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A new cassette player has been launched promising to give cassettes the same sound quality as high-resolution audio.

Back in 2016 we ran an April Fools news story on HD Cassette. High-res audio support and unchewable tape were just two of the features promised in our spoof story. But of course truth is often stranger than fiction, and it seems high-res audio cassette tapes are now a reality.

Toshiba has announced a CD radio cassette player that promises to deliver high-res sound from a tape, reports The Japan News. The player contains a "mechanism" that claims to improve "the quality of music data on a cassette tape". Supposedly this will ensure the player's performance matches that of a high-resolution audio source. Interestingly, the picture shows the Aurex brand, which was an audio-focused subsidiary brand of Toshiba in the 1970s (think Technics to Panasonic). 

Sceptical? Us too. But the appearance of the hi-res audio logo on the deck in the picture suggests a level of legitimacy. This logo - originally launched by Sony and then passed on to the wider audio industry - should mean the product meets the standards agreed by the Japan Audio Society and the Recording Industry of Association of America (RIAA). The standards in question? A microphone response performance of 40 kHz and above; able to record, decode and play 96kHz/24bit formats; amplification performance of 40kHz and above. But it is still just a sticker...

That said, there's no reason cassette tapes couldn't be made to deliver high-res audio with the right equipment at the production end, we just imagine they'd need quite a bit of tape - and maybe different tape - to support hi-res tracks of any length. As far as we're aware, there are no such 'hi-res tapes' already in existence.

The article says Toshiba Lifestyle Electronics Trading, a subsidiary of Toshiba, plans to promote this new product with cassette tapes featuring singer Tomoyo Harada (big in Japan). This suggests the company may genuinely have produced high-res audio cassettes for this machine. And it's not just for show. The new player has a price tag of ¥29,000, a little under £200, and is said to be hitting stores soon.

More after the break

But is it really hi-res audio from a tape? Does anybody even want hi-res audio tapes? Will you ever be able to listen to anything other than Tomoyo Harada? We're really not sure, having so far failed to find out any more information on this product. Regardless, we can't help thinking you're probably better off investing in more established hi-res audio hardware and software...


High-resolution audio - everything you need to know

50 of the best hi-fi albums for audiophiles

People can hear the difference with hi-res audio, study says

Hi-res audio - the science behind the numbers

15 hi-res album downloads to treat your system

The best hi-res music download sites


chebby's picture

This is stupid. Devices

This is stupid. Devices almost the same size as the cassette can hold hundreds of gigabytes of lossless digital music and wirelessly stream music (and movies) along with being able to take photos/videos and be used as a phone and an internet browser and radio and play games and ... loads more.

Who the #### asked for this? I hope it doesn’t sell and doesn’t turn into another retrograde, hipster nostalgia w### like vinyl did. 

Hopefully it is an April 1st article posted early so you don’t have to work on Sunday.

Bartdude's picture


Good that What Hi-Fi hasn't lost it's sense of humour LOL

chebby's picture



macdiddy's picture

I'm guessing that this is not....

an april fools joke as the obvious one was the one about the world cup 2018 being broadcast in 8k and 4d using an "unbelieveable" cable.

don't worry so much chebby, it will never be marketed/available outside of Japan.

Music 2