So a while ago I started to consider getting some sugru – because the cable that ran between the cassette adaptor I use in the Prius and the ‘phone had started to split. Unfortunately, and in what is the story of many repairs in my life, I didn’t quite get there in time. Indeed, the day I was actually getting in the car to go and buy some it finally broke.
So then I decided I’d get a new plug to go on the end – and there it might have ended had I not remembered what a spectacular pain in the ass soldering these modern cables is – since they don’t have real insulation but instead some kind of paint on the wires. So whilst I was at <spit> maplin </spit> I picked up some stereo cable. Then I opened up the cassette adaptor and realised why it’s always seemed a bit quiet.
Years ago I had a pair of speakers which were wired the same way: i.e. wrongly (made, incidentally, by my ever-favourite ‘Waltham’ brand – I used to have lots of cheerfully awful Waltham kit – I had a black and white TV where you couldn’t ever get the aspect ratio quite right, a radiogram that played cassettes at just the wrong speed, and a vast number of very, very cheap cassettes which really did seem to be made from stickytape and rust* (< You really should click that link, Tim Hunkin just rocks. As does ‘The Secret Life of Machines’)).
I must assume that it is much easier for the folks making them to just slap the three wires on any-old-how in their poverty-wage-make-so-many-a-minute Chinese factory than it is for them to carefully solder the three cables on in the correct place and order (and yes, I do feel bad about buying these things).
In any case, despite the fact that moron-me bought a 2.5mm jack instead of a 3.5mm jack (yes, yes I’m an idiot) – and thus now have an adaptor attached too, it’s made quite a difference having it wired correctly.
Of course, it’s not really a patch on a proper audio input, or to be frank having the later Prius with Bluetooth that actually does audio, but it’s still much better than it has been, and I no longer have to wind the volume up really high to hear the streamed audio.
In other news, it turns out that Subsonic really is very good (the app has a bit of a habit of crashing if you stop it and ask for a different album, but the server side seems pretty good).
* ISTR reading that it’s actually BASF powder – because they couldn’t get sticky tape and rust to work well enough – and that the BASF folks were so paranoid about someone stealing their formula that they were there – just out of shot – making sure no-one absconded with any of their precious mag-tape powder.