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Soundbox

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A soundbox is a stupid gimmick that ruins an adult collectible and turns it into a Playskool baby toy. Alternatively, it is an electronic gadget containing a memory device that records one or more sound clips and plays them back on demand, allowing for audible explosions, beep-wheedles, and "I am Optimus Prime".

A soundbox is a self-contained unit containing batteries, electronics, and speaker, which makes it simple to install in a toy -- all the designer needs is to allow space and a grille for the speaker. On the other hand, a soundbox is relatively large as gimmicks go, and requires a fair amount of dedicated space.

As with all electronics, soundbox technology has improved notably in the last twenty plus years. Toys featuring soundboxes during the 1980s usually also had to make space for a relatively large nine-volt battery and the snap connectors that went with it. Modern soundboxes are now powered by button cell batteries, AAA batteries, or AA batteries.

Soundboxes have also become somewhat cheaper to manufacture, given their very sparse use in lines previous to 2002. During Armada and after, the boxes became a common feature on larger figures.

Because of all these electronic whiz-bang doohickeys involved in their function, it is not uncommon to see one or more light-emitting diodes wired into the board. This can either heighten the light and sound display to awe-inspiring levels, or plummet it further into Playskool babyness.

Toys Utilizing SoundboxesEdit

1985

1986

1993

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

NotesEdit

Speaker

Starscream feels empty inside.

  • Cybertron Voyager Starscream was designed with a soundbox in mind (even including the requisite speaker and battery brackets when you crack one open), but the final Hasbro and Takara versions have no electronics. Again, bummer.

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