A Simple Beginners Guide to Cassettes

By Rolando Segovia

You’ve probably seen your friends talking about how they listen to music through cassettes and you might have been thinking to yourself, “How do I get into that?”

Well after reading this guide, you’ll be able to successfully get a good feel about how a cassette player works and how to start making your own cassette mixtape!

I’m not going to bother with an in depth history of cassettes as it would take too long, but I will let you all know that even though cassettes aren’t as big as they were in the ‘80s, they’ve made somewhat of a comeback recently.

After all, plenty of Indie bands have released their albums on cassettes, even though it would be cheaper to release it digitally.

But you know, nothing comes as genuine, cheap (in a good way) and retro as a cassette.

There have even been movie soundtracks on cassette, some of them are really rare and can go for a lot of money online.

Anyway, let's get to making that mixtape. I’m sure you can’t wait to start!

For this article, I’ll be using the Sony CFD-S50 as a reference. It’s affordable, easily available and has good sound quality.

Not only does it play cassettes, but it also plays CDs, has a radio and runs on batteries for portable use when not plugged into the wall.

This is a blank cassette, just pick it up and insert in the cassette deck.

Like so on the bottom.

Now with a Sony CFD-50, the only way to make a mixtape is to record from a CD.

So for this guide, I’ll be recording off my mixtape CD, of the song “my boy” by Billie Eilish.

But any CD with music will do.

Refer to picture #5 as to where to insert the CD.

Turn on the power button on the player.

Red circle first, blue circle second

Press the play CD button that I’ve circled around.

Then press the “present” buttons to skip to the track that you want to record.

Mine is track 2, so I only had to press the right “preset” button once.

Red circle first, blue circle second

When the song starts playing, press the red record button.

After that, just wait there until the song finishes.

Once the song is done, press the eject cassette button so it stops recording.

Congratulations! You’ve recorded your first song onto a cassette!

But before you click out of this article, here’s one last tip.

Take out the slip of paper from the blank cassette case.

On this paper, you can write down the name, artist and runtime of the song you just recorded.

So for me, “my boy” by Billie Eilish was 2:51 minutes.

Writing down the songs makes it so much easier to remember all the songs you put on your blank cassette.

So there you go! You’re ready to continue on finishing that mixtape!

You can give it to your significant other, play it at a party or just keep it at home. Now you’ll be able to impress all of your friends while also providing them a rocking beat.

Xx Long live college radio xX