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This vintage cassette deck plays digital music

This vintage cassette deck pla...
Instead of playing an audio cassette, this Nordmende CD 1200 deck plays digital music files loaded onto a smartphone
Instead of playing an audio cassette, this Nordmende CD 1200 deck plays digital music files loaded onto a smartphone
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The original Nordmende CD 1200 audio cassette deck from the late 1970s/early 80s
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The original Nordmende CD 1200 audio cassette deck from the late 1970s/early 80s
The on/off button on the smartphone may be difficult to access when everything is set up to play, so the power function is connected to one of the physical controls on the tape deck
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The on/off button on the smartphone may be difficult to access when everything is set up to play, so the power function is connected to one of the physical controls on the tape deck
On the CD 1200, the unit's volume can be altered and the VU meters still work, though this is not always the case
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On the CD 1200, the unit's volume can be altered and the VU meters still work, though this is not always the case
The host smartphone can be set up to source music from the internet, or stream from services like Spotify
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The host smartphone can be set up to source music from the internet, or stream from services like Spotify
Instead of playing an audio cassette, this Nordmende CD 1200 deck plays digital music files loaded onto a smartphone
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Instead of playing an audio cassette, this Nordmende CD 1200 deck plays digital music files loaded onto a smartphone
The app running on the smartphone mounted in the audio cassette drawer of the CD 1200 includes a cool-looking tape animation
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The app running on the smartphone mounted in the audio cassette drawer of the CD 1200 includes a cool-looking tape animation

Poland's Artur Mlynarz collects, repairs and restores classic hi-fi equipment. Sometimes though, units come in that are beyond help. Wanting to bring new life to vintage cassette decks, he mounted a smartphone into a broken player, and the MP3 Tapeless Deck Project soon followed. Now he has old gear sitting around waiting for someone to give him the nod, then breaks out his tools and converts a chosen model to a modern digital music player.

For his latest project, he started drilling, cutting and converting a Nordmende CD 1200 cassette player from the late 1970s/early 80s into a Tapeless Deck last month. He began by ripping out the guts of the audio cassette player mechanism and plonking in a smartphone running a cool-looking music app, then connected it all up.

The app running on the smartphone mounted in the audio cassette drawer of the CD 1200 includes a cool-looking tape animation
The app running on the smartphone mounted in the audio cassette drawer of the CD 1200 includes a cool-looking tape animation

Digital music tracks are chosen on the smartphone's touch display, where the tape deck drawer is lowered and the spinning spools on the cassette animation pressed to scroll or play songs. Tunes are sent wirelessly to the smartphone's internal memory over Wi-Fi, but the host smartphone can also tune into internet radio or a music streaming service.

The phone's battery is charged automatically when the deck is powered on and, because the on/off button on the smartphone may be difficult to access when everything is set up to play, the power function is connected to one of the physical controls on the tape deck.

On the CD 1200, the unit's volume can be altered and the VU meters still work, though this is not always the case. It depends on the original vintage hardware. Cabling up the reworked deck is much the same as with other hi-fi components, via RCA audio ports.

On the CD 1200, the unit's volume can be altered and the VU meters still work, though this is not always the case
On the CD 1200, the unit's volume can be altered and the VU meters still work, though this is not always the case

The Nordmende unit is shown on the maker's website as being sold. Other vintage players are awaiting conversion though, so if you fancy adding some vintage class to your living room hi-fi setup but want to take advantage of modern technology rather than play old audio cassettes, get in touch via the source link.

Estimated build time is about a week and cost will vary depending on how much work is involved. As a guide, the Project currently has a Technics M12 for sale with a US$230 price tag.

You can see this latest conversion being used to play MP3/FLAC music files in the video below.

Source: MP3 Tapeless Deck Project

NORDMENDE CD 1200 as MP3/FLAC player - MP3 Tapeless Deck Project

3 comments
*Joe*
Or you could use a bluetooth cassette adapter in your old-but-working deck or boom-box and stream music to it. Costs less, looks even more vintage, and no waiting for something to be built. http://www.ionaudio.com/products/details/cassette-adapter-bluetooth
Kpar
How about converting a dual deck player into such a hybrid device? That way one could transfer one's personal library into digital or vice versa (although I'm not sure of the utility of transferring one's digital library to cassette!).
IvanWashington
they shoulda made all the buttons do something, even if only a light flashes or a noise emits. glad at least they made the VU meters work.