Transformers Review - Soundwave (Music Label)

            Ask around who are some of the most memorable and iconic characters from he G1 cartoon, only a few names who will make the mark, namely Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream and last but never the least, Soundwave. Soundwave was popular because of several factors: 1) because he was one of the most prominent, trustworthy and reliable member of the Decepticon – a rare quality amongst their rank; 2) because of his synthesized voiced that sets him apart from the rest of the casts – which made him very cool; and 3) he is literally a leader of his own subgroup – the cassette-bots consisting of Rumble, Frenzy, Laserbeak, Ratbat, Buzzsaw, Ravage & several other comics-only characters. Also, the fact that he could transform into a life-sized mini cassette recorder made him truly a robot-in-disguise, disregarding the size-shrinking factor.
            Back in those days, we were wondering, what if the-powers-that-be could come out with a real functioning Soundwave – a real working cassette-recorder? Unfortunately, it never actually happened. However, now, as we arrive in an era where almost nothing is impossible, and having a fully functioning Soundwave cassette recorder seemed to be an actual possibility, the cassette recorder has literally become obsolete.
            So to keep up with the currents, Takara finally decided to turn Soundwave into an MP3 player. To actually have a real functioning Soundwave figure is truly a dream come true for many fans out there, regardless of whatever his alternate mode may be. When I first heard about it, I know that I was gonna get him, especially when I have never owned a G1 Soundwave figure before (which was way back in 2007/8).
            There are 3 versions of Music Label Soundwaves available– the all-white iPod-like version; the predominantly black-colored Soundblaster-esque version; & of course the classic G1-styled predominantly blue version – the version that I was looking for. The problem was, the blue Soundwaves were limited in numbers in Malaysia and all I could do was to wait and pray for it…
            When they finally arrived in my local supplier - Teencom, there were only 2 blue Soundwaves, and I was one of the few that was privileged enough to grab hold of him, but at a hefty price – the blue-boy cost me a good RM 380, inclusive of the 2 GB memory card. So finally, I have owned my first G1 Soundwave.
            So was all the anticipations and insane price tag worth it? Well, you have to read on to find out.

Alternate Mode:
            Soundwave is packed in MP3 player mode. Appearance-wise he looks just like his animated self. I can’t really compare it to the original G1 Soundwave, but I reckoned Music Label Soundwave is much lighter than that of G1’s, since the latter is made from die-cast rather than plastic. Unlike the original G1 version where you can store the guns and blaster at the back of the cassette recorder as batteries, the battery compartment behind it is literally for a real battery – 1 AAA-sized battery. The entire surface of MP3 looks smooth and slick, in contrast to its other predecessors, which is cool. If you expect the cassette compartment would eject and release Ravage or Laserbeak, you’ll be half-disappointed. Instead of any cassette minions, you can only insert memory cards into it.

Robot Mode:
            Transformation is rather simple, and it doesn’t differ much from its other predecessors I presume – and I know for a fact that it is almost as similar to Titanium Soundwave. He’s literally a spitting image of its G1 animation counterpart. This is exactly how Soundwave should have looked like. Standing at nearly 6-inch tall, he’s the size of your standard deluxe-class figure. 
            Articulation is fantastic: his head is on a ball joint; the arms rotate 360-degrees and moves up and down; elbow and wrist articulation; also hips & knee articulation. Overall, this is probably the most animation-accurate Soundwave we’ll ever gonna get – barring the lack of his cassette minions. 

            This is a dead giveaway. As mentioned earlier, he is a Music Label Soundwave – designed to be a transformer with an actual working alternate mode. He is an MP3 player, which includes a pair of normal working earpiece which you would need to attach to the shoulder socket where you would insert the shoulder cannon in robot mode. This bit would eventually be solved when Takara-Tomy released the Music Label Rumble/Frenzy earpiece set, to be paired up with Soundwave, which I will be reviewing some time soon. Once the MP3 player is in operation, a blue LED on his top right chest will flicker.
            As far as an MP3 player concern, he is just plain dumb – you could play music with it; Play/Pause, Volume Up, Volume Down, Previous Song and Next Song. Those are practically it! There are no Shuffle option, or fast forward/ rewind button, or repeat function or any other basic or advance function that you would normally find in a standard MP3 or iPod player.
            He doesn’t have a built-in memory, which means he’s pretty useless straight out of the box. You would need to purchase a mini SD memory card so that you could download songs into. I don’t read Japanese, but after browsing through the box’s descriptions, it seems that it can only handle a 1GB-sized memory card. However, there are those who say that a 2GB memory card would work as well, based on which I have bought accordingly. This however may not yield the best of result, (or maybe this could only just be my case since I’ve never heard anybody else complaining about it), since certain downloaded song doesn’t play that well – they either keep on stalling or fail to play altogether.
            Soundwave comes with 2 cannons: the shoulder cannon and the wave blaster. The shoulder cannon has the words “Destron Soundwave, electric launcher” inscribed on it, while the blaster has the words “Destron Soundwave, Wave bluster (I’m perfect sure it’s supposed to be BLASTER instead of BLUSTER – typical Japanese English mispronunciation)” inscribed on it. 
            Soundwave also comes with extra 2-pairs of hands, which in my honest opinion is absolutely pointless. What do you need the extra hands for? Spare parts?

            So does Soundwave worth the hype and money? Well, this could well depends on what you expect Soundwave to deliver. If you expected him to be the super-cool, state-of-the-art, advance iPod or MP3 player, then my answer is NO – you would definitely be disappointed and regret the purchase, and besides, there are waaaaay better options out there.
            If you are looking for just a good looking Soundwave figure which would not cost this much, I think you’d probably be advised to invest on the Classic Soundwave figure instead, which would includes some of his cassette minions (or so I’ve heard).
            However, if you’re like me, which means that you are simply expecting the magic of a fully functional Transformer, which combines an animated-accurate action figure complete with a working alternate mode, then I say “Hell Yeah” Music Label Soundwave is a dream comes true for a die-hard fan like me. Of course, he ain’t a perfect figure. There are plenty other suggestions that I could make to make it a better figure such as to include at least a shuffle option; one or two insert-able cassette-bot (Laserbeak and Ravage at least); a built-in memory at least or a pocket/waist clip so that we could bring Soundwave anywhere – but I think this is not what this figure is all about. This figure is all about realizing an old fond dream. Since those days, we were hoping for a Reflector camera that would actually snap pictures, or a Megatron that actually shoots real bullets instead of pellets; or a Blaster boom box that booms – all of which would probably come to be I reckoned. Now, here we have, an actually Soundwave that works – a realization of a childhood dream.
           This is what this Soundwave figure is all about, and for that, I highly recommend him to any of you out there.

            Final verdict, I give Music Label Soundwave 9.5/10. Get him if you can ever find him.


  1. Had many chances to get this guy but in the end, would settle for the Commemorative Hasbro version instead.

    Indeed a very nice figyre to add to your collection. BDV

  2. Well, just for the record, I never regretted this purchase. In fact, I would bring Music Label Soundwave with me whenever I go out on a vacation or outstation. At least I can still have my music whenever I needed them...