Review: AVB Cassette Adapter

Quality iPod sound from your car radio. (November 9th, 2005)

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Product Manufacturer: American Anko Co. (AVB)

Price: MSRP $9.99, but varies by reseller

The Good

  • Retractable cord is a longed-for innovation on this type of device. Sounds like a cassette.

The Bad

  • Sounds like a cassette. May not work well in all car tape decks.

FM transmitters are horrid devices in my book. They rarely work, and even when they do, the reception can be spotty. At best, they sound like an FM station on a clear day, but often they add their own whine to your music. Cassette adapters on the other hand, sound like high quality tape. iPod owners are lucky when their cars have cassette decks, if only for the purpose of using one of the cassette adapters instead of the FM transmitter. There's not much to say about a cassette adapter, except that it is thankfully not an FM transmitter. They should always work, as long as they are designed properly.

The Cassette Adapter by AVB is very well designed. It feature a mock cassette at the end of a tether of cord. At the other end, you find a mini-jack that plugs into your iPod. In between, AVB has thoughtfully included a retractable cord. The cord retracts rather like the pull string on a set of vertical blinds, plus it clicks itself into place at various lengths. A short pull and release draws the entire 32-inch length of cord back into a spool in the middle. This is a great design feature, as anyone who keeps a stable of various retractable cords is already well aware.

Tangle Free Operation

One of the only complaints you could have about cassette adapters in general is that they require a cord. I tend to leave an adapter in my car's cassette deck, which is about 20 inches above the cup holders, and so I always have a long cord dangling from my dash. The cord that tends to snag on my belt, on my shoes, or on any backpack that I drag past it on my way in or out of the car. This cord often ends up dangling out of the driver side door too. A retractable cord makes a significant difference, and I'm glad AVB thought of it.

svb package

The cord itself is flat, and though it feels a bit flimsy, I did not detect any wear after a great deal of use. It projects from the top edge of the cassette, the edge farthest from the magnetic heads. My cassette deck is side loading, but this presented no problem. I have had a problem with the placement of the cords on other models. I once had a Sony adapter that had a thick cord that needed to be strung through a tiny maze to protrude from the least obstructive side. The AVB adapter needed no such finagling, and I imagine the thin cord is a design feature, to help the cord find its way out of the mouth of your cassette player. The AVB Cassette Adapter is a better solution to listening to an iPod over your car radio than wrestling with the newer FM transmitters.

by Philip Berne


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