Philips Battery Powered Portable Tape Recorder EL3302, 1956-1963

Philips Electronics

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Philips battery powered portable tape recorder model EL3302, 1956-63.

The EL-3302 (EL3302) was a mono compact cassette recorder made by the Philips Company in 1967. Manufactured to a mass volume and produced in many countries, the majority of the earlier units came from Austria. This was a player and recorder, with built in erase bias for a separate erase head providing high quality audio reproduction from compact cassettes. It has a full range of tape control features including fast-forward, rewind, and play. The pause function was a switch on the microphone, which simply cut the power to the motor.

The DIN sockets provide audio input / output facility, external microphone connection, and mains adapter facility. The internal speaker was very small and the manufactures thoughtfully provided a 2-pin socket to connect a better external 8 Ω speaker.

The unit is only 20 cm × 11.5 cm × 5.5 cm in size and packed with electronic and mechanical engineering. Removing the plastic shell reveals a metal die-cast chassis. The tape transport mechanism, and control linkages are metal and reliable. All the pulleys, and drive wheels, including the capstan flywheel are metal.

The internal circuitry, built on a copper clad printed circuit board, has a rich assortment of components. The component density is high, which is why the resistors are in an upright position. The circuit uses ten metal-tube germanium transistors, which are AC12x series. There are two transistors in a "Class A" arrangement form the audio power output circuit, whilst five transistors form the record / playback circuitry.

The unit also houses a small separate PCB consisting of a two-transistor circuit, which forms the voltage and speed regulator circuit of the capstan motor. The earlier models of this tape recorder did not have the speed regulator, and this appears as a later addition. Five "C" sized dry cells, or an external 7.5 V adapter powers the unit.

When the battery-operated Phillips EL3300 compact cassette recorder (branded initially as the Magnetophone) was unveiled at the Berlin Radio Show in August 1963 it was the world’s first compact cassette recorder. The EL3300 became an instant game changer and heralded the arrival of the compact cassette. The first units for sale arrived at the shops in mid-October 1963.

The Philips EL machines proved so popular that it would remain in production for many years with hundreds of thousands of units sold. The adoption of the standard that followed led to a huge swath of related technological applications that had not been envisaged by its maker; for Philips, the unveiling of its new Compact Cassette tape and accompanying recorder was about enticing people to buy a fuss-free portable recording system.

The EL3302 was an improvement over the earlier EL3300, and EL 3301 model.


Sound Reproduction
Object Number:
1998-623 Pt7
metal (unknown) and plastic (unidentified)
overall (estimated): 53 mm x 114 mm x 199 mm, 2 kg
tape recorder
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • audio equipment
Thornton, Roy