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How About Creating a Modern Cassette Player?

Zapper

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The amount of negativity in this thread is amazing. To answer OP’s question,
Well, the OP started with this:

We're contemplating venturing into cassette players and would love your input
And we gave our input. A lot of us really, really hate cassettes!

Maybe objectivist audiophiles aren't the target market for a portable cassette player.
 

Ze Frog

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Very niche, but actually quite interesting. Can't remember what band, but was on Mute Record's site a few months back and they had exclusively released an album on tape, may have been Choir Boy, or some 80's early 90's retro synth wave type outfit.

Only tape player that would make sense is something pretty epic design wise and quality. Would need to be a product able to command enough on each to make up for low demand I guess.
 

Ze Frog

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Well, the OP started with this:


And we gave our input. A lot of us really, really hate cassettes!

Maybe objectivist audiophiles aren't the target market for a portable cassette player.
Cassettes are an odd thing these days, I can't see the appeal, but then it is nostalgia. I think the people who would find it intriguing is the younger generation oddly enough. Most of us here likely transitioned from record to cassette to CD, but vinyl was still very much a thing in the early 90's year's after the CD player was availability. Even in 2000 records were still kind of prevalent, and in a way they had a certain kind of cache as people kind of felt a connection to vinyl, even the younger people kind of really gravitated to vinyl at that time more than we would like to think.

I can see the cassette becoming more popular at some point. Music industry like all companies has become an extension of political agenda. Just recently Roger Walters was dropped by BNG Records for his view's on certain situations. In future we are going to see stuff erased from culture that doesn't conform, and then there will be a massive explosion in old media formats. I'm hedging my bets and collecting all I can, in 25 years CD's, Cassettes, Records, even stored MP3 files could be worth a fortune as the streaming platforms remove anything that doesn't fit with the ideals of various organisations.
 

Count Arthur

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A lot of us really, really hate cassettes!

I wouldn't say I hated them, I have fond memories of the Walkmans I had and used pretty much every day when I was going to college.

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They just didn't make much sense once CD and then CD-R came along.

When MP3 players came out, they made even less sense. I replaced the radio/cassette in my car with one that had a CD player and a USB port. I could get about 10 CDs worth on a 16GB USB stick at 256kbps, which was Hi-Fi enough for my car; the primary concern in my case was a stereo that could go loud enough to drown out the cacophony of rattles and squeaks in my old Volkswagen. :)
 

Zapper

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Cassettes are an odd thing these days, I can't see the appeal, but then it is nostalgia. I think the people who would find it intriguing is the younger generation oddly enough.
How much of the interest in cassettes among those to young to remember them is due to the Guardians of the Galaxy films, I wonder?
 

Ze Frog

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I wouldn't say I hated them, I have fond memories of the Walkmans I had and used pretty much every day when I was going to college.

View attachment 347275

View attachment 347276

They just didn't make much sense once CD and then CD-R came along.

When MP3 players came out, they made even less sense. I replaced the radio/cassette in my car with one that had a CD player and a USB port. I could get about 10 CDs worth on a 16GB USB stick at 256kbps, which was Hi-Fi enough for my car; the primary concern in my case was a stereo that could go loud enough to drown out the cacophony of rattles and squeaks in my old Volkswagen. :)
In a way, before MP3, cassette players were far more interesting to me just from an engineering standpoint. I mean many of them got so good that they were barely bigger than the cassette itself. I remember moving to CD and using it as a portable medium was so cumbersome compared to the really almost magical cassette players of the time. CD just never really got that same dedication to the engineering regarding size reduction.
 

Ze Frog

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How much of the interest in cassettes among those to young to remember them is due to the Guardians of the Galaxy films, I wonder?
Very possibly a fair chunk. Although nostalgia seems to be extremely fashionable these days all by itself.
 

JeffS7444

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Cassettes really aren't for me, but they might appeal to a younger crowd who shop at Urban Outfitters. Many available cassettes are 40+ years old, and are not in very good condition, but ideally, new cassette players should be able to play most of them without causing additional damage.

Attractive design, including limited-edition colors and graphics

Not too expensive (<100 USD?)

Improved headphone amplifier versus vintage originals!
 

Count Arthur

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How about a DAP and cassette that has the look and feel of a classic Walkman, but a screen on the back and a Micro SD card slot, for digital files.

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radix

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How about a DAP and cassette that has the look and feel of a classic Walkman, but a screen on the back and a Micro SD card slot, for digital files.

View attachment 347335
I was thinking you could put a micro-sd card inside a cassette tape and pretend it's doing something; keep the spinning spindles and maybe a small loop of black plastic so every now and then you can pretend to clear a jam. And artificially limit the capacity so it sells as a C60 or C90.

Sorry for the humor, I know the OP was serious when starting the thread. I would think that a digital audio player that emulates a cassette, if you want that sequential user interface, is just the way to go and not magnetic material dragged across a playback head.

There are some revivals I understand. Polaroid film, for example, or instant 4x5 film. It gives an immediacy and physical artifact to share. It does something different than the digital counterpart without everyone having to dive into their device.

I just don't have the same nostalgia for cassette. Who wants to carry a 5lb box of tapes around in the car and fumble through them to find the right mix or album? I guess I'm too old and jaded.
 

Robin L

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Ten years ago, this appeared. 1/4 the size of the smallest cassette player, capable of containing 2TB worth of audio files in just about any format you'd want from fat 24/192 to MP3. Why would anyone want a cassette player with something like this in the world? And this device - the FIIO M3K - isn't even being made any more. Streaming to smartphones has rendered it obsolete. I'm glad I've got mine, but truth to tell I don't use it much anymore now that I'm retired. I seriously doubt there would be a market of any size for a resurrected cassette player - too fiddley, too easy to go out of whack, too much stuff to cart around, so much stuff that could break too easily.

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AdrianusG

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The amount of negativity in this thread is amazing. To answer OP’s question, I believe a high quality compact player (not necessarily Walkman size but not full size), with Dolby NR, recording capabilities, a built in ADC and Bluetooth would be very attractive. I believe the biggest obstacle to a high performance deck is the unavailability of high quality cassette tapes (chrome or metal) at reasonable prices or at all.
Exactly that, sealed type 2 go for 35-40 Euro's EACH! and Metal, you really don't want to know.
 

DanielT

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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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Graham849

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I think the walkman model is already well catered for. A deck (option 3) is probably a game winner.

Bluetooth and touch screen control incorporating vu-meters would be on my wish list. Possibly the screen could be incorporated into the opening cover enabling a small footprint.

Best wishes!
 

Mikig

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apart from someone who grew up with the gramophone, I think that most of us grew up with the CD, and greeted the music cassette with joy, even forgetting about it quite quickly!!
It’s another one of the modern purely nostalgic operation, but frankly I'm more nostalgic for other things from that period....
modern media via the internet are abysmally better from almost all points of view...
the only flaw I find in streaming, that are very comfortable, functional , high performance, inexhaustible in content, is probably given by the need to feed it with internet data.
data costs, not so much in economic terms now a few pennies, but in energy terms.
I read that half an hour of streaming is equivalent to 10 kilometers of car travel, obviously on average.
So I could imagine a cassette with its original shape, but with the ability to store high-performance content. You store them and you no longer have to download them every time you want to listen to them again... that could be the only strong point, the lack of constant need for the network.
You may say: but it already exists, a USB stick, or an SD card. Yes, you are right, but the cassette could be more targeted, specifically designed for multi-format HD audio and with the possibility of storing a good number of songs. But it already exists!! it's true, you're right again, but what are you doing, a collection of USB sticks??? come on, the tape is prettier and more emotional!!
do you want to unwrap it, open the package and look at the photos and texts in the booklet!! it's material!! but it already exists, open roon and you have all the info you want!!!
and yes, you are still right...

maybe it is better to leave the tapes as we know them, and if someone really wants to use them, I give my personal advice; what should the support be like for listening to cassettes??
a splendid spider from the 70s / 80s on a Sunday morning, a bit of sun and a bit of that light-hearted atmosphere of those days...
and nothing more, or new...
 

mhardy6647

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So I could imagine a cassette with its original shape, but with the ability to store high-performance content. You store them and you no longer have to download them every time you want to listen to them again... that could be the only strong point, the lack of constant need for the network.
It's been done, quite a while ago, and none too successfully.
Doesn't mean it couldn't be revisited, but, in case you weren't aware of the DCC format, this may be a good time to mention it. ;)
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source: https://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/flipbook/1995_radioshack_catalog.html

EDIT: Here's the R/S catalog blurb from the year it debuted (1994 -- missed it by one year! :facepalm:)
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source: https://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/flipbook/1994_radioshack_catalog.html
 
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Chrispy

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Wow some thread. I was glad to let go of cassettes long ago in favor of digital formats. Isn't the tape itself an issue or is this catering to those who just like difficulty for difficulty's sake?
 

Gwreck

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The whole retro cassette thing has me horrified. As a young music lover in the 80’s the obvious flaws of the cassette drove me crazy. I was a bit too young to have the money for LP’s and I liked the portability of cassettes. The retro appeal makes no sense to me. It’s horrible how this and high wasted “mom jeans” both seem to be some awful zombie retro thing.
 
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