Colours/finishes

WM-EX404

(1998)

WM-EX404, picture by Nick Jarman

A conventional mid-range model whose basic plastic exterior housed a wealth of useful functions, such as full-logic tape transport controls, auto reverse, Dolby B NR, AVLS and a tape selector. Up to 24 hours playing time was possible from the two AA sized batteries. “Mega Bass” and “Groove” sound modes were also included. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The same basic machine was offered in a wide range of variants, for example the WM-EX402 was similar but finished in grey instead of silver and lacked Dolby N NR. Above the WM-EX404 in the range, the WM-EX406 featured a re-styled cassette door and control panel and came with a remote control unit in-line with the headphone cable. The WM-EX40ST was similar technically to the WM-EX404 but was finished with bold “Street Style” graphics and came with larger on-ear headphones. There were also versions of the WM-EX402, WM-EX404 and WM-EX406 that came with a built-in AM-FM digitally-tuned radio, these were the WM-EX483, the WM-EX485 and the WM-EX487 respectively. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

One interesting technical feature of all these models was the use of a long sliding switch inside the mechanism to inform the microcontroller circuit as to the state and position of the mechanical parts. Similar devices are commonplace in more complex mechanisms such as those of video cassette recorders but are seldom used in simple things like Walkmans. The circuit board around the switch is marked with the functions that each position represents so one can tell at a glance if the system is working correctly. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.