Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

Cassettes Finally Retired From New Vehicles; How Long For CDs?

Follow Bengt

2008 Lexus SC 430 2-door Convertible Audio System

2008 Lexus SC 430 2-door Convertible Audio System

Enlarge Photo
Still listen to tapes on a daily basis? If so, they'll probably be forced into retirement with your next vehicle.

Just over the past five years or so, with the latest vehicle refreshes, tape players have quietly disappeared from new-car instrument panels. As of 2011, according to tech-analysis firm iSuppli, there are no new vehicles that include a cassette player, and the 2010 Lexus SC 430—the last few of which are being sold new this winter—had been the last vehicle with heads and rollers.

Remember when tapes would get warbly in cold weather? When they would stretch a just little bit in hot weather and be a slightly lower pitch? When they'd jam and you'd have to gently ease out twisted ribbons of tape with tweezers? Or when the tiniest drop of soda would wreak havoc on your listening for days or weeks?

If so, the feeling might be more along the lines of 'good riddance.'

But we can't help but feel a little nostalgic for the long-gone days of the mixtape. For many of us now in our 30s and older, carefully curated mixtapes (or even mix CDs) from friends were the soundtracks for cruising around on the weekends, for road trips, or for cementing relationships in suburban America.

We've surely expanded our listening possibilities. Nearly every new car now comes with an auxiliary input, and many include USB connectivity to remotely control music on iPods, other media players, or even memory sticks (or in some cases, SD cards). In some vehicles, like the 2011 Lincoln MKX, you can tag songs from HD Radio, to purchase them later, and services like Pandora essentially custom-create a playlist based on artist or genre preferences. And moving ahead, we'll likely see integrated solutions that grab the music of your choice from the cloud.

The cassette has lived a very long life as a car-friendly listening medium. Cassettes took over from the convenient but unreliable eight-track cartridge format in the 1970s and were solidly, well into the '90s, the primary way people listened to music in their vehicles when no tuned to radio.

Retiring cassette players saves weight and instrument-panel real estate—and in recent years seeing a cassette slot was probably more of a negative, and a little embarrassing and behind-the-times for some shoppers.

Some of us, no doubt, are feeling the same about compact discs—and have gone so far as to predict that the CD player will be gone in 2015. Do you listen to CDs in the car, or do you rely on your iPod most of the time? How soon do you think automakers will retire CD players, or should they now?

[New York Times, via San Francisco Chronicle]

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (7)
  1. my 2007 Toyota Kluger (Highlander) has a tape player and to be honest it doesnt bother me. in fact it completes the console piece by having it their by not being some gizmo that will invariably break down. i dont use it per se but it is reliable :)
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. All I listen to is books on CD in my vehicle. As soon as books come out on a format that is vehicle friendly, I'll gladly give up my CD player.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. CDs have never been "book-friendly" A pack of 90-minute tapes was. Audible has been at it for years and it's the best (and cheapest) format(s) there is supported by $19.99 sansas.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. the changes to CD players has already started in many cars, where every car had a 6 disk changer, it has now changed back to a 1 CD slot (saving cost, complexity and weight), but with the ability to play MP3's or WMA files, allowing for more songs per CD than previously, along with an aux input jack (maybe a USB if your lucky)
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. Digital versions of books are quite widespread. If Audible is too expensive for your taste then you could use digital versions of books provided for free by your public library or take ten minutes to take the audio of the disks via itunes or whatever. I for one cannot remember the last time I used a CD (or even a DVD). Good Riddance!
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  6. Compact Cassette is one of the best formats ever invented. I got over 600 of them which I play daily year after year and its amazing how they still play excellent. What I like about them the most is that they come in so many different styles, types, colors and brands. Also the lasting quality. I been playing them since 8 years old and same tapes still sound loud and clear. One of the reasons because I use high quality Type II & Type IV metal tape using state of the art professional equipment to record them. Some ppl copied their nice tape collections to CDs and donated or sold them. Now their music on CDs is skipping, the disc scraches, cracks, warps and peels apart. That was very smart. iPods crash, freeze and eventually end up acting up like cellphones over time, tweaking. Thats why Sony, TDK, Maxell, SKC, JBC and others still manufacture and distribute blank tapes today. There is no reason to stop making them just like they still make LP records. Its art
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  7. I still buy CDs and listen to them in my car before transferring them to my iPod (so I can have my entire library in my car). There's two reasons for this - one, to have a physical copy and two, quality.

    I know that if you've bought MP3s on iTunes/Amazon and your computer gets fried you can download them again (up to X# of times), but I'd rather own a physical copy to use as I wish instead of being limited by what iTunes/Amazon offers.

    On the quality side, I'm not an "audiophile" that only listens to .flac, but I want the music I listen to be at least 192kbps (I rip my CDs at 256 or 320). I can't tell the difference between CD (lossless) and 256, but I can definitely tell between 256 and 96 (Spotify quality) or, even worse, 64 (Pandora).
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Advertisement
Take Us With You!
   
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
Advertisement

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.