This Bluetooth Cassette Adapter Sounds Ridiculously Good When It Works

Illustration for article titled This Bluetooth Cassette Adapter Sounds Ridiculously Good When It Works
Photo: Andrew P Collins
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If you don’t want to disturb the period-correctness of your ’80s or ’90s car’s rad dashboard but are tired of listening to that same old Conway Twitty tape you found in your grandpa’s truck, it’s time to check out an Arsvita Bluetooth tape adapter.

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(Full Disclosure: I bought this tape thing off Amazon, which then informed me the package was lost and issued a refund. Then it showed up anyway? Guess the car gods were with me!) 

Regular-ass cassette tapes are actually awesome, at least, as long as you like pretending your old car is a time machine. Then the crappy sound quality and inability to find tracks is a feature, not a bug!

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Illustration for article titled This Bluetooth Cassette Adapter Sounds Ridiculously Good When It Works
Photo: Andrew P Collins

But now that my Z31 is back on the road even I have to admit that my extensive cassette collection is getting a little worn. And I don’t have any Nate Dogg! So I got one of those cassette tapes that’s actually a Bluetooth receiver, specifically this Arsvita one, and I was so blown away by how good music sounds beamed through it from Spotify on my iPhone XR that I had to share with the class.

My Z has a Panasonic AM/FM cassette deck, which was a factory option according to the window sticker, that pumps music out through four 6.5-inch speakers which are all very old but intact.

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And straight-up! It sounds great! The sound quality is far superior to that of standard tapes or radio signal, even on the ancient stock paper speakers. I bet a fresh set of 6.5s would sound downright delightful.

Illustration for article titled This Bluetooth Cassette Adapter Sounds Ridiculously Good When It Works
Photo: Andrew P Collins
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The device is really easy to pair, gets gobbled right up by the head unit, and hasn’t lost connection or done anything wonky after hours of playing time. It’s supposed to be able to last as long as eight hours on a charge, too.

However... it does not work at all in the factory tape deck of my ’98 Montero. Just makes a click-click-clicking sound, gets rejected, and ejected.

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So my advice would be to keep the packaging in case you need to send it back. But if it does work in your car, it’s an aesthetically excellent way to Bluetoothify your classic car without messing with any wiring besides a simple USB charge cable.

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles

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DISCUSSION

michaeljordanshitlermustache
MichaelJordan'sHitlerMustache

I graduated (or did I?) to one of these things, which works pretty well. No cords, you just stick it in the lighter and match it and the radio to the same station. (I cropped out the company name so you don’t think I’m working for them!)

This is my second one, got it 2 years ago.