Aiwa AM-C80/F72/F75/F80

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All, notes, AM-NX9, NX1, F90, C80/F72/F75/F80, F65/F70, F5/F7, F3, F1, AMD-100

Aiwa AM-F80
Aiwa AM-F75
Aiwa AM-F72
Aiwa AM-C80
portable MD recorder
Intro: 10/1999
IN: mic/line/optical (3 in one connector). OUT: headphone/line. DC IN: 4.5V (AC adaptor), 1.5V (external AA cell)78.8 x 86.8 x 18.8mm, 163g w/batt.

Features: Digital and analog synchro start, backlit LCD on body and remote, body keys are not illuminated (as they were on the AM-F70). Jog dial for volume control as well as track selection, editing and titling. Titling may be done while playing or recording, but not with the remote. Up to 100 titling characters per track. Remote displays 10 characters, main unit LCD shows 8 characters. Divide rehearsal mode. 25 track program play mode. Microphone sensitivity low/high selector. Double speed playback mode (mono and stereo). Japanese model (at least) comes with one-point stereo mic.

Variants: The AM-C80 is apparently an AA dry-cell powered variant of the AM-F80 that comes with a car cassette adapter. The AM-F75 is a cost reduced version of the AM-F80 that drops the backlight and the remote's LCD. The AM-F72 is a further cost-reduced unit that drops the remote altogether.


  • Japan-Direct posts clear snapshots of Aiwa's AM-F80.
  • John Beal's bench measurements of the unit, showing that max SNR through the headphone output is 55dB. However the unit was able to record a signal with 92dB dynamic range and 81dB SNR (measured by playing the disc back through the digital output of a Sony MDS-JB930)

User Comments: Contrary to what I have read in some comparisons, the number of titling characters for a track is not 50, but 100. The 2X playback mode works in stereo too. What the unit does is simply play every other sample, resulting in 2x the speed, but no pitch shifting. To activate the mode, you hold the play button for 2sec (works on the remote too). The remote displays 10 characters, the main unit only 8. Nowhere in the manual is "line-out" mentioned and how to use it (it's somehow combined with the headphone jack). The included headphones have a weird rubbery 'ear-coupling' arrangement. If you get them in far enough, they have incredible bass response. Unfortunately I think it's ear-shape dependent, and I don't seem to fit the mould. The jog-wheel doesn't click, so picking characters isn't as easy as it could be. Also when adjusting the volume, the steps are a bit too large (only 20 steps in total, as opposed to 30 volume steps for Sony machines). However because of the analogue-feel of the jog wheel, you can turn-up or turn-down the volume as quickly as you want -- impossible with the digital button-type volume controls in other units. Response time from 'off' to 'play' is about 5 sec. Same as for MZ-R55. In fact the whole unit feels a lot like the MZ-R55, except that it has heaps more features, and 3-4 times the battery life. Overall, this may not be the smallest unit in the world, the MZ-R90 has a few milimeters advantage, but in terms of usability and features, this one wins hands down.
-George Michalski


User Manual: AM-F80

Battery LifePlayRecordRecharge
LiIon11.5 hr5 hr2 hr
AA x 1
Both20 hr7.5 hr

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