Mobile Technology

The Mixxtape remasters the cassette as a digital music player

The Mixxtape remasters the cas...
The Mixxtape is a digital music player shaped like a cassette, which can play through a headphone jack, Bluetooth or an old-school tape deck
The Mixxtape is a digital music player shaped like a cassette, which can play through a headphone jack, Bluetooth or an old-school tape deck
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The Mixxtape is a digital music player shaped like a cassette, which can play through a headphone jack, Bluetooth or an old-school tape deck
1/5
The Mixxtape is a digital music player shaped like a cassette, which can play through a headphone jack, Bluetooth or an old-school tape deck
While there's no actual tape in there, the Mixxtape plays in a cassette player through a stationary magnetic head
2/5
While there's no actual tape in there, the Mixxtape plays in a cassette player through a stationary magnetic head
A small LCD screen on the outside of the Mixxtape lets users navigate through their music
3/5
A small LCD screen on the outside of the Mixxtape lets users navigate through their music
The Mixxtape can be loaded with songs via USB, from a PC or Mac
4/5
The Mixxtape can be loaded with songs via USB, from a PC or Mac
The Mixxtape can wirelessly connect to devices via Bluetooth
5/5
The Mixxtape can wirelessly connect to devices via Bluetooth
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Cassette tapes might not have the largest capacity or best sound quality, but they ooze retro appeal, as seen in the recent resurgence of the Sony Walkman. Tapping into that hipster market is the Mixxtape, a portable, Bluetooth music player that's not only shaped like a cassette, it also plays in an old-school tape deck – if you still have one lying around.

Underneath a shell of pure nostalgia, the Mixxtape functions like any other digital music player. Songs, podcasts and audio books can be transferred onto it from a PC or Mac via USB, and it's controlled through a small LCD touchscreen on the front. It supports formats like FLAC, MP3, WMA, OOG and WAV, and stores them all on the included 8 GB MicroSD card, which can be swapped out if you need more space. The device's creators claim that the battery will last a generous 12 hours, and recharge in less than one.

The Mixxtape can be loaded with songs via USB, from a PC or Mac
The Mixxtape can be loaded with songs via USB, from a PC or Mac

The Mixxtape offers three playback options. There's a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack that lets you pump it out through any wired headphones or speakers, and it can connect via Bluetooth to wireless headphones, speakers or modern in-car sound systems. But the feature that will really have the hipster audience frothing their coffee is the fact that it will play in a regular old cassette player, whether that's a Walkman, a boombox or an older car.

For the full effect, the reels in the middle will spin while the Mixxtape is playing, but for practical purposes, there's not actually any tape rolling around inside there. Instead, the device plays in a tape deck thanks to a stationary magnetic head.

But the Mixxtape might suffer from style over substance. After all, why carry a bulky Walkman around when you could just plug your headphones directly into the cassette inside? When the tape is inside a deck, you won't have access to the touchscreen controls, meaning there's no option to skip, fast-forward or rewind songs in this mode, however a remote control is a possibility for a future version.

A small LCD screen on the outside of the Mixxtape lets users navigate through their music
A small LCD screen on the outside of the Mixxtape lets users navigate through their music

That said, expecting the Mixxtape to be the most convenient music player out there is probably missing the point entirely. As far as merging the classic and the modern, it looks like a pretty cool idea, and one that's obviously struck a chord with a certain audience – the Kickstarter campaign has already clocked up US$85,000, about eight and a half times its original target, with 12 days remaining.

Pledges start at $50, which includes the device itself, a case, an 8 GB MicroSD card, the USB charging cable and either a t-shirt or a necklace. It comes preloaded with a couple of indie playlists, and for higher pledges, emerging artists can get the chance to preload their tracks and albums on all units sent out to backers. If all goes to plan, the Mixxtape should begin shipping in November.

Check out the campaign video below.

Source: Mixxim

MIXXTAPE - The Cassette Reinvented

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2 comments
2 comments
Gregg Eshelman
The only new thing this has is the display. There have been Compact Cassette MP3 players before. MobiBLU. Rome. Dadahack Tap3 which looks like a redress of this cheap POS http://shopbyjohn.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=7812
The Rome or MobiBLU was first, with a version that didn't have an SD card slot.
The reels (in some of these) aren't just for show. Some tape players require the supply spindle to be turning or they stop playing automatically. That's how they detect end of tape or a broken tape.
The Rome and MobiBLU use their reels as sensors so you can use the fast forward and rewind (possibly pause too) to skip tracks back and forth.
The MobiBLU looks like it was the best of all these. Reviews of the cheap looking white/black/yellow one are generally not too favorable.
ProfessorWhat
I'm definitely interested in getting one!
...But if they made a version of it that could actually work in my old Tascam 4 track and record onto it besides just playing through it, then I'd absolutely flip balls and totally pay $100 for it easily!