Cassette Tape Collecting- a Guide for Beginners


George Otteson

Cassette tapes were the dominant music format from the mid ’80s to the late ’90s. While they have not seen nearly the comeback in popularity that vinyl has, I still advocate for their use. Here is a guide to get you into the hobby.

The first thing you’ll want to do is get yourself a player. There are generally two types of players- the walkman-like players, which are stylish and small, and the shoebox players, which are retro and useful. Which type you get depends on what you will be using it for. If you want to use your tapes around the house, you’ll want to get a walkman type player. If you want to record your own mixtapes, I would recommend a shoebox-style player, as they have better facilities for digital to analog recording. If you are looking for good blank cassettes, I would recommend the Maxell brand- they’re cheap and reliable.

The next thing you’ll want to do is actually get your cassettes. Acquiring cassettes from either a store or online is always a gamble. With vinyl, you can look and see if it has scratches to tell its quality. However, on cassettes, there is no way for you to tell its quality without playing it. However, with this gamble comes a perk. Cassettes are usually much cheaper than Vinyls; where vinyls range from $20-60 a piece, cassettes are usually about $3-15.

I will always advocate for cassettes as an equally as fun but cheaper version of vinyls. You still get the cool retro analog vibes with none of the expensive equipment or upkeep.