Can you imagine the freedom you’d feel from being able to play your favorite record anywhere you go? Well although that was probably the thought and intent of this invention, what an impractical invention it actually was! Introduced in 1983, the Sound Burger by Audio Technica probably seemed great for a fleeting time, but just try to play it while jogging in the great outdoors. No way!
Imagine having to carry around a bunch of vinyl albums with you whenever you want to take your favorite music on the go. This invention looks sure to lead to the destruction of those favorite albums in a hurry. It’s no wonder that when the Walkman was introduced just two months later this invention quickly disappeared.
In researching the Sound Burger I learned that there have been many bizarre ideas in regard to how to make the vinyl record player portable. For example, in 1956, Chrysler introduced a vinyl record player that was built into the dashboard. However, this appears to have only lasted for one year as the record players were unreliable and required constant upkeep. Other car companies also attempted to integrate playing vinyl records into their vehicles but were unsuccessful and by the 1960’s any further attempts ceased.
Also, in the 1980’s, Sharp created the V2 which was essentially a huge boombox that played vinyl records. Similar to the Sound Burger, it seems the advent of cassette tapes also led to the demise of the V2 system. Recall the days when teenagers walked around carrying boomboxes on their shoulders blaring their favorite tape. You can see why cassette tapes won out over vinyl records given their compact and durable nature. It was too easy to scratch your favorite record even when it was “safe and secure” in your own home. With all of the potential jostling that could happen walking around with the V2, I’m surprised the invention even made it to fruition.
The invention of the Sound Burger and other portable music devices feed people’s wants and desires to be able to listen to their music at any time and in any place. Music is an integral part of our culture and society. People listen to music for various reasons – to psych themselves up before competitions, or conversely, to soothe and relax them or take their mind off of things. Technological advancements now allow people to listen to music in the shower, in the pool, at work, and even in space.
I think the Sound Burger was a crazy invention given the inconvenience of having to carry around a bunch of your favorite records that were prone to being easily scratched if not broken. You’d be downright dumb to try to horse around or run or do anything that could risk destroying one of your vinyl records. While some people would say the sound quality of vinyl records is superior to cassette tapes and even today’s music streaming, the Sound Burger “on-the-go” is way too impractical! Give me a cassette player any day or, better yet, I’ll take the immediate satisfaction of buying and playing my favorite song via iTunes on my solid state hard drive iPhone, iPad, or MacBook Pro. Yes, I too am part of the culture that wants to have it all and wants it now, for better or for worse!