I bought this for about ten pounds at Tesco, but I´ve paid rather more than this in the past. It´s a great idea, which allows you to play your iPod through your car stereo using the tape deck. You plug the jack into the iPod and put the tape in as you usually would, and play music as normal. It comes out through your stereo, and you can listen to all your music in the car.
On the face of it, this seems like a really good system and a really good design, and when it´s working, it really is. However, this build quality is quite poor, and in the last few years, I´ve been through four of these - the old, dead ones are gathering dust in my glove compartment while number four gets its turn. The problem seems to be with the wire - it isn´t attached all that well to either the cassette or the jack, so after a few months of regular usage, it starts to come away, and once the wires inside are exposed, it doesn´t take long for it to stop playing. At first it´ll just be hard to get it playing properly, but then it´ll stop almost completely. Because of this, it´s hard to recommend the product, as it doesn´t last long.
However, when it does work, it´s great. It´s very easy to set up and produces good, if not great sound quality, so long as you have the iPod volume higher than the stereo volume, which tends to distort the sounds and songs. It´s great to have access to all your music on the go, and this is a fuss-free system that´s easy to unplug and store away when you stop for a break or get wherever you´re going.
All in all, then, I really like this product, but it´s just a shame that I´ve been through so many. When you´re paying over a tenner, I think it seems like poor value when you need to replace them every six months or so, depending on how much you use them. Perhaps if you´re really careful with them, they´ll last longer, but I think something like this should be tougher, and the cord should certainly be stronger. Because of this, I wouldn´t recommend the product.
Since the MP3 revolution the biggest problem that music lovers have had is trying to get the music from your MP3 player to play in your car. There are a few alternatives and all have there pro's and con's. I have found this device to be the most useful if you have a tape player to play the music in your car.
The device is unbelievably simple to use, you plug the wire into the MP3 player and the tape into the player. The music automatically plays and that's it.
The sound is good (although its advisable to turn the stereo up and the MP3 player down as it goes fuzzy if the volume on the MP3 player is too high). You won't get clear sound like a CD but the difference is hardly noticeable.
The only obvious problem is that if you have a CD player you are stuck and this is useless but a lot of cars have tape players and this is the ideal way to enjoy your music while you drive.
Since all of my music is now in MP3 format and contained on my I-Pod I wanted to be able to listen to my I-Pod in my car through the car speakers and not through headphones.
There are fully integrated package solutions available, such as the Denison Ice, but these are very expensive to buy and require specialist installation adding to the expense. I also noted that this solution is permanent and does not allow it to be changed between cars, this in my opinion, is a major disadvantage.
I remembered the in-car solutions for personal CD players that consisted of a cradle to hold the CD player, often made out of a bit of flexi steel with a platform on top of it and Velcro stuck to that. To get the CD playing through the car speakers there was a cassette tape with a wire attached that was plugged in to the CD player headphone socket.
Since my car had a tape player I though that the above would be a great solution.
There are numerous cassette tapes with the headphone wire available on the market and these vary greatly in quality and in price. A cheap version can be had for as little as a pound from Ebay but this is a cheap Chinese piece of crap with really poor quality. Alternatively you could spend over £10 on a 'branded' item that is much better quality.
Going for a cheap version would prove false economy since I would only end up buying a more expensive branded product, so I purchased the Belkin tape solution in the first instance.
The Belkin cassette adaptor works with all I-Pods, regardless of the type, be it nano, shuffle, classic or touch. It can also be used with all other MP3 players, including those that a basically a flash drive.
In fact, this product is compatible with all music players with a headphone socket.
Simply plug the cassette adaptor in to the headphone socket of the I-Pod and put the cassette in the cassette player of the radio. Turn on the I-Pod, select the track and hey presto, it is now being played through the car speakers.
There is no tuning, no messing around and no faffing about. It is really simple.
****Sound and quality****
The quality of the sound is dependent upon the quality of the radio unit and speaker set up in your vehicle, to a certain extent. It should be noted that the best you can expect is that of a cassette tape, which by today's standards is pretty useless.
You can hear the whine of the tape as the cassette spins which is annoying especially at lower volume levels.
****Price and availability****
The Belkin cassette adaptor cost £12.10 from ebuyer.com, although it is available from many other places. Before buying I would recommend carrying out an internet search as you could probably find a good deal.
Whilst reasonably cheap this product, in my opinion, is not worth buying as it does not represent value for money.
The I-Pod has great sound quality, even through its headphones, and by plugging it in to a cassette adaptor it reduces the quality of sound right down to that of the tape cassettes I used to buy back in the 1980s. It is a real shame.
Now I am used to the quality of CDs, MP3' etc a cassette tape just doesn't cut it.
When using this product you need to find the most suitable volume levels. Too quiet and you can hear the tape churning round and round in the radio unit. Too loud and the quality is so poor that there is loads of distortion. If you find the sweet spot, which can take a bit of trial and error, then it is ok.
I would not recommend this type of solution to anyone. The FM transmitters do not cost that much more and appear to work a lot better.