My HITACHI Product Experience


In my childhood, that’s 1985, my father bought a HITACHI TRK-W3W radio receiver/dual-slot cassette recorder. I was small at that time, all I enjoyed was listening to the radio or cassettes. The tape recorder is really pretty, with many controllers on its board.

Later, I grew up. I started playing with the tape recorder. It has many functionalities. I played with it while refering to the manual. The manual documented all detailed usages of both basic and advanced functions.

There is a master power button. When the power button is turned OFF, neither tape nor radio will work. There is a switch which can be set to Tape, Radio and Line In (low to high in the switch positions). The radio part has full bands of AM, FM, SW1 and SW2 (with a switch turning low to high). The SW1 band is especially broad that it extends its low end to 2.3MHz. To tune the radio, there is a horizontal rolling disk (how to say it?) which is not small, with a radius of about 3 centi-metres. Its feeling of touch is very good – soft and with an appropriate drag force.

Its tape part contains two slots. The slot on the left is for both recording and playing. The slot on the right is for playing only. There are pretty marks on the doors of the decks (slots) indicating this. There is also a pretty hand-written ‘Double’ on the left deck and a HITACHI mark with its trade mark (a round with a smaller round, a dot, several horizontal/vertical lines and four little…oh, don’t know how to describe it) on the right deck.

The functionality of its tape part include: play, pause, stop, eject (stop and eject are two different buttons, and ejecting while playing may hurt the magnetic head), fast forward and rewind. The left deck can also record. Besides the basic functionalities, cueing is also supported. To enable cueing, just play the tape and then press the Fast Forward/Rewind button, and the tape will be moved fast and the head will be a little bit lower. When you release the Fast Forward/Rewind button, the head will restore its position and playing will continue.

There is another very good functionality implemented in the right (play only) deck: the documentation called it SPSS, which I think can also be called automatic music searching system. The usage is like this: no matter whether it is playing or stopped, press the Play button and the Fast Forward/Rewind button together, and you can hear a snap sound indicating that they are locked. Then the tape will be winded fast, until there is a gap of sound (serveral seconds of silence, at least about one second, maybe) is reached. When the gap is reached, the Fast Forward/Rewind button is popped up, and play begins.

Humorously, if you cue across an area which is plenty of sound gaps, then you will hear multiple times of pops in the mechanism when the gaps are passed over. Of course, this only happens on the right deck.

The left deck supports recording. To record, not only the Record button should be pressed. The Play button should also be pressed. The record sources can be set to Line In, Radio or Microphone (just switch to Tape mode, and then turn off dubbing). In AM recording, as said on the manual, a cycling frequency switch can be set to A, B or C to avoid noise generated by interfering with AC biasing. There is another switch can be used when listening to the radio, AFC, which enables or disables auto frequency control.

As a dual-deck tape recorder, it can dub tapes (I was young at that time and I confused dubbing for doubling). There is a dark red button at the lower side of the face board, which can be pressed to start dubbing. I once disassmbled it, and saw that the button holds a long iron bar that presses the record button, the play button on the left deck and the play button on the right deck. The dubbing swich has three modes: Off, Normal Speed and High Speed. It is said that High Speed dubbing may cause quality lost. I am not experienced of this.

The manual says that, if you want to erase the content of a tape, just switch to Line In, do not plug in any external line and start recording. I thought there is another way: turn dubbing on, and only press the Record and Play buttons on the left deck (do not press Play on the right deck).

The sound of the tape recorder is really good, compared to other tape recorders of the same size. It accompanied me through my primary school time and junior high school time. It almost become one of my dear friends. But things damage, of course. It’s magnetic head was replaced once in 1993, and its rubber strings inside became unfuntional. It’s power button once became bad and was repaired by my brother-in-law. Finally, its left deck speed became abnormally high and unusable. It was sold as a damaged appliance in the end in 1998.

Anyway, its quality is still good along time.

Another HITACHI product I experienced was the air conditioner bought in 1999 (or some time?). It’s not so impressive but still a good product. Low noise and easy to use.

Fan Decheng (AKA Robbie Mosaic)

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