Adventures in Analog: TeleMania Jeep Portable Boombox
The Free Table Strikes Again
As I have mentioned in other articles, my town's recycling center has a free donation table and sometimes you can find old analog equipment for the taking such record players, cassette decks and storage, records, and all kinds of audio equipment. One such find was my TeleMania Jeep portable boombox.
These boomboxes were produced as early as 1995 exclusively for Chrysler Jeep automobiles and were included as a package in the purchases of some Jeep vehicles up to the late nineties. A really unique item, and to be honest I had no idea what this was until I opened the latch out of curiosity. It has AM/FM radio, CD function and also a cassette deck. It also has a standard power cord and can also run on D batteries for portability.
This was advertised as water and shock resistant, and it looks really rugged and durable, with thick heavy plastic and a bottom skid surface that resembles a tire track. It can definitely see some kids in their Jeep back in the day, off-road rallying with this thing bouncing around in the back. The toggle system for functions is really unique as well.
The boombox had some grime and dust on the outside as if it hadn't been opened in a few years. The inside was actually really clean, perhaps it did not get much use or it was cared for nicely. All functions worked, but the antenna jack where it plugs in is broken or a piece is missing so I could not get the antenna attached. No big deal.
The cassette deck heads and rollers had very little dirt and were really clean, so once again either there was not much use or it was maintained nicely. Remember, this was produced in the mid-nineties and some people had already switched over to compact disc.
Jeep Portable Boombox in Use
The sound of this boombox has pretty low volume, especially the left side speaker, could be an issue there internally with it. Not necessarily booming bass either, this boombox probably would not be my go-to option if I had to rock a dance party. My preferred method of using this is to line out from the headphone auxiliary to my Bluetooth speaker with a cord or to use headphones. The Bluetooth line out is my preferred action and I can get a pretty decent sound.
The compact disc side works well and will play a disc that's a little scratched up. The toggle switch controls across the boombox are a little clunky and loud but nothing terrible.
The cassette deck side functions great, but there is some loud hiss during tape operation and is pretty annoying actually. Once again, I really don't know the history of the unit or have another to compare with so I am not sure if there are internal issues or if that is just the way it operates, but the noise does seem excessive. So with that being said I really don't use the cassette function all that often on this.
Because of the broken antenna, I don't use the AM/FM radio functions either, although it does turn on and operate.
Thoughts on the TeleMania
Although this has been way surpassed as far a modern audio equipment with Bluetooth speakers and things of that nature, this would have been really cool to have back in the mid-nineties, as there was nothing quite like it back then. You got a rugged tough player that featured three functions you could bring by a campfire, beach or wherever you like.
A Jeep fan who has nostalgia for the brand would be into this also. Pretty cool find, although it is not the most usable unit for me I like the unique factor of the boombox. Cool stuff.
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