- Can I play any kind of tape in my walkman/boombox/deck?
- Although recording is something that needs some attention and some skills if you want to achieve a good recording quality, playing is very easy and only needs two selectors to be set: 70/120 µs and Dolby. Any type of tape can be played in almost any machine if it has these two selectors. The only exception can be related to type III, as there are just a few decks that are compatible with this tape type but, for playback only, properly recorded type III tapes can be played also at type II (70 µs or “chrome”) EQ setting.
- Why can’t I skip a song?
- Well, you can skip a song, but not instantaneously. You must wait until you fast forward or rewind to find the starting point of that song, which usually needs a few seconds of patience to reach the right place along the tape side/length. Don’t forget tape is a physical recording medium without the extremely quick and direct random access you would find as a base feature on most digital recording media, then with analog tape you must physically wind the tape on the exact place where a certain song was physically recorded.
- My walkman/boombox has eaten a tape; did I do anything wrong?
- You probably haven’t cleaned the rollers and/or the capstans. Keep them neat by cleaning with –preferably denatured- alcohol every 8-10 tapes or hours and you won’t have any problem. But if you still have such problems on a well cleaned deck then it’s time to consider if the deck needs to be properly checked and eventually repaired.
- Do I have to do anything for maintenance?
- Yes: cleaning the rollers, capstan and the head periodically. Most manufacturers recommend doing that every 10 hours of playing/recording. Follow the procedure as described in the owner’s manual.
- Why do I have to use the tape selector when playing?
- Because the recording has been made in a special manner (using 70 or 120µs EQ curve) to get a flat frequency response (and, thus a good sound), you must play it with the same setting.
- My walkman/BB/deck doesn’t have any tape selector…
- Then it either has auto tape selection (it usually states it) or it is compatible with type I tapes only.
- I realized that it sounds better to me when I switch Dolby OFF with a Dolby-encoded tape, why?
- This is a common behavior. When recording onto a tape with standard quality gear (like a boombox, a walkman or a cheap deck), the frequency response usually lacks some treble. One simple trick is to set Dolby OFF while playing a Dolby encoded tape, as it enhances low level, high frequencies. It’s not the best way to get a good and faithful sound, but it does the job. Anyway, this (cheap) trick may work only with Dolby B-encoded tapes as other (more complex) NR types would be quite unlistenable, if not properly decoded.
- I realized that it sounds better to me when I switch tape selector to type I when playing type II or IV tapes.
- Same trick as before: this trick sets an EQ curve with higher highs, due to using 120 µs rather than 70 µs. It’s not the best way to get a good and faithful sound quality, but it works in some cases.
- Can I touch the tape with my fingers?
- Yes, but you should not… if you don’t want to damage it with your fingerprints’ greasy residues.
- Which one should I buy?
- This is a though question indeed. Basically, in depends on what you’re looking for: a walkman to listen on a daily basis, a high quality sound one, a stylish one or a highly collectable one. There’s no true response for that, but it depends on your taste. Ask in our forums and you’ll receive many recommendations and useful information for sure.
- Are modern USB walkman (like ION) any good?
- Which walkman sounds best?
- There’s a wide acceptation that some of the most representative DD models by SONY are the best sounding ones. I can say that probably the best sounding one is the WM-D6C, but it’s pretty big and bulky. If you’re looking for something tinier, I can recommend my guide Which walkmans sound best?
- Which headphones suit my walkman best?
- Which one should I buy?
- This is a though question indeed. Basically, it depends on what you’re looking for: a boombox to listen on a daily basis, a high quality sound one, a stylish one or a highly collectable one. There’s no true response for that, but it depends on your taste. Ask in our forums and you’ll receive many recommendations for sure.
- Are modern USB/Bluetooth any good?
- There are lots of Bluetooth speakers nowadays. Some sound very good, many are rubbish, but very few do look like a boombox. And that’s what we like the most.
- Which BB sounds best?
- My walkman/boombox doesn’t play. I can only hear the motor spinning…
- The usual issue. It’s probably a damaged belt. You must find the service manual and replace it. If that doesn’t work you can contact a good technician, preferably specialized in walkmans or decks. Take a look at the tech list below.
- Where can I find belts?
- Here and from other sellers in eBay.
- I have a SONY DD. It plays but it makes a noise like ‘clack-clack’; Is that a problem?
- That’s indeed the common and well-known problem of the cracked center gear of the DDs. If it still plays, it won’t do it for long until it finally splits in two parts. Repair it by yourself is a difficult task. Better to send it to a good technician.
- My walkman/boombox makes a strange sound and/or the music plays very quiet…
- Sounds like an electronic issue. It may be capacitors or whatever else… who knows? Send it to a good technician.
- I’m looking for a good technician to service my walkman/boombox/deck.
- Try to send it to a good technician to repair, like Marian Mihok (walkmans, at Slovakia), Dr Walkman (walkmans, at Italy) or Sergi (walkmans, boomboxes, decks, vintage HIFI, at Spain). You can find and updated list here at Stereo2go.com
Thanks to Vince for their very useful corrections.