Simple Guide to the Cassette Tape Format

Cassette tapes are small, highly customizable, and most certainly do not sound like vinyl or CDs… they are the warmest sounding medium. It is not for everyone. Regardless of what you may think about the format, I hope this helps the people who want to appreciate the cassette and ultimately support artists everywhere. Thx.

Things to consider:

What do u want out of your cassette experience?

How much do you care about the sound?

Do you like clunky equipment? 

Do you want recording/dubbing capabilities?

Types of Players:

They do not make devices today for cassette tapes like they used to. Older devices are sturdier and more rugged. You may need to switch out some aged parts (belts, screws) in certain scenarios, but overall these devices are more reliable and affordable than current systems that may be available. In terms of pre-owned equipment, you got a couple options:

Tape Decks ($50+) 

If you want tape duplicating capabilities, be sure to grab a tape deck with two sides. You can still record onto a tape with a one side system, but you will have to record in real time for every tape directly from an external audio source. You will need some kind of receiver/tuner/speaker set up to complement the tape deck you select. Personally, in terms of audio equipment I am a big Onkyo guy.   

Recorders and Portable Players ($10-$30+) 

Gets the job done. Smaller, portable systems for the aesthetically pleased crowd.  

Hybrid Players and Boomboxes ($20+)

There are plenty of CD+Tape/Turntable+Tape/CD+Tape+Turntable combos to check out. Some people like to have it all in one. There are options out there for that. 

Where to Purchase?

Chances are that you have a relative with some kind of tape player laying around. Otherwise, find a local audio repair/vintage audio shop near you … or go on eBay. Make sure the seller is reputable. Make sure that an item has been tested recently and has no major deficiencies that would affect its performance while listening or dubbing. Additionally, make sure that you can count on a warranty if you get ripped off for something being broken. Hopefully that will not be something you personally will have to address. 

Galaxie Electronics (for the Pittsburgh folks) is next to Jerry’s Records, and they can hook you up with a quality tape deck for an affordable price. They can also repair audio equipment you bring into them. Check em out.

Tape Storage 

Many different ways to go about it. People get creative. There’s shelving units, briefcases, boxes, bins, etc. for cassette tapes. I am sure you can find a way to situate your collection. eBay

Purchasing Tapes

Obviously, Crafted Sounds has some cool music to check out on tape format ( but there are also some other really cool labels to check out. Here is a quick list of other cool labels killing the cassette game…

Disposable America
Citrus City
Z Tapes
Sports Day Records
Burger Records
Spirit Goth
Friends Records
Katuktu Records
Broken Circles
Fox Food Records
Double Double Whammy
Lolipop Records
It Takes Time Records 
Other Songs 
Human Sounds Records
Community Records
Deadplant Records
Hail Hail Records
Father Daughter Records
Tiny Engines
Near Mint Records
Danger Collective Records
Topshelf Records 
Run For Cover Records

… there are more out there for sure.

Written by Connor Murray (@craftedsounds)