While this machine is not really representative of Philips' tape recorders,
it does represent an unusual change from the ordinary home recorder, while at the
same time connecting up with the earliest Philips recorders.
The EL3586 shown here is a battery operated transistorized two track mono machine with 3" reels. It was probably primarily designed for principally the same market as Walkmans and ghetto blasters, i.e. personal transportable sound systems. It has very few features; in fact the only "feature" I can think of is a recess on the left hand side in which to place a microphone.
The style of the machine, with the two reels on top placed wide apart with the head and capstan assembly in the middle between them is similar to one of Philips oldest machines, the EL3510 from 1955.
What's this?! A cassette recorder in the middle of everything? Well, look again,
because behind the lid on the front is a 5" take-up reel. Yes, this is a
reel-to-reel radio recorder, from the Norwegian firm of Radionette. It had four
tracks and an FM radio. In order to fit the tape in the machine, the take-up and
supply reels are mounted on top of each other. In fact, the take-up reel is
integral to the machine and cannot be removed. The supply reel is placed on top and
the tape threaded through the head assembly (not visible; it's to the right
of the reel assembly) and threaded onto the take-up reel. Well, actually, you'd
better do the threading first, because once the supply reel is in place you
can't get at the take-up reel below.
With the take-up reel non-removable, all four tracks are recorded in the same direction on the tape, in a non-standard fashion. However, standard stereo heads are employed, which are moved to two different positions in order to cover all four tracks, much like an 8-track cartridge machine.
This is a bit of an odd one. It doesn't have a brand name or at least
it doesn't now - the label may have fallen off, although if so there aren't
any marks from it. Inside the battery
compartment, there's a label saying it was manufactured by
'Firma Ing. Franz Eben, Dachau, Germany'. Actually, this company still
and is an electronics consulting firm. The model was sold by the
German mail order firm of Quelle under the Simonetta brand name, but this
particular machine has the front panel legends in Swedish, and so must have
been sold in this country.
Technically, it's a bit of an oddball. It looks to be mostly a low-cost machine: Most of the mechanics are plastic to keep the weight down; the only metal chassis is a small part supporting the motor, capstan and head assembly. In fact, there is no proper flywheel, just a lightweight rubber-rimmed metal wheel on which the capstan is mounted. It also rotates at quite a low speed which doesn't help much, and as you might expect, the tape drive is not as smooth as it could be, and there's quite a bit of flutter in the sound. (It could also be some defect in the motor in my machine, but I doubt it). On the other hand, it does have a proper capstan drive, a tape speed of 9.5 cm/s, a high-frequency centrifugal reluctor Bühler motor (used by other manufacturers such as Telefunken) and a recording bias frequency in excess of 80 kHz. It was manufactured in 1965.
Back to my Vintage magnetic recording page.