Music

Mystik portable music player awaits audio cassette revival

Mystik portable music player a...
A modern take on the portable audio cassette player of old, the Mystik features a rechargeable battery and Bluetooth 5.0
A modern take on the portable audio cassette player of old, the Mystik features a rechargeable battery and Bluetooth 5.0
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Diagram showing the main specs for the Mystik portable audio cassette player
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Diagram showing the main specs for the Mystik portable audio cassette player
RecordingTheMasters is aiming for a playback frequency response of 100 Hz to 10 kHz
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RecordingTheMasters is aiming for a playback frequency response of 100 Hz to 10 kHz
A modern take on the portable audio cassette player of old, the Mystik features a rechargeable battery and Bluetooth 5.0
3/3
A modern take on the portable audio cassette player of old, the Mystik features a rechargeable battery and Bluetooth 5.0
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Video killed the radio star, as the song goes. But people still listen to radio. Compact Discs sounded the death knell for vinyl, but records have bounced back big time. Digital music players and smartphones caused an extinction event for portable analog audio. Is it time to bring back portable cassette players? RecordingTheMasters from France's audio and magnetic tape maker Mulann SA certainly thinks so, with the launch of Mystik.

Though cassette sales have been growing in recent years, their share of overall music consumption – like vinyl – is pretty small. Streaming rules the roost here. But it has been enough of a bump to spur major artists like Eminem, Jack White, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z and more to release albums on cassette tape. And, since 2013, there's even been an annual Cassette Store Day held around the world to encourage sales.

So if you're of a certain age and wistfully dream of those happy days exchanging mixtapes, or are new to analog music and want to see what all of the fuss is about, you'll need a player. The likes of Crosley and Tascam have already been prepping for the return of the tape, and last year we saw a portable cassette player with wireless chops hit Kickstarter, which is now reportedly available for general sale. The Mystik is also a modern reworking of the portable cassette player, and has also launched on Kickstarter.

The device has been built around a new electronic board designed by former Thomson/RCA audio engineers. It features a rechargeable battery instead of the AA-sized disposables found in many players of old, and is aiming for a stereo playback frequency response of 100 Hz to 10 kHz. There's a 3.5-mm headphone jack for "high quality" analog listening, and Bluetooth 5.0 for streaming tunes to wireless headphones or speakers.

This cassette player can record too, either via the built-in mic or by plugging one into the 3.5 mm Rec jack, meaning folks can once again make (and share) their own mixtapes. It will ship with a blank Fox C-60 tape to get the party started.

The Mystik cassette player has been penciled in for production at an estimated retail price of €99 (US$110), but before that can happen the team has launched the project on Kickstarter to raise funds and engage with potential customers. Pledges start at €71 and, if all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in September. The video below has more.

MYSTIK: A next-generation portable cassette player

Source: Mulann SA

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7 comments
Bionic88
I can see the draw towards the vinyl revival, but cassettes don't carry the nostalgia factor IMO. Anyone that's ever used them has at one point lost one to the cassette player. Their durability alone is suspect. The only fond memories about them is the Maxwell ad w/ the dude in the chair getting blasted by speakers.. maybe that was implied.
paul314
If you use cassettes, at least you'll be able to find your music. Once mine goes into digital storage, it's lost unless by some random luck I can remember the right keywords.
Terry B
Sadly, let down by mediocre frequency response which is worse than the best AM broadcast, let alone FM. What will this mean for its wow and flutter performance? Classical music lovers should give it a miss.
Aross
Some will like it and some will not. My $39.99 Sony Walkman tape deck/radio still works great although a little hard on batteries. The problem with tape is over time they deteriorate and transmit noise into the player. To avoid this I copy everything from the original sources, 45s, LPs, Cassettes and 8 Tracks to record-able cassettes. I also I have all my music digitally on my computer but still prefer to listen to the cassettes as the quality of sound is much better than the digital equivalent.
I would be interested in upgrading to this new unit if, and only if, it comes with 1. a smart search to locate the track you want instead of having to fast forward and stop etc and 2. that it plays both sides without having to turn the tape.
Douglas Rogers
I am sitting here looking at my Pioneer multi-cassette recorder, which still works fine (although I have replaced the main motor. I did have it repaired once for tape eating but that was right after I bought it. I liked having 120 min. custom tapes in the minivan, which had a tape player until the digital tuner died. The sound quality was limited by being in the car and not the unit.
IvanWashington
simply madness. even a cheapo Z brand cassette deck at the peak of the cassette era had spec that were far in excess of the published 100-10k frequency response of this overpriced thing.
GordonHoffman
I still have my cassettes from the 70s and 80s. For some music, that's the only copies I have. I used TDK and Maxell high quality tapes, and they still sound good. The Sony Walkman I have is wearing out. The Sony Boombox is adequate, but awkward. I would be interested in a Cassette Player of quality for around $75.00. being able to do live recordings might be worth something. I don't trust the really cheap players (tape eaters). It feel weird when I realise how old they are - and how sophisticated 80s rock was getting, just before Disco blew up the rock world.