Tape cassettes have been making a surprising (if small) comeback in recent years, with a growing number of musicians releasing albums in the format.

Sure, they don’t have the same level of sound quality as CD, vinyl, or even Hi-Fi digital streaming. They’re not as convenient as digital, since you have to manually fast forward or rewind rather than skipping tracks. And even if your tape doesn’t get tangled up at some point, there’s a good chance that the more you listen, the more you’ll wear it out, degrading the audio quality even further.

But… that’s part of the appeal for some folks, as is the analog nature of the format. Or maybe it’s just nostalgia. Anyway, people seem to be paying money for music recorded in the not-quite-obsolete format.

That doesn’t mean you have to forego modern conveniences like Bluetooth headphones though — because now you can back a crowdfunding campaign for the “World’s First Bluetooth 5.0 cassette player” in hopes of having one delivered later this year.

The It’s OK cassette player is basically a Sony Walkman-style portable cassette player with a transparent cover (so you can see the tape while it plays), play, stop, record, fast forward, and rewind buttons, and a microphone – so you can record messages at any time.

There’s a 3.5mm audio jack that you can use for wired headphones. But the Bluetooth 5.0 support is what sets this device apart from cassette players from years gone by. There’s a Bluetooth on/off switch that lets you toggle the feature and an LED indicator light.

It’s powered by two AA batteries and the tape player 4.6″ x 3.3″ x 1.3″. The cassette player will be available in blue, white, or pink color options.

The It’s OK is going for $63 during the Kickstarter campaign, and it should ship in December, when the retail price is expected to go $90. Wired or wireless headphones are sold separately.

Is this a device anyone needs? Probably not. But if you’ve never gotten around to digitizing your old mix tape collection, it could be a way to bring them into the modern age… or something.

NINM Lab is the company behind the project, and while there’s always a bit of risk involved in “ordering” from a crowdfunding campaign, the folks have previously delivered another retro-style device with modern features. The Instant Magny 35 was an accessory that allowed you to add an instant printer to a classic 35mm camera, turning it into a sort of modern Polaroid.

via Gizmodo

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8 replies on “Crowdfunded portable cassette player is the first with Bluetooth 5.0 (if that’s something you want)”

  1. Cassettes do offer higher sound quality than most streaming services, Type II cassettes are indistinguishable from CD audio. Tapes only sound bad when listened to on devices such as the one covered in this article. Low quality plastic internals. This’ll sound awful, and do it over blutooth as well.

  2. No thanks. I’ll keep my Aiwa XK-S9000. When they can produce a deck that rivals the Nakamichi Dragon, then I’ll be interested.

    It also has to include Dolby B, C, S, and HX Pro.. and a 3 Head design, and tape calibration.

    Basically, make a flagship deck using a mix of past and present technologies.

    1. They may make one but Dolby has withdrawn their licenses. Mechanisms were always complex and expensive compared to turntable simplicity. Anybody can make a turntable. Tape is abundant but hardly made anymore.
      I wish them luck with this it is cute and priced as an impulse purchase.

      1. There’s hundreds of this exact same device. Every portable tape player contains the same plastic mechanisms in a badly cast plastic shell. We need new better quality decks and we need at least basic Dolby NR. We also live in a different world with 4G LTE. This interference can be heard when playing a tape. So add radio shielding around the tape head. If you pull that off, then you’ve made a Kickstarter worth backing. This here is just a waste and will end up in the trash.

        1. Exactly! Places like Wish have dozens of cheap plastic cassette players that have terrible transport mechanisms. This kickstarter will most likely source it’s mechanism from the same factories.

    2. Let’s call a spade a spade: This is a novelty device with a novelty price tag. They package the cheapest tape mechanism they can get their hands on with a dime-a-dozen bluetooth transmitter. That’s, quite exhaustively, all.

      Discussing this product in an audiophile context and comparing it to a $2000 piece of flagship hifi gear is less a reflection on this product than, no offense, your need to demonstrate your superior taste in hifi components.

      1. Admittedly though, I find the image of you walking around in the park with your 14 kg Aiwa KX-S9000 strapped to your back to show the kids how wrong they are incredibly funny. 😀

  3. “World’s first Bluetooth 5.0 cassette player”? Only if you focus on “5.0”.

    Because the world’s first Bluetooth walkman it is certainly not. Poke the search engine of your choice for “bluetooth cassette mp3 converter” or similar and you will find those things sold under the “Minidiva” or “DIGITNOW!” brand — sometimes for as little as €20.

    As you said, if that’s your thing.

Comments are closed.