The WM-W800 was a unique addition to the Walkman range, for it was the only model that featured twin tape decks and hence the ability to copy a cassette without the use of external equipment. While the WM-W800 was the only Sony personal stereo to take two tapes, other manufacturers (e.g. Matsushita, under their Panasonic brand name) offered similar machines during this period. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
One would expect that some fairly specialised technology would be required to produce a twin-tape Walkman, so it comes as a slight disappointment that the WM-W800 was constructed fairly simply, by mounting two WM-10 type mechanisms back to back. The extra electronics required for recording meant that the sub-cassette sized folding casework was discarded, but otherwise the mechanism was remarkably unaltered. The recording deck obviously required an erase head, and this was accommodated by making the record/playback head half the normal length and mounting a small permanent magnet in the space ahead of it. This magnet only hinged down during recording mode. Other additions included a mechanical interlock to sense the erase-protection tabs of cassettes and a simple pause control for the recording deck (B). This worked electrically by switching off the motor. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
The recording circuits required more power than those for playback only, and so two “AA” batteries were used instead of the usual one for the other WM-10 based models. Each battery was housed in the usual place next to the heads, with one on each side of the machine. They were accessed by unclipping the trim around the tape transport buttons. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
The playback deck (A) was fully featured, as one would expect. It could use normal, chrome and metal tapes and included Dolby B noise reduction. Deck B, which could play back as well as record, was more basic and could use only ferric tape. In addition, there was no noise reduction. This was not as limiting as it would at first appear, for it was in theory possible to copy a Dolby encoded tape with the noise reduction characteristic relatively intact by replaying and recording without Dolby. Providing that that heads were well adjusted and that the tape suited the recorder, this would result in a very similar copy, which would play correctly when the Dolby B NR system was used. This may seem an odd scheme, but it was used successfully even in larger Sony tape decks and music centres. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
As well as being able to copy tapes, the WM-W800 could also make “live” recording using the miniature stereo microphone capsule that was included with each machine. The microphone socket included a “plug in power” connection for amplified type microphones. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
The WM-W800 could make reasonably good tape copies and worked well given its very compact size. It was however very expensive when compared to normal Walkmans or double-cassette stereo radio recorders and did not work as well as a double cassette deck, as so was of specialist interest only and not a large seller. There were no further double cassette models in the Walkman range. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.