Dead Sound

The Raveonettes – Dead Sound

I’m afraid the tape deck in my car is dead.

At first I chalked it up to the cold weather, after all, I don’t function well in below freezing temperatures either. It was working fine and then suddenly not at all. However it didn’t make a difference if the car was warm or the tapes were warm, if they were in the middle or ready to play a full side. I would put the tape in and it would play for a few seconds then auto-reverse to the other side, then flip back, and after flipping back and forth a few times, it would spit the tape out.

I have one of those cassette adapter things that you stick in the tape deck and then plug into the headphone jack of an iPod or your phone. When I didn’t have a tape I wanted to listen to and the radio wasn’t interesting, I’d connect my iPod. Like so many of my things, my iPod isn’t the latest and greatest. It was a replacement Apple sent me for my first iPod (a 4GB Nano, the tall skinny ones) which had some kind of battery issue. I never had a problem with it but they were offering to replace it for free so I took them up on it. I got a newer Nano, 8GB this time, the little square one with a clip. No Bluetooth, no connecting to WiFi. It was good enough for the gym or the occasional plane or train ride though.

When I had new music I wanted to hear in the car, I’d download it to the iPod and then I could pop in the adapter and listen to it. I could listen to playlists that I’d made for friends or family and burned to CDs so I could test them out in my last car (that had a CD player, no tape deck). It was sort of like having the best of all car stereo options, even if it took a little juggling to make it work. There was definitely some primitive family charm about it too.

For a couple of days this past week I didn’t drive my car because of the various snow storms causing school cancellations. When I got in today, I crossed my fingers and tried a regular cassette (a full album purchased new back in the day). It sucked it in and I could see it wasn’t lying flat like it ought to be. Nothing I tried worked. I tried the cassette adapter, which it spat out immediately. I didn’t dare to try one of my homemade tapes because I didn’t want to risk it getting stuck in there forever or eaten. I gave up and listened to the radio. I pouted.

This leaves me with the regular radio and the various music and radio apps on my phone. I have a Bluetooth FM transmitter so I can stream stuff through the car radio. It works pretty well but I don’t keep my music on my phone and my iPod doesn’t have Bluetooth. If you have any radio stations you like, pass that info along and I’ll look for them in one of those apps.

Sigh. People have long asked me how I can stand my long commute and do I listen to audiobooks or something to pass the time. I have only really minded the drive when traffic or weather makes it take much longer than usual or if I have to be at work or home by a certain time and there’s nothing I can do to shave any time off of it. Usually, I have used that time as my indulgent blast the tunes and sing along as loudly as I want to time.

I can limp along with the phone and the Bluetooth set up but if I want to get to a place where I can really listen to what I want in the car, I’m going to need to upgrade something. Either I’ll have to upgrade my Rdio subscription (I currently pay for the web only version – it assuages my guilt of using a streaming service and I don’t have to hear ads when I listen at work) to include mobile or upgrade the stereo. I don’t think you can get a new stereo with a tape deck these days.

It also means Tape Deck Tuesday is on hiatus until I can figure this out. I haven’t completely given up hope of it fixing itself or me tinkering with it in my usual way, but neither of those things is going to happen when there’s all this snow everywhere. I have really enjoyed those little strolls down memory lane and I’ll miss the fun I had sharing the back story of some of these treasures. Fingers crossed that it’s just a temporary problem.


  1. No chance you can get the tape deck repaired? 😦

    We have Sirius satellite radio in my car; it’s not terribly expensive, and makes long drives a lot more tolerable. I’m thinking how grateful I will be for it, once the Concord commute starts (and Fred is thinking about how much he’ll miss it, when we get that second car for him to drive).


    1. I can’t imagine it would be worth the cost but we’ll see how desperate I get. Our other car has Sirius available and every once in a while they give us two weeks free, which is great. If I had it in my car it’d be worth paying for but it wouldn’t get enough use as it is now.


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