Introduction: Modding the Sony Walkman
If you own one of these tiny Sony Walkmans - the ones that plug into the USB port and play mp3 and wmf files and record as well - and you have tried to do some recording with it, then you probably have been impressed with the sound quality of the recordings, but frustrated by the low volume levels.
To get good voice recordings, it's necessary for the speaker(s) to talk fairly loud and be relatively close to the Walkman, especially when the headphones are plugged in. This is because there is no hole where the microphone is to let the sound through. In this instructable, I'll show you how to safely open a hole in front of the microphone to get better sound recording fidelity.
Step 1: Locate the Microphone
The actual location of the microphone is not apparent and is unlabeled. It's easier if you look at the picture below. (It looks a little funny because I took the picture with the Walkman already opened, so there is a big gap where the case halves meet.) This is the end where the headphones plug in. Slightly above and to the left, there is an impression in the plastic. The microphone is directly behind this impression. It's almost as if Sony was going to punch a hole here but never got around to it.
So, this is where we need to make the hole. BUT WAIT! Not so fast. If we try to puncture the hole as is, it's very likely that we'll end up damaging the microphone and possibly the tiny, delicate electronics inside. See the next step for how to do this.
Step 2: Take Out the Screws
So what we need to do in order to avoid damaging the microphone is take apart the case halves before attempting to punch the hole.
In order to get at the screws, there are 2 plastic trim pieces which need to be removed. The way I removed them was by very gently prying up at the edge with a mat knife. This way it can be done without scratching them. The best place I found for doing this is where they come up against the back/next buttons. They have already been removed in the picture below to show the screw holes. See it for more details.
After the trim pieces are off, the 4 #0 JIS head screws which hold the case together are exposed. If you don't have a JIS screwdriver, it can be a bit tricky to get them out without stripping them, but I managed. If you can, it's good to get a JIS screwdriver if you plan on doing things like this very often. I ended up buying one later, and it makes the removal much easier.
The next step is to separate the case halves . . .
Step 3: Separate the Case Halves and Make the Hole!
Now all that's left to do is pry the halves apart and punch the hole to let the sound in to the microphone.
There are several tabs around the seam still holding the halves together. Using your fingernails, start prying them apart at the USB connector where they come apart the easiest. Then work your way around until they're apart. Look at the picture for help.
Now it's finally time to punch the hole! Punch it where the indentation is. You can refer to the picture in step 1. If you have a wire drill bit, you can use that to make a nice clean hole. A good size bit is probably somewhere between #40 - #50. I used a pin to make the hole. It was a little undersized, but it's better than no hole at all. Check out Harbor Freightfor really small drill bits.
Step 4: Put Everything Back Together
This step is fairly easy now that the hard stuff is all done. Just snap the case halves back together, put the screws back in, and stick the trim pieces back on. If all went well, you should now have improved sound recording capabilities and no one will ever know you had the Walkman apart.
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