Electronics giant Matsushita entered the Walkman market early in the game and released some interesting, high-quality models through the ’80s and well into the ’90s under the National and Panasonic brands. Like other manufacturers in the early days, National/Panasonic had their own pet name for their personal stereo line: the Stereo-to-Go.
1987. Pansonic is a leader in consumer electronics, and the sheer quantity of portable stereos manufactured by them is significant. This one is an eyesore in our opinion, completely lacking in design. The buttons are stainless steel and match the name plate on the front but this walkman is bulky and feels cheap. Functionality was a saving grace for the SR29, as it sported stereo recording capability, internal microphone and external stereo mic jack, beat control, a pause button and queueing capability. AM/FM tuning is pretty good, too. I purchased this on clearance at Lechmere back in early 1989 for around $40–I recall J&R Music World selling this model for well over $100, so I thought I was getting it for a steal. I’d grown to hate it, but somehow it’s always stayed with me, and never broke–I use it to this day, in fact. I guess that says something, doesn’t it?
1983. Very unusual cassette player for Panasonic. Small chassis, sleak controls and contemporary color scheme. Panasonic was probably running after Sony’s silver WM line. The rewind and fast-forward controls behave much like those of Toshiba’s KT-4016, but this one’s obviously a better implementation.
1985. Simple little FM stereo radio with a unique feature: the three buttons up front served to enhance sound, boosting treble and bass. Called Preset EQ, the switches allowed the user a simple equalizer of sorts. The design is interesting, but I found myself always using the topmost switch (hi and lo boost). Tuning wasn’t so impressive, either.
1986. Panasonic chased Sony’s WA-800 with their RX-HD10, making the two the only dual cassette personal stereos ever made. Panasonic’s offered a recorder and player in one unit, allowing the user to dub cassettes anywhere. The HD-10 also offered Dolby NR, auto-reverse and one-upped Sony by offering a radio tuning module to boot. Good luck finding one of these today–set your sights on the far more common WA-800.