Webcor Royalite 2002 and 4002 Tape Recorder and Speaker

Donated to me by Brian Epstein, whose father owned it. It needed a home and I didn't have a model like it. Thank you, Brian!

This is the first and only stereo Webcor in my collection. This came with a companion Model 4002 speaker for stereo playback. I haven't powered it up yet so I can't talk about its performance.

This model came out in 1959 when stereo was coming in. Webcor sold this unit as Model 2002, which could record in mono (one microphone included) and play back in stereo, if you have stereo-recorded tapes. To get stereo playback, you had to buy the accessory Model 4002 speaker and connect it with a patch cord. The speaker unit has its own power supply which takes some of the power-output burden off the main machine and also lessens the main unit's weight a little. You also get better stereo separation because you can place the speakers farther apart. There was a time when people cared about stereo separation (I still do).

Webcor Royalite and Speaker (closed)

Webcor Royalite and Speaker (open)

Some day I will get my ducks in a row and try to work out the evolution of the Webcor product line. The earlier Webcor tape machines had heavy wooden cabinets with cloth covers and they literally weighed around 50 lbs (approx. 22 kg). This Royalite weighs in at around 20 lbs (9 kg), and the speaker is a bit lighter. As I mentioned earlier, a little of the weight savings comes from splitting off the second speaker and its amplifier, but much of the difference comes from the new plastic cabinet, which I believe is vinyl or something like it.

Webcor 2002 tape recorder (face)

Webcor still retained our old friend, the magic eye, as a recording indicator (top center of the face). They added "long play" speed, 1-7/8 ips, but removed the second motor so you can no longer record and play in both directions; you now have to physically flip the reel over to access the other side. It's an inconvenience but does significantly lower the overall machine's weight, which is nice when you have to carry it.

The power cord tucks into the small empty area at the top of the unit. A patch cable might also fit but it would be tight.

Webcor 2002 tape recorder (front)

Another Webcor logo, a wide looping W would "Webcor" spelled in a crown on top. This didn't list long; I don't know why. I think it's a good looking logo but it's hard to clean the face around it.

Webcor 2002 tape recorder (inside lid)

The microphone is has been redesigned from the art deco style to moderne, and from a metal case to lightweight vinyl. Instead of a clip, it now snaps into the lid. The patch cable is removable so if the wire breaks, of you want a longer one, you can easily swap it.

Webcor 4002 accessory speaker (open)

The cloth face of the speaker grille. Like the main unit, there's a small extra space where the patch and power cables can be stored.

Webcor 4002 accessory speaker (front)

The front of the accessory speaker, designed to match the main unit.

Webcor Royalite advertisement  (1959)

This unit was reviewed in Tape Recording magazine, June 1959. Here's the review:

In our opinion Webcor has done some very clever designing on this new machine. For one thing, through the extensive use of aluminum and modern plastic materials they have cut the weight of the unit to 20 pounds. This should go well with the ladies and especially with the school teachers who will be using recorders in increasing numbers.

The case and lid are made of Royalite which has permanent color and is scuff and mar proof. The aluminum mechanism is self supporting.

One of the unusual features for a recorder of this type is that it can be used in either the horizontal or vertical position. Rubber reel locks hold the reels in place and the machine operates irrespective of angle or position. An edit key is provided for stopping and starting the tape instantaneously. This feature will be found useful in eliminating commercials when recording from radio or TV, or when doing dictation.

Unlike previous Webcors, this machine has one motor and does not have the "no reel turnover" feature. The unit has two 3 x 5" eliptical speakers mounted in the sides of the case. The speakers are independently baffled inside the case.

Unusual also is the use of a single cord for a number of purposes, including as a cord for the mike. The microphone is held in the lid by means of a snap on its back. To use the mike, it is removed merely by pulling it loose and the cinch plug inserted in the jack on the bottom of the mike case. The microphone element is ceramic.

The same cord is also used as an external amplifier and speaker cord.

The Royalite has a full set of controls including record, play, fast forward and rewind, a counter, record interlock, external amplifier jack, external speaker jack, edit key, volume control, input and a combination tone control and monitor switch.

This last feature is very handy for with it the speakers can be turned on while recording from radio. TV or phonograph and the sound heard from the speakers as it is recorded.

The recorder may also be used as a PA system by turning on the speakers with the monitor switch, locking down the record safety lock and plugging in the mike. The recorder will play irrespective of the position of the monitor switch. It is effective only when the machine is in the record position.

The external speaker jack is a double jack. When the plug is put in halfway both the external speaker and the speakers in the case will sound. When it is pushed all the way in, the recorder speakers are cut and the external speaker is powered.

The machine we tested was the monaural model (2001). This is a dual track machine with three speeds, 1-7/8 ips, 3-¾ ips and 7-½ ips. Performance was satisfactory at all speeds with peak to peak response at the fast speed of up to 12,000 [Hz]. The signal to noise ratio was satisfactory.

Inasmuch as there is only one input which is used for all purposes, it is necessary ro have a different cord to hook up to a radio or TV besides the one furnished with the recorder. These cords are available through the Wehcor dealers and we would suggest that you invest in one if you purchase one of these recorders.

The input jack, like the external speaker jack is a double one. The plug on the mike cord is single ended and makes the proper connection to the pre - amp when plugged in.

The accessory cord for recording from higher gain outputs, such as radio and TV has a double tipped plug and incorporates a 22,000 ohm resistor to cut down the level of the current reaching the preamp. If the mike cord is used without the resistor in the line, the signal may become distorted and the recording will not he as good as it can he.

In recording from radio, set the radio so that a good volume of sound is audible in the speaker. Correct recording level is determined by the cathode ray indicator [magic-eye tube].

We liked the positive breaking action on this machine. When the lever was thrown to the stop position from either fast forward or rewind, the tape stopped within a few inches. It is practically impossible to spill tape on it.

The Royalite is also available in a stereo model (2002) which lists for about twenty dollars more than the monaural model.

About the only thing which we did not like on this machine was the position of the line cord. Unless care is taken to see that it is clear, it may rub the reel when a 7" reel is used.

We feel that for the money, this is a fine little recorder. The performance is pleasing and the light weight and attractive appearance are definite plus factors.

If you are considering the purchase of a new recorder we believe it will be worth your while to consider this machine.