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A personal stereo, or personal cassette player, is a
portable audio player A portable audio player is a personal mobile device that allows the user to listen to recorded sound recording, audio while mobile. Sometimes a distinction is made between a ''portable'' player, battery-powered and with one or more small loudspeak ...
using an audiocassette player, battery power and in some cases an AM/FM
radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device ...
. This allows the user to listen to music through
headphones Headphones are a pair of small Electrodynamic speaker driver, loudspeaker drivers worn on or around the head over a user's ears. They are electroacoustics (acoustical engineering), electroacoustic transducers, which convert an electrical signa ...
while walking, jogging or relaxing. Personal stereos typically have a belt clip or a shoulder strap so a user can attach the device to a belt or wear it over their shoulder. Some personal stereos came with a separate battery case.


History

Astraltune, also known as the Astraltune Stereopack, was a personal stereo player created by Roy and Andy Bowers that appeared on the market in Reno Nevada on September 1, 1975. The tape deck fit into a padded sleeve and was worn on the chest using a harness. The headphones hung under the chin rather than over the head. Controls were protected by a zippered flap that faced upwards. Astraltune filed for trademark in 1978 and patent of invention in 1980 but were denied. The first patented personal stereo was the
Stereobelt The Stereobelt was a personal stereo player devised by Andreas Pavel, a former television executive and book editor. Pavel filed a patent of invention for his portable music player in Italy in 1977, and adopted the same protective steps in German ...
, devised by West German-Brazilian Andreas Pavel in 1977. Pavel attempted to commercialise his belt design but failed. The
Sony , commonly stylized as SONY, is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. As a major technology company, it operates as one of the world's la ...
Walkman Walkman, stylised as , is a brand of portable audio player A portable audio player is a personal mobile device that allows the user to listen to recorded sound recording, audio while mobile. Sometimes a distinction is made between a ''portabl ...
was released in 1979, created by
Akio Morita was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony along with Masaru Ibuka. Early life Akio Morita was born in Nagoya. Morita's family was involved in sake, miso and soy sauce production in the village of Kosugaya (currently a part of Tokoname, ...
,
Masaru Ibuka Masaru Ibuka (井深 大 ''Ibuka Masaru''; April 11, 1908 – December 19, 1997) was a Japanese electronics industrialist and co-founder of Sony, along with Akio Morita.Kirkup, James"Obituary: Masaru Ibuka,"''Independent'' (London). December 22 ...
(the co-founders of Sony) and Kozo Ohsone. It became a popular and widely imitated consumer item in the 1980s. In everyday language, "walkman" became a
generic term Trademark distinctiveness is an important concept in the law governing trademarks and service marks. A trademark may be eligible for registration, or registrable, if it performs the essential trademark function, and has distinctive character. Re ...
, referring to any personal stereo, regardless of producer or brand. The spread of personal stereo devices contributed to tape cassettes outselling vinyl records for the first time in 1983. The introduction of the personal stereo coincided with the 1980s
aerobics Aerobics is a form of physical exercise that combines rhythmic aerobic exercise with stretching and strength training routines with the goal of improving all elements of fitness (Flexibility (anatomy), flexibility, Muscle, muscular strength, an ...
vogue, making it very popular to listen to music during workouts. Moreover, the prevalence of portable cassette players correlates with a 30-percent increase of people walking for exercise between 1987 and 1997. In the 1990s,
portable CD player A portable CD player is a portable audio player A portable audio player is a personal mobile device that allows the user to listen to recorded sound recording, audio while mobile. Sometimes a distinction is made between a ''portable'' player, ba ...
s became the most popular personal stereos. In the 2000s, digital players like the
iPod The iPod is a discontinued series of portable media players and multi-purpose mobile devices designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The iPod Classic#1st generation, first version was released on October 23, 2001, about months after the Ma ...
became the dominant personal stereos. During this period,
cell phone A mobile phone, cellular phone, cell phone, cellphone, handphone, hand phone or pocket phone, sometimes shortened to simply mobile, cell, or just phone, is a portable telephone that can make and receive telephone call, calls over a radio freq ...
s and
smartphone A smartphone is a Mobile device, portable computer device that combines Mobile phone, mobile telephone and Mobile computing, computing functions into one unit. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities ...
s also became popular music listening devices.


References


Further reading

* Erlmann, Veit (ed.
''Hearing Cultures. Essays on Sound, Listening, and Modernity''
New York: Berg Publishers, 2004. Cf. Chapter 9: "Thinking About Sound, Proximity, and Distance in Western Experience: The Case of Odysseus's Walkman" by Michael Bull. Portable audio players Products introduced in 1979 {{electronics-stub