Flashback Friday: Sony’s TC-2850SD "Cassette Densuke"

by Gina 07/31/2009, in Flashback Friday

1973: The barcode was invented, Shrinky Dinks ® were first sold (I love these btw), and it was the first time you could cruise the waves on a jet-ski. What better way to record your cries of joy than with Sony’s TC-2850SD “Cassette Densuke”.

The “Densuke” name comes from Sony’s professional-level portable tape recorder which hit markets over 20 years prior. A popular magazine strip featured a reporter named Densuke who wore Sony’s tape recorder to sample public opinion. From then on it became widely known as “Densuke”. Broadcasters ended up referring to all portable cassette players as “Densuke” hence why you see the name in 1973 for the TC-2850SD. You see, now you have some great dinner conversation for the weekend…


To keep your Wikipedia brain turning, the TC-2850DS was all the rage in Japan during the 1970’s. Coined “Nama-roku” (meaning “live” or “on-site” recording), fans recorded everything from radio broadcasts to live sounds. At the time, the ability for consumers to use portable recording devices seemed forward thinking. Original “Cassette Densuke” owners must be amazed at products like the Webbie and even cell phones.

As technology crazes go, the “TC-2850 sparked a need to record. People recorded sounds echoed at events, in nature and even from trains. Even without the Internet, whispers traveled offering tips on the best locations throughout Japan to capture different and distinct noises. A true community formed giving the TC-2850 a place in audio history sparking a new generation of audio enthusiasts.


There was just something inherently cool about recording the sound of your own voice. I keenly remember as a kid crowding around our small cassette recorder with my brother as we taped ourselves doing pretend radio shows and being fascinated with the sound of our own voices as play back. The cassette player also came in handy as we strategically planned scare tactics on our younger sister so that we could effortlessly capture her screams on tape. Something I still think she holds against us. I guess that experience would make me a part of the “Nama-ruku” range. If you think you’re a part of that club, I invite you to share your story (or even better your first recordings). So in this warm summer weather, let’s kick off Flashback Friday.

Shrinky Dinks is a registered trademark of K&B Innovations

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