Image: Hugh Threlfall
August 13 2011
What do the letters TDK mean to you? For me, it’s those balmy, long-ago radio-cassette days. How modern the Philips Compact Cassette (to give it its proper name) seemed 40 odd years ago, when you could fit an entire LP – two, even! – on a thing only about 20 times the size of an iPod Shuffle.
With a cassette sexily slipped into the slot in the dashboard of your Triumph Stag, you and your best girl could listen to Mungo Jerry all the way to Brighton. So long as you didn’t mind Mungo Jerry being accompanied by the gentle chip-frying sound of the magnetic tape passing oh-so slowly across the playing head. Oh, and so long as the tape didn’t decide to wind itself around the mechanical gubbins inside your Pye in-car cassette player and burn out the motor.
But there was always a cassette pecking order, and if memory serves, TDK was pretty high up that order. Lord knows what TDK has been doing with itself since those ubiquitous six-packs of cassettes for illegally recording LPs stopped appearing in massive piles in WH Smith and HMV. Whatever, the brand appears to have resurfaced with the snappy little name TDK Life On Record.
And here, from TDKLOR is a stupendous 14.5kg Sumo wrestler of a boombox, ideal for a summer beach or pool party, since as well as being mains powered, it runs for four to six hours on D-sized batteries, albeit 12 of them, which make the thing even heavier. And when I say “runs” on batteries, I’m talking a humungous, majestic, filling-rattling, beach-wide racket. It is loud, and fine too. Stick a bit of reggae on and you could definitely liven up this month’s Notting Hill Carnival (though don’t come crying to me if that plan goes a bit wrong).
The TDKLOR 3 Speaker Boombox is superbly finished in a gorgeous glossy black (though the unprotected speaker cones are slightly on the vulnerable side); and its design has coded into it an amusing geeky, semiotic-type message. Not a lot of technology writers would get their rulers out to investigate such a point, but I’ve discovered that the machine is an almost perfectly scaled-up representation of… a cassette.