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Article: Why Are Some Walkmans So Expensive?

Why Are Some Walkmans So Expensive?

Sony Walkman TPS-L2

For some people, it might be a bit shocking to come across our more expensive cassette player offerings like the Sony Walkman TPS-L2 or WM-3 ($499+) for the first time. Though these prices may be a bit curious to first-timers, we try to price our products fairly based on the value of the specific Walkman model and the hours of hard work that our team puts in to provide a quality product. Let's take a look at some of the factors that make certain models so valuable.

Some Walkman models are rare and expensive to source.

TPS-L2s and WM-3s are highly sought after and hard to come by; typically costing hundreds of dollars to source, regardless of cosmetic condition or functionality. 

By the time our team gets their hands on a rare Walkman, a significant amount of money has already gone into acquiring it before we dedicate any time or resources to refurbishing it.

TPSL2 Walkman Repiar

Each Walkman undergoes an extensive repair and refurbishment process.

With models like the TPS-L2 and WM-3 in particular, a thorough repair and lengthy inspection is necessary to guarantee success. After all, these Walkmans are decades old and have been subjected to varying levels of use by their former owners.

On average, our repair technicians spend 2-4 hours repairing each TPS-L2 or WM-3. In extreme circumstances, even more repair time may be required to resolve some issues.

At minimum, each unit undergoes a complete disassembly and inspection. This includes replacing drive belts, calibrating the playback speed, deoxidizing the volume potentiometer and cleaning the tapehead — all of which will help create a great listening experience for its new owner. We do this for every portable cassette player we sell, not just the rare models. In addition, the FW/FFW/RW idler tires and the pinch roller are replaced on every TPS-L2 and WM-3.

Beyond these standard measures, additional repairs or adjustments are typically necessary and often require replacement parts from another unit. Given the high cost of sourcing some of the rarer models, the cost of each repair can add up very quickly as donor parts from several units are often utilized to create one working TPS-L2 or WM-3.

Once a Walkman has been repaired, it is tested regularly over the course of 2-5 days to ensure that the unit is consistently functioning properly.

Finally, after passing inspection, each Walkman is cleaned thoroughly by a refurb technician to make it look as shiny and new as possible.

Portable Cassette Player in Box

Each Walkman comes with bonus goodies and a warranty.

Okay, so this one isn't technically a reason for prices being what they are. It's not something we charge extra for or build into the cost, it's just something we want to do to give our customers a unique unboxing experience when purchasing one of our refurbished portable cassette players. Each is carefully packaged in a new box, and comes with a set of headphones, a completely random cassette single and a user guide.

Should any issues arise after someone receives their device, we have a customer service team ready to help troubleshoot! We want to take the uncertainty out of buying retro tech and provide you with a product that goes the distance, which is why we have a 90-day limited warranty that covers products made, refurbished and/or serviced by Retrospekt.


Kyles Photo

By Kyle Seis

Project Manager | Retrospekt
Kyle answers your questions and gets you your stuff. He runs fulfillment and our customer service inbox. For awhile he even ran our Dutch branch in Enschede, Netherlands. He's also the regular curator of our daily playlists in the workroom at Retrospekt.