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Original Discman: Junk or Not Junk?

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If you asked kids today how they listen to their music, most of them will respond will answers such as mobile phones, iPod, iPad, and computers.

Original Discman

If you asked someone under 25 what a Discman or Walkman is, they would probably look at you like you have three heads because the days of the portable CD player (and essentially CDs) have gone the way of the Dodo—archaic, ancient, obsolete, extinct!

The Discman, introduced by Sony, first hit the marketplace when cassette tapes were still ‘en vogue’ back in 1984. It was essentially a personal stereo complete with headphones so users could listen to compact discs on the go.

They replaced the much loved Walkman (personal cassette player) as they promised a smoother play, less bulky components, and the way of the future.

The future was shorted lived—finding its peak of popularity through teens and twenty-something’s in the 1990’s. By the time the new millennium came, so did the compressed computer files that paved the way to Mp3s and of course the ever more compact, Mp3 player.

While generic and big name brands offered player to the public, no company cornered the market quite like Apple and the release of the 2001 first generation iPod. You’d be hard-pressed today to find a household with patrons under 50 that don’t have at least one Apple product in their home, and most likely it is the primary way they listen to digital files.

For those wondering if there is any sense to keeping the retro models of the Walkman and Discman, the reviews are somewhat mixed.

The pros:

• If you are resistant to digital music files and you insist on CDs, the Discman is a great way to get on the go tunes, so long as you don’t mind ‘skipping’ and replacing batteries
• They are not nearly as pricy as iPods, as you can find them for under $20 on EBay
• You will look great at a throwback 90’s party with your Nirvana tee, plaid, and Discman

The Cons:

• Again, ‘skipping’ songs every time a little turbulence comes your way
• Dead batteries, non-rechargeable!
• You need to carry around CDs instead of a handheld player with all the files locked away inside
• You will look out of place at a current party rocking your nifty camouflage or Day-Glo yellow CD player

When it comes down to it, the Discman is essentially junk—but sentimental junk that most of us can’t bear to part with so we keep putting back in the closet with our collection of old printers, cell phones, and VHS players like some sad electronics graveyard.

Written December 8, 2014 by Christopher Luciano

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