Minimalist cassette player aims to bring back glory days of physical media

It was the musical medium of choice through much of the 1980s and ‘90s. And while cassette tape sales are still tiny compared to vinyl, they’re up. It’s one of the fastest-growing musical formats in terms of sales and record labels have been quick to jump on board.

In a culture that primarily downloads its music for consumption, it seems there’s a fresh demand for the physical connection. No doubt the retro format does have a hipster appeal.

To power this new demand for cassettes, comes a minimalist cassette player called ELBOW. This device has been reduced to its core functions, stripping away any unnecessary casing and opening it to the elements. A typical cassette player uses a capstan and a pitch roller to drag the tape along a magnetic head at a constant speed. Additionally, separate pulleys rotate to pull the tape forwards or backwards. Thus, because of the two motors for the pulleys and capstan, cassette players a usually large.

With ELBOW’s minimalist design, it only needs one motor to drive the the pulley and maintain a constant playback rate and speed. It has an arm that goes two perpendicular directions to manually switch the cassette players direction. By turning the wheel left, it plays the tape and increases the volume; right fast forwards the tape.

ELBOW uses a standard 3.5mm audio plug for your headphones. There is also a mini USB port is used for charging and transferring audio to your computer. The cassette player also can clip to your clothes, turning ELBOW into a piece of retro fashion. And although it’s currently in the prototype stages, this device is sure to be a hit with Gen-Y. To learn more, visit their website or Facebook page.