According to the Recording Industry Association of America, sales of vinyl records surpassed compact discs for the first time since the ‘80s. What’s more surprising is that people are still actually buying CDs, and if you’re one of the loyal few who refuses to let the medium die, there’s now a portable CD player that works with wireless headphones, assuming you’re not shunning all modern music technology.
Despite the inconveniences of having to carry around a binder full of plastic discs and being forced to purchase entire albums when you’re just interested in one song, there are some advantages to buying your music on compact discs, including sound quality, as songs streamed over the internet are often heavily compressed. You never have to worry about maxing out data caps on a portable player—if you can find one. But very few companies make portable CD players any more, so NINM Labs decided to fill that void.
The Long Time No See claims to be inspired by the ‘90s with its see-through plastic housing which reveals the spinning disc inside, despite the fact that in the ‘90s CD players like the Sony Discman were thin and sleek devices and the technology packed inside them—including anti-skip measures—continued to improve right up until the MP3 arrived in the mid-’90s to make CDs obsolete.
By comparison, the Long Time No See is kind of clunky and bulky and you’d definitely have a hard time slipping it into your pocket. It does, however, include a few features that companies like Sony were never able to incorporate before the demand for portable CD players was replaced with MP3 players. Instead of a pop-up hinged lid, the top of the Long Time No See can be completely removed and topped with a compact speaker, turning the device into a miniature boombox. Alternately, with built-in Bluetooth the Long Time No See can also be connected to a wireless speaker or wireless headphones for better sound, and yes, it has a headphone jack too if you want a true ‘90s listening experience.
Other modern amenities include the ability to top up two rechargeable AA batteries using a microUSB port which can also be connected to an external power source if you’re mounting the Long Time No See player using the magnets integrated into its outer housing. In addition to audio CDs it can also read writable discs filled with hundreds of MP3 files if 12-track albums are one part of the ‘90s you’d happily like to forget.
You can’t buy the Long Time No See just yet, however. Its creators, NINM Lab, have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help put it into production and given even massive companies like Apple are having challenges getting products shipped on time, you’ll want to be extra hesitant or patient with crowdfunded products in 2020 and well into 2021. That being said, NINM Lab already has a couple of successfully crowdfunded products under its belt, and for $90 you can pre-order the Long Time No See with delivery expected as early as December, although that might be optimistic. At least if it is delayed, you have more time to root around the trunk of your car and find your long-forgotten CD collection.