Before smartphones streaming music to wireless speakers there were boomboxes. Before pocket-friendly Digital Audio Players or even portable CD players, there was the Walkman. And before playlists, there were mixtapes. Now Crosley Radio is looking to inject some new life into the almost-forgotten cassette tape with the release of two retro players.

The introduction of the Compact disc in the 1980s promised a new wave of high quality music listening from a shiny new plastic thing read by a laser instead of a stylus or tape head. It also signaled the beginning of the end for analog formats like vinyl and cassette tapes. Or not, as it turned out.

Despite CDs pretty much giving way to digital streaming, vinyl has been enjoying a bit of a revival over the last few years. And audio cassette sales are rising too, though unit numbers are still relatively small when stacked up against other formats.

Crosley Radio is preparing for more music listeners getting to know the humble cassette, for the first time or becoming re-acquainted, with the release of two new players – the CT100 and the CT200.

"Just as our portable record players helped bring vinyl mainstream years ago, we know our new cassette players will lead the charge on the revival of the cassette tape," said Crosley's Jason Menard. "These new cassette players bring together the retro design and nostalgia of the 80s with modern technology, making them a must-have for all generations of music lovers."

Both retro-cool players sport an auto-stop tape deck out front, and AM/FM radio, a headphone jack and a built-in microphone for voice recording on the move. The CT100 does concede something to our modern ways, with the ability to play music from an SD card or USB thumbdrive, while the CT200 rocks a VU meter and EQ controls.

And the cost of dipping into all of this nostalgia? The CT100 carries a suggested retail price of US$59.95, with the CT200 coming in at $69.95. Both are available now.

Product pages: CT100, CT200

View gallery - 2 images