The Philips D 8514 Powerplay Unit.
Still to this day, the Philips D 8514 was impressive in it's design and performance. It successfully overcame all of the problems associated with portable cassette recorders. Manufactured in England, and marketed across Western Europe in 1983-1984, the unit sold well. This was achieved by the designers objective, as they were wanting to create a high end quality cassette recorder, rather then a "run-of-the-mill" all in one unit, seen in many electric stores now-a-days.
The design was simple, as the unit was not burdened with cd players, over-the-top equalizers, and other components that would have impacted on the units quality. The parts were also superior to other units, as they were made in Europe. Unlike any other portable unit, even up to this day, it recorded it's audio in Hi-Fi stereo sound, and was able to do this onto any cassette format, ferro, chrome and metal.
Rather then having a cheap cd player shoved into the top or side, the D8514 had several input and output jacks at the back, which at the time allowed for a cd player. By today's standards, the unit versatility would still be impressive as dvd players, mp3 players, or any other "RCA plug" compliant device could still be hooked up to the system. The D8514 also carried output plugs to connect larger external speakers if required.
Excellent sound output was achieved by Philips inserting to tweeter-woofers at the top of each speaker. Though small, they were good enough to give the sound of a small hi-fi system.
The units ability to record events, such as live concerts and performances was nothing short of amazing, as it carried two inbuilt microphones. These were not the average mass produced microphones that were made in Asia, rather-more, a microphone designed by Philips, which was either made in England or the Netherlands. The sensitivity of the mics was vivid, as recordings made by the unit were faithful. In the days of having a working unit, I would be able to record conversations from the opposite side of the house, something that could not be done with any of today's units. From the aspect of recording a concert, it would pick up the softest instruments. (and even the drop of a hanky :) :) ).
The use of the unit was easy, as the base, treble, balance, and spatial stereo controls were all controlled by rotating knobs, rather then the fiddly buttons, found on many of today's units. The tuning of stations was also controlled by a knob. The recorder was also capable of receiving short-wave stations, as well as FM, AM, and long-wave. The recorder carried a rear-end plug for an external antenna for improving radio reception, though the built in antenna performed great, and could receive many of the radio stations in Sydney, and some Gosford and Wollongong stations, depending on the weather.
Some parts to my Philips D8514 needed to be repaired in 1992, after a good nine year work out. To my big "BIG" disappointment, I could not get the unit repaired, as the parts were not replaceable. After looking through many electric consumer stores like Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, Brashs, Big W, Len Wallis Audio, Sydney Hi-Fi, and the countless other stores, I would find nothing that would compare. I still find it amazing that no other system, even ones over $1,500 come nowhere close to the versatility and quality of the Philips D8514 Powerplay Unit.
I would like to use this page to beg to Philips, if they can please, please, please pull out the old design of this unit from 1983, and run a whole lot more of these cassette recorders off. Cassette tapes still carry a certain ease of use, that digital technology lacks. Cassette recording is instant, and with a unit like this, can still sound professional.