I’m a gadget lover, within reason. If I can use it, I’ll probably check it out. More accurately, if I can use it and it’s reasonably priced, I’ll probably check it out. The iPhone and iPad don’t really mean anything to me 1) because they’re wicked fucking expensive and 2) because I already have a laptop, an iPod and a Blackberry. What else do I need? Well, what else do I need until they make an iPhone that can carry 80 gigs (or more) of music?

Well…

What would you think if I told you right now that I was relaxing and listening to the dulcet tones of the gorgeous Chante Moore? Well, some of you would be like “so what?” and the rest of you would be like “what the fuck is a Chante Moore?”. Now, how about if I told you that I was listening to the dulcet tones of Chante Moore on cassette? And that the cassette player is hooked up to my laptop, where Chante’s early 90s debut is being loaded onto iTunes, where it will live in digital bliss until the next big technological breakthrough comes along?

It’s been two years since I got a USB turntable. The timing seemed right. They’d gone down a good deal in price, vinyl was making a comeback, and I’d discovered a store in Boston that sells a shit ton of used cheap vinyl. Although I don’t use it a lot, it definitely served a purpose. However, it wasn’t until very recently that I heard about the USB turntable’s new cousin, the USB cassette player. It didn’t even occur to me that something like that COULD even exist. Lo and behold, it does exist, and it’s a nifty little contraption.

About the size of a Walkman (if you have to ask what a Walkman is, go to Wikipedia), the machine set me back a paltry forty bucks (or 2/5 what I paid for the USB turntable). Although I’m not much of a discriminating ear, the sound is almost DEFINITELY better on the cassette player than it is on the turntable. Of course, it’s not CD quality, but it’s certainly listenable (and you don’t get the cracks and pops that most used vinyl gives you). All that and plus, used cassettes are dirt cheap. Hell, I gave myself a $20 spending limit at In Your Ear (I wound up spending $25) and got myself a decent booty, including some albums I’m actually glad I picked up (I haven’t owned or listened to R.E.M.’s “New Adventures in Hi-Fi” in at least 10 years, but shit, it’s a much better album than I remember it being).

If you like to nerd out (or blerd out, in my case) as much as I do, you might want to get yourself one of these things. Particularly if you have a bunch of old cassettes in the attic or cellar and don’t know what to do with them. Of course, you could always give ’em to me!

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