My first music player that I remember is the common-for-the-time Fisher Price cassette player.
I actually still have the cassette that was included with it, which you can listen to here and subject yourself to what I subjected my parents to for hours on end!
Next up I received a Sony portable radio as a Christmas present; I seem to remember this clearly only because it was my first Christmas when I failed to get to sleep (due to excitement) before Santa (aka one of my parents) quietly (but not quiet enough) climbed the wooden stairs to my bedroom in the loft/attic and placed the sack of toys outside my room. This was one of those presents in that sack.
A year or so later I would have a "portable stereo" (aka a Walkman, but not actual a Walkman); mine was a cheap model from Boots. I remember listening to it my my way to school in the boot of my parents Austin Montego Estate (it had seven seats with two in the boot). So far I have been unable to find a picture.
I grew up in the era of getto-blasters/boom boxes (although I never liked calling them that), this is the kind of "stereo" I had, a cheap Alba twin-cassette model:
The image above is of pages in the 1989 Spring/Summer edition of the Argos catalogue [c/o Issuu]. Every new issue would be eagerly awaited by me and my siblings so we could browse through it looking at all the toys and gadgets we could dream of having. My stereo was actually from the Comet store; I remember this because it actually stopped working and had to go back.
For a while I used one of this types of stereos, with built-in radio, cassette, and turntable, kindly give to me from my grandma. It had a pair of 40W speaks, but eventually I wore one out... along with the needle for the turntable...
When CD players came along I got one of these:
I used it in my first car, through a cassette adapter. However, even with the "anti-shock" feature it would struggle to play smoothly. I used it in a CD carry case (which I still have!) strapped to the back of the passenger seat.
Then MP3 players came along and I bought a Rio 500. It had 64MB of storage space as standard but it could be expended up to 128MB with a "SmartMedia" card, making it about good to hold an album at 128mb/s (any less than that and the quality was too poor for my ears). At one point I found instructions online to change the startup logo...
[Image coming soon(ish)]
I particularly liked the Rio 500 for the function of the buttons as they were quite tactile, making the device idea for using in the car and skipping tracks. It also only required a single AA battery, making it easy to keep powered. Eventually the memory card stopped working and I couldn't justify the expense of a replacement when I could, by then, by a new MP3 player with more memory for less money. This I did, but the replacement wasn't actually as good (neither the sound quality or build quality were as good, making it not as pleasing to use.) By now I would just use my mobile phone as my portable MP3 player.
These days I have cycled through a variety of Sony Amplifiers built in the 1980s and 90s. I use two in a quadraphonic setup, mostly for watching movies with; I'm not a fan of standalone subwoofers and of the opinion that nothing can beat "a proper amplifier and speakers".
- BMH Online -