IT’S REAL Bluetooth cassette player looks good, and real. But is it the, uh, real deal?
Thinking out of the old box, the romantic combination of Analogue with digital technology produces the IT’S REAL Bluetooth Cassette Player Combo consisting of the bluetooth 5.0 music transmitter tape, cassette player, and speaker. With the combo, you can enjoy the process where digital music is played the same way as physical records. Reel to Real.
In 2018, NINM Lab launched its first musical product – IT’S OK Bluetooth Cassette Player – on Kickstarter. In 2021, IT’S OK TOO Bluetooth Stereo Cassette Player, an upgraded version of IT’S OK Bluetooth Cassette Player, was rolled out. Continuing the cassette romance of the IT’S OK collection, IT’S REAL Cassette Player Combo is not only a cassette player, but also a Stereo Bluetooth speaker equipped with the REAL TAPE Bluetooth 5.0 Music Transmitter Tape. The REAL TAPE is also compatible with other hand-held boomboxes, turning the old boombox into a Bluetooth speaker.
We reviewed the MIXXTAPE a while back. While it is not the same as IT’S REAL, they both share rather dodgy, cringeworthy name that is almost lazy. What they lack in any sense when it comes to branding and naming, they make up for it with their desire to bring the retro back.
This is not the first campaign by NINM Lab from Hong Kong. The team launched Instant Magny 35, a modification that lets you use SLRs and film rangefinders to capture instant photos without any, err, modifications.
The team then released the IT’S OK Bluetooth cassette player, the predecessor of the IT’S REAL Bluetooth cassette player, and the Long Time No See Bluetooth CD player. They are great if you have a stash of cassette tapes and CDs that you want to enjoy.
However, in the modern world where Apple Music and Spotify stream high fidelity music you can play on any portable Bluetooth speakers, this product is not very useful. It might be something worth getting if you want to create a mixtape, it actually makes more sense to do it digitally.
While it is interesting to try to blend retro with modern, some times it just turns out to be something that would interest a niche group.
What are the alternatives
There are many Bluetooth cassette players in the market. IT’S REAL is nothing new, but has managed to NINM Lab create a community that buys into its products and brand through the past campaigns.
These are both a lot cheaper than the IT’S REAL Bluetooth cassette player that is available at USD 113 during Kickstarter early bird, and will retail at an estimated USD 150.
Sure, IT’S REAL looks good, but I would personally go for a vinyl player if I wanted something as a display piece. There are many Bluetooth vinyl players on Amazon selling for USD 45 to USD 60.
A true audiophile would go for vinyl. (Not that I’m boasting to be an audiophile.)
IT’S REAL Bluetooth cassette player Kickstarter video
The almost whimsical promotional video actually made us smile. Check it out below.