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To Be Seen and Not Heard
Oct 27, 2005
Review by Guy Techie
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Looks good, solidly built, conveinent way to change wire position
The Bottom Line: Stay away, unless all you like to listen to is mid and bass.
I needed a cassette adaptor for a company car that has a cassette deck so I can listen to tunes stored on my iRiver H320 MP3 player. It would be a relatively long drive, and where I buy such a cassette adaptor has to be within walking distance. Walgreens is in every corner, and no doubt its presence in front of me was real. So I walked in.
Recommend this product?
They only had one make and model: The Maxell P-10 Cassette Adaptor for iPod. Since CD Players are last decade, they are now marketing it for MP3 players (at least this one was marketing specifically for iPods). Because of their need to play on iPod owner's emotions, the P-10 looks very attractive for such a mundane device.
I had to have the person at the counter break out the shears to get the package open. There was no way for me to open it with my bare hands once I left the store and hopped into the car. It is pretty much hermatically sealed in plastic, like a collector's unopened toys.
Quite simply, it's just the adaptor and nothing else but flashy and attractive cardboard to get your attention in a store rack.
Though there is not much to call features, I did find a few details worth noting.
Because different tape decks have different orientations for tape insertion, the adaptor needs to be adaptable (no pun intended). The cord must be able to escape from the deck to your music-producing device. As such, the P-10 has a pretty elegant way of doing so. You just lift the top part of the adaptor and now you can position the wire any where you please - left, right, or top-center. No tools needed! This is unlike other adaptors that require a coin or a screw driver. Even worse - some do not even allow you to re-position the wire, assuming that all tape decks require the wire to exit to the right.
Also another note-worthy detail - the magnetic head emitters (the thing that contacts the tape deck's head) are made to emitt signals to BOTH sides (side 1 and 2) of the tape deck head, so it shouldn't matter what direction the tape deck is playing. Of course it is pretty redundant because Maxell designed the tape reels to go only one way. If you reverse the direction, it just stops, causing a tape deck with auto-reverse to change sides anyways.
The white exterior matches the standard iPod's look, and can be counted as the little details that adds up. The fit and finish is also very solid, and has Maxell's logo attractively adorned on the A side. Instructions on how to use and change wire positions are adorned on the B side.
The headphone mini jack is a straight plug, which is much more convienent than the angled plugs used in most other mini jack devices. Of course, this is a personal choice.
All looks and no talent is probably Maxell's philosophy when they designed the P-10. The initial impression was that the P-10 was a solidly built adaptor with thoughtfully designed features. However, once you popped the adaptor into the tape deck and attach the headphone jack to your iPod (or CD player, or in my case, my iRiver), the results are muffled sound and lots of hiss. It seems that high frequencies are butchered from the signal, and the high hiss is from the tape deck itself. Using Dolby NR only reduced the internal hissing, but the music still sound muffled.
I tried to remove the adaptor and reinsert it a couple times and it did not help. I even tried reversing the direction, but that didn't work - the tape deck just auto-reverses. Even putting the B side in top-side produced the same results.
I promptly returned the device and Walgreens refunded me the insane price of 22.99 for this adaptor. The price is insane considering most adaptors cost about $10.
In fact, I thank CVS that they were only a block away, and I bought a Phillips/Magnavox branded adaptor that came with a 12v car adaptor as well. The price for said combo? $19.99! About $3 cheaper than Walgreen's crappy Maxell that didn't even come with the power adaptor!
In fact, the Phillips adaptor sounded much better with the trebble all there. The hiss was there too, but it was the same with the Maxell P-10. Turning on Dolby NR fixed most of it.
I will review the Phillips/Magnavox adaptor in the near future. In the mean time, I cannot recommend the Maxell P-10 Cassette Adaptor, even if it's "for iPod" users.
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