The WM-FX41 is a radio cassette player Walkman manufactured in Japan by the Sony Corporation, in 1992. This was an interesting model because it had a liquid crystal display (LCD) clock providing an alarm function that you could hear through your headphones. They also threw in the rest of their technology, and consequently this unit sports an AM/FM synthesizer tuner, 10 station memory presets, auto reverse, anti-rolling mechanism, automatic volume limiter system (AVLS), and metal / normal bias selector switch.
Some interesting design features included a button cell battery soldered to the PCB to provide backup power, thereby retaining time and preset memory.
This Walkman has a very simple colour design, and from the outside it is not very impressive looking, however the sound quality is quite good and they are using a very advanced chipset. The audio circuit uses the LA4581M integrated circuit (IC) manufactured by the Sanyo Corporation. The power amplifiers within the IC are powerful and capable of driving an 8-Ω loudspeaker. They can deliver typically 32 mW with 10 % THD; however, the circuit output is 10 mW with an 18-Ω load. I did not have the original headphones that accompany this model but used MDR-W15 instead, and the sound quality was excellent.
The synthesizer board is within the cassette compartment lid, and it has the TC9308AF IC, which provides the PLL synthesizer and LCD driver functions. There is also a small piezoelectric buzzer for the alarm function.
For the radio circuit, this model uses the TA8132AF IC which is an AM/FM intermediate frequency (IF) amplifier, and FM Stereo PLL Multiplex Decoder, manufactured by the Toshiba Corporation. The Toshiba TA7358, which is also utilised in conjunction with this IC, provides the FM front-end functionality. The radio performed well with good reception and clarity. The power consumption of the radio chipset is very small, and with Sony AM3 (N) batteries, you can expect approximately 39 hours of operation.
I just recently bought a box full of Sony Cassette Walkmans at a car boot sale for just five pounds, and many came with their original boxes and manual. I tested this unit with my own headphones, as I did not have the original ones, and the radio reception and sensitivity is excellent as is the audio quality.
Since everyone is moving on to MP3, many people donate their cassette players to their local charity shop, or second-hand shop. You can usually pick these up for as little as a pound at your local charity shop, and they are great fun. My reference unit required a small repair and a clean, and now it works wonderfully.
This Article Continues...Sony WM-FX41
Sony WM-FX41 - Removing the Back Cover
Sony WM-FX41 inside View
Sony WM-FX41 Drive Belt
Sony WM-FX41 Playback Head
WM-FX41 Tape Transport Mechanism
LA4581M Audio IC
TA8132AF Radio IC
Sony WM-FX41 Motor Driver IC
Sony WM-FX41 Power Supply
Sony WM-FX41 Box