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Cassette-Shell Sized MP3 Player/Recorder 214

octa-g writes: "USA Today tech reviews is featuring a nifty little cassette sized MP3 player that records analog audio. 'The Digisette Duo-DX can copy cassette tapes in a dual-well tape deck or boombox. Or you can make recordings by connecting an output cable from a stereo source to the Duo's earphone port and holding down the Duo's play and fast-forward buttons.' The ability to record audio straight to the player, or to record some of my old tapes/LPs to MP3 without a computer or other recording equipment intrigues me." This sounds like a good way to add fast-forward to the old car radio.
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Cassette-Shell Sized MP3 Player/Recorder

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  • The RIAA is likely to say that only terrorists would be likely to get such a device...
    • Yeah I mean how dare people take food out of the mouths of artist who put their sweat and blood into those LP's. Like Elvis, or Buddy Holy, or ...

    • Ahhh, they list "SDMI Compliant" and "Upgradable, supports DRM" in the "features" section, so the RIAA will probably consider them an "approved device." ... not a pair of features I want ... I found a 32MB model for $60. I'm not sure I want it, simply because of the SDMI/DRI stuff.

    • Yeah, where do you put the digital watermark to keep people from listening to it?
    • by rMortyH ( 40227 )
      SO now my tapedeck can eat my MP3's too!

      The question now is whether the RIAA will lobby for the right to remotely cause your tapedeck to eat your mp3s....

      Only for national security, of course!

  • This product (or one exactly like it) has been on the market for years now!

    How is this "News for Nerds?!"
    • I think I have seen These as well, however, none of the models I have seen have the input from casset player functionality.
    • a few years...

      I remember looking at one and saying wow.. this would be cool if it held more than 32mb of mp3's

      this just adds a few more 'features' such as analog audio and more memory.. still a neat product tho.

    • by Tin Weasil ( 246885 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @02:03PM (#4063054) Homepage Journal
      The unit you are refering to has been out for quite a while. The unit being reviewed here is actually quite new, and rather more advanced then what you are refering to.

      This particular device allows you to control playback with your tape deck audio controls, and if placed in a tape recorder, actually allows you to record directly to MP3. This could be a very nice function for college students recording lectures as they can transfer the lectures back to PC for archival purposes.

      This is actually a NEW (as in news) way to present the whole cassette-shaped MP3 player metaphor.
  • Is Slashdot now being paid to run stories for products? I hope not, but honestly, I can see no other reason for this story being on Slashdot....
    • Unix developers conference or homeless shelter? You decide
      At first glance, definitly a homeless shelter. However, upon second (and oh so sad) glance, I noticed the beer bottles on the table which are decidedly not allowed in most homeless shelters. With great shame I choose : Unix Developers Conference.
    • oh conspiracy theory... Let me say, there are GREAT tape decks in some real luxury cars (I even saw a nakamischi on Mercedes SL600) and those people doesn't like to change their decks.

      Conspiracy? lets go on, are you paid to post this comment on slashdot? or I am paid to post this reply to your comment? and if someone replies, is he/she paid to post reply? and so on

      Its a nerd device, slashdot is news for nerds and they make it story.
    • if so then there would at least be a link to the company selling these. I wanted to buy one because i always thought about getting something like that but now it was too much trouble to look up the url, no link no biz...
  • Google turns up several cassette sized MP3 players, including the RomeMP3 [romemp3.com] player.
    Still, the interface is a new thing, particularly being able to control it through standard FF/RW/Play controls on the tape deck.


    • I kinda like the idea that it will work either independantly, or if I'm at a party, I can stick it into the stero so everybody can hear. If it had some kind of display, it would be helpfull, but I guess you can't have everything.
    • ONly thing missing (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FreeLinux ( 555387 )
      The Rome that you linked to is seems better in that, you can FF/RW from the tape deck's controls. You also can have an LCD display. Finally, the review complained about the buttons being flush mounted, the Rome offering overcomes this issue.

      The only thing missing from the Rome offering is the abillity to record which will be important to some and not to others.

    • turns up several cassette sized MP3 players, including the RomeMP3 player.
      And there is another one on the market (perhaps only in Asia?) the MP WOW [mpwow.com] Both the RomeMP3 and the MP WOW are aparently originally from Korea.

      being able to control it through standard FF/RW/Play controls on the tape deck.
      Don't forget (as the clueless article of author noted) "Even the tone controls work" too. (How did this make it past the editor? Obviously the tone controls work since they are manipulating the analog audio stream that has already left the player)
    • Still, the interface is a new thing, particularly being able to control it through standard FF/RW/Play controls on the tape deck.
      No, the RomeMP3 DOES allow control through the standard FF/RW/Play controls on the tape deck.

      From the RomeMP3 Home Page [romemp3.com]:

      "Transform those fast forward and rewind features into skip features. The RomeMP3 can be inserted directly into your car deck and controlled with the car deck's controls!"
  • What's the point of having a digital device and not keeping it digital?
    • I think the point is to have the added benifit to be able to do I/O with the older analog systems... you know.. backward compatibility. Personally I wouldn't mind being able to do that and convert my casset collection to digital form with ease and not having to bother with wiring my casset player to my PC.
      • i'm sure RIAA will love this...

        now people will stop buying cd's and just buy tapes and copy them with this thing... kinda hard to copy protect tapes. I guess if the idea cauht on well enough we will see no more tapes for sale and cd's will then cost about $28 a piece.

    • No device is completely digital, our ears our analog devices. So all digital audio systems must convert to analog at one point... :-)
      • there are some systems that you can setup like... hmm total 1 cm analogue part.

        Er, CD sends digital data (raw,optical s/pdif) to digital equlizer, equlizer sends s/pdif to speakers via digital (laser) cable and those amps in those speakers perform the amp job and send analogue signal via 1cm pure gold cable.

        Well, for digital lovers, not me.
      • Not so!

        The RIAA is secret planning a new music delivery system which is implanted directly into your skull! With wires connecting directly to your brain, they will use a digital representation of sound waves to trigger nerve cells to fire and thus reproduce the sound with crystal clarity.

        Satellite delivery of digital music data will beam directly into the small dish-shaped implant in your forehead (the dish may be spray-painted flesh-tone to account for ethnic asthetics).

        Incorperated into this system is a sophisticated digital rights management system "BrainSTRAIN" (Brain Secure Transmission And Integrated Metering). Should you fail to pay your BrainSTRAIN bill, the system, will beam country music to your, gradually increasing the volume until a payment is made.

        FORTUNATELY there IS a solution developed by Canadian hackers who have not yet come under the loathsome grip of the U.S. DMCA legislation.

        Using sophisticated Canadian engineering technology, an advanced signal-blocking device utilizing common, off-the-shelf hardware has been fabricated for cranial signal blocking.

        Referred to by experts as a "TinFoil Hat", this technology may be all that can save us from corporate broadcast tyranny.
    • Your car has a digital audio cassette system? The mp3 audio is naturally digital because there is no way to record an analog mp3. The system outputs analog audio because that's what ever cassette recorder expects to hear. Seems pretty simple doesn't it?
    • Re:analog audio? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pig Hogger ( 10379 )
      What's the point of having a digital device and not keeping it digital?
  • *boggle* (Score:5, Funny)

    by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @01:59PM (#4063013) Homepage
    This sounds like a good way to add fast-forward to the old car radio.

    ...brining it up to par with all the new car radios that have fast-forward pre-installed...

    "Honey, can you fast-forward NPR to 7:00 am? I want to see what my commute is going to be like tomorrow..."

    • This sounds like a good way to add fast-forward to the old car radio.

      Never did think those kay-sets had much of a future. Down here in the Bayou, we're wait'n on the 8-track version, so all us good ole boys can transfer our Roy Orbison collections. Ain' tha' right, Billy Bob?

    • Who cares if the tape can fast forward. I want the car to "fast forward". 0-60mph in, oh, 4 seconds or so will do just fine.
  • by CommieLib ( 468883 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @02:00PM (#4063017) Homepage
    Cool! Now if they can just make an track player in the shape of a CD, I'll be back in business, baby...
  • For atleast a year now! Still clumsy to use and face stiff competition from devices with more ease of use/Storage Space/and offer the same features one way or the other.

    (You can always plug an ipod or a competing device using a casette adapter)
  • maybe a month ago. cute looking but had some reservations. their bottom line:
    • Pros: Unique and compact form factor; record/encode into MP3; memory expansion slot
    • Cons: No status display; counterintuitive recording

    Their full review [techtv.com]
  • Okay, first, we have all seen this device before.

    Anyone have any idea how this little bitty (and pretty cheap) thing does real time MP3 encoding? From the article:

    Another feature allows the Duo to act as a recording device. Just insert the Duo into a cassette recorder and press the record button and it will convert an analog source into MP3 audio.

    I'm I just out of it, or is that pretty impressive?

    • Re:Real time enc? (Score:3, Informative)

      by tempest303 ( 259600 )
      Probably an ASIC - some hardware dedicated to doing just MP3 encoding. It's also probably CBR MP3s, which are much easier to encode quickly than VBR.

      So to answer your question, no, I wouldn't say it's all THAT impressive. ;)
  • Does anyone use an iPod or similar drive-based MP3 player while working out?

    I jog a few miles a day, and I'm thinking about getting an MP3 player because the radio reception where I'm at stinks (and having nothing to concentrate on but actually running makes a mile seem like an eternity). The iPod seems like a good solution, but I'm hesitant to get one because it uses a hard drive and I'm worried that the jostling will damage it in short order.

    The guy at the Mac store in my local mall said that it's not a problem and that people use the iPod for workout tunes all the time, but I'm not sure I believe him.

    Experience, anyone?

    • I bought one and during a downhill part of a 5 mile run the heads crashed into the platters.

      Those mac users lie.
    • I've worked out (running and rowing on an ergometer) with a Sony Walkman for five or six years, and this past April I got tired of buying AA's and making new tapes all the time, and switched to a 10 gig iPod.

      The iPod is light enough that I just carry it in my left hand while running, though I have a high tolerance for lugging around a five ounce object for an eight or ten mile run, due to years of doing the same with a heavier, larger Walkman.

      The only complaint I have is that the iPod crashes if I frequently skip songs while running. So you either have to stop briefly before skipping a track, or ensure there aren't any clunkers in your workout mix you feel you must fast-forward through.

      No problems with sweat or rain screwing up the player, despite daily use.

    • I went for a Nike PSA Play.
      I know it doesn't have HUGE capacity/etc. but you can NOT beat the design of the thing. Plus it's nice that (at least the one I have) it comes with an arm band which for me at least is a much more convenient way of carrying the damn thing.
      It's small, fairly water resistant, and so far has done very well accidentally being droppped/kicked/abused in other ways not mentionable around the gym.
      That's the big thing for me. I'm a clutz, especially around my 9th set for the day. I like something that's fairly impact resistant.
    • I suggest you go to Google Groups [google.com] and search for group:rec.running ipod [google.com]. This question is almost a FAQ there.

      As an unscientific recollection of past threads, a minority of people seem to have problems with it, but most don't. Multiple people have recommended slowing to a walk and punching forward and then back a few tracks, forcing the disk to spin up and fill the cache so you can run for another 10 minutes without any disk activity.

    • Frankly, I love my Philips Expanium 503. Its an mp3-cd player, got it to go on my trip to France and Britain. Doesnt skip, unless you sit there and smack the crap out of it for several minutes, and once you burn several cds you've got limitless music options. Theres also a 401 and 411 model line that uses 8cm cds, made especially for joggers and such. Only 3 hours of music versus the 10hr on a fullsize cd, but smaller and more convenient. Check them out at http://www.audio.philips.com/list.asp?special_keyw ords=expanium+CD+portable

      Oh, and I use Alkaline rechargeables in mine...they last for a good loooong time even with the shock protection on. Just plan on getting better earphones, the ones that come with philips products suck.

      My friend at work who had just got an iPod saw mine, and really wanted it. Especially since it only cost me $130 on sale at Circuit City.
    • I've been running with an ipod for about 6 months now with no problem whatsoever besides the occasional but rare skip, which is quite impressive considering I hold the ipod in my hand instead of using a clip or case.
    • Here's what I suggest. Go to eBay and get a rio 500. They're going for $50. Here are some of the reasons why...

      1) Full VBR and all bitrate MP3 support
      2) Great command line linux utilities to transfer mp3s
      3) upgradable firmware (the latest versions add some great features)
      4) SmartMedia support
      5) Long battery life
      6) it's $50
      7) lasts forever
      8) never skips or fades
      9) fast USB transfer. It only takes 2-3 minutes to change music with the linux utilities.

      I put a 64 meg card in mine (giving me 128 megs of space), and with a good encoder (such as LAME ABR) 3 cds worth of music will sound just fine.

      Don't bother with the included windows software though. It's really bothersome. There's a project called rio500 remixed that can interface much better.

      I run for 24 minutes at a time, so I never even come close to running out of tunes. You don't need a hard drive unless you're running across the country.

  • Who wants to listen to those? Who wants to re-record that quality?

    Who even HAS those? Mine or melted or were sold at the garage sales.
    • Lets compare a Nakamichi dragon deck (dolby C,hxpro) using a metal TDK tape with your cool Taiwan made "sony mechanism" deck.

      Dare? .)

      I know CD's taken over but err, be careful while bitching about cassettes.
  • for a portable 8-track/mp3 player. Now that'll be a real invention!

  • TechTV? (Score:2, Informative)

    This thing was on TV back in June...

    http://www.techtv.com/screensavers/products/stor y/0,24330,2398475,00.html

    Link [techtv.com]
  • Great, another 32MB MP3 player. Gee, a guess I gotta go get another one to sit in a drawer, because this new 32MB model will be so much better than the 32MB models from the last couple years, especially since it will play cassette quality audio in a cassette player. That's innovation, and dammit, that's what consumers want.
    • What no complaints in the last 30 seconds about my technical spec fauz pas? Lazy ACs.
    • I disagree (Score:4, Informative)

      by Catskul ( 323619 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @02:37PM (#4063297) Homepage
      I use a cassette adapter to listen to mp3s (and the rest of the audio coming from my computer) and the sound is crystal clear. The low quality of sound you are refering to comes from the magnetic tape itself, not the tape player, so this player should be capable of high quality output. And as the previous post stated, it holds 96 MB and is upgradable to 160... Which is pretty decent. Read the article, maybe you would have caught that.
  • When the original one of those was released me and my friend were wondering if we could make a copy which was powered by the cogs moving the tape.
    We needed one of the Amulet chips [man.ac.uk] which were silly low power and no power consumpton between playing samples.
    But instead I decided to make one powered by a hamster [man.ac.uk].

  • Nice gadget, really. On the other hand, I doubt I'd buy one as I don't have a lot of tapes. And for car radios, there are cheap adaptors around.
  • more functionality? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AlanMJones ( 595762 )

    What if it could simultaneously record and playback?! How about TiVo for radio?
  • A VHS video casette which has a slot to place a mini DVD.
    It will play DVDs through your video maachine.

    And it would have to be powered using dinamos from the turning of the tape.

    • heh would be amazing... imagine an engineer getting that idea from this post and actually making it.

      Would you go mad if you see him being a billionaire that way? :)

      (it can be done if a simple problem could be fixed... the size of VHS tape *g*

      Besides jokes, if you can put the DVD to exactly TOP of the cassette, it could be fixed too, just "anti dust" cover of video won't be closed, not a big dealk.
    • I think the only problem is size at this point. The DVD is the same size/bigger than the VHS disk.

      However, the size of the electronics isn't an issue, really. There already exist DVD players with very small footprints and integrated LCD screens that could be adapted to this purpose. Then you'd need a VERY thin strip of magnetic tape in the front, and a record head on one end and an erase head on the other to take the decoded video+audio stream and write it where the VCR can read. Obviously this extra equip is needed, because the VCR can't handle an MPEG stream.

      At this point, you'd have a DVD player in a box...but the cost of the electronics and licensing for said algorithms would cost easily as much as a set-top DVD player to begin with. It might even cost MORE because of the engineering necessary -- not to mention the fact that it will look like pure crap having been decoded and re-encoded twice, before being put into magtape and decoded a 3rd time. That's about 3 format changes right there -- none of which are perfect.
    • Because such a device will need a lot of power to operate (disc spinner + class 1 LASER) while you don't need a lot of power to read and write to an MMC card?
    • I know you are just going for the whole reduce-to-absurdity thing, but here's a thought: a VCR-Cassette-sized digital PVR. Then you could digitally record a show off the air, and watch it in the El Cheapo VCR at the lake cabin.

      Okay, that's still kind of lame... but like George Carlin once said, "if you nail two things together that have never been nailed together before, some schmuck will buy it from you!"

  • "Another feature allows the Duo to act as a recording device. Just insert the Duo into a cassette recorder and press the record button and it will convert an analog source into MP3 audio."

    Well, given that mp3's are relatively small, and radio broadcast quality is relatively low, then time shifting shouldn't be too difficult to do (especially when you got ram cards that can do 128 megs and be a bit larger than a stamp and much thinner than this cassette). Wow, that would be quite the product. Put it in your car, turn on the radio and the timeshift cassette. Let it go for like 5 min, and just listen without commercials. Or record your daytime radio show. Or record that one song that you just cannot find the name or artist of (since the station i listen to never ever ever announces who sung it or what it was).

    Damn, now if you could get a radio that did all this out of the box... that would be worth buying.

    Of course, now the RIAA is going to be annoyed by time shifting.
    • Sony had (years ago - it may still exist) at one point an in-dash Minidisc recorder.

      It was programmable with timers and such to record specific shows on specific stations, but MD lacks the simutaneous play-and-record TiVo-like functionality.
  • The only place I could see using this is in a car that only has a cassette deck. Even then, you could replace the cassette with an in-dash MP3 cd player for about fifty dollars more. I also really can't see fast-forwarding through 160 megs of Mp3's. Random acess, baby...
  • Cassette type MP3 players have been out for nearly two years now.

    Why is this "news"?

    P.S. 8-track fromat is dead - I'll submit the article later OK?
    • Yeah, but those were pretty useless because all they did was play back. This one actually allows you to record, which it then digitizes. Still not that useful, but if you were trying to record a seminar/interview or something and were just going to convert it to MP3 anyway, this'd be the easiest way to go.
  • ...when you can just hook up a tape deck to your computer and record to an actual cassette.
    • You're missing the point, bozo!

      #1, it takes AGES to copy all the songs you want to your cassette, and god forbid you left IM noises or something on and someone bloops you an IM.

      #2, you can fit more than one cassette's worth of songs on something the same size.

      #3, i'm sure this thing has better quality (mainly because it doesn't rely on a thin film coated with magnetic particles to store data....
      • I don't think #3 is an accurate assesment. If you've ever used metal tape with a prosumer or better tape deck, you'd know that the quality is excellent- and when everything is new, it (in my opinion) surpasses CD in quality, let alone mp3. Analog means it doesn't have to pass through a DSP or a DAC to be recorded/played.

        The problem with tape is that it degrades with use. New tapes with good decks? No problem at all. DATs are nicer in terms of this in that the quality remains much longer, but then when they do begin to degrade, you're going to notice it (old analog tapes just start sounding progressively worse, they don't drop out).

  • It sucks, unless there's a model for 8-tracks, cause my '69 pinto doesn't have the juice to run a whopping tape drive.

  • What the heck?... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OmniVector ( 569062 )
    Is it just me or do i speak for everyone when i say STOP RELEASEING THIS RETARDED FLASH MEMORY BASED MP3 PLAYERS. i do NOT want to hear the same 10 songs over and over. The best you can get in flash right now is 256mb i think, and you will pay out the *ass* for that much flash memory. I think the iPod and the nomad proved that hard disk based mp3 is the way to go, because i won't touch another mp3 player for the rest of my days unless it's at least 5 gigs.

    ok i'm done ranting..
    • But an ogg player with 640k, that would be something!
    • Where have you been? There's been 512 MB and 1 GB Compact Flash available for a while now. Granted, it's not your whole collection, but it's a nice sized chunk. More then sufficient for running around town. Also, the beauty of compact flash is it's small enough that you could even make a player with stacked slots and still have something the size of an ipod or smaller. I personally think the iPod is what I want for a MP3 player. The kicker here is not the capacity....it's the firewire. USB is slow compared to it. Takes a couple minutes for me to load the 64 MB card I have in my e740 with 10 tracks. I can't begin to believe how long it woiuld take for something larger. Firewire makes it very speedy. Can't wait to get one of my own (5 gig would be fine, 10 GB better....as I would have room to expand....right now everything fits in 5 GB on my machine). What I wish would happen is someone....anyone to make an iPod or a [layer for pocket pc that plays oggs. I have tried pocket ogg on my e740 but it just locks up.
    • Toshiba libretto + 20GB hard drive = great portable multimedia machine

      It's even fast enough to play mpeg video at full screen with the new XVideo stuff in the neomagic driver.

      I wouldn't try to run with it, but it fits perfectly in the area just above my gearshift in the mazda protege. Couple that with an 'aux' adapter for the car stereo and I'm good to go (has anybody reverse-engineereed and created schematics for the hardware used to control/send messages from a kenwood head unit to cd-changer? being able to control the libretto from the head unit would be GREAT!)

      In addition, I can have maps/etc on other screens while driving to a destination. Very nice little setup without a lot of custom hardware/software (I just use xmms with my full collection queued at all times, and if there is a song I want to hear, just 'j' 'typetty typetty type' and I get the desired song)

  • I have posted links about Rome MP3 [romemp3.com] player - same as this, 1.5 years ago, but it my story was rejected. Do I have to get my story to big publishing warehouse, before it can show up on ./?
  • Have you ever used one of those cassette adaptors to play you cd player through a car cassette player? They suck. They work by having a cassette head placed next to the one in your car player and magneticly couple. The frequency response sucks and with some players you get lots of flutter and wow if the thing doesn't seat properly and moves around. If the adaptor isn't lined up just right, the thing sounds worse than an 8 track. I can just imagine how bad it will pickup for recording. An FM radio link would work much better.
    • you get lots of flutter and wow if the thing doesn't seat properly and moves around.

      Wow and flutter are expressed as percentages of variance from the ideally constant speed of the moving tape. Wow are the low-frequency variations and flutter are the high frequency ones (sort of a quivering). There are no moving tapes in the device(s) you're describing, so it seems to me that wow & flutter are not possible. Poor alignment and cheap components could certainly degrade the sound, but I don't think it's wow or flutter you're hearing.
  • well, i applaud their work and understand their practical market-driven motivation. however i do not think the cassette metaphor (linear access) is the best way to navigate data of any kind, including music. one really wants constant time random access.

    i think what is really needed is some interface innovation to help people manage thousands of hours of music available from their car stereo in a random access fashion. that's what's holding back car mp3 imho. maybe voice control is the best way, given the attentional demands and safety concerns inherent in driving.

    -- p
  • For all those who like to listen to CDs on the road, but haven't found a good, clean solution - this is what you've been waiting for. My car, like many others in its price range, has a cassette deck but no CD player. I don't feel like springing for an in-dash MP3 player yet. The typical solution is to get a CD/mp3/whatever player with a car kit and 12VDC cigarette-lighter adapter. While this works, it leads to the "messy dash" syndrome mentioned in the article, possibility of breakin and theft, and the clincher: it requires user interaction to operate. My current setup requires me to 1) Start the car, 2) Open the glovebox where my mp3 player is, 3) Push "play", and wait a few seconds for it to "boot up", then finally 4) continue driving. If I want to put the player on "shuffle" or something, it takes even longer. It's a small annoyance, but enough of one that I finally decided to rip it all out and listen to the radio instead.

    This device might be exactly what I'm looking for. It hold 96M of audio, which is enough for an hour or so of somewhat-good quality music. There is no intervention, because it starts playing music prompted by the servo in your cassette deck. Theft is unlikely, becuase your cassette deck will very likely keep the whole thing concealed by design. Messy dash? A thing of the past.

    Frankly, I'm sold on the idea, and as soon as I have a spare ~$200, I will probably go pick this gizmo up.

  • This has reminded me of a question I wanted to ask here but didn't think warrented a whole "Ask /.". I have a standalone MP3 player that goes into my amp, and I have an intercom system in my house that can be tuned to AM and FM. The stereo isn't close to the the receiver for the speaker system, it's about 30 feet (9 meters) away. I've found FM transmitters for cars that allow you to listen to portable CD or MP3 players (or anything that has a phono jack), but none that have the range I'm looking for. Does anyone know of a model that does this, or are there FCC type problems?
    • Ramsey Electronics [ramseyelectronics.com] has a selection of AM and FM transmitters, either in kit form or pre-assembled.

      On the main page is a blurb about their 35-Watt model, which would be sufficient for covering a small town.

      There is an active community (or there was, on usenet) of people who modify their products for various things... it has all the smells and tastes of OSS.

      I picked up their cheapest FM Stereo kit some time ago for less than $50, but never got around to completing it. IIRC, it was advertised to work at a few hundred feet, with several available hacks to double or quadruple that.
  • This is a very interesting device, however it will suffer from lack of many features that other players of this type provide. Here is an idea - since this player looks like a cassette, provide an optional cassette case - a box that holds one cassette, but this should be a very special cassette case, it would interface with the mp3 player through some port, and will have an LCD pannel and some better controls on the case.
  • I have one. Plusses: It works. It sounds great. It's cool, and it's faster than burning CDs. It also plays WMA, which does sound (to me) better than MP3s. If you don't have a CD player in your car (and my car limits me to a choice of a couple expensive trunk-mounted changers) this is the way to go.
    The minuses are that higher-bitrate recordings limit you to about 80 minutes of music, unless you get the expanded memory (the newer ones might come with more memory). Recharging the battery is a little inconvenient. And I wish it played Oggs.
  • from the specs:

    Microsoft® Windows® 98SE, ME, 2000, XP Operating System, or Macintosh OS9.X or OS-X and iTunes 1.X or higher

    Pentium (or compatible) 166MHz or higher PC

    Also, is $200 a bit high for an MP3 player/recorder that only has room for like an album and a half. Afer all, a 5gig ipod is only $299.

  • This actually is a great idea for one reason...being able to digitize all the stuff I have on old casettes. Up til now, the only feasible way was to take a line out of the headphone jack, connect it to the mic in/line in on my soundcard and try to get the levels right in my recording software (this was NOT easy to do). I can take all those bootlegged concert tapes (legal ones, mind you :) and put them in mp3 format. Wow.

    This will make it 10 times easier, and for that reason alone it's worth it. Being able to take mp3s in my car is another great feature but with CDRs being so cheap, it's not nearly as important.

  • by Phoenix ( 2762 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @03:02PM (#4063536)
    First of all there is the issue of using flash memory based MP3 players. Unless you're willing to buy added flash cards and pay out the nose for them, it's not the way to go. If I only want to listen one CD's worth of music, I'll burn one and whip out my old Discman. 64mb just doesn't cut it anymore and if you get flash in 256 your poor credit cards is getting raped for a boat load of cash.

    Better options for MP3 playing is the MP3 CD-R(W) and a portable player. For around $100-150 plus the cost of the CD you can jam 300-600+ minutes on a blank disk depending on media type and the compression you use.


    There is the option I went with. I picked up a Nomad 20gb Jukebox for $230. It has 20gb of space on it (I have nearly 500 songs at 256k and I still haven't hit 25% of drive usage). It can record to MP3 on the fly by using the line input on the unit itself. It has front and rear speaker outputs so I can hook it to a set of Harmon Kardons with the sub and front and rear satalites and get really killer sound out of it. The only drawback that I had with the unit was no real way to carry it, but that was solved with my leatherworking skills I picked up in the SCA...made a custom leather belt pouch to hold it, so problem solved.

    Now granted there are those out there that prefer the iPod, or other hard drive based systems, but hte theroy is the same between them. HD is cheaper than Flash...hands down. For my $230 I got 20gb storage. Flash memory for that same amount of storage is going to cost you say $300 for a sony mp3 player that comes with 128mb with it PLUS you would need to purchase 159 additional memory sticks at a cost of $17,600 ($110 each). For just what I'm using in storage (5gb) you're still talking about $4400 in memory sticks alone.

    I don't know about you but if I had that kinda cash I'd be spending it on a Plasma TV rather than MP3.

    The gizmo in the article is nifty and all, but is it going to be worth it or will it fall the way of the MP3 player springboard module in my Visor? IE Sitting in the box that it came in waiting for someone poor fool on E-Bay to take it off my hands?

  • If this thing is interacting with the tape drive mechanism in the tape player anyway, why don't they add a small generator to recharge the batteries while it plays? Obviously, I'm asking this more in the interest of technical coolness than practicality, but it would remove the need for a separate wire going from the cassette player to the cigarette lighter socket for long-term play.
  • I owned one and it worked great in my wife's Honda CRV, but in my Honda Accord, the tape deck wouldn't properly align with the heads on the mp3 player. I tried plugging the cassette adapter into one of those Sony cassette -> cd adapters and it worked fine. Of course, that kinda defeats the purpose of an MP3 player that can be used without an adapter.

    The only other thing I didn't like about it was the flimsy battery door. That would definately be a tape job after a few months of use.

    Here is my review of it on Amazon.com

    I was excited to see that the Digisette improved from it's orginal design and made a better tape like MP3 player. Unfortunately, on my Honda 2001 Accord, the tape deck won't align properly with the head in my cassette stereo, causing lots of static and distortion. It's not the player itself, because it works fine in my wife's Honda CRV. Actually, it works if I use an old Sony cassette adapter plugged into the mp3 player.

    Im not an electronic engineer, but I think if Digisette would make the head on the mp3 unit bigger, it would have worked fine. I compared the head of the mp3 to the Sony cassette apadter I had laying around and the Sony head is much bigger.

    Digisette support was very helpful and had me try a few fixed, but none fixed the distortion and static.

    As far as the controls and stuff, everything worked fine. Like I said, if you have a 2001 Accord, I wouldn't recommend it.

  • Just use your favorite mp3 player (ipod, i2go, ipaq w/scream ;) and add a cassette adapter. Got me to the smokies and back very easily with microdrive/hd capacities and no kludgy U/I.

  • As with all the other things that piss off the RIAA. This would be a great thing to have, as I could buy tapes less expensively than CD's, and then record them to MP3. Nifty.

    Too bad CD's are at least 3x more expensive than they should be. If they came down to around $8-$10 a piece, I'd be inclined to actually buy the stuff...mostly to replace what I had as a kid on tapes..also to replace the stuff I had stolen.

    Do I own the music or the medium when I buy a CD? Why can't I go to a store with only my receipt and get a new CD when one becomes ruined or stolen, or god-forbid, a new format comes out and I'd like to take advantage of it with the music I have already purchased.

    Nifty little device, but it wouldn't have a whole lot of use if the RIAA would get its head out of its ass.

  • If you plug it into the USB port, does it look like standard USB storage? Can you write the MMC cards using Linux or do they have some special format? (Their web site doesn't say.)

    What about the RomeMP3 and MP Wow players? Do they work with Linux?

  • I'm not going to flame the product -- in fact, I just bought one. All in all, a good product. Uses cheap, rechargable Ni-MH batteries. Very good sound quality. Uses its own download program, instead of plugging into some flaky "jukebox" software. But.

    Why is this news? Using an analog input to circumvent copy protection is hardly ground-breaking technology. Making an MP3 player that emulates an audio cassette isn't at all new [romemp3.com]. Nor is it a particularly good idea. It sounds cool -- an MP3 player that you can operate with the controls of your car cassette player. But it doesn't work all that well in practice. Auto cassette players vary a lot in the way their controls work, and you usually can't use all the features of the MP3 player. Plus you have to do without that handy LCD readout.

    All in all, I'd much rather have a conventional MP3 player with a pseudo-cassette adapter. I only bought the Digessette because it had other good features that outweighted the silliness of the basic concept.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein