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The FiiO CP13 is a portable cassette player with a simple design, big buttons, and a very basic feature set. First unveiled during CES, the cassette player does have a few modern touches including a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery and a USB-C port. But it’s very much an analog audio device: it doesn’t support MP3s or music streaming, and doesn’t support WiFi or Bluetooth.

FiiO began selling the CP13 in late January, with pre-order pricing as low as $100 for the first 200 customers who ordered from AliExpress. The CP13 is now out of stock at FiiO’s AliExpress store, but a second batch is expected to go on sale in March. The company has begun shipping the cassette player to customers though, and the first reviews have begun to appear online.

YouTuber ANA[DIA]LOG has one of the most detailed reviews so far, which includes a comparison with the other high-profile (and stylish) modern portable cassette player: a $164 model from a company called We Are Rewind.

For the most part, he says the CP13 has an attractive design, decent build quality, and seems like a decent option for on-the-go-use, as the audio doesn’t distort when the cassette player moves. According to the YouTube review, the We are Rewind model doesn’t perform as well when moving, but comes out ahead in a few other areas: it has bass boost for a fuller sound, and the hardware itself is silent when playing a cassette, while you can hear the mechanical bits of the CP13 moving if you’re in a quiet space.

But both cassette players use the same basic, inexpensive mechanism for playback that’s found in most modern cassette players, which most enthusiasts find to be inferior to what you’d get from a classic Sony Walkman from the 1980s and 1990s, which are said to deliver better audio quality.

In other words, the key is to temper your expectations with any of these new devices. If you’re wondering why anyone would want a cassette player in 2024, then these aren’t for you. If you’ve got some old tapes lying around that you want to give a new listen (or some new tapes, now that the tech is retro enough to be making a comeback), then users who aren’t expecting perfection seem to be reasonably happy.

The FiiO CP13 is currently out of stock from FiiO’s AliExpress shop, but it’s up for pre-order for $129 from HiFiGo, and the FiiO Shop in Germany appears to have it in stock for €129.

via NotebookCheck

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    1. precisely, get an actual old cassette player for a few bucks, if you have 100+ lying around doing nothing, get a cassette deck

  1. Just saw a breakdown of all these new portable cassette players. They are all built around the exact same mechanism right down to the part numbers printed on the individual components. Only small feature differences and the casing differentiate them from one another. The performance on them is middling at best with high wow and flutter on each of them. Save your money. Or find a nice vintage unit somewhere.

  2. Ohh sorry FiiO, I just bought my cassette player to transcode to MP3 in Aliexpress for 15€. 129€, are people nuts? 🙁