Following the logic of Sony’s now established numbering system, one may expect that the WM-F22 would be a version of the WM-22 but with an FM stereo radio. The similar styling and graphics, along with the fact that that the previous year’s WM-F9 used the same mechanicals as the WM-22 and included an AM/FM stereo radio would seem to confirm this, though as if to confuse everybody, this is not the case. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
The WM-F22 certainly filled the same place in the range that the WM-F9 had. it was about the same size (same outline but slightly thicker) and offered the same features, AM/FM stereo radio and a basic cassette player that could use normal or chrome/metal tapes. A few details went missing in the change, for example there were no longer “cue” and “review” winding modes and there was no longer an indicator LED for FM stereo reception. One would also notice that the controls, whilst being similarly placed, were all in fact in slightly different positions, giving a clue to the magnitude of the changes inside. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.
The WM-F9 and the WM-F22 were in fact completely different machines. Rather than continue with the WM-22 mechanicals, the WM-F22 used a generic tape mechanism that has been employed by many different manufacturers over the years. Sony themselves used it widely, for example in the WM-B52. This mechanism lacked the sophistication of some of Sony’s own, and compared to that fitted to the WM-F9 lacked for example the counter-rotating flywheel. The main capstan flywheel of the WM-F22 was a simply made affair, formed from a plastic disc to guide the belt, with a piece of stamped out sheet to increase the mass. This part was turned from solid brass in the earlier model. The electronics followed standard Sony practice for the period, though it is notable that the radio dial used a flexible plastic toothed rack as a pointer rather than the traditional cord drive arrangement. The reasons for these changes and simplifications were probably based on logistics, these models were produced in Malaysia rather than Japan. Text copyright © Walkman Central. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.