A Hipster Music Player That Almost No One Needs

I will never understand the weird nostalgia people have for cassettes, an outdated bad-sounding technology that has no more relevance to us in the 21st century than an 8-track tape. Yet people keep trying to bring the goddamn things back to life.

The latest effort is Mixxtape, a Bluetooth music player that looks just like a cassette. Load it up with audio (including FLAC, WMA, OGG and WAV) via USB–capacity is 8GB of flash–and it will stream music to whatever device you choose. Battery life is rated at about 12 hours.

That’s one way to use it. You also can plug it into a speaker via a standard 3.5 mm jack. But the thing that makes it different is that Mixxtape will also play in a standard cassette player. Got an old boombox or cassette Walkman lying around? Load Mixxtape as you would an old-school cassette and voila! You’re suddenly back in 1988. The fake reels even turn as the music plays.

Never mind that this requires an old piece of audio gear or that you can’t access the touch screen while it’s inside the player. That means no skipping, fast-forwarding or rewinding.  Maybe a future version will have a remote.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

5 thoughts on “A Hipster Music Player That Almost No One Needs

  • June 9, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Cassettes do have one purpose, depending on your geography.
    Growing up in Winnipeg, winters were clearly cold. In 2003 I was given my parents’ 1997 Mercury Sable with a once-upon-a-time impressive 6-CD changer in the trunk and cassette player in the dash. Winters in Winnipeg were so cold that the trunk CD changer froze and couldn’t be used or defrosted. As a result, we began making mix tapes and searching thrift stores for ’80s metal albums so we could listen to our own tunes in the car!
    Still valid if you’re driving a beater around the prairies 🙂

  • June 9, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Cassettes were the first portable format that came with a hand held player. They were smaller than the 8-track and did not “feature” the track shift in mid-song, something that was present in nearly every album released in the 8 track format. I don’t recall ever seeing a hand held 8-track player, they were in-car aftermarket units (which were a theft target) or part of a home stereo console. Before the CD Walkman we had the cassette version. The cassette was even a computer data storage media in the early Tandy, Atari and Commodore days. Nostalgic? Sure but there was also the issue of oxide wear, tape creases and the “sticky pinch roller” which made a lovely unspooled mess of tape to pull out of the player. Most certainly not the best analog format available.

  • June 13, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Allan – I like your show, I have you in my feed, and generally I like your posts….
    What’s with the continual bashing of cassette tapes?
    This post bugged me because of this comment:
    “cassettes, an outdated bad-sounding technology that has no more relevance to us in the 21st century than an 8-track tape”
    Q: Is it outdated?
    A: sure
    Q: Is it honestly relatable to 8-tracks?
    A: no – aside from using magnetic tape on a reel, there is no comparison;
    8-tracks suck, they have novelty, but they suck because they are unreliable – they tighten over time, and if the joined ends don’t come apart over time, then the tapes pack themselves.

    Go ahead and bash a form of music that used to play music in my car before CD players became mainstream/reliable, but please don’t compare them to a media storage format that was known for being unreliable.

    • June 14, 2017 at 12:57 am

      I guess it all depends on your personal experience. My point is that we don’t need to bring cassettes back, ever. They’re just as pointless in the 21st century as 8-tracks.

  • Pingback: Links: FLAC on iOS, Allen Ravenstine of Pere Ubu, the cassette-compatible music player. – Rocknerd

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