Cassette players set to make a comeback

2016-03-09 14:40 - Kyle Venktess, The Witness
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Sony's My First Walkman


Pietermaritzburg - US rapper Eminem recently announced that he is re-releasing The Slim Shady LP, originally released in 1999, on cassette tape.

This could lead to an upsurge in the sales of the cassette player or what was known as the “walkman”.

Other international artists including Kanye West and Justin Bieber have also released their latest albums on cassette tape.

While no new technology has officially been released recently to play cassette tapes, many companies are still producing cassette players, which up until very recently were only used by hipsters. Could this mean hipsters will now start using iPods?

Meanwhile, Sony announced the launch of a new cassette tape last month.

Would you use cassette players again? Tell us your thoughts by clicking here.

The new tapes are able to store up to 185 terabytes of data, which translated is around the size of 18 standard computer hard drives.

Playback of regular cassette tapes do not offer the same quality as a CD would, but the new tapes with larger storage could mean music lovers could now listen to lossless audio for less money on devices.

Depending on the compression of audio files, lossless files in “aiff” and “wav” format at a higher file size result in richer quality than the common “mp3” format. Another theory is that the new cassettes could also be used to store other files aside from audio such as Ultra High Definition (UHD) video.

But cassettes are not the only technology to regain popularity in recent times.

Numerous music stores are selling classic retro vinyl players, signalling that old technology may be making a comeback.

While traditional video stores are taking a knock, with the launch of numerous online video services and rentals, the music industry seems to be having paradoxical luck.

Stores like Musica have already begun the sale of vinyl copies of the latest albums.

Adele’s 25, which includes the single Hello, is for sale, while classics from Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan have also been re-released.

Local artists have also cottoned on to the trend with SA rapper AKA’s gold-selling Levels album also available at stores as a vinyl.

But with the resurgence of the vinyl player, systems being sold to cater for the trend are not as simple as they were when first released.

The current generation of vinyl players sees huge upgrades and more digital interface.

New vinyl players feature USB and SD card input as well as upgrades to quality of the sound output. These vinyl players, however don’t come cheap. Some players depending on the model and features are being sold for between R3 000 and R4 000.

The vinyl players are available in most music outlets and online shopping stores.

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