The M4440 is a stereo cassette player manufactured by the Sanyo Corporation of Japan. As well as manufacturing audio integrated circuits (IC), there was a short time when Sanyo manufactured these to compete with the Sony Walkman, and many of their designs were extremely popular.
Sanyo were very successful in creating budget-end cassette players comparable in sound quality to that of the Sony Walkman. They were able to do this by using their own audio IC, which was extremely popular, and even found on some of the high-end Sony Walkmans.
Sit back and relax and re-live your youth with this genuine early 1980s Sanyo M4440 stereo cassette player. This was Sanyo’s improved model over the M3330 that I reviewed earlier.
Apart from some added features such as a counter, talk button, pitch control, and tone switch, the audio electronics of the Sanyo M4440 is identical to that of the M3330. The audio circuit uses the Sanyo LA4140 power amplifier chips. Each chip is capable of delivering up to a maximum of 500 mW output into an 8 Ω load. However, this unit will provide up to 30 mW per channel. It also uses the Sanyo LA3160 stereo preamplifier IC intended for car audio applications but does a wonderful job here.
For the tone function, they have used a simple one-transistor filter circuit consisting of two capacitors in a high-pass configuration, situated between the preamplifier and power amplifier stages.
Advanced Head Design
Most people were not aware at the time this unit had one special component that was ahead of its time. As you will see in the following sections of this article, this unit used a very special audio head that Sanyo introduced. Manufactured from a much tougher alloy with a mirror smooth finish and a thinner gap, it had a better frequency response during playback. With a good pair of headphones, the sound quality is remarkable and noticeable. The sound was much better when compared to high-end Sony models of that time that used standard heads.
The cassette compartment has a brushed aluminium lining stuck to the plastic case, and I thought the manufacturing quality was average. This together with a mottled red finish to the plastic case made it appear as if it was a budget-end player, however in terms of electronic technology, this player ahead of its time.
Sanyo have always made some of the best budget-end consumer electronics products, and almost anything made by Sanyo in the 1970s and 1980s will be manufactured to a very high quality. If you have an old tape deck or radio then it will be worth something simply because of the name and the place of manufacturing.
Designed to last the test of time; it is well built with a metal alloy chassis and metal push-button mechanical assembly.
The talk-line feature consists of a very powerful microphone connected to the high gain audio amplifier. This feature allowed you to listen to the outside world without having to take off your headphones, and you can easily hear conversations in the distant background.
The pitch control allowed the user to vary the tape speed. This is very useful if you want to write down the lyrics to a song. There is also a tone control switch and the tone level is of a good noticeable quality.
This Article Continues...
Sanyo M4440 Inside
Sanyo M4440 Tape Transport
Sanyo M4440 Audio Head
Sanyo M4440 Audio Chips
Sanyo M4440 Mechanism
Sanyo M4440 Carrying Case
Sanyo M4440 Power
Sanyo M4440 Parting Shots