Bringing A Century Stereo Into The 21st Century

Way back in the previous century, people used to use magnetized strips of tape to play music. It might be hard to believe in today’s digital world, but these “cassette” tapes were once all the rage. [Steve] aka [pinter75] recently found a Bang & Olufsen stereo with this exact type of antequated audio playback device, and decided to upgrade it with something a little more modern.

Once the unit arrived from eBay and got an electronic tune-up, [pinter75] grabbed a Galaxy S3 out of his parts drawer and got to work installing it in the old cassette deck location. He used a laser cutter to make a faceplate for the phone so it could be easily installed (and removed if he decides to put the tape deck back in the future).

The next step was wiring up power and soldering the audio output directly to the AUX pins on the stereo. Once everything was buttoned up [pinter75] found that everything worked perfectly, and mounted the stereo prominently on his wall. It’s always great when equipment like this is upgraded and repaired rather than thrown out.

14 thoughts on “Bringing A Century Stereo Into The 21st Century

  1. ” grabbed a Galaxy S3 out of his parts drawer” wish I had a drawer like that. I like how he made the face plate, it looks great!
    I only have one worry…. since the S3 uses OLED, leaving it on all the time will cause burn in pretty fast and decay of brightness.

  2. At least the phone will play flac files. You can dim the phone but I think it’s forced to wear sunglasses, maybe not.
    I never knew the Phillips Compact Cassette was an equal of ants.

    1. I rEMemBEr wHaT IT USed to be LiKE tO LIsTen to WobbLY melTY TAPes thAT WeRE lEFt in thE HOT SUn for tOO LONg in mY CAr…

      glad those days are long gone!

      (also glad that dolby C died; it was near impossible to get dolby’s to ‘match’ well from your home deck to the car deck. each brand had its own tuning that was not exactly compatible even though licensed from dolby itself).

      OT: I once had an interview at dolby labs in san fran. one of the best times I ever had during an interview (but didn’t get the job). I mostly met very young people there and when I talked a bit about dolby history and dolby B and C, they looked at me like I was talking a foreign language. I guess the old dolby labs is mostly dead these days, from what I can tell. still a cool place, but mostly employed by those who never touched analog audio in their lives)

      1. I know 80s nostalgia is a thing, and cassette tapes are an icon of the era, but they were terrible. Few people understood NR or media types, and (at least for NR) there’s no automated way for a deck to know how to set its EQ, so they usually sounded worse than they should. There were too many ways the media could degrade: heat, playback wear-and-tear, bleed-through, magnetic fields, and the dreaded hungry capstan. On top of it all, the frustration of seeking linear media.

        No wonder people were awed by CDs when they came out: durable, consistent, and near instant track selection.

        1. With a decent 3-head deck and attention to tape type and NR used in playback, cassettes could sound *great*! I recorded old vinyl onto tapes that were indistinguishable from cd’s or cd’s recorded onto cassette. But yeah there were a lot of bad dupes, bad stereos (hardly “hi-fi” ;), and abuse.

          While people tended to abuse their tapes since they were physically durable, the medium was better than most people realized then or are willing to accept now.

          1. All my albums were played once and recorded to a Maxell UD XL 2. They were several dollars each in the early 80’s. I still remember spending afternoons at a friends recording various tracks into “mix tapes”. And enjoying a few beers in the process. Play lists are more convenient but lose a lot in the process.

  3. Dang, this is just another project of a phone’s audio out tapped into a stereo system. At first I was pretty excited thinking someone did what I did a number of years ago by converting an audio cassette tape into an MP3 player. Essentially, I embedded the guts of an MP3 player inside one of those Radio Shack tape adapters. The MP3 player’s audio out went straight to the readhead adapter and was completely inside the cassette tape housing. Sadly, I lost it in a move and never had the motivation to rebuild. I would love to make another with a bluetooth adapter. Then I would label the cassette tape “Pandora Mix Tape” and link it to my 80’s Pandora channel.

    At least the execution is very well done. The result is a very clean and gives the updated look which was the intent. I will definitely give props to meeting his own goals well.

  4. One thing that people miss out is that cassette’s played in analog which is what your ears are best suited for. Digital tends to sound tinny. Play a good cassette tape, then a mp3 of it and you can hear a big difference in the ranges, etc.

    1. That analog tape was most likely mastered in a digital format, and converted to analog for mass production. The quality of the MP3 matters- If you rip your own, you can make it sound any way you want and have CD quality audio (or better if you have the high quality source).

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