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Were their 2 types of Old School boombox sound?...


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#1 Jovie

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 04:53 PM

If someone asks why you like the sound of old boomboxes,how do you describe it to them?For me in general it was never about the bass.It was all about the mids and highs and over all volume output.Manufacturers through the years have given increasing attention to bass while neglecting highs.Indeed if bass output defined "Old School" sound,a Kaboom would have "Old School" sound by definition.I think not.

Exploring this further, as I see it their were two types of these boxes.One is represented by the higher fidelity Aiwas,JVCs, etc.The second was the black box offbrand types having lower fidelity in favor of an exciting dynamic sound.These were the Techsonics, Lasonics,etc. that had exaggerated highs and bass which were to me the sonic version of fireworks.I've also heard the two types described as a Rock box (appreciated more by the average listener over a wider range of musical styles) and the Disco box (dynamics over fidelity,exciting sound,BBoy street box,etc.)Some might consider these descriptions overly general but they have become the rough guidlines in my mind for old blasters.

Do you consider these 2 categories a good description in general? Which type of box do you like?How do you describe the sound of a classic box to people who ask you why they are so much better than the ones sold today?

#2 ahardb0dy

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 05:03 PM

I personally have always liked the Aiwa's, especially my 880, It doesn't have the euro din sticker but I think it sounds very good.

classic boxes compared to one's sold today, which one's sold today? is there more than the lasonic for sale today?at least in the US?

#3 bill

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 05:11 PM

i think there is more than two.
every boombox has its own vibe going on.
the designers trying there best to please the listener despite the inherent problems with trying to produce a quality stereo sound with small speakers right besides eachother.

#4 Fatdog

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 09:14 PM

I agree with the Jovie's take on the "Rock Box" as the GF-9494 sounds great while listening to Led Zeppelin, Boston, Lynyrd Skynyrd, etc., but just doesn't cut it when you turn on something like Whodini's "Echo Scratch."

#5 Gluecifer

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 02:23 AM

Always love your sound related topics Jovie!!

To me the sound of the classic late 70s and 80s portables is intrinsically linked to the production of the music itself and the characteristics of the day. The mid to higher frequencies were used a lot more and in more detail. These days highs are just used to contrast the lows in most cases, but the multilayered 70s and 80s gear, especially the likes of ELO, Yes, Rush, Toto, etc, etc had almost dozens of mid to high frequency tracks that could all be discernably and cleanly listened to as the audio equipment of the day matched that style. These days a super high end hi fi is required to get that kind of separation because cheaper stereos are only geared towards picking up the opposing ends of the sound spectrum.

But to that end I do think that a lot of boxes were designed for certain music. The irony of this is that if you hear some of the older Pioneer, Marantz, etc smaller one piece units from the early 70s (TPR-950 especially) you get such an incredible dynamic range that is superior in many ways to the same size and larger focus-designed boomboxes. I think that a lot portables out of the big japanese companies had little to do with bass oriented rap and hip hop as that wasn't the music being listened to in Japan at that time. You look at half the advertisements for portables and they aren't going on about the bass and in-your-face dynamics, but are more about how well they'll deliver fully orchestral music.

What we listen on them in the west would have had little or no part of the design process in the early days, and it wasn't until the Conions/Lasonics came about that were designed to be bass heavy hip hop engines, and by the same token brings about a lot of the negative views on a lot of Sharps by saying they're bass shy, I just don't think it was a part of the design process.

For my mind, I find the 3 pieces to be the richer sound boomboxes thanks to the speaker enclosures and usually higher quality components as they weren't made to be carried around as much. But I kind of think 3 pieces 'cheat' this way, but again, it was a product of the market. Then there was the high volume one pieces that traded off fidelity for loudness, which to me are the traditional and true ghettoblaster sound. So I'll agree there's 2 main different sounds to ghettoblasters.

I'll stop now... I'll go on forever otherwise,.. I blame Jovie for making me want to talk a lot.



Rock On.

#6 isolator42

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 02:55 AM

a lot of music from the last 10-15 years seems to have a lot more "sub bass" (some music just for the hell of it, rather than anything else). Stereos of all sorts capable of reproducing this sub bass & the music containing it seem to have come along together (like Miami Bass & the Car Audio scene).

Much 80s music has little or no sub bass, & so matches the sound output of an old skool boombox well.
Those Streetsounds Electro albums (at least the first 10) are a good example of music with little or no sub bass, & so sound great on a GF777 or some other 80s monter boombox...