Wednesday, February 10, 2016


By Rick Shithouse

Welcome to the first edition of Audio/Visual! This new monthly feature on Synthetix.FM is all about sharing my loves and passions for 80s sound technology. I plan on covering many, many icons of classic 80s boomboxes, stereos, cassettes, components and other items that really capture the essence of the 80s aesthetic.

For this first edition I decided to share the love for one the most iconic boomboxes of the 80s the RISING SRC-2015. As far as the quintessential boombox design goes this radio is one of the absolute pinnacles of what gives a boombox its presence, street cred and all out pure radness.

The sheer beauty of the RISING SRC-2015's design is evident from even a cursory glance. Huge 20cm/8inch white coned speakers, bold steel protector bars down each side (to prevent damage to the front of the unit in the event of it falling forward), massive LED meter and geometric straight lines all over the top of the unit while keeping nearly all the controls on top to accentuate the clean front.

The 20's on either side of the LED meter advertise the 20cm woofer size and among collectors this unit is usually referred to as the RISING 20/20. This brand only saw one other radio (a smaller three piece design) but many variations of this radio were released around the planet under different brand names with slightly different variations in aesthetics, such a different colouring on the tuner scale and front fascia as well as square grills around the speakers as opposed to round.

The RISING 20/20 is one of the few radios that succeeds in being a large, powerful boombox that is also designed to be carried. Taking 9 D sized batteries this radio cranks a great deal of sound and throws it beautifully. Bass is tight and highs are even, but the sound footprint created by the RISING 20/20 is what stands out. The top mounted controls with a very large volume control means carrying this radio isn't nearly as cumbersome as some 'portables' and adjusting the music on the fly doesn't require repositioning the unit. At 60cm (23.6") long by 33cm (13") high this boombox is the perfect size to be imposing but not impossible to carry around.

Other features include a four band tuner  (AM/FM/SW1/SW2), separate Bass and Treble controls and a 'Wide' stereo mode that creates a surprising amount of stereo separation. The tuner is strong and pulls in stations easily in stereo while the cassette deck is very robust being fully mechanical. The main issue this radio has is losing the plastic key covers on the cassette deck however, as they slide on to thin metal posts and over time can be damaged and lost, aside from needing the usual rebelting of the cassette deck these units usually age very well and don't have any other inherent issues.

On the connectivity side this radio has you covered with AUX in (via dual mono headphone sockets), external microphone, headphones, phono (including ground) and the ability to connect external speakers. The only oddity being the AUX inputs not being standard RCA connections. Considering these are used on the Phono connection it's quite baffling as to why RISING chose these types of connectors.

The RISING 20/20 is a genuine icon of boombox design and had a few notable appearances in pop culture during the 80s. 'Body Rock' from 1984 is a bit of an unsung hero of 80s breakdance movies unfortunately but its homage to the RISING 20/20 during the movie's finale is unmistakable. If that wasn't enough, Maria Vidal's single 'Body Rock' from the movie features a normal sized RISING 20/20 in the opening scenes.

But the finest hour for the RISING 20/20 in 80s movies is definitely from the auteur cinema favourite Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo where a spectacularly well graffed up 20/20 is the designated weapon of choice for the Electro Rock crew. Just look at that supreme majesty! Stunning in every respect.

That does us for this month's edition of Audio/Visual, I'll be back soon with more rockin good tunes and pure 80s love as Synthetix.FM just keeps on rockin.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! Nice post! Please tell us when I will see a follow up! Dave