Cassette adapters that allow you to plug your mp3 player into your car cassette deck are a cheap and viable alternative to buying a new sound deck with a media port included however I couldn’t believe the difference in sound quality between some of these units!
I started off with a cheap unbranded universal adapter that I picked up from Asda (I say cheap….It was actually £7 and have since found the same ones on line for like £1.50).
I thought that these devices were pretty simple and therefore there wouldn’t be much difference between one manufacturer and the next. Was I totally wrong!
The cheap adapter suffered from several issues:
1. An annoying background hiss even at the lowest volumes
2. The Bass would completely disappear at higher volumes leaving tinny treble sound
3. the sound output was biased towards the left hand side of the stereo output meaning I had to offset the car stereo balance to compensate.
So I decided to do some research on whether I could get a better adapter.
I found this helpful review http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/fall-2005-cassette-tape-adapter-shootout/ from back in 2005 which named the Sony CPA-9C adapter as the best of the bunch.
I then found a later review on the same website http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/philips-ph2050w-mp3-cd-cassette-adapter/ which named the Philips PH2050W as an even better adapter.
A quick google and I found that the price of these was around £12 except for one seller who was selling two brand new ones for £6??!! (Cheaper than the “Cheap” one I owned and a spare one included!).
I ordered and plugged in and WOW, what a difference! No background hum, No left right balance offset, big deep booming bass and immediately noticeable sound quality improvement.
The Philips PH2050W cassette adapter is by far the best adapter to use. This technology is getting old now and is no longer being developed but if you do have cause to require one, get on google and track a Philips unit down. Its well worth it!