T.D.K.’s Modern Take on the Boombox

Posted by // December 19th, 2012 // Product Design No Comments »

Throughout its history T.D.K. has been known specifically for its range of audio equipment and accessories. This is despite manufacturing a wide range of electronic components and other non-consumer goods. Founded in 1935, the Japanese company whose name stands for Tokyo Denkikagaku Kogyo (‘Tokyo Electronics and Chemicals’) became synonymous with the cassette tapes that it started producing in 1966.

In late 2010 T.D.K. released two products in the ‘Life on Record’ audio range that took inspiration from the past with two and three speaker boomboxes that provided a modern twist on a classic. This August T.D.K. refreshed its line-up with new wireless speakers including an updated boombox capable of wireless connectivity. The A73 Wireless Boombox uses Bluetooth to hook up to a media player and features a six-hour rechargeable battery to make outdoor listening more straight forward. There is also a 3.5 millimetre auxiliary input for traditional wired connectivity.

Visually the Wireless Boombox looks like a futuristic version of the retro device, with two controls (one for power and volume and one for selecting music source) and a black handle representing its portable nature. The shiny black finish with gold highlights give it a high-end appearance, as does its weighty feel. Its slim frame measures 16.5″ by 11.5″, with a depth of just four inches. Inside it utilises two drivers and two passive radiators that face forwards to provide the iconic boombox appearance. At the back is a 5.25 inch subwoofer providing the deep bass that is a must given the product’s background. By taking advantage of T.D.K.’s Signature Sound technology, playback is free from distortion and carefully replicates the music as originally intended.

The boombox is a generic name for the portable music player that was previously successful in the 1970s and 1980s. Alternatively known as a ghetto blaster, this electronic device would provide cassette and/or C.D. playback with speakers provided as part of the package. First invented by the Dutch company Philips in 1969, Japanese electronics manufacturers would quickly take over the growing industry with the likes of Sony and Panasonic dominating the market. With mobility being a key factor in the boombox’s success, the majority of models would use batteries to power the device, although often many would be needed to produce the necessary power. A number of popular musicians and groups, particularly in the hip-hop genre (such as L.L. Cool J. and the Beastie Boys), would be seen with a boombox, which only further enhanced its popularity within youth culture.

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