I drive quite a distance to work every day, and I just cannot find a radio station to suit me, I do like to have music on in the car though.
My current car has a CD Radio, so I have every option, however I have only had this car for a few months and my previous car, affectionately known as Chitty Chitty, as it was such an old car had a cassette radio in it.
The radio wasn't the best, signal always seemed quite weak and I haven't had an audio tape for years. The answer that was suggested to me, was to link up my Ipod to the radio and be able to play my Ipod through it and listen to it via the speakers of the car.
This was surprisingly easy - and that was a Car Cassette Adaptor. This particular one that I am reviewing came from Argos, and today (February 2013 it is £14.99) This seems quite expensive to me, I am certain that a couple years ago I paid a lot less for mine, possibly around £5, so it could pay to shop around.
They work very simply. The Adaptor looks, and is, exactly like an audio cassette, but with a cable coming out of the end. You very simply put the cassette into the cassette player in the car and with the cable connect it to the MP3 Player/Ipod. The connection head is the same as a headphone connector, so it fits exactly into the headphone socket - what happens then is the sound from the Music device is transferred into the car stereo and broadcasted back out via the speakers..
Very simple and totally ingenious.. You adjust the volume control as normal, via the car stereo and/or via the music device.. you use your music device to change tracks etc..
When you are not using the adaptor, as it is only a small cassette, rather than having an untidy cable dangling out of the car stereo it is small and compact enough to pop into the glove box of your car.
I have had a few of these adaptors over the years, they are not strong and sturdy, but I used mine constantly -day in, day out and I probably replaced it around every six months.. I find that the cable connection can weaken and eventually stop working. For £14.99 I would expect to get considerably more than 6 months worth of use, but I think that this useful little gadget has gone up in price of late and I know that I didn't object to spending £5 every now and again - it was a small price to pay to keep me from going mad listening to local radio adverts!
When I bought my 2nd hand car although I loved the actual car I was disappointed to find it came
with the original tape deck meaning I was stuck with listening to radio stations rather than having
my choice of sounds in my car.
As there was no audio input I couldn't use my MP3 player so when I seen this in the Argos book
it seemed like the answer to my lack of music. The cassette adapter can be used in your car
stereo to play music from an MP3 player or CD player.
The cassette adapter looks like a normal plastic cassette except there's no tape in it and it has
a wire with a 3.5mm plug attached to it which fits into your personal CD or MP3 player. The wire
sits in a groove around the cassette and can be placed to the left or right to suit which way the
tape goes into your cassette deck so you end up with a wire sticking out of the cassette slot on
your stereo that you plug into the headphone jack on your MP3 player.
Once you are ready to go you just press play on your cassette deck and on your MP3 player if
you want to skip tracks or change the album you have to use the MP3 player controls not the
ones on your stereo although the volume can be changed on either.
Getting a half decent sound from this depends on the stereo and the MP3 player used some
will leave you with a loud feedback buzzing noise that will drive you nuts and you have to get
the setting between the stereo volume and the MP3 volume just right to minimize the buzzing.
The instructions suggest the volume should be set around half way on the MP3 player but in
reality it really depends on your player. Both of our MP3 players have good sound quality
through earphones or speakers but gave mixed results with this so even if you have a good
quality MP3 player there's no guarantee it will work well with this
We found my Creative Zen worked best with only slight buzzing not really noticeable on a loud
rock track but the buzzing was definitely noticeable on a quieter track like a ballad.
With my partners Sony MP3 player the buzzing noise was really loud no matter how we set
the volumes on the stereo and MP3 player the buzzing noise was nearly as loud as the track
being played. The Sony player makes a beeping noise as you change the menus or skip a track
which is handy if you want to skip to a certain track number without taking it out of your pocket
and looking at the screen but when used with this the beep this was amplified through the car
stereo to an ear piercing level.
The next problem with this was getting it out of the stereo our car stereo doesn't have a source
button to switch between radio and cassette so to go back to radio you hit the eject button and
the tape should come out and the radio will start. Although we had used the stereo with no
problems with a couple of recorded audio tapes this adapter would not eject properly without
a number of attempts and after a couple of weeks use we couldn't get it out at all this meant the
only way to go back to radio was to put the cassette player onto fast forward or rewind.
My friend also has one of these and like ours it's now stuck in her stereo although hers does at least seem to sound far better than ours did so a lot depends on the stereo and the MP3 player it's used
I gave up after a few weeks with this and replaced the stereo with a CD player and the old stereo
went to the tip with the cassette adapter still stuck in it. This costs £14.99 from Argos and while it
might seem like a cheap solution to playing your MP3 player in the car you'd probably be better off
putting the cash towards a new or 2nd hand stereo that will let you connect your MP3 directly to it.
As some of you might already know, I drive around in a 1993 Nissan Micra (which loosely resembles a shed on wheels). My Micra came with a cassette player built into it and I usually use it to listen to either the radio, or the one cassette that I own - a 911 / All Saint mix!
One day my friend was in the car and she couldn't believe that I didn't have a cassette adaptor - she explained that it would provide me with a cheap way of listening to my iPod in the car via the tape player. This sounded like a great devise to me, so I got on the case and I managed to pick up a MP3/CD Car Cassette Adaptor from Argos for around £15.00.
I couldn't wait to try the devise out, so I opened the cardboard box and removed the adaptor from the plastic bag it came in. The adaptor itself looked quite old fashioned - the tape is black coloured and it has a wire coming out of one end with a jack on it.
This devise is quite simple to operate - you just attach the jack to your iPod, insert the cassette into your tape player and viola! Only it didn't quite work like that for me...
When I connected the equipment up I just heard a dim muffle and when I turned the volume up to the max - I could only just work out what song was playing (if bi listened closely). I was left pretty disappointed, because I was really looking forward to listen to my iPod via my car cassette player, so I asked my brother to take a look at it, in case I'd missed something really obvious that would fix the problem... but I hadn't, the cassette adaptor just wouldn't work in my car.
I know that some people have had good experiences with this product and it could be that my car is just too old to support the equipment, but unfortunately this was £14.99 wasted and I ended up taking it back for a refund.
Proceed with caution... and if you do decide to buy, keep your receipt handy!
Now when my dad sold me his old car it was firstly great because it was newer than my old car but also bad because it had horrors of horrors a tape player in it! Well now how was I suppost to play my favourite cds?
So I set about looking for an answer and I found this mp3/cd car cassette adaptor on ebay fro £2.99 it is an Argos product and in Argos it costs £14.99 so I had a bit of a bargain to start with. Well that seems simpler than having to remove the car stereo and fit a cd player I thought, I maybe a girl but I can do this myself but it takes time and i couldn't afford to fork out for a new cd player anyway my old one I had sold with my old car.
So how does this work - well it's simple all you have to do is plug it into the headphone hole (not sure what the real name is for it) of your cd player of mp3 player / ipod and then push the tape part into your tape player and dah dah thats it the music on your cd or mp3 player / ipod plays through your car stero system. The sound quality is perfect it plays just like any cd would and sounds the same as playing your music through your headphones.
This is a great product and is definatley simpler than having to mess around fitting stereos. The only downside is for long journeys your batterys may die and therefore you will have to go back to the radio. For me I have since purchased another product for playing my ipod over radio waves and it charges my ipod at the same time so thats better for longer journeys. This is still a great back up though.
4 stars for a fab product.
==Argos Car Cassette Mp3 Adaptor==
So, I have had both my old tape deck in my car and my ipod for quite some time now and both Himself and I had been contemplating going to our local stereo sound system shop to get an adaptor of some sort set into our dashboard so that we could set up our ipod to play in the car.
Obviously this particular shop we were thinking of going to is known to be expensive so it wasn't a job high on our priory list and we are not really in the car for that much during the week so we kept putting it off. Himself had moaned to people at work and they had just nodded in agreement of how naff it must be having only a radio and tape player in the car but gave no suggestions.
I also mentioned the situation to a few friends and no one was able to come up with any ideas as to how to solve this problem (or they really weren't listening!)
However after a longish drive out in the car, I was particularly fed up with our choice of music as the radio was playing a whole host of cheesy songs and our tape collection consists of Phil Collins "Genesis", Nancy Griffith "Lone Star State of Mind" and Lionel Ritchie "Back to Front".
However great these few albums are individually as a collection, they are poor by anyone's standards and do not give enough of a choice that hasn't been played over and over and over and over again!!!
Anyhow as I was particularly cross that day I decided on trying to find a type of DIY solution to my problem and searched all sorts of sites in a bid to solve this dilemma. However I hadn't realised that the answer to my problem was simple and under my nose the whole time! A Car Cassette Adaptor which was selling in Argos!
After waking up Himself due to my excitement (I was browsing the internet whilst unable to sleep due to the torment this problem was causing me) and him feigning some sort of interest I was eager to get to Argos the very next day.
Himself came with me after he had finished work and said that on mentioning this adaptor to the very same people he had been moaning about our dilemma to, they seemed to already be aware of such an item! Unbelievable! They also said that it might be for sale in Poundland which meant that we had to pop in to that store just in case they were selling one (they weren't).
So we headed over to Argos to pay out the £14.99 pence that this item was priced up at and had taken our ipod along with us to try it out as soon as we had the item in our little hands!
We were really of the opinion that such a simple item such as this would not work and if it did work them surely we would have heard of it before now
The item itself comes in a plain cardboard box and wrapped in a plastic bag. The item looks just like an old cassette but there are a few main differences.
This adaptor has a thin wire coming from one end of the tape (the end that isn't placed inside the deck) and this wire has a silver pin head attachment that fits into the bottom of the ipod. Simple.
The second difference between a regular cassette and this adaptor is that when looking at the side of the item where on a normal cassette there would be the dark brown tape on which the music would be stored whereas with this there is a small metal mechanism which I can say no more about because I haven't a clue how it works or really what it is.
The way you use this item is really rather simple in the fact that you plug the pin into the bottom of your ipod/Mp3 player and then push the cassette adaptor into the tape deck(non wired end in).
You can then turn on the stereo and choose your songs from the ipod/Mp3 player and away you go! It really is as simple as that.
A good thing with this particular one is that the cassette adaptor is black in colour as it the wire which comes from the item. This is the same colourings as our interior and tape deck which means that even with the wire handing out of the tape slot, it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb or look overly odd at all.
However as yet we haven't purchased an ipod/Mp3 holder to keep the player up on the dash board but it has to lay down in the coin compartment which makes it a little bit messier looking than having a little holder would do!
Okay so I have said where I got it, how much it cost, how simple it is to use and what it looks like but I guess the main question that I wanted to know when I was looking into purchasing this was "What is it the music going to sound like when being played this way?". Well the quick answer to this questions is "great".
I have to say that I thought there would be some difference in the sound but perhaps this was just me being naive because not really understanding how this item works I don't really know how the tape deck is using the music information.
However all I can say it that there is no difference from playing the radio to plugging in and playing our ipod. The sound is just as clear and I am sure that if we had the best speakers in our car that you could get then the sound would be as good as those good speakers as really this is what the sound is like, only as good as your speakers.
For us having mediocre speakers the sound is clear and goes up to an adequate level before any distortion takes place.
A good aspect is that you can still control the volume of the speakers through the ipod as you would do with a set of ipod speakers but this is not something that I would have expected using it via a cassette and of course this enables dual controls if you are in the passenger seat! Ha Driver!!!!
All in all I have to say that I can't believe we have gone on for so long without this product or even hearing about it. Everyone who has the old cassette deck in their car should know about these as fr the price they are great!
I do know that you can buy them for a lot cheaper on line (from as little as 99p) but because I am so impatient I couldn't wait for the delivery of it and had to rush to Argos!
I think it is more certainly a 5 out of 5 star product and I will give it an Exceptionally High Recommendation!
Many thanks for taking the time to read.
I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you.