This Audio-Cassette-Shaped Object Lets You Stream to an Analog Boombox

This It’s Real combination set looks like something from Braun’s skunkworks, circa 1970. Designed by Hong-Kong-based NINM Lab, it’s actually a pair of audio objects that connect the digital with the analog. This is a little confusing to explain, so bear with me.

So the thing you see in the photo above, the It’s Real Cassette Player, is obviously a cassette player. But for a second, forget about the weird, silver cassette-like object inside of it, which is not an actual audio cassette.

Instead you insert an actual cassette into the It’s Real unit, and the cassette’s audio plays through the built-in dual speakers (there’s even a tiny subwoofer inside). It also has a 3.5mm line out. So that’s all pretty straightforward.

Here’s where it gets weird. The silver cassette-looking thing in the topmost photo is actually their Real Tape Bluetooth 5.0 Music Transmitter. It’s essentially a Bluetooth receiver shaped like a cassette, and through some technical sorcery it can deliver audio through analog tape heads.

In other words, if you drop this thing into a 1980s boombox, then stream Spotify from your phone to the Real Tape thingy, the analog boombox essentially acts as a Bluetooth speaker.

And yes, you can of course use the Real Tape in the It’s Real unit, and stream to that.

The Real Tape has an internal battery that you charge via USB-C. The It’s Real unit can also be powered by USB-C, or by four AA batteries.

NINM Lab says the Real Tape will work with boomboxes and tape decks, but that they don’t recommend it for use with portable cassette players, though they don’t explain why. I can only assume it doesn’t work so hot with a Walkman.

The It’s Real combination set runs HKD $1,180 (USD $150).

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