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How About Creating a Modern Cassette Player?

Fosi Audio

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Hello audiophiles!

We're contemplating venturing into cassette players and would love your input. With many vintage Walkmans becoming hard to repair, niche bands releasing music on tapes, and a steady demand for cassette players, we see an opportunity. However, current models often don't live up to expectations, so we're eager to offer you an alternative.

As you know, cassette player technology from 20 years ago has largely been lost, making production challenging due to scarce core components. We're in the initial stages of defining this product and would greatly value your insights to co-create something special.

After some research, we've developed three concepts and we're curious to know which resonates with you:

1. A focus on playback and sound quality, minimizing other features. We'd concentrate on the mechanical structure and high-quality magnetic heads. Our aim is affordability and a sleek design, creating a dedicated music player without an overload of features.

2. Besides playback and sound quality, we're considering additional features like AIWA-style EQ custom tuning, various sound enhancements (bass, treble), Bluetooth connectivity, and recording capabilities. It might be slightly bulkier and pricier, but the added functionality would enhance its longevity and playability.

3. Alternatively, we could move away from the traditional Walkman model and create a modern, compact cassette deck. This would incorporate Bluetooth transmission, analog-to-digital conversion, and recording functions. If you have more ideas, we're all ears!

Which direction appeals to you most? What price point would you consider reasonable?

Or, just let us know your ideal vision of a cassette player. We're excited to hear from you!
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JeremyFife

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Zero interest.

Obviously, no issues with you developing a new product line, but I don't think it's for an audio or hifi audience.

Very much appreciate your presence on this forum though, and best of luck.
 

sergeauckland

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Completely agree with Jeremy. Tape is horrible stuff, the alignment requirements to maintain performance either means that the recorder/player needs very complex auto-alignment, like the top-end Nakamichis, or the performance goes to rat-shit rapidly.
Fine as a toy for hipsters, but of no interest for anyone else.
Digital recording and playback is just too convenient and well established, that there's no need to reintroduce tape. It has no redeeming features whatsoever.

S
 

MaxwellsEq

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I wouldn't if I were you.

One of my tasks was to regular measure and repair a wall of cassette recorders which were used for "high quality" content testing distribution and so were heavily used. This task has given me an incredibly negative opinion on cassette decks and cassette tape as a medium. I also did similar tasks with professional 1/4" tape machines and phono systems which were much better (yes I much prefer LP playback to cassette).

Cassette to cassette variability (even from the same batch) is awful. Machine to machine variability (even from the same vendor and model number) is awful. It's absolutely essential to have a very very rigid platform and a mechanism to minimise tape weave in the cassette along the length of the tape. Head geometry variability made bias settings and consistent recording of anything above 5kHz a joke. You might be lucky and a tape recorded on machine 17 measured OK on machine 17 when played back, but even that was a lottery.

In my opinion it's a simply terrible medium. Thankfully we have digital now, so can eschew cassettes
 

antcollinet

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Same from me. I have a "hi fi" twin deck (technics) which I bought towards the end of the casette era. It' probably played about 20 tapes total then was boxed up and has been in the loft ever since. One of my worst ever purchases.

I buy and play vinyl. Cassette though is a step way too far.
 
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MCH

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@Fosi Audio out of curiosity. Techmoan claims that currently only one cassette player mechanism (Tanashin - well, copies of) is produced. Is this the one you plan to use or were you able to source a different one?
 
OP
Fosi Audio

Fosi Audio

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@Fosi Audio out of curiosity. Techmoan claims that currently only one cassette player mechanism (Tanashin - well, copies of) is produced. Is this the one you plan to use or were you able to source a different one?
To be honest, most of the cassette player mechanism in production today are not Tanashin. You can see that the Walkmen that are still on sale were made by Chinese companies more than a decade ago. We also need to choose one of them to optimize as much as possible and make it sound good.
 

Blumlein 88

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I wouldn't say there is no market for this. Maybe there is. For me.....NO. Not quite as bad as saying you'll make a new 8 track player, but in the same direction. Anyone with old tape or new tape for that matter should digitize it as soon as possible.
 

Music707

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For possible recording you might want new high quality cassettes. Are those easily available these days (or available at all)?
 

Keith_W

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I can not think of a single audio forum where you would get a positive reception for this idea. Anybody who cares about audio quality would avoid cassette tape. Even subectivist audio forums who are more receptive to analog reproduction would not be interested, because they have turntables and R2R players. About the only people who would be interested are hipsters, and those guys don't hang around audio forums. If you want to appeal to them, you have to make it suitably retro and cool looking. Sorry to rain on your parade, but you wanted feedback.
 

Dunring

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Solid state drives and lossless FLAC has made them obsolete. There's no nostalgia associated with them like vinyl has.
A wireless SSD drive with WIFI 6E support and self powered by USB would be much better and easier for a new product. Load it up, plug in for a portable media server.
 

JCM800

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Tapes are great fun. Despite what all these negative Nancies say, there’s a small market for something like this (metalheads, punks, experimental underground music fans, etc.).

I may be the only one but I’ve been dreaming of a compact bare bone desktop cassette player for the last few years. 6”x 4” base, a vertical slanted back cassette orientation, no cover, closer to a reel to reel than a Walkman. No bluetooth or digital, just a tiny thing with buttons and two outputs and great specs.

Besides that, I’ll take a look at anything with great specs and a reasonable cost.
 

Curvature

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Hello audiophiles!

We're contemplating venturing into cassette players and would love your input. With many vintage Walkmans becoming hard to repair, niche bands releasing music on tapes, and a steady demand for cassette players, we see an opportunity. However, current models often don't live up to expectations, so we're eager to offer you an alternative.

As you know, cassette player technology from 20 years ago has largely been lost, making production challenging due to scarce core components. We're in the initial stages of defining this product and would greatly value your insights to co-create something special.

After some research, we've developed three concepts and we're curious to know which resonates with you:

1. A focus on playback and sound quality, minimizing other features. We'd concentrate on the mechanical structure and high-quality magnetic heads. Our aim is affordability and a sleek design, creating a dedicated music player without an overload of features.

2. Besides playback and sound quality, we're considering additional features like AIWA-style EQ custom tuning, various sound enhancements (bass, treble), Bluetooth connectivity, and recording capabilities. It might be slightly bulkier and pricier, but the added functionality would enhance its longevity and playability.

3. Alternatively, we could move away from the traditional Walkman model and create a modern, compact cassette deck. This would incorporate Bluetooth transmission, analog-to-digital conversion, and recording functions. If you have more ideas, we're all ears!

Which direction appeals to you most? What price point would you consider reasonable?

Or, just let us know your ideal vision of a cassette player. We're excited to hear from you!
View attachment 345113
As long as you can make a viable business case and won't sink too much money into manufacturing and bringing it to market, I think #1 would be good.

The point would be a good cassette player for those who want to plays cassettes, not for this player to compete with other media on quality. Although it should be able to compete with the old AIWA or Sony players.

This is likely to become complicated fast since you might need licensing from Dolby, I imagine, to use the noise reduction feature or to have settings which accomodate tape made of different materials.
 

TonyJZX

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surely there's basically only the Tanishin mechanism available anyway so it'll be a variation of that

also no interest
 

GXAlan

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I would never buy a portable cassette player, but here is what I would suggest to remotely capture the ASR sign of approval.

1) It has to look cool. Just copy the Guardians of the Galaxy Walkman

2) Dual headphone jack for sharing. Kids with cassette players see it as an experience not just for music reproduction.

3) Include a pair of headphones that performs well to the Harman target. The cassette player becomes less of a product than it is to introduce consumers who may not know anything about amplifiers or DACs to “high end audio”

4) I like Bluetooth/Line In.

5) make it a recorder/player so that people can make mix tapes from their phone (BT source)

6) Instead of EQ, you want Dolby NR. I imagine patents are all expired.
 

ta240

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There is already one in the works:

Solid state drives and lossless FLAC has made them obsolete. There's no nostalgia associated with them like vinyl has.

A mix of articles says it could be otherwise "In the first half of 2020, cassette tape sales more than doubled from the year before."

"a doubling of sales from 2019 to 2020, with a continued upward trend in 2022"

"According to Luminate CEO Rob Jonas, “Millennials in the U.S. are 42% more likely to buy cassette tapes than listeners from other generations”

I can not think of a single audio forum where you would get a positive reception for this idea. Anybody who cares about audio quality would avoid cassette tape.
Audio forum people aren't the market for the cassette resurgence but I'm pretty sure the people that frequent audio forums are a tiny little fraction of the population.

There is also an ongoing assumption on this site that everyone wants the best quality sound; however, given the number of people I encounter that are listening to music through the speaker on their phone at max volume, I don't think that is true.
 

AdrianusG

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Feb 28, 2023
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Hello audiophiles!

We're contemplating venturing into cassette players and would love your input. With many vintage Walkmans becoming hard to repair, niche bands releasing music on tapes, and a steady demand for cassette players, we see an opportunity. However, current models often don't live up to expectations, so we're eager to offer you an alternative.

As you know, cassette player technology from 20 years ago has largely been lost, making production challenging due to scarce core components. We're in the initial stages of defining this product and would greatly value your insights to co-create something special.

After some research, we've developed three concepts and we're curious to know which resonates with you:

1. A focus on playback and sound quality, minimizing other features. We'd concentrate on the mechanical structure and high-quality magnetic heads. Our aim is affordability and a sleek design, creating a dedicated music player without an overload of features.

2. Besides playback and sound quality, we're considering additional features like AIWA-style EQ custom tuning, various sound enhancements (bass, treble), Bluetooth connectivity, and recording capabilities. It might be slightly bulkier and pricier, but the added functionality would enhance its longevity and playability.

3. Alternatively, we could move away from the traditional Walkman model and create a modern, compact cassette deck. This would incorporate Bluetooth transmission, analog-to-digital conversion, and recording functions. If you have more ideas, we're all ears!

Which direction appeals to you most? What price point would you consider reasonable?

Or, just let us know your ideal vision of a cassette player. We're excited to hear from you!
View attachment 345113
Well,

make it look like this, Except for the logo of course and with the same quality level, (mechanism , materials) and you might have a slim chance, especially in Japan, apparently over there is a big "cassette revival" going on .

These thing had great quality, unfortunately too expensive for me at the time.

biggest problem is ... the cassettes themselves, new produced cassettes are terrible quality and NOS sealed ones from any of the good brands of yesteryear are sold for ludicrous prices, and you still don't know what you get, they (may) be out of spec.
23ded2eb78c79ecd3f560c88c9063c37.jpg
 
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