Quick cheap cassette adapter

[Dane] sent us this super quick tape adapter project. Yes, we know we can go buy one of these for pretty cheap and it will probably sound much better, but really, wouldn’t it be cool to make one? Using a headphone adapter, a couple resisters, some wire, and an old cassette tape, [Dane] shows us how easy it is to build one of our own. You are basically pushing the signal from the headphones through a coil that is up against the tape read head. This is a perfect project to teach beginners about magnetic fields.

[Dane] has sent in some stuff before. You may recall his PWM adio generation with an AVR post several months ago.

Comments

  1. kyle007 says:

    um neat-o but like 20 years to late…
    you can achieve the same success by taking apart an old tape deck and removing the “head” the magnetic thingy that reads the tape. It conveniently has three wires on most and you can solder it to an eighth inch head phone jack or RCA cables and plug in your device, ipod cd player……. Er um how appropriately eight track

  2. LaserJesus says:

    Sure you can use a tape head but then you may as well be going out and buying the commercially available adapters. I like this because it’s doing it in a much different way than anyone else does it. This is a nice and simple hack that a beginner could do and I’m sure they’d feel like they had accomplished a lot more than just soldering wires to a tape head and gluing it into a case.

  3. treefingers says:

    Unless I’m mistaken won’t this design just produce a mono signal? I think this design could be improved by using two smaller layered coils, one per channel and maybe lower rated resistors to sort out impedance issues and cross talk. Insulated copper wire strands would be better as they could be positioned more precisely to the alignment of the tape head. Just some ideas if someone wants to develop this concept further. :-)

  4. atrain says:

    I tried making one of these. I took the coil out of a dollar store headphone. It did work, but didn’t sound great. I eventually went out and bought a proper one for $5.

  5. loststeve says:

    I’d be more interested in making one out of a tape-deck head, seeing as I’ve just taken a tape-deck apart :-)

    Any advice on how the leads on the head should be connected up to a stereo lead (i.e. the “pinout” for the head)?

  6. nubie says:

    Awesome, I like the hack.

  7. therian says:

    thick wire with resistors in series, what about independence, most signal will be converted to heat instead of magnetic field. And coil, it should be rotated

  8. http://khakindustries.com/?p=49

    Mine was better!!!1one

    You get stereo. It’s farrrrrrrrrrr too difficult to create the tiny spacing required for stereo with hand-wound or even headphone coils.

  9. jj jerksalot says:

    why is this even posted really why?

  10. strider_mt2k says:

    just to piss you off, jerksalot

  11. markps2 says:

    I agree with jj jerksalot. A person who sharpened a pencil with a knife is similar in complexity to this “hack”. It is a BAD project for the beginner as it could break expensive audio equipment connected to it.

  12. kyle007 says:

    @ TheKhakinator. nice work! thats what I was talking about.. hence why this featured hack was a little too late, everyone has made thier version.

    @ treefingers this hack “featured” would produce a mono signal

  13. treefingers says:

    ok here’s what I would do… lower rated resistors would increase the power to the coils. smaller coils would reduce the size of the magnetic field produced, shielding between the coils would reduce crosstalk. Single strands of insulated copper wire would be used to produce the coils rather than the thick stuff.

    The reason why i’m showing interest in this hack is that it’s basically a beginners guide to a magnetic pickup. Here’s where I see it going…

    Once a stereo cassette adaptor works as a proof of concept someone who wants to could create a full sized guitar pickup with separate coils for each string, the output could be fed to some sort of digital filter (al la vocoder) the frequency of the note played on the guitar would pass though the filter and it’s frequency and gain fed into maxmsp and then converted to midi note and velocity data. This could then become an inexpensive polyphonic guitar midi controller so you could play strings. piano, or even drums on your guitar!

    What do you think? :-)

  14. treefingers2 says:

    ok here’s what I would do… lower rated resistors would increase the power to the coils. smaller coils would reduce the size of the magnetic field produced, shielding between the coils would reduce crosstalk. Single strands of insulated copper wire would be used to produce the coils rather than the thick stuff.

    The reason why i’m showing interest in this hack is that it’s basically a beginners guide to a magnetic pickup. Here’s where I see it going…

    Once a stereo cassette adaptor works as a proof of concept someone who wants to could create a full sized guitar pickup with separate coils for each string, the output could be fed to some sort of digital filter (al la vocoder) the frequency of the note played on the guitar would pass though the filter and it’s frequency and gain fed into maxmsp and then converted to midi note and velocity data. This could then become an inexpensive polyphonic guitar midi controller so you could play strings. piano, or even drums on your guitar!

    What do you think? :-)

  15. darkxray says:

    no resistors needed.just make electromagnet from a nail and a thin wire and connect them to output.easier to make and quality is very good.

  16. LMR says:

    Its worked !!!(with good quality)

    i just make this cassette adapter yesterday.
    I tried 3 or 4 times with little modifications.At last, I realized as @darkxray said no need resistors.i used a wire nut , old rca cable(or old ear phone) and 31gauge insulated copper wire.
    In rca cable it has two separate wire coming out from the aux end.In each wire it contain main insulated wire and uncover copper wire.
    I divide my 30gu copper wire into two same size parts. then i wind that one part of the copper wire on one end of the nail.same done to the other part.Leave 2inch from the nail in each winding.Then remove insulation about 1cm from each end of the copper wires(in my case i have 4 ends coming out from the nail – http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/888/dsc00012vlc.jpg)
    More winding levels give good output.
    Now i have the nail with winded copper wires.Then sold 4 ends of the copper wires to the relevant ends of the rca cable.(i think you got it).
    then congratulations !!! You are done

    useful pics of my adpater:

    img18.imageshack.us/img18/888/dsc00012vlc.jpg

    img18.imageshack.us/img18/7144/dsc00014mhx.jpg

    img18.imageshack.us/img18/16/dsc00013vcb.jpg

  17. Finnaly I found it.
    Thanks

  18. chip says:

    That’s pretty neat. I made one just using some braided cable I took out of an old television set. works great

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