Home > What Is Available > Operating Our Cassette Player

NLS: That All May Read

Operating Our Cassette Player


Our cassette player, known as a C-1, plays recordings at commercial speed and half commercial speed. NLS/BPH distributes its talking books on standard audio cassettes designed to play at half commercial speed and using four tracks. The NLS configuration can pack up to six hours of reading time onto one cassette. The C-1 side- and speed-selector switches enable readers to play cassettes created with the standard, commercial configuration as well as the NLS talking-book configuration. The C-1 player is shipped with a fully charged, rechargeable nickel-cadmium battery that will operate the player for about six hours after being fully charged. Simply plug the player into a standard household outlet to recharge it. Remember, you can always call your library about using the NLS/BPH player.

Using the Standard Cassette Player

You can operate the C-1 on its battery, or you can take the power cord from the recessed area in the back of the player and plug it into an electrical outlet. Here is a typical sequence for reading an NLS cassette talking book.

  1. Open the tape compartment door by pressing the eject key, far right and marked with a raised square.
  2. Insert the cassette, label side up, with the tape edge facing out. Seat the cassette by pushing it back until it clicks. Press the compartment door down until it clicks.
  3. Press and lock down the play key (green with a raised circle) to start the player. Adjust the volume slide switch (nearest the front edge of the player).
  4. Stop the player at any point by pressing the red key with a raised "x", first on the left.
  5. To review the cassette soundtrack, press rewind, the key between play and stop with the raised less-than sign, or arrow head pointing left.
  6. To advance the cassette soundtrack, press fast forward, the key between play and eject with the raised greater-than sign, or arrow head pointing right.
  7. To remove a cassette from the player, make sure it is stopped. Press the eject key, far right with a raised square. The tape compartment door will snap up, and the tape will pop free of its seated position. To play the next side, turn the tape over (print/braille label down), reinsert, seat in the door, and press the door shut. Then press the start key. After reading sides 1 and 2, rock the side selector switch to the right to listen to sides 3 and 4.


Switches and Buttons

Speed, volume, tone and side-selector switches are on the right of the player. Begin at the top of these controls, in the middle of the player as you face it, and you will find the following:

Variable Speed Control

Used to slow down or speed up the reading of the book. The voice of the narrator becomes distorted as the playback speed is changed.


A different sort of speed switch is just under the variable speed control. This is the speed switch that is used to match the speed of the player with the recording speed on the cassette. It is a rocker switch. Press, or rock it down, to the left (15/16) for our talking books. Press, or rock it down, to the right for commercial cassettes.

Side-Selector Switch

Another rocker switch, the side-selector switch enables readers to listen to both commercial and talking-book cassettes. Here are the things you should know about talking-book cassettes before you use the side-selector switch:

Tone Control

This slider switch raises (to the right) or lowers (to the left) the pitch of the narrator's voice.

Volume control

The volume control is also a slider. Louder to the right, softer to the left.

Battery Maintenance

To maintain battery life, the player should be played frequently unplugged, on battery. After several hours, up to six or until the battery fails, plug the player back into an electrical outlet to charge the battery. The player will operate, plugged in, while the battery recharges.

Do not remove the battery. As a nickel-cadmium product, it is toxic if not disposed of properly. If you suspect the player will not work because of battery problems, call the library serving you. They will arrange for a replacement player.

Library of Congress Home      NLS Home      Comments about NLS to nls@loc.gov

About this site      Comments about this site to the NLS Reference Section

Posted on 2011-01-10