Sony WM-D6C Professional Walkman

Introduction
 
Review
Sale Results at Auction
 
Links

Introduction

Since the dawn of portable transistor radios and the development of the Dansette record player into home entertainment and hi-fi systems we have become used to seeing a new model, usually with a new external design and new features, every few months. By the time you read the manual, when there was one, two new models had come out.

There are always exceptions. The Sony WM-D6C was released in 1984 and continued in production until 2002. My two samples have serial numbers 124264 (April 1988, £225) and 231338 (March 1991, £230). There are changes to the circuit boards but the external design and specification remained the same. I had dropped the earlier machine and was told it was not repairable. Several years later, at a significant cost, the Sony Service Centre did an effective repair. Alas Sony now demand more than 'a pound of flesh' to look at any product out of warranty effectively making all products non-economical to service.

"Sony WM-D6C recorders after US serial number 267,201 (Canada 270,001; AEP 269,301; UK 269,601; E [Europe] 270,001) feature a glass epoxy circuit board instead of the old phenolic one. This greatly improves durability and reliability, although the jacks and record level control remain weak spots. In preference buy the new version -- you can only tell by the serial number, located under the battery case1."

Review

The Sony Walkman was the natural development of the pocket sized cassette recorder. In 1972 I had a pocketable Sony TC-55 which allowed me to record lectures and from the radio. 1982 I purchased a pair of Sony TCM-600 to use with the NewBrain computer which had a pair of tape recorder controls allowing data to be read from one tape and output results to another. The TC-55 and TCM-600 both have built in microphones as well as accepting a 3.5mm mini jacket for an external microphone. As early as 1974 I saw these as being the centre of a the idea student's entertainment system and even suggested, at a hi-fi show, to the Aiwa engineer, that they should include an interface to clip on a radio as volume control, speakers and ear phones were already part of the cassette recorder. Olympus did in fact make a version of the Pearlcorder that did exactly that with a microcassette recorder and had AM and separate FM clip on modules. Aiwa did a similar product using a standard compact cassette.

Then, in 1979, Sony came out with the stereo walkman - a playback only device. I first heard of it from the DJ Kenny Everett who played a commercial music cassette over the airwaves to demonstrate the mind blowing quality. I was not impressed; after all my TC-55 had a better specification and wider frequency range, although mono. Also I already owned a Uher CR240 professional portable cassette deck in 1978 and was familiar with the Sony TC-D5.

I upgraded my portable deck to a Uher CR160 - less expensive than the CR240 and with Dolby C as well as Dolby B. I also plugged this into my car's Blaupunkt stereo radio enabling me to record from the radio as well as playback cassettes through the car's hi-fi speakers - Visonik David 5001. I can also plug the Visonik David 5001 speakers directly into the speaker outputs of the Uhers.

In 1987 I commuted to London, and for over three months had a three hour trip to Guilford. The Sony WM-D6C was the ideal choice. The ultimate standard cassette walkman with professional level of recording and play back that matched domestic decks costing considerably more. I never really worked out which was better, my Uher CR240, CR160 or the WM-D6C.

When walking, or cycling I hung the WM-D6C under my armpit and under my clothes. This allowed easy access to the controls and prevented it from dropping from my shoulder or jumping out of an inside pocket. The microphone could also be feed down the arm sleeve for more concealment and protection against the elements.

The Sony WM-D6C can also use metal cassettes, truly top of the line, state of art cassette recorder. The matching headphones in fact doubled up as very effective microphone making it possible to record without anyone realising the fact, even if they spotted the "walkman".

Correctly set up with an external microphone, such as the Sony ECM-909, produced very acceptable recordings rivalling the Uher with AKG electric condenser microphones. At some concerts I was allowed to set up and make recordings with a quality that compares well with the artist's released vinyl records.

I have used the Sony WM-D6C along with the Uher CR240 and CR160 to transfer to a digital juke box. The recording, whether stored as a WAVE file or a 192kbit/s MP3 retains the quality as heard on the original recording. Some of my live recordings go back to the TC-55 and the TC-600 no longer play back at the correct speed. Fortunately the 'Pro' machines are working well and the Uhers can still be serviced. Clearly cassette tape was never as good as vinyl or CD. Tape hiss and print through are apparent on the older recordings. However the quality is high enough that you can forget about the short comings and enjoy the recordings with a new lease of life as digital media played back though your hi-fi or on your mobile phone, MP3 player or iPod.

Original 6V 700mA power supply is AC-D4HG

Sale Results at auction

eBay

1988/04/11 225GBP (Super Sound Systems)
1991/03/27 230GBP (J&I Car Radio)
2010/01/16 89GBP
2010/01/16 117.50USD
2010/01/16 158.05USD (#
294797)
2010/01/17 122.50USD (#264286)
2010/01/17 71.50USD (no output)
2010/01/18 490USD (new #284945)
2010/01/18 69USD (cover missing)

2010/01/19 29.77GBP (fails to record)
2010/01/19 133.61USD (#520565)
2010/01/25 219.25USD (#
515081)
2010/01/26 399.95USD (new)
2010/01/27 149.99USD
2010/02/01 190.50USD
2010/02/01 280USD
2011/05/03 149.99GBP
2013/09/20 196.50GBP
2013/09/27 210GBP
2013/10/16 171.66GBP
2013/10/25 137.01GBP
2013/11/05 190GBP
2013/11/06 255GBP
2013/11/06 600GBP
2013/11/17 293GBP (boxed)
2013/11/23 230GBP
2013/12/06 225GBP
2013/12/06 225GBP
2013/12/15 202GBP (boxed)
2013/12/30 175GBP (unboxed)
2014/01/12 244GBP (boxed)
2014/01/12 258GBP (unboxed)
2014/01/26 185GBP
2014/01/27 165GBP
2014/03/09 366GBP (with ECM-Z60)
2014/03/09 254GBP (boxed)
2014/06/16 206.99GBP
2014/06/16 42GBP (not working)
2014/06/18 179.95EUR
2014/06/19 113.11GBP (#
302896)
2014/06/20 66GBP (not working)
2014/06/23 151.60USD (slight wear)
2014/06/24 200GBP (boxed)
2014/06/25 239GBP (no headphones, mic ECM-101SM)
2014/06/27 255GBP (boxed)
2014/06.29 255GBP (with mic)
2014/06/29 265GBP
2014/06/30 250GBP
2014/07/07 235GBP (boxed)
2014/07/15 489GBP (new, boxed)
2014/08/07 223GBP (boxed with mic ECM 909a)

LINKS

http://www.walkmancentral.com/products/wm-d6 

http://www.walkmancentral.com/products/tcm-600

http://www.walkmancentral.com/products/tc-55

[1] http://www.libermansound.com/technotes/ts102.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkman


Last updated 9th August 2014