For years TDK was primarily an audio media manufacturing company, making CDs, floppy disks, and (yes) even cassette tapes for folks to preserve their precious memories and data. These days, TDK is licensing out the TDK Life on Record brand to fellow media outfit Imation, and they’ve gone live with a series of consumer audio products (announced back in February) that might just turn some heads. So far, the TDK Life on Record brand features two Boomboxes (with two and three speakers), two belt-drive turntables, a Sound Cube speaker system, and a set of headphones—and they’re on sale now at electronics retailers like Best Buy and Future Shop, along with online retailers like Amazon.com.
“In designing the new TDK Life on Record premium audio products, we hoped to create bold products that connect what people love about analog with the convenience and style of new digital technology,” said global brand manager for TDK Life on Record Steve Swenson, in a statement. “The response to what we created has exceeded our expectations.”
First up, the Boomboxes: two- and three-speaker versions are available, both featuring two six-inch drivers and the three-speaker version coming with an additional 6-inch subwoofer. BOth feature USB, 3.5mm, and aux inputs for connecting up to an iPod, phone, flash drive, or other media player. With the right gear, users can even plug in and use the boomboxes with guitars and other instruments. Both feature a distinctly retro design with exposed speaker cones, chromed knobs, an AM/FM receiver, and a front-facing screen that enables users to browse media, playlists, and control playback. The two-speaker version features a handy shoulder strap for portability, and the units bring back another proud boombox tradition: the two-speaker unit takes 10 D batteries, and the three-speaker version steps up to 12 D batteries. Now that is old school. The three-speaker version carries a suggested price of $499; the two-speaker version has a $399 suggested price tag.
Folks looking for something smaller can check out the Sound Cube: same idea is a Boombox, but it’s a more-portable cube with a top handle, two 5.25-inch speakers mounted on two faces, ports on all other sides,…and space inside for a dozen D batteries! As with the Boomboxes, it features USB, 3.5mm, and aux inputs. It carries a $299 suggested price.
TDK’s belt drive turntables are designed to let users spin their vinyl in style, with illuminated tone arms and graphic EQs; they also sport optical sensors for precise calibration and the belt drive system helps keep out motor rumble. However, the selling point for one of these turntables might just be USB output: just plug the unit into a computer as an audio source, and vinyl fans can grow their own MP3s of their old records—and the systems come with Windows software for doing just that. Suggested prices on the turntables run from $299 (sans USB) to $399 (with USB).
TDK Life on Record also now includes the ST800 High Fidelity headphones, featuring on-ear volume and mute controls, an in-line equalizer for a visible display so users can adjust bass and treble on the fly, a 12-foot extension cable for those air-guitar wanderings, and frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 Khz. The ST800s are available now for $249—and they come with the two AAA batteries needed to run the onboard electronics.