Fiio’s New Walkman-Inspired Cassette Player

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While the music world has largely abandoned cassettes decades ago, Chinese electronics company Fiio is determined not to let it fade into oblivion altogether.

At the CES 2024, it showcased the new transparent edition of the Fiio CP13 cassette player, which is inspired by the iconic Walkman.

That transparent edition joins CP13’s existing colours (red/silver, blue/silver, and white/black).

The CP13 has no Bluetooth for wireless headphones, and no digital storage or playback of any kind. All you do is pop a cassette in, connect a set of wired headphones or earbuds via the 3.5mm jack, and press play.

fiio cp13 transparent edition 2 Fiio’s New Walkman Inspired Cassette Player

There are a few advantages that it has over the Walkman and portable cassette players of the Nineties. The CP13 has a built-in rechargeable battery which means you do not have to swap out dead AA batteries in the middle of your favourite retro hit.

The CP13 has an 1800mAh lithium cobalt oxide battery rated for 13 hours of playback time and 268 days of standby time.

It can be recharged via a USB-C port (the USB-C port was introduced only as recently as a decade ago and not available during the heydays of portable cassette players).

Also, the latest player has an upgraded amplifier and motor. The CP13’s motor is powered by a high voltage 4.2V power supply, more than the typical 1.8V or 3V found in most cassette players today.

The CP13 has the JRC5532, which is commonly referred to as the “king of op-amps” and is in a fully analogue audio circuit. Fiio claims that the entirety of the CP13’s audiocicuit uses analogue devices from the magnetic tape head to the signal amplification.

Fiio said that it worked with its suppliers to control how the CP13 is made to ensure minimal differences in output between the left and right channels. It claims that the magnetic head also uses a thickened head cover, which better shields the head from external interference, while also reducing the wear of the magnetic head during playback, allowing it to last longer.

The coloured versions of the Fiio CP13 are already available in Australia through Addicted To Audio for $189, though the latest transparent option is yet to go up on its website.

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