Jazooli Sound 3.5mm Aux Bluetooth Reciever

Depending on the age of your car, you may or may not have a bluetooth enabled car stereo for steaming music from a mobile or iPhone. Mine will pair with a phone for handsfree calls, but not for music (that feature came the following years model!)

My Car does however have an Auxiliary port in the form of a 3.5mm headphone socket which is located next to the Cigarette lighter, between the handbrake and gear stick. From a german car maker It really is the last place you want cables running to or from an iPod touch. What I needed an Auxiliary Bluetooth receiver that i could plug into the Aux Port and just leave there. Unfortunately this was the cheapest option in Halfords at £59.99

To eBay!

5 minutes later, from the Jazooli store on Ebay i found this £6.79.

3.5mm_Bluetooth_Audio_Adapter_Jazooli

Estimated delivery date 7th January and sure enough, the morning of the 7th January it popped thought the door.

Jazooli Box

Inside the box : The Bluetooth Receiver, a short male to male 3.5mm headphone jack and a Mini USB cable for charging the built in battery (3 -4 hours of playback apparently)

Box Contents Bluetooth unit and cableBluetooth unit and light

Once unpacked, cables connected, i switched on the Bluetooth receiver and paired it with the iPod Touch (remembering to enter the 0000 “secure pairing code” which is printed on the rear of the box)

A confirmed pairing sound is heard, hit play on iPod touch and all working without an issue. iPod can be anywhere in the car and no cables are cluttering up the centre console, or cluttered around the gearstick or handbrake. There doesn’t appear to be any interference with the car stereo’s hands free calling either.

I’ve not had a chance to test the battery life properly yet, but with the usb port for power, it can be easily plugged into the cigarette port adapter for juice.

Bargain!

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EnVivo Cassette Converter

I finally got round to going through boxes of “stuff” that I had left at mum’s after moving out many years ago.

Inside were various cables I’d kept (just in case!), Training course manuals (full of unreadable notes) and the usual collection of old bank statements. As I ventured deeper I found some cassette tapes (Google them if your too young to remember).

Fubar Nightclub Mix Tapes For Tom Wilson and Techno Trance.

MixTapes

Great excitement filled me at the thought of hearing these again, followed by a sinking feeling when I realised there is nothing in the house that will play cassettes!

Suddenly a small voice in my head reminded me that Aldi had recently listed some cassette converters as one of their weekly specials… to the Batmobile!

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The planets had clearly aligned, they had plenty in stock! £12.99 later and off to home I head.

Blurb from the box:

  • Convert your old cassette to CD/MP3
  • Plug and Play – no driver required
  • Tape Converter software
  • Battery or USB powered operation
  • Can be used as a personal cassette player
  • Compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows7
  • Auto-reverse playback
  • Metal Deck mechanism
  • Rotary volume control
  • 3.5mm earphone jack
  • Fast Forward/backward function

The “Tape converter software” is Audacity 1.2.7 with an MP3 codec included, so there is no need to download something like “Lame MP3 encoder” separately.

What's inside

Inside the Box: Cassette Converter, Headset (read, cheap nasty earphones), USB Cable, CD with Software, 2 x AA batteries.

At £12.99 I wasn’t expecting much and can safely say I got what I paid for. There is a lot of plastic and chromed plastic, it has the feel of those cheap cassette players that you probably had when you were 10.

EnVivo Cassette ConverterEnVivo Cassette ConverterEnVivo Cassette Converter

Like me you were probably expecting the device to open on the longest side when you slide the eject switch… nope, it opens on one of the short sides, and that is where you insert the batteries under a very flimsy plastic cover.

EnVivo Cassette ConverterEnVivo Cassette Converter

Audacity installed, I plugged it up to the computer and off we went. The downside of converting is the time it takes. The converter is recognised as a microphone, so you are literally recording real time. Thankfully the cassette player will record one side, then play the other side without intervention, you just need to edit out the gaps once it’s done.

The quality of the MP3 is absolutely fine considering the age of the source and the original recording. If there was somewhere to upload a sample to I would, wordpress wont let me upload .mp3 files

It may be cheap and nasty, but I am now listening to the afore mentioned mix tapes in MP3 format now. “Let me see your hands in the air!”

Technika Bluetooth Speakers (SPB112) Review

I’d been humming and haying about getting a wee portable Bluetooth speaker for a while. I looked at some of the smaller speakers on the market, Jawbone Jambox, small & expensive, or the Jam Wireless Speaker – small, but “meh” sound quality.

I had spied this, Tesco “Technika” brand Bluetooth speaker, in the local Tesco a couple of months ago. At the time it was priced at £40 which i thought “pffft”, for a Tesco brand device was a bit over priced.  They have now dropped down to £20, so after reading a few “Pleasantly surprised considering the price” comments on-line, I figured, why not?!

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Blurb from the box :

  • Connects to Tablets, Smart Phones & Music Players without wires. 
  • Connects with and Bluetooth device 2.1+EDR and above
  • Rechargeable Li-ion Battery for portability
  • Stereo Sound

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In the Box : 1 x SPB112 Bluetooth Speaker, 1 x USB cable , 1 x Operating Manual

20130223_163241Made of plastic, the speaker grill/mesh covers the front, left and right sides. There is also an etched control panel on the top of the speaker and it weighs 0.35kg. The manual doesn’t appear to have any information on what size of battery is in it, only that a full charge takes 4hrs. On the bottom, in each corner, there are some rubber pads to stop it sliding and vibrating on hard surfaces.

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The control panel allows you to adjust the volume, skip tracks forward/backwards and use the device for hands free calls if it’s paired with a phone. All things considered this is a neat feature. (Note: I’ve not tested the quality of that yet)

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On the rear, an Off/On switch, a mini USB port for charging, and an Auxiliary in.

The USB port is ONLY for charging, so you’ll need a USB plug for the supplied cable as there isn’t one in the box. I did plug the speaker into my laptop and the charging light came on, so I’m assuming it will trickle charge off of that too.

Sound wise, a hiss can be heard when you’re close to the speaker and the device isn’t playing any audio, however once the music starts you don’t hear it.

There are 2 Speakers in the device, each with 2W output. It’s not going to blow any windows out (or bloody doors off!) but for a bedroom, or in our case the kitchen where it will mostly be used, it’s ideal.

I’ve tried it with both Android and iOS devices, playing music from the device and streaming from a network share, and it worked perfectly fine.

So, if your on the lookout for a cheap n cheerful Bluetooth speaker, for £20, you can’t really go wrong with this.

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