back to article USB 'compact cassette' promises 1980s nostalgia, home taping

Relive music piracy the way it used to be done, back in the days when even Shawn Fanning was a glint in someone's eye*, let alone his original Napster app and the P2P world it spawned. Yes, we're talking cassette tapes and a 21st Century take on this format of yesteryear. USB Mix Tape USB Mix Tape: relive the 80s... the 80s …


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  1. Gordon Jahn

    At £19.95 for 64MB...

    ...I'd expect a battery compartment, a USB socket and "tape-head interface thingy" allowing it to be put in a real tape player for both playback and recording!

    But alas no; it's just expensive packaging.

  2. James Smith


    space for two whole flac songs on there ... how can express all my unrequited feels in two song? unless my love is expressed in a lower resolution these days

  3. Mage Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    At least the cassette should be an MP3 player with headphone socket, that can slot-into a car cassette deck when you are not walking.

    Then the price & concept would make sense

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I recognise many of the Tapes:




    Maxell (break the sound barrier!)

    I am truely getting old....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Well, 64MB is a bit disappointing in this day and age. Especially given that a certain department store where I live was offering 4GB drives (of roughly the same size and shape, you could swap 'em over) for about the same price around christmastime... to be honest, I know you can get USB and internal cassette tape decks for your PC (from the same place, Firebox) but I'm just waiting for a USB VHS deck to come out so I can finally copy away my wife's massive collection of old videotapes and destroy the stupid things. I'm just glad I convinced her not to buy DVDs - a few short years and they're already superceded by newer formats, and I'm sure by 2010 it'll be hard drive tech all the way. She wanted a DVD-burning digital box but I told her "no" and now we have a 160GB USB job. Shame she wouldn't get the networked one...

    Sorry, I'm rambling. I'd better anonymise myself.

  6. adnim

    A USB key

    with a novel box. WOW! I just have to go out and buy one now. I've always wanted my USB keys in containers that are 5 times the size of the key.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    C60, C80, C90 go!

    Wasn't there an actual tape cassette drive available for PCs a while back? It looked like an in-car tape machine and slotted into a CD/DVD slot.


    It's the Plusdeck 2C, and Firebox itself sells them - probably dead handy for people who want to experience hardcore 8-bit computer emulation.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    RE: "And don't forget...

    ...home taping is killing music..."


  9. Dave Skinner

    So it's just an inert case then?

    It'd be better if it could play MP3s off the USB stick on a cassette player, using the same sort of magnetic transducer as those thingies you used to be able to get to use your personal CD player on the car cassette deck.

    Taking the concept further, it could respond to Rew and FF to skip to the previous/next track.

    I might pay £20 for that, given that my car still has a cassette player in it.

  10. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Do yourself a favour

    Get one of these not a stupid case for a tiny USB stick:

    Or one of these is you don't have a Mini tower:

  11. Richard Speight


    64MB seems pretty small these days. I guess we can relive that 80's cassette tape style lo-fi sound quality too!

    I quite like it, and may even consider buying a couple if they were half the price...

  12. Richard Mason

    Re: C60, C80, C90 go!

    I have a Plusdeck 2c and very good it is, I'm part way through ripping my 800+ cassette collection to MP3.

    I was very disappointed when I read the article, from the headline I was hoping that PlusDeck were actually releasing the USB external version of their drive that they've been promising for a couple of years.

  13. Steve Evans

    64Meg? lmao!

    I suspect a C90 stored more than that!

    Guess we now know what happens to unsold redundant storage... They get put in damn expensive packaging.

  14. b
    Thumb Up


    hope taping is skill in music ;)

    i made over 66 master mix tapes in the 90's...:P

    the world famous (AHEM!) urban beat mix tapes...

  15. Mike Taylor


  16. Steve Anderson

    4Gb for £6...

    I bought a 4Gb USB drive for £6 (including shipping from Hong Kong) just before Christmas, which makes this, um... over 200 times more expensive, by my quick mental calculations.

    That said, it looks like something I could probably "be inspired by" when left alone with an old TDK C90 and a Dremel. So it's good "inspiration".

    Anyway, this is better - a SD card reader for your tape deck, for £30. Spend an extra tenner on a 1Gb SD card (or higher capacity if you look around) and for the price of two of these 64Mb things you have sixteen times the space and an adaptor that actually does something kinda meaningful...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Richard Mason


    There's a USB external tape drive available from firebox at the moment;

    Not by Plusdeck, if that's a concern ....

  18. Gavin Grayson


    £80-£100 is a bit steep to convert old hissy tapes. Surely most titles can be found on usenet or P2P these days? Having said that - I do have a recording of Twisted Sister broadcast from the Reading Festival in 1982 that I wouldn't mind having on my iPod!

  19. James Smith
    Paris Hilton



    Piss off.

  20. Martin Huizing
    Thumb Down

    Hey, they gave the reason for the small storage:

    "Stores up to one hour of music, just like a C60 Cassette."

    Wonder who will be suckered into buying it. Not me!

  21. Peter H. Coffin


    I wonder how much data could be reliably stored on a C90 tape... Probably more than 64 meg.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I remember that the C120s had such thin tape they'd have a tendency to break and screw up your tape deck. Perhaps the C120 version of this thing could have a virus on it to recreate that experience.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    this product proves a couple old adages

    One, something about selling the sizzle, not the steak. And the other about a fool and his money being quickly parted.

    this is why "marketing" departments with their "image" push and "viral" ideas need to be nuked.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    @ Ouch!

    Not all stuff can be found on P2P. The reason a lot of people want this (and a VHS version, as per earlier post) is that it's not just Hollywood stuff - it's home compositions, original material, unique or long-lost material, and personal material such as presentations, dialogue, event recordings, etc. There are many good reasons to save stuff where the only copy in existence is a (cassette/VHS) tape. Admittedly mainstream music isn't one of them.

  25. G Roberts

    Me Ears Are Alight

    Showing my age there, but I managed to find the old Maxell ad on Youtube

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I seem to have played that at the wrong speed

    "£80-£100 is a bit steep to convert old hissy tapes. Surely most titles can be found on usenet or P2P these days?"

    One word. Johnpeel. I bet there are loads of old John Peel shows lurking on cassette tape out there, and I would love to hear them.

    Doubly so, because in the case of John Peel a lot of the songs really aren't available by other means - bands so obscure they make the Ponderosa Glee Boys and Trixie's Big Red Motorbike look like Girls At Our Best! or The Chefs.

  27. Ron Eve

    Peelian Wonder

    @Ashley. You are so right about John Peel. Back in the day when I were t'roadie I used record Peel's shows to cassettes to take on tour. Feckin' magnificent. <sigh> Wish I still had them..... Wish he were still here...

  28. Brennan Young

    Lousy gimmick, but there are better products...

    "Me too" about this being terrible value for money. I like the idea of mimicking the sticker art of 'famous cassette brands of the 80s' although they manage to lose this one selling point be not allowing people to choose their favorite. Gahh! Idiots.

    No, if we're talking devices on the mp3/USB/cassette axis, it has to be something like this:

    It has sensors to detect the direction and speed of the spindles, so it even responds to FF and RW!

  29. Martin Usher

    A disappointing product.

    For a minute it looked like something you could stuff a USB stick into so you could play your MP3s on the car stereo (I'm too cheap to replace mine with something modern). But its just a case. Surely it would be more cost effective to get an old cassette, cut out a stick sized hole in it and hand it over?

    I still have cassettes and a deck (a dual one, no less). I don't listen to them very often but every time I do listen to a tape it gets digitized. (I do the same thing with old video tapes, they get recorded onto DVD as I watch them.)

    BTW. Saw a "Disney / Mickey Mouse" stick in the store a couple of days ago. A tiny thing, barely larger than the USB plug, it came with a cartoon head stuck on it and a tiny wristband (obviously meant for 10 and under). It was a gigabyte. Makes one wonder what our elementary school kids are into that needs a gig of storage.....

  30. NoCo37

    Bow Wow Wow

    It was "C30, C60, C90, go!"

    "It used to break my heart when I went in your shop

    and you said my records were out of stock

    so I don't buy records in your shop

    now I tape them all, 'cause I'm Top of the Pops!"

    Wow... I should go now.

  31. Marco


    An MP3 player in the shape of an old cassette plastic case - that would've been cool. But a tiny USB stick in some thin cardboard for that price? Thanks, I'll pass.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What's the point?

    You can't even get people to take free 128mb usb drives anymore these days.

    £20 for cardboard and cheap plastic packaging on a product that you can't even give away to people free? FAIL

  33. John

    bah, not a real tape

    I know this stupid product is more newsworthy than the actual usb tapedeck the title of the article suggests, but there's one thing they could have done with this device for proper nostalgia. Have two USB plugs on the device and make one half of the storage available to one plug and the other half available to the other plug so that you have to turn it over half way through a song.

  34. Richard Freeman

    I can just see how this happened.....

    Scene: meeting of Senior management at

    attending are Senior manager 1 (SM1) Senior manager 2 (SM2) and senior manager 3 (SM3)

    SM1 I got a great deal from the Chinese on 6,000,000 64M USB memory sticks. however none of our customers seem interested in them and we cannot sell them for love nor money.

    SM2 this reminds me of when I bought up 6,000,000 Blank cassettes in 1994 because they were going cheap at the time - I think we still have them out the back of the warehouse.

    SM3 hmmm whipped cream...... love.... unsellable memory sticks.... Cassettes..... money....

    I have an idea!

    how about we &^@# and *(@(Y@$( and )@#*^%%^.

    SM1 and SM2 (together) thats disgusting!

    SM2 but you have given me an even better idea! only without the whipped cream this time.....

    and so another brilliant marketing scheme was born.....

  35. Bob Bramwell

    Non-patentable idea

    This thing looks as though all it is is a cassette-shaped case for a USB stick. How dull. What would be really useful for those of us who are technologically backward is a cassette-shapped MP3 player that one could push into a cassette player (e.g. in a car stereo) and play tunez. If such a gizmo had a detachable USB stick, so much the better.

    There, I've said it. Now, if someone tries to patent one this ought to scuttle it. Remember, you head it here first.

  36. Richard

    The tape with the red label says it all

    Take a close look at the brand name in the tape with the red label: "SUCK". What other comment is necessary?

  37. John


    Ages ago I bought a stereo lead to go between my old Sony walkman cassette player and my PCs sound card IN connection. For $1.95 I have cassettes transferred to MP3, etc. Sound is about as good as you can get from a dirty old tape.

  38. Erlang Lacod

    adaptor module- why

    i can maybe see the point of laying out for an in car converter assuming it's to be used in a classic car where a recent mp3 enabled stereo could look out of place but;

    Why lay out on a usb external cassette drive just for music transfer. There are stacks of cheap cassette players to be snapped up for a couple of quid, a lead from it's audio out socket to the soundcard line in on your PC will do the job nicely. At that point you can work out the saving youve made and give some of that amount to charity- better than just pissing it up the wall for no body's benefit except the harware vendors.

  39. TeeCee Gold badge

    Home taping is killing music.

    Not necessarily a bad thing. We just need to work on the targeting and discrimination.......

  40. J-Wick
    Thumb Up

    Home taping is killing music...

    ... and so are Venom.

    /c'mon - I can't be the speed/thrash/death/metal head here!

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