Aiwa Collection

In 1980, Aiwa entered the walkman scene with the TP-S30, the world’s first personal stereo recorder. Though the company’s major shareholder was Sony, there was an understanding that healthy competition between the two brands would be profitable for both companies. This competition was certainly enjoyed by consumers in the ’80s as we saw many beautiful and feature-packed models. We believe Aiwa distributed several releases worldwide but with model numbers which varied by market locale. Unfortunately, at least one gadget was never officially offered outside of Japan: the 1982 OnAir CassetteBoy, a personal cassette that worked with a small transmitter to push a signal to an FM radio headset–the first wireless walkman!

Aiwa’s models were small, complicated marvels of audio technology. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Aiwa reached a pinnacle with some high-end models with features like voice navigation, BBE sound processing, Dolby C noise reduction and amorphous playback heads–features normally found on home stereo equipment. Sadly, in the early 2000s, Aiwa’s product line dried up unable to endure the fierce competition in an rapidly evolving portable audio market.

l-r: Aiwa TP-S30 w/ case, SC-A1 personal speakers, HS-P2, HS-J02, CS-J1

l-r: Aiwa HS-J400 MKII, HS-J08, HS-U07 w/ radio module, HS-P07, HS-F07

l-r: Aiwa HS-T200, HS-P09, HS-P9M, HS-J350, HS-J800, HS-T700

’80s US & Japan Aiwa Portable Audio Brochures

Back to the Future‘s pivotal brain-melting scene involving an Aiwa portable cassette player.

Aiwa Walkman Models


1985. What Walkman collection would be complete without an Aiwa portable stereo? This one looks so well-made, doesn’t it? AM/FM stereo tuner, recorder, carrying case too. Pretty boxy-looking, and the chrome is definitely a sweet touch. Check out that wired remote!!


1987. Aiwa is and was one of the big leaders in the portable stereo industry in the 80s, and remains one today. We can see why as we take at look at the HS-J350. This gem has recording capability, tuner and auto-reverse. Aiwa is reputed for their high-quality home stereo tape decks and that quality reached the portables too. Here’s a pic of the top of the unit. This was Jay’s workhouse back in the early ’90s and he retired it recently due to a loose headphone jack. Of course he’ll still keep it! *Update*: With renewed zeal in his Walkman collection, Jay pulled out his iron and soldered that loose connection–it’s working fine! We thank you for your letter and prayers through that tough time.


1984. Anyone have information on this one? The T400 offered Dolby NR (noise reduction), auto-reverse and an AM/FM tuner. We see a nice, bold tuning knob on the upper right. We’re guessing the unit was black and gray with chrome highlights like most around this period. Our friend K Wing recalls his HS-J07 performing faithfully during his college days, and it looked quite a bit like the T400.


1982. $50 in 1982 wouldn’t buy too much as far as portable stereos go, but you could grab one of these nice headsets from Aiwa–slim, nice reception of AM and FM and even an output jack! Best of all, the headset is capable of folding up to a nice small package. As far as we know, this was Aiwa’s first radio-only portable stereo.


1987. One of Aiwa’s top portable stereo cassette players. Amazing number of bells and whistles on this one–3 presets, auto-reverse, 4-band graphic equalizer, FM Stere/Mono switch, Dolby NR, a very slick LED radio position indicator, LEDs to indicate battery power and tape direction. Battery pack on the bottom hold two AAA batteries.


1984. Look familiar? It should, it’s the same chassis as the HS-T400, but with stero recording capability. Sold back in 1984 for around $135. Sleak, high performing, all Aiwa.


1985. A nice find by our friend K. Wing up in New Brunswick–this Aiwa stereo recorder sold for around $120 back in ’85 and offered all sorts of nice little options, including Dolby NR, auto-reverse and AM/FM tuning. I personally like the lock mechanism on the well door. We’re told that this model is very similar to the J07 also offered around this time, but the J70 lacked the music skip feature.


1985. Resembles the HS-J08, in fact it may be one in the same, differing only by model number. The chrome wired remote is slick, logic controls, hardshell case, dual headphone jacks and mini-whip antenna make this one of the desirable (and pricey) models from ’85.


1983. We consider ourselves lucky to have just the instruction manual for this one. Very cool and hi-tech for 1983, the HS-J300 offered good radio reception, due to its included telescopic whip antenna, stereo recording, FM Stereo indicator LED, auto-reverse and internal mic.


1986. Nothing particularly special about this one, but it small, solid and sounds great–all the reasons why Aiwa continues to be a leader in the portable stereo market.

We’re a little confused with the model number scheme used by Aiwa–we’ve gathered that the “T” after the hyphen indicates cassette player with tuner; a “J” indicated a recorder and a “P” means cassette player with no tuner. The “HS” and “HR” indicates the model is a personal stereo; the 3-digit models started in the mid-80s and continued well into the ’90s. We believe Aiwa distributed the same portables in Europe and North America, but under different model numbers.