I would like to save and load BASIC programs with my TI-99/4A. The TI-99/4A can be connected to a cassette recorder for this purpose. Buying a cassette recorder and cassette tapes seems unnecessary by modern means. Is it possible to use the official TI Dual Cassette adapter to load and save data to a smartphone or other modern digital recorder/playback device?

  • Should be possible. Have you done a web search for circuitry used to do this with other early home computers that used audio cassette recorders for storage? Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 7:37

2 Answers 2


Any cassette tape system which can utilize a standard cassette tape recorder can be plugged into any audio device, with sufficient quality, and will work.

You can record saved files with any audio recording app and load it back in by playing it back. I know this is regularly done on the Apple II, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, and Tandy Color Computer systems, and surely many others.

This cannot be done (at least easily) on Commodore or Atari 8-bit computer systems because the cassette tape recorder has special circuitry which makes it incompatible with standard cassette tape recorders or other audio devices.

  • 2
    The standard TI cassette adapter breakout is three connections. Remote, ear, and mic. Should I just assume switching the adapter around everytime to use with a digital source? Without volume and tone issues? I'd like to know before ordering a cassette cable adapter over a 9 pin D-sub breakout. Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 8:17
  • If your digital source is like a smart phone with a single 3.5mm jack for headphones and a microphone then I think you might need an additional passive adaptor when saving from the computer. Possibly grab something like amazon.com/UGREEN-Headsets-Separate-Headphone-Microphone/dp/… and just keep a single cable connected?
    – Tommy
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 14:43

I have tried to save or load from a smartphone and PC. These don't record well. However the audio file from tape may be processed on PC. Audiotap and CS1er are examples of software for the TI. I have tried successfully to use an MP3 player (including through Bluetooth) to play wav files. A repossitory for wav files is at whtech: https://computerarchive.org/files/mirror/ftp.whtech.com/Cassettes/ Good luck !

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    Welcome to Retrocomputing Stack Exchange. Could you add a bit more information about how they "don't record well". Is there a low signal-to-noise ratio? Does the MP3 compression blitz important frequencies or mess up the phase? Is the amplitude too low, effectively reducing the sample precision?
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 17:25
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    @wizzwizz4 - The TI uses frequency modulation with two very well separated frequencies, and is phase independent, so MP3 shouldn't bother it at all. Given behaviour of other systems, I'd guess amplitude is the most likely issue.
    – Jules
    Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 18:18

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