Setting up a NEW 1982 Answering Machine (with Bluetooth!)
[jazz music calls out] [computer buzzes, beeps] - Greetings and welcome to another LGR thing I'm putting together here as I continue to move into my new place and uncover stuff from storage and think, "Oh man, yeah, I meant to do something with that and never did." I don't know, I got some time in between taking stuff back and forth between storage in here. Yeah, this is the Record-a-Call 675 Telephone Answering Machine by T.A.D. Avanti. Or at least that's the company that seem to be responsible for importing them and selling them here in The US. I guess these were made in Japan. And as for when this one was actually made, I believe it's 1982, just looking it up online. Yeah, this Record-a-Call Remote VOX, or Remote T.M. VOX, Dual Remote. Daggone it, there's a lot of words on here. Look at all
these words. It does a lot of things. Really, the entire reason that I wanted this was, I mean, you know, it's new old stock. That's pretty cool. Found this on eBay sometime ago. These are actually not too terribly hard to find new old stock. Look at this background,
you see this lovely late 70s, early 80s aesthetic with the room with the woodgrain paneling and the terrible decor. But I mean, it's kind of oddly appealing and the woodgrain on the machine itself. Yeah I'm putting together a late 70s, early-to-mid 80s retro room in my retro house, or at least part of it because I wanna film stuff in there. And it's not done yet, but this is something that I really want for the room. An answering machine! And what spurred this on recently
was the fact that I think that I can finally make use of it. I mean, that's one reason I hadn't actually done anything with this, just left it in the box for a while, it's cuz I'm like, "Well you know, it looks cool, new old stock, but what do I even do with it?" Well, I got one of these not too long ago. This is an XLink Gateway. And what this allows me to do is plug in any old telephone, landline phone, whether it's tone or pulse dialing, whatever, and it connects it via Bluetooth to your phone or computer or whatever other device has Bluetooth that can send and receive calls online through a VoIP service or just whatever you have that connects to Bluetooth. Yeah, anyway, it basically lets you do this.
[telephone rings] -[Clint off camera] What? What?! [hangs up handset] -Yeah, how awesome is that? So I can actually, hopefully, plug a telephone into this or you know, the XLink Gateway into this and then this to the telephone and then just make the whole thing, I think, work. Now, I don't know about you, but I did not even encounter an answering machine in the home until the early 90s. So this one being from 1982, you gotta wonder just what all it can do, how it actually functions, and any kind of features it might have. I don't know, I've wondered that, anyway. And I also wondered about the price. What in the world did this thing cost in the early 80s? Well, on looking it up, the earliest ads I can find mention $300 in 1982 which, if you do some inflation calculations, is around $900 US dollars currently.
I mean, whatever inflation means anymore. I don't know, calculations like that are kinda pointless. This was not cheap, is what I'm trying to say. Although just about every ad that I found from early 1983, had it on sale, half off, so $150. Either way, that's still like 450 bucks. It's not a cheap thing. There were cheaper answering machines, but this was not necessarily one of them. So I find that kind of fascinating. Wasn't a cheap little thingy. And
also another thing that makes this one stand out. If you were a They Might Be Giants Fan. Yeah, the band famously used one of these to do their Dial-A-Song service, at least at one point. They apparently went through tons and tons of answering machines, but you can find records of them at one point or another using Record-a-Call 675s. And there's a photo of one of the band
members doing that right here. So basically what it would be is a phone number they would advertise to their fans and in newspapers and whatnot and you could call that number and hear a new song of theirs every day! [there might be chuckles] And apparently they got between 50 or 70 calls per day and just people leaving messages and, you know, it was just a thing and it was popular, got them some instant viral marketing in the late 80s and throughout the 90s. And it was popular enough that they had their answering machines constantly break down, hence them using the 675 at one point and then many, many other models. Anyway, yeah, this is more interesting than I thought it was when I
first picked it up. I had no idea about any of that stuff or how expensive it was back in the day. It doesn't matter, whatever, let's go ahead and just get this thing unboxed. [jazz music] Yeah, like I said, I found this sealed on eBay a while ago and just never actually opened it except to see if stuff was in there and indeed it is. Look at that. I don't know, again, when this was actually manufactured but either way, it's been in this box for a very long time. And being tape-based, I'd be curious to know if the mechanism even still works. Oh my goodness! Ooh, this is gonna be neat. [laughs happily] Wow! But yeah,
this uses full-sized cassette tapes. I believe endless loop ones, maybe. I don't even know actually if they are endless loop or not. They probably aren't, actually. Anyway, we have two dual purpose cassettes Record-a-Call branded. Recording time is 30 minutes each side.
Let's just get one of them outta there... Yeah, that's wonderful. Look at that. Never had an answering machine with full cassettes like this. Ones we had growing up were the little micro or mini cassettes or whatever they were. Like the little snapper there to keep it from going around. So yeah, this definitely is not endless loop or anything like that. That's fine, that makes sense. So you can just put any tapes in there, I suppose. As for what it smells like, [sniffs] that doesn't smell like much of anything, which I guess is good. No nasty degradation smells
going on. Okay, yeah, this is interesting, too. So this is the Record-a-Call remote control. One call control from any phone in the world. Interesting! Call your phone, press button for two seconds. During announcement, messages will play back. To backspace, press button. Yeah, anyway, you can retrieve your messages, change your outgoing and listen to new messages and play back and backspace and basically just remotely control your answering machine over the phone. Erase things and flag messages and all kinds of stuff. So you got a little button here on the side. [remote beeps] All right. So you can just like send a tone signals over handset and just hold
your phone up and [remote beeps] send an SOS, like "erase my crap!" Okay, so we have another little, what is this? It's a little microphone. Look at that. Huh, well, isn't that cute? I like that. So again, the ones that I used in the 90s had a little mic built in or sometimes you just like talking to the handset, but this, you plug it in. That's very enjoyable already in my mind. Just have a regular RJ11 phone cable there. That's all that is, nice
to have, I suppose. Oh, AC adapter. That gold on green is a choice. Almost John Deere esque. Betcha that has a smell. Oh yeah. Oh, that smells electronic for sure, a little resin. 12 volt, 830 milliamp. And we got some paperwork, a little manual, so important. It's tested and will not blow up the world. That's good. How to use your new phone monitor. Phone monitors record a call exclusive feature, eliminating the annoying problem of having to run to your machine to turn it off when you want to talk to the caller. Oh wow, so you just pick up the phone and it will turn it off politely. Man,
I'm realizing that all the cheapo answering machines that I used in the 90s were actually pretty like advanced. They always just had this built in. And straight outta Compton, here we have a T.A.D. Avanti Incorporated registration card. All right. And the manual. Oh, it's designed for ease of operation. That's good. Man, loving these illustrations. Good line art illustrations. Oh yeah. So they are leaderless dual purpose cassettes. So that's one thing that'll set
them apart. Okay, so like when it's fully rewound there I guess I've never really thought about this but it makes complete sense. There's no leader here. Like there's normally like a transparent section of tape before you get to the recordable section with the ferric material and all that, but not on here. It's just all recordable. It just starts recording straight away as soon as the tape is moving across the record heads in there. And of course, oh that, ahh! Well anyway. Oh dude. Oh,
this is gonna look so awesome in the retro room. It's got a somewhat Atari vibe. You know, that was one reason I picked it out back when I did it. I think it looks great. It is simply the retro style that I always go for anytime I see one of these kind of things in a thrift store. Oh! Wow! That is an old silica gel packet. Wonder if it's still doing what it's supposed to. Wow! The fact that it is new old stock, I mean, anytime that I do see these thrifting they're in such terrible condition, but this, oh, it's all untouched. Like these just haven't been done at all. Like in terms of being moved, I guess since it left the factory. Ooh, that volume feels pretty good.
How does this work? Oh, that's a switch to, ooh! Whoa, that feels like it's physically moving. Yeah, that whole inside mechanism I can feel it moving as it's connected to this. There are no like full logic controls or anything. This is just connected to parts. All right, little microphone plugs in right here. [laughs in little microphones] I really love this. I guess you can't close it with that, but you know, I mean you're only gonna plug in the microphone when you're recording a new message I suppose, for your outgoing announcement, say, in terms of the other things that you can do with this lovely assortment of buttons and switches. And yeah, the message thing right here. So you have a none VOX/90
and VOX. So VOX is voice activation from what I gather. I don't know why they call it VOX, but means that it knows when somebody is talking and it'll let the thing continue recording until somebody hangs up or stops talking. So I guess if you're just silent on the phone for a while it'll just cut you off. VOX/90 sets that to 90-second record time instead of just letting it go. And then NONE, that's pretty, self-explanatory. It'll only play the outgoing announcement message
and then that's it. So you can just be like, ah, yeah, you can't even leave a message, "whatever, screw you, I'm not here, not picking up the phone." So, and then you got ring adjust and this just lets you choose how many rings it takes before it answers. So you can choose between either four or four slash one. So it'll be four rings if there's no messages on the phone and then one ring after that. So if you've got a bunch of messages, then it'll pick up after one ring. And these others, we kind of saw those. Control and fast forward, erase dictation. I mean, dictation
is just recording straight through the microphone onto the tape as if it was a dictation machine. And kind of similar with some of these down here. That's how you adjust or activate some of these options here. So yeah that's all. Oops! That's two-way record.
From what I gather, that just records the entire conversation. And it actually says up here, notify the other party that they are being recorded, then press the control button and then there you go. And yeah, you'll notice that there is no way to put time in there. It actually says in the manual,
if you're recording an outgoing message, ask people to say the time that they're calling, because otherwise this has no concept of time. So it's just up to the person calling to say when they were calling. So yeah, I don't imagine there's too much around back here. Nah, just a couple areas to plug in your telephones there, AC adapter and then, oh yeah. This is just marked intriguingly with the screws. Look at that, each individual screw is labeled case, case, case,
case case, chassis, chassis, chassis, case, case. Well, that is handy. Yeah, Model 675, serial number 3557. I can't exactly parse if that is a date of manufacturer or what. So! Let's get some tapes in this thing. [jazz increases] All right... Uhp! Okay, so we got these individual ejects here for each side. Looking at them, they look satisfying. Oh, not quite as satisfying as I was hoping.
I was hoping that they would pop out a little bit more than that, but yeah, much more satisfying to insert them than it is to eject. Well, I think we are ready to test this out. So let me get some phones hooked up to it. I mean at least one, and the excellent Gateway. And we will try out our 1980s Record-a-Call 675 Telephone Answering System. [jazz tunes fade]
Okay son of a [remote beeps!] We got some awesome things to check out, all plugged in, ready to go here. Hopefully. Assuming everything works inside of this. Cassette mechanisms, you never know. And for our telephone, we're going with this lovely thing right here. This is the Deco-Tel personal telephone from 1979, as it's branded anyway. You saw this under a few different things like AT&T for instance had this under their Design Line of fashionable telephones available in 1979. Look at this a little bit of an ad here.
- [Narrator] The Chestphone. The telephone is housed inside a tastefully constructed chest that coordinates perfectly with many dens and offices. When the Chestphone isn't in use, it transforms itself into a warm compliment for your home. The Chestphone is also available in carved simulated walnut with a beige handset. - Yeah, the Chestphone. It is indeed a chest. Thank you to Mr. Macintosh for gifting this to me, at Vintage Computer Festival Midwest in 2021. All right, well let's go ahead and
try out our recorder call here see if we get power and stuff. [machine whirring] [beeps] Well, we do have power. It was on the rewind. So I'll put it over to answer mode. Okay, let's see. What do we wanna do here? How to record our outgoing announcement. I guess we should do that first. So power is on, plug the microphone in. Oh, I can't wait to use this little guy. Slide main control lever to record position, wait for LED to flash. I guess this.
Okay. All right, so we've got this little flashing call LED there and it just says, press control to start recording. So greetings, this is an LGR outgoing announcement. What do you even say? You know, it had a kind of example message in there. I should have read that. Oh yeah. Hello, this is me. Thanks for calling. I can't come to the phone right now, but please leave your name, time you're calling, and your phone number. I'll return to
your call as soon as I can. You can start speaking as soon as you hear the beep [machine beeps] That was loud. All right, and it says, it'll start playing back automatically. Ooh! "Greetings, this is an LGR outgoing announcement. What do you even say? You know, it had a kind of example message in there. I should have read that. Oh yeah. Hello, this is me. Thanks for calling. I can't come to the phone right now but please leave your name, time you're calling, and your phone number. I'll return your call as soon as I can. You can start speaking as soon
as you hear a beep." [machine beeps] Oh, that is the intense feeling of memories coming flooding back. And that sounds horrible in the best kind of way. [machine whirring] It is interesting to feel that whole mechanism like moving around in there. I mean, it's pretty straightforward. I do wanna try that remote at some point. But let's go ahead and get a call. Going through here because it is connected. So let's just do that. I'ma the call myself from my other number here.
Yeah, I'm gonna redo my greeting though, before that cuz that was terrible. Greetings, welcome to an LGR answering machine thing. If you'd like to leave a message, I don't know what's wrong with you, but go right ahead. This woodgrain thing is listening and recording and you're in the 70s room. At least you will be once it's done whatever, beep 'n stuff.
Oh yeah, that was definitely better. Yeah, I gotta be calling myself from a laptop over here just online to the phone that is hooked up to the gateway. Calling now. [phone rings] So it should be four rings and then the answering machine will pick up. Greetings, welcome to an LGR answering machine thing. If you'd like to leave a message, I don't know what's wrong with you, but go right ahead. This woodgrain thing is listening and recording,
and you're in the 70s room. At least you will be once it's done whatever beep 'n stuff. [machine beeps] Hey, what's going on? Oh no. Ah, feedback. Ahh! [machine beeps] Well that was disturbing. [laughs loudly] I should have had one or the other thing muted. Well, I guess we can listen to our call now. I can see the LED is blinking. So might be a little disturbing. Yeah, we can rewind and play back. [machine whirring] Seems to be a nice strong mechanism. So that's good. "Hey, what's going on? Ah, feedback. Ahh!" [awful noise] [beeps]
That was an answering machine message from hell but that's pretty much what I expected. Well, this absolutely works beautifully. I mean, you know, it's pretty much gonna be a glorified prop in the background in the eventual 70s, 80s room. But you know, the fact that it is fully functional and with modern hardware, ah, it's just a fun mix of yeah, tapes and Bluetooth and VoIPs and all the kind of things that, I don't know, a mixture of stuff that really amuses me. All right, see if we can play back a message through the remote here by calling it. So call your phone, press a button for
two seconds. During the announcement messages will play back. Seem simple enough. Calling myself now. We'll see if we can hear a message that I just recorded on there earlier. [phone rings] [remote beeps] Hey, it totally worked. Oh, it started to work. It kinda started to do... eh It started doing this rapid beeping
thing. I saw that it also had something about rapid beeping. Yeah, during the announcement, press button again. During rapid beeps, wait for short term start. I wasn't trying to do that. I didn't press it again so it screwed up. This is actually like the fifth time that I've tried this. I think something is going on with, I don't know, just like the digital weirdness and things that happen with compression as you are calling over a VoIP service and modern phones and stuff. Because even when I turn some of the noise reduction and different options off that would change this, that's about as much as it will do right there. Oh well. So if we were to rewind us here,
I can hear at least what I had on here when were trying to call in and play back. ["Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" by They Might Be Giants plays] I figured a little They Might Be Giants would be appropriate there. Well, anyway, that's about it, I suppose. This definitely works. Ideally though, you'd be using it with like a real landline phone
that wouldn't have any weird digital artifacting and compression and noise reduction and all that other kind of stuff that happens. Otherwise, I mean, it totally makes sense. It hears that specific tone and knows what to do. [remote beeps] I can't imagine that's very secure at all. Like if somebody else had one of these and it the same tone, then could they just get into your answering machine by calling your number. I mean, it seems to be that way. I don't know,
maybe there's a slight differences and this remote is paired with this recorder call. Anyway. -[Clint on tape] And that's about it for this LGR thing! Just a bit of filler while I continue moving into my new place, setting things up and all that, which of course also involves putting together a retro room with woodgrain paneling, ugly lamps and furniture which I think will look and feel more complete with this delightful 40-year-old answering machine. And the mixture of Bluetooth calls over the internet going through cassette tapes and old telephones just makes me happy. And I hope that you enjoy seeing this bit of silliness come together. And stick around for more LGR things in the works, especially as I continue going through storage and rediscovering old stuff I have in there. And as always, thanks for watching! [Machine clicks off]