MP3 players based on solid-state memory come in all shapes and sizes, but none has a more interesting shape than the Digisette. The Duo.DX is the top model in the range, all of which look like metal-cased audio cassettes. This isn’t just the design gimmick, as the player works intimately with any cassette player or recorder.
The Digisette functions just like any other MP3 player, using the transport and volume controls built into the corner of its case. It plays back MP3 and WMA format files from its 96MB of internal memory through the supplied bud earphones. The sound quality is very good, with a precise treble and well-formed, though limited bass.
So far, not that much unusual and little to differentiate the Digisette from plenty of other players, some of which are good bit cheaper than this American device. It’s when you slip the Digisette into a cassette deck that its real advantages show themselves.
For a start, you can play back the contents of the Digisette Duo.DX’s memory through the cassette heads in your player, making it compatible with any car stereo system, Walkman-style player or hi-fi deck. The fast-forward and rewind controls on your player will work, too, which is a very clever piece of engineering.
If your cassette deck is a recorder, you can also record directly to MP3 as the player can encode in real time. This means you can record anything you can feed into your cassette deck, such as CD, radio or vinyl. If your cassette deck takes a microphone input, you can make live recordings, too.
The 96MB of internal memory, which can hold up to 390 minutes of directly recorded material, can be supplemented by up to 64MB of Multimedia Card storage, through a slot in the back of the player.
Also supplied in the box is a NiMH battery, good for six hours of playback and complete with charger, plus a remote control unit, so you can slip the Digisette in a pocket and still listen. The remote handles playback and volume and displays track titles and battery status.
Duo Manager software is provided and this looks after MP3 and WMA encoding and transfer of tracks to and from the player. Finally, the Digisette player supports the Audible format, providing access to the digital equivalent of talking books. With all this extra functionality, the comparatively high price starts to look pretty realistic.
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