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Home / Hot Stuff / Could this be the best retro portable cassette player ever?

Could this be the best retro portable cassette player ever?

FiiO's new CP13 portable cassette player uses a transparent design and features an audio circuit made from all analogue devices

Now, I’m certainly no fashion expert, but it seems like what was once popular always comes back in style again. And it seems the same is true for tech. Dumbphones are seeing a boom, with consumers replacing the latest smartphones for something not so clever. The same appears to be the case for cassette players, which are becoming more popular again for those wanting an analogue listening experience. And FiiO’s new portable cassette player might be the most retro option yet.

FiiO just launched the CP13 – a transparent portable cassette player that looks like it stepped straight out of the 80s. This eye-catching player promises to bring analogue sound back into your life, but with a few twists to keep things fresh for 2024. FiiO has ensured the entire audio circuit is purely analogue, right from the magnetic tape head to the signal amplification. This means you get the warm, rich sound that only a true analogue device can provide.

To keep that sound as steady and true as possible, the CP13’s motor is powered by a beefy 4.2V power supply, a significant step up from the usual 1.8V or 3V you’d find in other portable players. It’s paired with a custom motor speed stabilization circuit, which adjusts the drag on the motor to maintain stable movement speeds. This clever bit of engineering mitigates pesky pitch changes and allows the CP13 to handle various cassette tape types with ease.

In another nod to quality, FiiO has kitted out the CP13 with a differential circuit for balanced signal acquisition. This ensures more stable signal transmission, a higher signal-to-noise ratio, and lower distortion compared to other players. Despite being crammed with all this tech, the CP13 is impressively compact. It’s just 31.8mm thick, making it one of the slimmest portable cassette players around. It’s powered by a lithium battery that charges via USB-C, where a full charge gives you 13 hours of playback.

The FiiO CP13 is available to order directly from the brand for $129/£99. It might just be the most retro portable cassette player kicking about.

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Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around seven years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home