Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Electronics Review: Philips Cassette Adapter

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great quality way to listen to your MP3 player through a cassette deck
Cons: None once I figured out the volume issue
The Bottom Line:
Initial concerns
Were just a volume issue
Adapter is great

I Almost Gave Up on This Cassette Adapter Too Soon

The first year I had my iPod Touch, I had a ton of fun using it for anything but music.  I recently realized how nice it would be to have all those songs at my disposal in my car.  But since my car doesn't have a built in way to connect to a MP3 player of any kind, that would mean buying some kind of adapter.  Being cheap, I decided to give the Philips Cassette Adapter a chance.  I wasn't impressed when I first got it, but now I love it.

This is your basic cassette adapter.  It looks like a cassette tape with a cord running out of it.  When mine arrived in its bubble casing, the cord was coming out the side.  Since I have a side loading tape player, that worked for me.  If I had a front loading player, I could have unscrewed the tape and moved the cord to a setting in the back.  The cord is a couple of feet long and features a stereo plug at the end to plug into the headphone jack on your MP3 player.  When the cassette is in the player and the MP3 player is turned on, the music from your iPod comes out of the speakers in your car.  I don't even pretend to know how it works, but it does.

I ordered mine on-line, knowing that with something priced at $8, you often get what you pay for.  When it came, I stuck it in my tape player, set the volume on my iPod in the middle, and adjusted the volume in my car to where I could hear it.  I was almost immediately convinced I had gotten what I paid for in quality.  I had to turn the volume on my car's stereo up to half way or higher to be able to hear it.  That meant I got lots of tape hiss coming out of my speakers.  The volume of the various songs was often quite different, and adjusting the volume was quite annoying.  And on several songs, I got this weird pulsing in the bass that was distracting.  It wasn't there on every song, but when it was there, it really bothered me.

I was all set to return it when I took a look at the directions.  That's when I noticed nothing about where to set the volume on your iPod.  I decided to crank up the volume on my iPod, plug it into my car stereo again and see what happened.  The difference was amazing.  I only needed to set the volume in my car to the same levels I've always used for my CDs.  The tape hiss was completely gone, and I haven't had the weird pulsing happen once.  Yes, the volume level between songs can still be there, but I have always guessed that this is probably a matter of changing a setting on iTunes or my iPod, and I just haven't managed to figure out what that setting is yet.  And the volume level differences are much less now than they were before.  I hadn't wanted to set the volume up so high because I'd heard that caused distortion.  That hasn't been the case at all.  I'm hearing CD quality music from this set up.

I'm also happy with the length of the cord.  There is plenty of length to sit it in my center consul without issues at all.  If I want to pass it to the back seat of my CR-V, the cord is stretched to the limit, but a passenger back there could pick a song.  I'm sure in a smaller car getting the iPod back to the back seat would be no issue at all.

It's been a couple of weeks since I discovered the problems I was having with the Philips Cassette Adapter were operator error.  Now, I'm thrilled with it.  I expect to be using it for a long time to come.

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