While we here at Hackaday never question why an individual took on a particular project, it surely doesn’t stop our beloved readers from grabbing their pitchforks and demanding such answers in the comments. Perhaps no posts generate more of this sort of furore than the ones which feature old audio gear infused with modern hardware. In almost every case the answer is the same: the person liked the look and feel of vintage hardware, but didn’t want to be limited to antiquated media.
That sentiment is perhaps perfectly personified by the TapeLess Deck Project, created by [Artur Młynarz]. His creations combine vintage cassette decks with an Android phone small enough to fit behind the tape door. An Android application which mimics the look of a playing tape, complete with “hand written” track info, completes the illusion.
The output from the phone is tied into the deck where the audio signal from the tape head would have been, so the volume controls and VU meters still work as expected. Watching the meters bounce around while the animated “tape” plays on the screen really does look incredibly slick, though the effect is somewhat hindered by the fact the physical playback controls don’t seem to be implemented. Incidentally, the whole experience works better if the plastic window on the tape door is removed; that way you can utilize the touch and swipe interface [Artur] has in the software.
We’ve seen previous attempts to modernize the audio cassette experience, but they’ve tended to be more of a novelty than anything. But these decks are nice enough that you can like them non-ironically. Though if we’re talking about portable tape players, there’s only room for one in our cold mechanical hearts.
[Thanks to Nikolai for the tip]
43 thoughts on “Ditch The Tapes, Put An Android In Your Deck”
This cries out for an HID device driven by the front controls rather than the phone screen.
I like his taste in music :)
But YES it does need an upgrade to have it operate via the original controls – that would just make it!
It looks great – now where did I put that old tape player …..
just looking at his website – He has some nicely converted decks for sale. They really look awesome
this is truly a hack. but for real stereo sound you need to shell out something like $1.50 :-)
I think a Raspberry PI zero or ESP-32 could fit inside that. You can make the play controls work if you monitor the spinning of the reels. Bonus point if you get the power from the spinning.
What you describe is the hack I was hoping to see when I read the headline.
What he did do was good though.
I could stuff my Apple Shuffle into that.
(and no, I won’t “stuff it” elsewhere!)
Still works, too :)
I see your name [RoGeorge]
and what comes to mind is [Astro] saying to [George Jetson], “Ruh-Ro Rorge!”
You’ll never get the sound quality with a magnetic transfer that you get with direct insertion do you? I would expect those pickup elements to have a lot of limitations.
Isn’t that the definition of a transformer, though?
It’s a pretty weird one, with the left and right pickups being so close together, so you’ll have poor stereo separation. But frequency-wise, I wouldn’t expect it to be overly awful.
funny how things changed. 40 years ago it was damn expensive to put any kind of electronics into a device and most stuff was done with magically engineered mechanic marvels because it was more affordable. nowadays if you need to pay serious bucks for a device that has anything like metal gears/levers/rods or even just physical buttons, but you get all the electronic stuff dirt cheap.
Maybe a MEMS tape deck?
Nice attention to detail – even has the little tape-start locks in the reels.
Indeed, outstanding details and a truly beautiful product.
“Perhaps no posts generate more of this sort of furor than the ones which feature old audio gear infused with modern hardware. ”
Except for 8-track. No one likes those.
And except when “the other one” calls you during a romantic audition.
Would we even raise an eyebrow if it was done to an Elcaset?
The app needs adjustable S/N, wow, flutter and tape screech for when it’s installed in an old Soundesign or Yorx cassette deck.
The app needs adjustable crosstalk, S/N, wow, flutter and tape screech for when it’s installed in an old Soundesign or Yorx cassette deck.
Where have I heard this before?
Aesthetic, ingenuity, fun! Win Win Win!
Very nice implementation. Great way to make use of the beautiful mechanical-analog marvels of their day. Choice of early 70’s “Compact Cassette” tape labels is interesting too… historical. Anyone notice the “Hitichi” brand? Is that legit or a typo? Hey… you need to have a Dolby C logo in there too… but playback in regular Dolby for crisper highs.
I think you mean Dubly .. Wake up and Smell the Glove, homie.
If you like the hi-fi separates looks, or like me you still have a 43 cm hi-fi system there are some stand alone network players with a good hi-fi look like this one from Yamaha
It’s not an hack, but it’s a beautifully designed system. There’s also a matching integrated amplier, a CD player and a DAB tuner.
TEAC makes a CD player with streaming capabiliter if one likes hidden fuctionalities:
Ther are still making a CD cassette compo, but I suppose isn’t the best quality deck you could find: http://www.teac.com/product/ad-850/ Actually I think that those ’80 cassette players will sound better than this one.
Let me see… give up TDK SA tapes recorded straight from vinyl on my Nakamici 1000 in exchange for an mp3 player? NOT!
You say MP3, but it could just as easily be AAC or FLAC or APE or whatever you fancy.
Signal compression vs digital compression. I respect the shortcomings of both.
Even good old Neil Young has learned the benfits of lossless digital audio formats. But some just never learn…
The controls on the phone look very intuitive to me and look nice too.
Funny how this tapedeck can bring back life to such an old phone. This phone (considering how fast these things get declared obsolete) would otherwise go to the landfill, now it has a second life as a music playing device. A bit of a pitty that such a nice tapedeck had to suffer for it.
But seriously, nice hack, thanks for posting.
Nice project, but I thought the nice part of using cassettes, was the cassettes?
Cassettes were cool because they were nice handy objects that you can store in neat rows on a shelf or on a stack on top of the stereo system or take with you. Maybe this needs dominos with bar codes printed on them or something. Hold them in front of the camera (only after you push the “eject”button of course) and it will play the corresponding virtual cassette.
And that way you can run the same program on the phone that you take with you, and play virtual cassettes on the go (as many as fit in you pocket of course :)
“Illusion of…” Would be easier. Empty cassette shells with NFC tags inside*. Reader in deck, with small deck modification to read the controls and there you have it.
*Contents tied to MP3 player.
Pretty sure the app in use is called “Delitape – Deluxe Cassette” — Available on Android and iPhone. Costs $0.99 on the Android, but free on iPhone.
Yeah that definitely looks like it, thanks for the tip.
I don’t like it. He fucked up the tape player and his phone. Horrible.
Additionally it looks like he’s offering to do the same thing to customers’ players, though I can’t be sure because the website renders like crap on my phone (Android/Chrome).
Anyone have an old Sony Walkman? This screams Star Lord costume hack, to me…
When did “an Android” become an acceptable substitute for “an Android device”? Does anyone ever say “an iOS”?
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