, it dropped to 4 watts. The cassette deck had full logic control, it supported all types of tape, and was equipped with a Dolby B noise reduction system. The model weighed 8.6 kilograms excluding batteries.



Sony FH-7


The pinnacle of the famous FH series. This top model was produced for several years in a row in various modifications, of which the most perfect version was the mkIII version, characterized by the presence of three-way speakers with square APM speakers, which produced incredible bass for their size. In the basic version, the system was delivered without a battery compartment, but if desired, it was possible to purchase a separate unit for 12 batteries, which also included a special amplifier (!), Optimized for DC operation. The carrying handle was detachable, which is understandable - such a system cannot be carried far. All elements of the central unit were also disconnected, and the portable mini-system could easily be converted into a multi-unit one.



Sony FH-150R


A later system in the FH series has been around since 1987 and was more portable, although it also featured 3-way Super Acoustic Turbo monitors with APM speakers. It had a great cassette deck with Dolby B and C support, a good digital tuner, a seven-band EQ with a nice GUI, and, of course, a carrying handle. There was also a remote control. The long-term output power was 2 x 30 watts in the range from 40 to 20,000 Hz, which actually brought the top models of the FH series to the rank of hi-fi systems.

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