Thursday, December 20, 2012

Playskool Talkback Voice Recorder

Sorry, no video today. Like I said, I don't actually have what I'm talking about anymore, so I can't really show it. And since nobody else seems to have had one, I don't have any pictures or other videos.

Anyway, what I'm talking about is the Talkback Voice Recorder from Playskool. It was, of course, a voice recorder, but it was actually more than that. See, on the top of the thing was a little wheel that you could use to change the speed of your voice. And you could change the speed while the sound was playing, too. You really can't do that anymore (not even in Audacity).

OK, to be fair, the DSi and 3DS can do that, too, but... let's not get into that.

Instead, I'll talk about a few other things that I loved about it. For one, if you pressed the Record button but remained completely silent, it would actually buzz when you held down the Play button. Yes, it would play a buzz that you could change the pitch of with the speed wheel.

I guess I should explain something: I really don't like sudden loud noises, especially buzzing. That is, unless I can do it myself. When I first discovered this feature, I didn't like it and so didn't use it. However, I eventually grew out of my dislike for that particular noise, and I used it more frequently (when it worked, because it would more often record background noise or just be totally silent). And it also helped that I could change the pitch, because random pitch changing is something that I especially love, for some reason.

Another cool thing was that it included some goofy stock sound effects: there was a telephone, a monkey, a "boing", and... something else, but I can't remember now. I used to like randomly pressing the buttons over and over again, and the funny thing is that by doing that, it would occasionally play the wrong sound effect. Like, you'd hear the "boing" a lot of times, and then all of a sudden the monkey, and then back to the "boing".

The audio quality wasn't total crap, surprisingly. Usually cheap voice recorders sound absolutely terrible. Case in point, I have a voice recorder / refrigerator magnet that my brother-in-law and I use to make pop culture references. Only problem is: it sounds absolutely horrid. You can barely understand what the other person is trying to say.

Not with the Talkback! The cost of the Talkback was probably lower than the voice recording refrigerator magnet, and it sounded a thousand times better. Especially acoustic coupling (holding it right up to a speaker to record from it). Of course, this was long before the days of digital voice recorders that you can connect to your computer via USB (which didn't even exist back then), so that's even more impressive.  If only I still had it...

Actually, I can't really say that it isn't in the house anymore. My mom took it away a long time ago, and I haven't seen it since. Now I'm wondering if she still has it, or what the deal is with it. I don't want to know.

Tomorrow, another Playskool thing! See you then!


1 comment:

  1. I remember foikin' around with something similar to this, but it was just a straight record and playback thingy, and no effects-- of course no memory other than the maybe 17 seconds you had to jack around with your usual obscenity laced tirade, and that was it. That was in there forever and nothing else would ever get in there unless you deleted it.

    This was back in 2002, so I'm thinking it was a older garage sale toy that my asshole former quasi buddy's wife had bought. We had some kicks with it for a while.