Review: Plug and Play with Burger Records’ Burger Buddy
The Burger Buddy updates the standard cassette player for the modern tape listener. It can also be a helpful tool for DIY musicians!
Since 2007, Burger Records founders Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickards have released 1,150 cassette tape titles from bands like La Luz, Ty Segall, and [my band] White Mystery out of their Fullerton, California storefront. They recently launched the Burger Buddy as a “Walkman”-style, handheld device so that more people can finally play the tapes they buy at shows, merch tables, or online.
The Burger Buddy is a sleek and groovy functional electronic novelty, branded with the blue Burger Records logo on a white plastic case and a package design by King Tuff artist Luke Thomas.
Beyond its retro look, what is most remarkable about the Burger Buddy is its innovative, 21st-century operation. It can be used as an on-the-go, battery-operated personal tape player (with bundled earbuds) or as a party gadget that can be plugged into speakers. Additionally, the 3.5 x 4.5 inch device can convert music from cassettes into MP3s directly onto your flash drive in a fairly simple fashion.
For DIY musicians, the value of tape-to-digital file conversion is priceless. Remember that drawer full of old practice tapes, precious mixtapes, and concert bootlegs? The Burger Buddy allows you to share that audio with the digital world.
I was wary that this amazing process might require special software, so I was delighted to find that the Burger Buddy comes with a USB cord that connects directly to a flash drive. That means that all you have to do is insert a memory stick into the Burger Buddy’s chord, and press a couple buttons in either manual or auto mode to convert your cassette contents into digital tracks.
Another amazing feature of the Burger Buddy is that it powers up when plugged directly into your computer (via that same USB cord). You can still use AA batteries when you’re on the go, or save that battery life when the device is tethered to your computer.
For the price, the Burger Buddy is a fun electronic appliance that goes beyond standard tape playing to convert cassettes into digital files. Monetize those old demos on Bandcamp, yal! Plus, the bundle includes a limited edition compilation featuring feminist superhero Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill.
The player is currently sold out, but according to Burger Records, they’ll be back in stock by the holidays, with new art from Luke Thomas and a cassette compilation. More information can be found here.
Burger Buddy by Burger Records:
Design of the device and packaging is beautiful
Innovative features include straight to flash drive tape-to-MP3 conversion
Includes a limited edition tape cassette compilation of various artists
Ability to skip AA batteries and use the USB cord to charge it through a laptop
Sound quality is really good through headphones and speakers
Earbuds included are nice, and fit correctly with good sound quality
The green light is cute and alerts you when the device is working
Device itself is fragile so make sure you handle it carefully
Wish it had an eject button instead of the manual open and close
Be careful with the battery door because it is delicate
Play button text is upside down
No internal microphone or speakers
Manual recording method worked fine but auto mode was more challenging