What Does Boombox Mean in This Day of Age

What Does Boombox Mean in This Day of Age?

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There are a lot of things that have changed over the past years. Electronics, in particular, have grown bigger “muscles” and shrank in size due to smaller technologies being capable of bigger power outputs.

As a consumer, this is great since there are so many applications for microtechnology. Boomboxes have been around for a while in the 80’s and 90’s, but what does boombox mean in this day of age?

The boombox is basically a portable speaker that is meant to hype up crowds and bring energy to any activity or person. Originally, boomboxes were cassette players with batteries that users would use to share their newest musical novelties since sharing wasn’t as simple as it is today.

Currently, boomboxes have shed their ugly plastic skins and have taken on sexier, slimmer garments to match the current trends in both fashion and electronics.

What Does Boombox Mean: Ditching the Cassette for the CD

Boomboxes were originally used in the urban, hip-hop culture, with a lot of artists, like DJ Kool and MC Hammer, exciting the whole trend. Since the music culture was so tied to its dancing quirks, the community has started opting for portable speaker systems over the traditional cassette players. These devices were initially equipped with two cassette slots and an FM and AM radio antennae.

In the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s, disk technology was becoming more popular, so the CD has taken over as the “go-to” mass-storage device for media files, documents, games and more. Optical technology is relatively cheap to produce, and MP3 file formats are accessible to everyone due to their small file size (courtesy of very smart file conversion) and big platform support.

Boomboxes have then become a very desirable item to have since a CD can technically hold up to hundreds of songs while being a very affordable means of storage. In addition to this, most people already owned a PC, which made it very easy for them to make their own mixed tapes—or mixed CDs in this case.

However, the boombox isn’t a great product just because it can play MP3 files off of a CD. An ideal thing about this device is that it’s a portable sound system, meaning that it has a lot of different applications in its arsenal. Running off batteries, the boombox is a great product to have when going on trips and hikes or having a backup audio system in case the power goes out.

What Does Boombox Mean and How to Pick a Good One

There’s not a lot of science when it comes to picking a good boombox. It all boils down to two things: speaker quality and energy consumption. If the user finds that the audio fidelity is sufficient, and boomboxes are considered high-fidelity types of devices, then picking the right type of battery system is the only thing left.

Most products out there will require AA batteries to function, so it’s easy to keep a steady source of energy. AA batteries, and batteries in general, have the advantage of being interchangeable, so a user can simply stock up on a few packs and have enough juice to party an entire weekend.

In addition to this, boomboxes also have an AC port, so connecting the device to a big car battery would be the best thing to do in an outdoor scenario.

Choosing Cassette, CD or Both

In addition to having FM and AM radio frequency antennas, boomboxes can either play CDs or cassettes. The user must be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of both systems, as each of them has some advantages over the other.

Picking a CD-reading capable device seems like the way to go, but it’s simply not that easy. Optical drives are known to cause sound stuttering when in motion, so using a boombox while walking might cause the audio to get frequently interrupted. Additionally, CDs are also frailer than cassettes, so it’s more likely for a CD to break and ruin the optical drive than a cassette to fail in a similar situation.

Cassettes are more durable and don’t require adequate storage to be in a pristine playing condition. Storing them away from high temperatures and humidity would suffice, as it’s hard for the magnetic band to get scratched as a CD would.

Another bonus of using cassettes is that the user can also do a real-time recording of radio shows and even voice-recordings, provided the devices come equipped with a microphone.

When it comes to capacity, CDs certainly have a big edge over cassettes, as they can potentially store up to hundreds of songs, while cassettes can only hold up to 40 minutes of audio.

It all boils down to making some simple judgment calls. If a person wants to use the boombox while in motion, then the obvious way to go is a cassette player since it will provide better sound quality in that situation. If a person would like to use it when stationary, then a CD player is the way to go since it provides better audio quality and can store a lot more data.

Ultimately, the buyer also has the option to purchase a system that features both cassette and CD players, so a compromise doesn’t have to be made. Just note that, for CDs to be genuinely useful, the player must support an MP3 file format. If the supported format is “track”, then the user can store the same amount of songs that would fit a cassette since file sizes are calculated differently for .wav files.

Final Words

Why would someone choose such an outdated piece of technology? Well, it’s simple. After answering the “What does boombox mean” question, it’s easy to see that these “ancient” devices still provide plenty of utility in this day of age.

As a bonus, because they’re considered to be dated, they come at awesome prices, so picking one up can be a very inexpensive upgrade for the entertainment department.

Also, because they’re portable and run on AA or AAA batteries, they’re easy to operate and provide a lot of versatility with support for cassettes, CDs, and FM and AM radio. While they’re clearly not a product of the future, they’re still relevant to today’s standards.


Hey there, my name is Scott and I am the creator of this site. Being a kid from the 80s, I have a soft spot for boomboxes and want to let everyone know how cool they still are today.

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