cp-81 portable cassette player

December 1, 2022

After restoring thousands of original Sony Walkmans and still not satiating the demand, Milwaukee retro tech purveyors, Retrospekt, are launching their own audio device — the CP-81 Portable Cassette Player. It offers a classic cassette tape experience with wider availability and a lower price point than refurbished vintage models.

Retrospekt’s CP-81 features a minimalistic design aesthetic anchored by its clear, plastic body and has all the core cassette player functions — play, fast forward, rewind, stop. It also has something seen far less on the common vintage models. The CP-81 has a mono line-in record capability allowing you to record directly from any audio source via an AUX cable. Add in a few blank tapes and your smartphone and suddenly you’re the new master of the lo-fi mixtape. The player comes packaged with Retrospekt’s exclusive Koss headphones featuring an adjustable, stainless-steel headband and orange foam cushions.

To celebrate the release, every CP-81 purchased before the end of the year will also include a free cassette tape. Customers will be able to choose from one of Retrosepkt’s exclusive tape releases from She & Him, Waxahatchee, Conor Oberst and The Head and the Heart.

While Retrospekt’s core mission is to save and restore vintage devices — a mission they’re still faithful to — the demand for cassette players continues to exceed the ability to source the parts and materials necessary to restore vintage models at a larger scale. 

“We had to move to a weekly drop model where we released all our refurbished cassette players at once,” said Retrospekt owner Adam Fuerst. “Our repair techs were working nonstop, but our inboxes were still filling up with requests for out of stock models. Releasing them all at once seemed like the fairest way to give everyone a shot at them.”

Because replacement parts are no longer readily available (and most haven’t been for decades), oftentimes several different devices must be sourced to build one fully-functioning cassette player. Once all the necessary parts are in-house, a time-intensive repair process is completed by trained technicians. Added together, these cause the price point of refurbished vintage models to climb, while leaving no easy path to increased output. 

While still refurbishing any vintage model they can source, Retrospekt also saw the need for a new model that was easier to get into the hands of their audience. The new CP-81 can be produced to match demand and offered at a lower price to the end consumer. 

“We have no intention of moving away from vintage cassette players — we have a team of people who are trusted experts when it comes to these devices and it’s important to keep that expertise alive. Plus, the Sony Walkmans we repair were, and still are, truely top of the line.” said Fuerst. “These new players are really meant to be a compliment to the other things we do. It allows people who are interested in getting into music on cassette to have a readily-available option at a lower price than some of the vintage Sony players.”

The CP-81 Portable Cassette Player will be available directly from retrospekt.com on Thursday, December 1 (12/1) for $99. 

About Retrospekt:

Retrospekt is a highly-specialized workshop and product design studio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin committed to the exploration, restoration and curation of retro technology. They started their foray into the world of retro tech by supplying Polaroid refurbished and restored vintage instant cameras and now offer a full line of vintage camera models in addition to developing official Polaroid camera collaborations with both national and international brands, such as Pepsi, Mattel, Sanrio, FENDI, The United States Postal Service, Lacoste and Disney.

Since 2008, they have pursued vintage electronics and the delight of analog technology, breathing new life into cameras, portable cassette players, classic gaming consoles and other retro tech oddities. Over the last decade, their team has saved over 300,000 devices with a comprehensive refurbishment process that faithfully restores each item to perform like it did the day it was originally manufactured.

In an increasingly fast-paced world, it can be easy for digital convenience to become digital overload. Retrospekt hopes the items they offer will provide people an opportunity to slow down, step back and enjoy a more tactile and intentional experience. Visit Retrospekt.com for more information on Retrospekt and its offerings.

For more information, contact:

Kori Fuerst, kori@retrospekt.com 

Photos for editorial use (open images in new tab for full resolution)

CP-81 Portable Cassette Player and Headphones

Girl using CP-81

CP-81 Portable Cassette Player

girl using portable cassette playre cp-81

CP-81 Portable Cassette Player