Colours/finishes

See also

WM-6

(1984)

WM-6, picture by Nick Jarman

This early auto-reverse model followed on from the WM-7, but was simpler and cheaper. Outwardly, this could be seen in its larger size and plastic (as opposed to metal) casework. Many of the key features were retained, so along with auto reverse there was Dolby B NR, an LED direction indicator and chrome/metal tape compatibility. Among the things that were lost were the remote control and the logic-operated tape transport controls. Although more affordable than the WM-7, the WM-6 was by no means in the “budget” class. It still cost over twice as much as the cheapest model, the WM-22. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

In contrast to the WM-7, whose auto reverse arrangement involved two extra motors, a special rotating switch and a complex electronic logic circuit, the WM-6 was impressively simple, using only a solenoid coil and a couple of transistors to control a fairly straightforward mechanism. The mechanical layout was unusual though, in that the heads were on the opposing side of the deck to the tape transport buttons, something that was not obvious from a casual glance at the outside. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

While the WM-6 worked well on the whole, the simplified mechanism had some drawbacks in use. The main one of these was that it returned to the forward direction after the stop key was pressed or after the use of the fast forward or rewind modes. This made finding a track on the second side of the tape rather difficult as one had to remember to press the reverse button after each winding operation. In an attempt to get around this, the designers included “cue” and “review” modes which did not require the play mode to be disengaged, though of course then the winding keys did not latch and the sound from the fast moving tape would have been deafening if the volume had not been turned down first. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The WM-6 was not perfect, but it showed how auto reverse could be simplified and included on Walkmans other than the very top line models. Soon this feature would become widespread across the range. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.