FiiO CP13 Transparent Portable Cassette Player

The tape revival continues ever onward. Frankly, it’s been quite interesting to watch a younger generation consistently engage with cassettes and cassette players these days. We’re also seeing both current and vintage artists alike include cassettes as a constant element of their new-release format offerings, essentially as a supplement to the requisite — and absolutely essential! — vinyl edition.

Now, I freely admit to purchasing recent cassettes from the likes of Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree, Metallica, and The Beatles — although I admittedly don’t actually play any of them, seeing how I acquire said tapes for, er, completist purposes. How about you? Do you still buy cassettes, or did you just start doing so? Do you play any of them, or just shelve/collect them? Do you still have your original Walkman (I do!), and/or have you connected a tape deck into your current system’s signal chain? Chime in with your own cassette-related musings in the Comments section that follows below, after the end of this post.


That all said, and since there is indeed a contingent of the ever-expanding AP audience interested in cassettes, we’re now going to take a look at a new tape-related offering from portable-gear manufacturer FiiO — namely, their CP13 transparent portable cassette player.

The FiiO CP13’s audio circuitry is said to use analog devices, from the magnetic tape head to the signal amplification. The motor is powered by a high-voltage 4.2V power supply, which FiiO says is “more than the 1.8V or 3V typically found in portable cassette players.” This power supply works in tandem with a custom motor-speed stabilization circuit, which increases the drag on the motor to ensure stable movement speeds, as well as manage pitch changes and enable the CP13 to handle additional/other cassette types. The FiiO CP13 employs a differential circuit for balanced acquisition of signals from the custom head.


FiiO engineers were intent on making the CP13 as compact as possible, resulting in the player being 31.8mm thick. Its full dimensional array is 120 x 31.8 x 88.3mm (w/h/d), and its weight is 310g. The CP13 is powered by a lithium battery, which can be charged through the USB Type-C port. The battery is said to be lighter than the standard AA batteries deployed in previous players. Additionally, the battery has a capacity of 1,800mAh and lasts for 13 hours per charge.

Other specs for the CP13 include a JRC5532 op-amp, copper flywheel, customized mechanical core, customized balanced amplification magnetic head, 3.5mm power output of 250mV, and S/N ratio of >55dB.

Finally, the SRP for the FiiO CP13 transparent portable cassette player is $129 (£99).

For more about FiiO, go here.
To find an authorized FiiO dealer, go here.


Noodlebluesman's picture

For the immersive experience involved with physical media. There is nothing more satisfying than untangling a jammed cassette tape from the playback capstan roller.

barfle's picture

I’m so glad that I no longer have any tapes. The few that Imdid have were digitized six or seven years ago. No more sticky pinchnrollers, no more jammed tapes, no more warped shells.

I suppose there are those who find the process of using a tape to be satisfying, but not me anymore.

RG's picture

I used hundreds of maxell and TDK tapes in Sony, Aiwa and NAD decks over several decades and not a single time did a cassette jam, unspool or otherwise fail. I suspect you either used inferior media or playback equipment or, user error.

rich d's picture

Cassettes appear to be a thing again, albeit in a minor way. Why not make a device which costs about what a Walkman cost 40 years ago (less when one accounts for inflation), looks good and whose purpose is, er, transparent. Regarding the compact cassette's proclivity for suicide, I'm not too bothered. Some of us remember when the highways and byways of this land were strewn with detritus hastily yanked from dashboards. Can't see it happening these days, somehow.

Trevor_Bartram's picture

For those who are interested in the FiiO CP13 I highly recommend the ANA[DIA]LOG review on YT.

mrl1957's picture

Could an 8 track revival be in the not-to-distant future?

HiFiMark's picture

just fun. I have a bunch of old cassettes (including some from my radio days) I'd like to hear and perhaps digitize. I'm in.


Glotz's picture

Hundreds of them made by me... Grateful Dead bootlegs, REM bootlegs, The Replacements bootlegs, so many more. All were on quality cassettes and the Walkman is still there too. The Nak deck is quite dead.