Sound Advice: Ways to have a cassette player in your car

March 4, 2012 3:19 pm

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Question: I bought a new car that I absolutely love, except that it does not have a cassette player. It has a hard drive that stores music, CD player, USB port and auxiliary port in the center console and satellite radio, but no cassette player! I enjoy listening to audiobooks on long drives and I can obtain them very inexpensively on tape. Why don't they put cassette players in cars any more?

JUDY FRANK
Ridgeland, S.C.

Answer: Few cars have cassette players because the demand is no longer there. Few people use cassettes these days and even digital physical media (such as compact discs) is not as prominent as it once was. Fortunately, there is an easy and comprehensive solution.

You can plug most anything with a headphone output into the auxiliary port by using a miniplug-to-miniplug stereo cable. A portable Walkman-like cassette player can be connected to play your cassettes. Just make sure you turn the volume up on the player to about 75 percent so it sends a strong enough signal for your car stereo to amplify. If you turn it to the maximum, you will probably hear distortion because the player itself is causing it.

Of course, portable players require power, usually batteries, which would not be convenient. Your car's USB port can come to the rescue here and power the cassette player.

If you look online, you will find a number of portable cassette players with USB connection. They sell for less than $25. Connect the USB port on the player to the car to provide power and the miniplug cable from the player 's headphone output to the auxiliary input to provide the signal, and you have effectively added a cassette player to your car at minimal cost. Just select AUX as your source, not USB.

Two of my cars have a USB port and an auxiliary jack in the center console. I purchased a "USB Portable Cassette to MP3 Converter Tape-to-MP3 Player with Headphones" for $22 on Amazon and tested it on your behalf. It worked perfectly in both vehicles so I am sure it will work in yours as well. Just don't forget to buy a miniplug cable also as the player does not include one. Enjoy your audiobooks!

A must-have app for smartphone users: I've recently started using an app that has greatly enhanced my enjoyment of my iPhone and iPad. It works on Android and computers, too.

Photo Transfer App is $2.99 on the iTunes Store and Android Market. It makes exchanging photographs and videos between devices a snap.

First, install and start the app on both devices. Connect both devices to the same wireless network (Bluetooth is also supported) and select the photographs and videos to send. Photo Transfer App will then copy them to the desired device. The entire process could not be simpler. You can use Photo Transfer App to download to your computer as well. I use it to transfer pictures and videos from my iPhone 4S to my iPad.

A single purchase will allow you to install the app on multiple devices, so if you have both an iPhone and an iPad you only need to pay once. See it at www.phototransferapp.com.

Read product reviews by Don Lindich at soundadviceblog.com.
First Published 2012-03-03 23:21:12

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