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Preview: FiiO CP13 Portable Cassette Player

Play tapes on-the-go with FiiO’s $99 transparent portable audio cassette player with USB-C charging and 13 hour battery life.

FiiO CP13 Portable Cassette Player Sky Blue

In the past several years, listening to vinyl records has re-inserted itself in the music listening landscape, but it isn’t the only vintage physical audio format making inroads into the music listening landscape. 

It turns out that audio cassettes have a steadily growing fanbase, although still a niche category. However, some audio component manufacturers are watching the trend closely. With that in mind, FiiO has decided to release a compact portable audio cassette player (CP13) that harkens back to the days when a lot of music fans had Sony Walkmans

Tip: Audio Cassette Players on Amazon

FIIO CP13 Audio Cassette Player Colors

CP13 Cassette Player Overview

The CP13 has a dual-tone aluminum alloy shell, featuring a seamless design with no visible screws. The control buttons are durable with resistance to wear and corrosion.

Supporting analog playback from audio cassettes, the FiiO CP13’s audio circuit is all analog – from the magnetic tape head all the way to the signal amplification. This is designed to produce classic analog sound.

The motor used in the CP13 incorporates a high voltage 4.2V power supply (more than the 1.8V or 3V found in many portable cassette players). The power supply works with a custom motor speed stabilization circuit, which increases the drag on the motor to ensure stable movement speeds. This is designed to eliminate unwanted pitch changes and also allows the CP13 to handle more cassette tape types.

FIIO CP13 Audio Cassette Player Mechanical Core
Mechanical Core: Customized Mechanical Core

Unlike the single-ended signal acquisition found in many current cassette players, the CP13 employs a differential circuit. This supports balanced signal acquisition from the custom head. This ensures more stable signal transmission through the rest of the circuitry, as well as a higher signal-to-noise ratio, and lower distortion on the listening end.

Although restricted by the size of the player’s movement, the CP13 was made as compact as possible. The CP13 is only 31.8mm thick, making it thinner and more compact than most portable cassette players.

The CP13 is powered by a lithium battery, which can be charged through the USB Type-C port. The battery lasts for 13 hours per charge under normal playing conditions.

FIIO CP13 Audio Cassette Player Empty
FIIO CP13 Audio Cassette Player Silver Tape Inserted

CP13 Specifications

  • Op-Amp: JRC5532
  • Supported Cassette Types: All Types (I to IV)
  • Headphone Output: 3.5 mm
  • Impedance (Adaptive): 8 to 150 ohms
  • 3.5mm Power Output: 250mV 
  • Jitter: < 0.2%
  • SNR: >55dB
  • Physical Controls: Play, Rewind, Fast Forward, Pause
  • Motor: 4.2V High Voltage Motor Power Supply
  • Battery Capacity: 1800 mAh 
  • Battery Life: 13 Hours
  • Dimensions: 120 x 88.3 x 31.8mm  (4.7 x 3.48 x 1.25 inches)
  • Weight: 310g (11oz)
FIIO CP13 Audio Cassette Player Flywheel
Flywheel: Copper
FIIO CP13 Audio Cassette Player Playback Head
Head: Customized Balanced Amplification Magnetic Head

Initial Impressions

There is a big trend for all things retro it seems. Retro-looking speakers, amplifiers, turntables, and more recently audio cassette players. All this is great, but let’s hope CRT TVs or VHS VCRs don’t make a comeback, those we don’t need. 

I am not a big fan of audio cassettes (I prefer CD or Vinyl), but the more ways we have to listen to music, the better, as long as it sounds good, and it looks FiiO is putting that effort into the compact CP13. The only complaint I have so far is this is only a player – It would be nice if FiiO added a player/record model with both internal and external mic options. 

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FIIO CP13 Audio Cassette Player colors

Price & Availability

The FiiO CP13 is available now in four colors — Sky Blue, Black and White, Red, and Silver — for $99.99 at Amazon or £103.87 at Amazon.co.uk.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Asa

    July 11, 2024 at 3:40 pm

    I threw my tapes out years ago, but at that price, I may pick one up just for nostalgia sake. I’m sure some folks have some mixed tapes lying around.

    • Ian White

      July 14, 2024 at 11:36 pm

      Asa,

      I still have about 100 tapes from the 1980s; including some recorded Dr. Dimento broadcasts that I found recently in my parent’s storage locker in Florida.

      I loved making my own comedy tapes from George Carlin, Dangerfield, Cosby, Hackett, and Newhart records. I would record individual comedy bits and have hours of great content for my long drives to college from Toronto to D.C.

      Best,

      Ian White

  2. ORT

    July 12, 2024 at 3:07 pm

    Every thing olde is new again. And there is nothing wrong with visiting one’s yoot.

    ORT

    • Ian White

      July 14, 2024 at 11:31 pm

      Sir ORT,

      I do miss my old Aiwa portable that was pretty good with my Koss and Grado headphones.

      Sir Mixtapealot

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