MP3 Cassette

Mobiblu DAH-220 MP3 player: This is a pretty neat, if somewhat useless, hack: it's a 256MB MP3 player in a cassette-tape form factor. But it has a couple of cute features I didn't expect:

"The spindles are connected to a mouse-style encoder that can tell which way they're turning, and how fast. This lets you skip tracks, while it's in a tape deck, by doing a brief fast-forward or rewind."

"The cassette adapter heads work both ways, so you can also record like a regular tape. Put 'em in record mode, then just pop 'em in your tape deck."


23 Responses:

  1. aaronlehmann says:

    I think it would be a cooler hack if it could power itself from the cassette player motor rather than needing a battery.

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, that would be cooler. And to power it for headphone use, you'd have to spin the wheels with a pencil, just like in the bad old days!

    • karlshea says:

      Those spin REALLY slowly, I doubt it would be able to generate much power. Plus it would need resistance, so the motor would probably burn out in the tape deck.

      It would be cool, though :)

  2. willco says:

    I have an earlier model, sold as the Digisette DUO-DX, which has 96MB and accepts up to 128MB SD cards (I've had success with 256 cards, too). The power is supplied by a removable flat Li-H battery, a souped-up AA cell equivalent. Radio Shack was selling these around 2002, though I assume that as an "early adopter" I got raped on the price.

    Some of the functionality is unavailable without the remote control (which won't work in a tape player, where it behaves, well, like a tape). It fits easily into a shirt pocket, allows you to play a lot of tunes in a rental car, and made my plane flights a little easier.

    It has an onboard microphone, and the tape head interface will also allow recording from a tape recorder. The audio quality of the recordings is about what you'd expect from a low-priced pocket recorder or answering machine.

  3. zonereyrie says:

    Have you seen this cassette adapter for the iPod? It has a similar feature - the tape deck controls will control playback on the iPod.

    At least the DAH-220 also takes MMC for expansion, I remember players with that form factor with tiny capacities and no expansion.

    • nester says:

      That thing is cool. It's a shame it won't work with my belkin car power cord.

      • zonereyrie says:

        I picked up both the Belkin car power cord with the built in amp, and the plain Belkin power cord that is power-only. I also picked up the Belkin cassette adapter and FM transmiter. (I had a 50% off coupon from CES...) I tried them in different combinations and I've settled on the plain power cord and cassette adapter.

        In my car I found that I had to keep tweaking the amp to keep from over-driving the cassette adapter on some songs - and I also found that either the power in my car is fairly dirty, or there is RF coming from the engine, because when I accelerated I'd get a whine directly related to the tachometer. This doesn't happen when I connect the cassette adapter to the headphone output, only via the Belkin amp.

        And the FM transmitter was just a waste. Seems like when I'd find a frequency that worked, I'd drive some distance and right into interference.

    • badc0ffee says:

      The volume adjusting is cool, but why wouldn't you use the buttons on the front of the ipod for navigating songs? The ipod interface on the other end of the cable is very well designed for that.

      • zonereyrie says:

        Dashboard interfaces have been designed with driving in mind - big buttons, simple layout, easily reached. Many cars these days have radio controls on the steering wheel - we're getting HOTAS in cars finally.

        I use a Belkin iPod cradle that mounts in one of my cup holders - it holds the iPod very well, and keeps it right by the power outlet, it is also just below the center console so I can route the cassette adapter cable out of the way.

        But to use the front of the iPod I have to lean way over to reach down to the front panel. And it is hard to do by touch - especially with gloves on (and in the winter in MA, I'm often wearing gloves when driving). There are some mounts that allow you to put the iPod up on the dash - but there really isn't a good mounting place for it in my car, the center console is pack from floor to top with radio, environmental, and window controls. Plus they either involve mechanical mounting (making holes in the dash), or adhesives. Many people aren't willing to do that. Even then, the iPod interface really wasn't designed to be used while trying to keep your eyes on the road.

        I'm probably going to be looking at a new car next year (I usually rotate ~5 years, and I got this one in early 2001) and one of the things I'll be looking for is iPod integration - or at least replacing the factory system with one of the after-market heads that have it.

  4. zonereyrie says:

    I'm waiting for the 'CD adapter'. Maybe a MEMS array to fool the laser...

  5. 256MB.. so much for using sticky labels..

  6. myth says:

    Sucks that it only has heads for one side, or else I could use it in my four-track.

  7. But where can you buy it in the USA?