The HC-TT Human Controlled Tape Transport Is Like The Love Child Of Turntablism + Musique Concrète


Developer Eric Pitra let us know about an interesting new instrument that he’s created for real-time performance with cassette tape.

The HC-TT Human Controlled Tape Transport is a compact cassette manipulation device that lets you play a cassette tape with your hand, similar to how you scratch a vinyl record.

Sound is only produced while your hand is turning the single black knob. By turning this knob you are rotating the cassette spindle moving the tape across the internal tape head.

It’s ike the love child of turntablism and musique concrète, letting you ‘scratch’ cassette audio recordings and more. 

Here’s a brief video demo:

The knob can play a regular cassette in the forward direction and a homemade cassette loop in either direction. The blue switch is a momentary mute for both stereo channels. There is no motor in this device. It does not record, only outputs pre-recorded audio from a cassette. 


  • Etched aluminum enclosure (4.7″ x 3.7″ x1.5″)
  • Large “playback” knob (directly moves a regular cassette in the forward direction and a homemade cassette loop in either direction)
  • Cassette tape opening along front edge (lift playback knob, slide in tape, reseat knob shaft into cassette spindle)
  • Blue momentary mute switch with spring return
  • Stereo L/R volume knobs
  • 1/4″ outputs (Stereo L/R)
  • 1/8″ outputs (Stereo L/R)
  • 9v power supply
  • Shipped with one randomly selected old cassette tape

The Human Controlled Tape Transport is available now for US $260.

17 thoughts on “The HC-TT Human Controlled Tape Transport Is Like The Love Child Of Turntablism + Musique Concrète

  1. Agreed, a different wheel would make this infinitely more useable. It would be cool to have a weighted wheel like the moog source and have a divit in the knob surface like the JX8p, MKS70. Even add a crank arm attachment like the OP-1 offers.

  2. It’s funny how long I listened to that before realizing it was a loop. I’m dumb.


    Cool idea- especially if it was somehow possible as a hack to an existing cheapo deck. But as a $260 purchase, it will go to a very dedicated group of tape loop lovers.

  3. Would be nice if the knob was weighted like a capstan flywheel. That way you could give it a quick spin and it would keep going for a while.

    1. Wait a second…

      I’m imagining a piece of recording tape attached to a violin bow, pulled across a tape head. Is that what you did? There must be an old walkman lying somewhere in this place… I’ve got to try this!

      1. I did the bow and head thing back in the early 80s. Inspired by Laurie Anderson, of course. It was tough to get anything good out of it. The best I managed was with Broadway Melody of 1974 on the tape.

  4. Book: handmade electronic music

    It pretty much covers all basic stuff needed to play credit cards and tapes, using tape heads

  5. dude this would have been sick to have a little bit bigger wheel so you could actually scratch with it! this is pretty sick still…

  6. I’m curious as to why this can advance the tape only forwards for conventional tapes, but both forwards and backwards for a tape loop.

    1. Cassette tapes are designed with a forward motor that moves one wheel and a reverse motor that drives the other. Only one is engaged at a time and tape tension is maintained simply because it is always being pulled.

      Doing this type of scratching with a tape loop works because there’s no excess tape at either end. With a standard cassette though, the excess tape would bunch up at one end, which would cause problems.

  7. This really begs for a scrub wheel, and it’s a pity that the designer did not think of it.
    Basically a good idea with an oversight in the design, because the current knob simply is the wrong choice.

  8. it’s shame this thing is not open source, I would love to build mine, if someone has tutorial or schematic of similar things I would be glad to get it !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *