In the last 37 years I have owned around 10 Lasonic TRC-920's. Far and away the most of a single model of any box in my collection. The first I bought brand new in 1983 at the Saugus Swap Meet in Southern California from Mr and Mrs Chen, the owners of Lasonic when they were working hard traveling to markets around Southern California, setting up booths and selling their products.
That box was a work horse and I used it every day. I took care of my belongings because I worked for them. I bought my 920 for $220 earned from mowing lawns, sweeping driveways, raking leaves and delivering news papers.
But it still ended up a wreck. The antenna hold down tips busted off, the dainty stereo / dial light switches busted off and one day the handle end snapped which ended it's hard life on the road. It was retired to the top of my bedroom dresser where I plugged in some trash pile speakers I found. They were old home speakers with 12" woofers, 3" mids and dome tweeters. They were missing the foam surrounds. I laid them on the floor, on their sides under the edge of my bed, plugged them into the aux out on my 920 and they roared. But when they were plugged in, it cut the power to the speakers on the 920. It wasn't long before I opened the 920 and bypassed the part of the circuit that cuts off the boombox speakers and then had them all going. I soon found even more speakers I could hook up. Basically any and all junkyard trash speakers were added to my monstrosity. It was loud AF, sounded like mud and I loved it! For well over a year the amp on the 920 took the abuse and then on a hot Southern California day, during an extended "Crank" session ripping Van Halen's "Women and Children First" SILENCE! Only the ringing in my ears continued and that was it.
The 920, with it's busted handle, missing switches, failed deck and finally blown amp went in the trash can. I can still remember pushing the trash down in the can so I could get the lid on it. It was like burying my dog. (no, we did not put the dog in the trash!)
Since finding this community 10 years ago I have had a slew of these boxes. many were parts boxes, used to cobble together beaters. One of these beaters has been the go to box for years and years. It was a radio that I never had to worry about banging into the door jam on the way out, or it getting scratched while tossing it in the back seat. It has been all over California, flown with me to Alaska as carry on luggage stuffed on the floor between my feet. It made the journey to Italy stuffed in my largest luggage bag so I would have a radio before the full collection arrived. It traveled with me to China, England, Germany and all over Italy.
But one thing I have never had, since the first 920 I bought in the summer of 1983 was a "Shelf Queen 920".
It's been something that has been in the back of my mind for years and years but it always fell to the side as other "more important" boombox projects came up, like rebuilding the JVC RC-M90, the recent Sanyo M-X820 or a glut of other radio's that have graced the workbench.
Yet, in the back of my mind the gears still turned. In the last handful of years I have been quietly acquiring more 920's and other parts that theoretically could make the dream a possibility should I ever find the time.
The real lynch pin in the whole project was finding a 920 that still had the antenna ears intact. Being such a poor design in the first place, 97/100 920's out there have them busted off and I have never had one in the last 10 years that had even one of the ears intact.
I was lucky enough to receive one off eBay a few years back that did indeed have both and that made the possibility of doing this more of a reality.
So, with three complete Lasonic TRC-920's on hand, I set out to build the very best one I could.
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The goal was not to turn three into one, but to fully rebuild all three with one of them being the crown jewel.
The "Crown Jewel Box" is, in fact the box I have been traveling with for years. The center section and face plate, with the main board, deck, tuner and all it's switch gear, is in fact the Shelf Queen. I selected all the best knobs, chrome, handle, battery compartment door and other bits along with the best rear case containing the antenna ears. It received a full tear down, had many of the solder joints touched up, the function switches cleaned and lubed (both function switches are the originals), deoxit's all the pot's, re-belted the deck and scrubbed the F out of the case. Years ago I had put a Bluetooth module in it and I opted to keep it in there.
I will say, she is not perfect. Even with all that work, she is probably a 7/10. But it's still the nicest one I have had and very proud to have it in a prestigious spot in the collection.
So, without further ado, I Present you, the Lasonic TRC-920 Shelf Queen
She now takes her rightful place...
What I find most interesting about the Lasonic TRC-920's and especially the three I now have...
Even though Lasonic suffers from significantly lower build quality than the big brand boxes from this era, I find it extremely interesting how these Lasonic's have been brought into the 2020's.
All three of these 920's have been fully rebuilt at least once prior to me owning them. The one that have been traveling with for years was cobbled together by me and it was a parts box someone built from before I got it.
The fact that, over the last 37 years, someone, other people, much like myself have loved this poorly built, poorly designed machine SO MUCh that they simply refuse to let it die. They kept rebuilding it, regardless of what it has taken to keep it rockin'.
To me, that is standing the test of time. My connection to this box has been well documented. I will be buried or burned with this box. But it will never leave my side. PEACE!