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View Full Version : Whats the best way to play ipod music in a car?




starstreak
Aug 5, 2005, 05:38 PM
(I tried to post in gear but it wont let me)

What's the best way to bring sound to your car with the most clarity? I heard FM transmitters noisy, and those tape deck adapters don't give full range of sound.

What other way is there? What do you use? Or is there one brand that works better than others?

Btw, I heard of the Monster Cable iCruze which sounds good but costs like $400 for teh complete setup.. Would be good if I drove more than 30mins but in Hawaii, most destinations are reached in under an hour. :)



wPod
Aug 5, 2005, 06:06 PM
direct line in. there are numerous decks out that have a direct line input so you just run a cable directly from your iPod to your stereo deck. in a similar manner that you would run a cable from an iPod dock to your home stereo reciever. there are even some decks comming out that have specific ports for the iPod, so you can connect an iPod directly through the dock instead of through the headphone jack. i dont know of any off the top of my head. i have an aiwa deck that ive had for 6 or so years that has a line in on the face that i have used since my rio (remeber the FIRST MP3 player!!!!) so i dont really know which brands are most up to date on the market right now. but just go to a car stereo store and ask, they will be able to help you out. its not as cheap as an FM transmiter or a tape connection, but it will sound as good as an iPod possibly can!!

devilot
Aug 5, 2005, 06:15 PM
(I tried to post in gear but it wont let me)
That's why it pays to read "stickies" at the top of each forum, like the one here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=120663) that pertains to the iPod gear discussions.

I agree w/ wPod, that line in works well. My set up is very clumsy, did a DIY install of a port in my car. I tried using FM transmitters but I could never get a guaranteed good sound or even always get the darned music to come over (too many radio stations! DAH!).

starstreak
Aug 5, 2005, 06:22 PM
lol, I can't believe I missed that. That explains it. I just too it for granted it was for any posting for gear. my fault.

Hmm. ok so if I got no inline. WHich is better? THe tape deck way or the stereo tuner?

MacDawg
Aug 5, 2005, 06:26 PM
Hmm. ok so if I got no inline. WHich is better? THe tape deck way or the stereo tuner?

I use the tape adapter and I do just fine. I've heard it is better than FM, but I've never used FM. Both are probably OK, but you the problem in large cities is finding a clear channel.

I looked at a new truck this weekend, and it had no tape deck, just CD.

Woof, Woof - Dawg http://homepage.mac.com/k.j.vinson/pawprint.gif

devilot
Aug 5, 2005, 06:31 PM
I use the tape adapter and I do just fine. I've heard it is better than FM, but I've never used FM. Both are probably OK, but you the problem in large cities is finding a clear channel.

I looked at a new truck this weekend, and it had no tape deck, just CD.

Woof, Woof - Dawg http://homepage.mac.com/k.j.vinson/pawprint.gif
That was exactly what happened to me... I wanted a tape deck thingie because I too have heard that its really good (ie records vs cds)... but my car only has a cd player and no tape deck. Then I tried the FM thing which did NOT work for me (not what I wanted I guess; it worked on 1/10 of the drive from here to LA-- where there were huge radio drop offs but that was it). So I finally shelled out the dough to do the audio in line port majiggy.

joepunk
Aug 5, 2005, 06:38 PM
You could look at this $15 NewerTech RoadTrip FM 87.9MHz Transmitter (http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/ROADTRIP879/) that plugs into your iPod and then plug it into the cigarette lighter.

Here is a quick user review from Lowendmac.com (http://www.lowendmac.com/musings/05/0428.html)

zelmo
Aug 5, 2005, 06:46 PM
If you don't have the cash for a direct line-in connection, I'd go with:

an FM tuner IF you live in an area without wall-to-wall signals across the dial AND your usual driving routes can maintain a bleed-free open signal.

a cassette adapter if you live in a city with lots of stations. At least the buzz is constant and manageable thruogh EQ settings. Just remember to keep the volume on the iPod slightly above 50% and adjust the volume to your liking via your car stereo controls.

MacDawg
Aug 5, 2005, 07:02 PM
Buy a BMW they come iPod compatible now days

But only if you don't want to shell out really big bucks for a cassette adapter :rolleyes:

Woof, Woof - Dawg http://homepage.mac.com/k.j.vinson/pawprint.gif

EGT
Aug 5, 2005, 07:27 PM
You could look at this $15 NewerTech RoadTrip FM 87.9MHz Transmitter (http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/ROADTRIP879/) that plugs into your iPod and then plug it into the cigarette lighter.

Here is a quick user review from Lowendmac.com (http://www.lowendmac.com/musings/05/0428.html)

I own the older version of the NewerTech Roadtrip (i think), it broadcasts on 87.7MHz.

It's absolutely brilliant. I bought an iTrip ages ago and tried it once. What a complete piece of crap.

PlaceofDis
Aug 5, 2005, 07:41 PM
Line in/aux input is definitely the best way to go if possible, just about all after market stereos have some this in some form nowadays, some better integrated than others, but this is what i use and it is simple once hooked up and provides the best sound as well

zim
Aug 5, 2005, 10:02 PM
My wife got a Aiwa (I think) from Best Buy for around 100 bucks. It has a line-in right on the front.. sounds great!

PlaceofDis
Aug 5, 2005, 10:04 PM
My wife got a Aiwa (I think) from Best Buy for around 100 bucks. It has a line-in right on the front.. sounds great!

yes those are wonderful for the price, i had one before it got stolen out of my car, but i think they are currently not being sold, according to Aiwa's website they are coming soon though

Chip NoVaMac
Aug 5, 2005, 10:07 PM
Anyone care to comment on ease of use with the line-in verses using the Alpine headunits with the iPod adapter? It seems it might be safer trying to juggle lists on the headunit verses doing it on iPod itself.

PlaceofDis
Aug 5, 2005, 10:11 PM
Anyone care to comment on ease of use with the line-in verses using the Alpine headunits with the iPod adapter? It seems it might be safer trying to juggle lists on the headunit verses doing it on iPod itself.

i use the line in method, i would think that it is easier this way because of the ease at which one is able to navigate the iPod as it is with one hand, and i can do it without really looking at it all that much to know that i am going where i want...... the head unit would probably take some getting used to and might not be as easy to browse or go through, also it might end up being more distracting for you the driver

but different people work in different ways, plus with my iPod mini i can put it wherever in my car so i can see what is playing.....

zim
Aug 5, 2005, 10:14 PM
yes those are wonderful for the price, i had one before it got stolen out of my car, but i think they are currently not being sold, according to Aiwa's website they are coming soon though

Huh... Just did a search on Best Buy and it looks like you are correct, no Aiwas at all. Great deck if you can get one. I have a Sony with RCA on the back.. had to run a cord around to the front, also works great!

Anyone care to comment on ease of use with the line-in verses using the Alpine headunits with the iPod adapter? It seems it might be safer trying to juggle lists on the headunit verses doing it on iPod itself.

Well.. I do not recommend juggling the iPod while driving, not a fun event. I assume that what we do on the iPod is similar to what you can do on the Alpine which is we set up playlist and just listen to those or set the iPods to shuffle songs and just hit next when needed.

tveric
Aug 5, 2005, 11:42 PM
You don't need a BMW. There are after-market units for almost every single brand of car these days. And if you want it to be sleek and/or invisible, get a pro to install it in your car. I just got my setup done today (I have a Mazda3) and it rocks. The cable that goes from the back of my car stereo (all behind the dash, by the way, completely invisible) run into the center console - and plugs into my ipod's headphone jack right there. Bang, ipod audio through my car's speakers and it sounds great. And you can't even see any of it. AND easy access to the ipod - just pop open the center console, and start clicking away. He also could have mounted a holder on my dash in front of me, he had the ability to plug into the dock connector (so that I would get audio AND charge the ipod off the car at the same time) but I went with the setup I got cuz that's what I wanted. There's even car stereos that integrate with the ipod, so you can go through playlists and stuff right on the stereo, and never have to touch the ipod itself.

In short, there's a ton of options, and whatever you want is out there, but you may have to pay a pro to do it right. Just ask a reputable shop. I did and it's the best money I ever spent on car audio. Plus it took 1 hour to do. And no frustration. Just happiness.

CompUser
Aug 5, 2005, 11:58 PM
My mom has the the BMW-Apple iPod connection in her X3 to work with her iPod. It works excellently.

There seem to be a lot of 3rd party kits to replace the CD player in cars.

starstreak
Aug 6, 2005, 04:41 AM
cmon folks lets get back on track here unless you want to donate money for me to buy a bmw.

So the tape deck method is second only to a line in then?

WinterMute
Aug 6, 2005, 07:09 AM
cmon folks lets get back on track here unless you want to donate money for me to buy a bmw.

So the tape deck method is second only to a line in then?

The tape adaptor works fine as long as you haven't got a sensitive auto-direction on your tape player, my SEAT player used to try to change direction on the adapter every 30 seconds, but I altered the tension setting on the tape path and its fine now, it might be worth borrowing an adapter to check if you can.

As noted above a line-in socket (sometimes called and Aux input) is the best way if you don't want to pay bucks and obviously if your headunit has one.... :D

There's a really cute "cup-holder" iPod mount thats available that stops the need to juggle the iPod around while driving.

MacDawg
Aug 6, 2005, 07:16 AM
The tape adaptor works fine as long as you haven't got a sensitive auto-direction on your tape player, my SEAT player used to try to change direction on the adapter every 30 seconds, but I altered the tension setting on the tape path and its fine now, it might be worth borrowing an adapter to check if you can.

As noted above a line-in socket (sometimes called and Aux input) is the best way if you don't want to pay bucks and obviously if your headunit has one.... :D

There's a really cute "cup-holder" iPod mount thats available that stops the need to juggle the iPod around while driving.

My daughter gave me the "cup-holder" for Father's Day.
I love it

My wife said, "I'd never have thought of that"
She said, "Mom, he LOVES the Apple Store, why wouldn't you shop there for him?"

Indeed :rolleyes:

Woof, Woof - Dawg http://homepage.mac.com/k.j.vinson/pawprint.gif

iWillard
Aug 6, 2005, 10:47 AM
I own the older version of the NewerTech Roadtrip (i think), it broadcasts on 87.7MHz.

It's absolutely brilliant. I bought an iTrip ages ago and tried it once. What a complete piece of crap.


I use the iTrip everyday to listen to my iPod in my car and it works gloriously... Set it on 87.9 and forget it... I drive in downtown, country, between states, etc... It's hit and miss depending on the car/antenna placement, but I guess mine's one that just works... Although I have heard the RoadTrip is more powerful... When (if) my iTrip craps out (had it a year now, use it everyday) I'll pry get the RoadTrip...

maxterpiece
Aug 6, 2005, 01:13 PM
this stereo from wal-mart has line in -
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=2569449

and it is only $27.

The itrip thing is like $35 and a tape adaptor from radioshack is like $20. The difference in dollars for all of these options is negligible. The line-in option on even a crappy stereo like the one above is still MUCH better than the tape or FM blaster. I've heard all of them. The tape adaptor is okay except sound quality isn't pristine and in my experience some car tape players kept trying to autoreverse my adaptor. The iTrip gets worse quality than the tape adaptor and if you hit any kind of interference it becomes way annoying.

Personally, unless you already own a tape adaptor, I can't think of one compelling reason to use anything but a stereo line-in.

gallagb
Aug 6, 2005, 02:18 PM
did no one mention that the FM adaptor would be a Mono signal

meanwhile the Tape adaptor would be a Stereo signal

uh- correct me if i'm wrong
but- the tape adaptor- yea you've gotta tinker w/ the volume controls on both the ipod and the car- but much much much better option than wireless stuff-

i agree- no wires is cool
but sold sound is the goal- yes?

WinterMute
Aug 6, 2005, 02:33 PM
did no one mention that the FM adaptor would be a Mono signal

meanwhile the Tape adaptor would be a Stereo signal

uh- correct me if i'm wrong
but- the tape adaptor- yea you've gotta tinker w/ the volume controls on both the ipod and the car- but much much much better option than wireless stuff-

i agree- no wires is cool
but sold sound is the goal- yes?

The iTrip is stereo as far as I know.

FM radio is stereo, no reason for a local transmitter not to be.

MacHarne
Aug 6, 2005, 05:18 PM
did no one mention that the FM adaptor would be a Mono signal
The iTrip is stereo as far as I know.
The iTrip is stereo, yes. I used that for a while prior to getting a line-in setup (and my first attempts, actually, were with a tape adapter). The iTrip works well in rural areas, but, as other people are attesting to, the quality does deteriorate as you approach larger urban districts. As far as the quality of a tape adapter - I was expecting a significant quality dive, but that was not the case at all. Honestly, I think traffic noise makes it difficult to pinpoint any possibly noticeable clarity difference, at least from my experience.

Chip NoVaMac
Aug 6, 2005, 08:01 PM
The iTrip is stereo, yes. I used that for a while prior to getting a line-in setup (and my first attempts, actually, were with a tape adapter). The iTrip works well in rural areas, but, as other people are attesting to, the quality does deteriorate as you approach larger urban districts. As far as the quality of a tape adapter - I was expecting a significant quality dive, but that was not the case at all. Honestly, I think traffic noise makes it difficult to pinpoint any possibly noticeable clarity difference, at least from my experience.


I have the iTrip right now, and the signal works pretty well in the DC area for. I asked my previous question since I have found it difficult to juggle the iPod playlists and drive. Was thinking that the Alpine head unit would make it safer.

MattG
Aug 6, 2005, 09:38 PM
Anyone care to comment on ease of use with the line-in verses using the Alpine headunits with the iPod adapter? It seems it might be safer trying to juggle lists on the headunit verses doing it on iPod itself.
I've got a Kenwood head unit with the KCA-IP500 iPod adapter. Rather than type it all out again, here's a review I left on Crutchfield's web site:
-----
** out of ***** (2 out of 5 stars)
Very, very, VERY disappointed.
Written by Matt, Naples, FL on April 3, 2005
I was so psyched to get this thing and install it in my car. What a letdown. Basically, if you're like me and have a 60gb iPod with 1000's of songs on it, you're limited to listening to playlists. That, or you can spend the whole day pressing the up/down buttons to cycle through albums. You can't even hold down the button to fast forward through the list...you have to push it once for every album you want to skip, and it takes about 3-5 seconds to skip to the next album. Why Kenwood made it so you can't use the controls on the iPod itself, I don't know (once you plug your iPod into the stereo, the buttons on the iPod don't work). In short, the usability is horrible.

Installation is a piece of cake, and sound quality is good. For those of you who do buy this, the only practical thing you can do to make this thing usable is to pick a few albums you'd like to listen to and make playlists out of them. You *can* cycle through playlists really easily. Otherwise, if you're mid-trip and decide you want to listen to a certain artist/album, the only easy way to change it is to unplug the iPod, use the iPod controls to find/play the album, and then plug it back in (it will resume play where you left it).

I spent a good deal of money on this iPod specifically for this purpose, and needless to say I'm pretty disappointed. My friend has a Pioneer receiver, and their iPod adapter will be available shortly. If their system ends up being better, I'll probably sell my Kenwood gear and get the Pioneer instead.
-----

Since writing that review, my friend did receive his Pioneer iPod connector, and it performs roughly the same way. Good sound but crappy controls.

NoMoreLombard
Aug 6, 2005, 09:54 PM
You could look at this $15 NewerTech RoadTrip FM 87.9MHz Transmitter (http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/ROADTRIP879/) that plugs into your iPod and then plug it into the cigarette lighter.

For just a little bit more you could get the NewerTechnology RoadTrip+ which uses the dock connector to both power/recharge and transmit to the FM unit at 87.9 all through the cigarette lighter. I've had mine about a week and it works great and works in any car with FM (in Stereo, too!) Very slick for $27.95.
RoadTrip+ (http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/ROADTRIPLS/)

Chip NoVaMac
Aug 6, 2005, 10:19 PM
For just a little bit more you could get the NewerTechnology RoadTrip+ which uses the dock connector to both power/recharge and transmit to the FM unit at 87.9 all through the cigarette lighter. I've had mine about a week and it works great and works in any car with FM (in Stereo, too!) Very slick for $27.95.
RoadTrip+ (http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/ROADTRIPLS/)

A single FM transmitter is not a great option for those in major urban areas. Our major news/traffic radio station (WTOP 1500/820AM/107.7FM) gets major bleed through in the Merrifield/Fairfax/Tysons area at times.

If the FCC work "lock-out" the 87.9 and adjacent "channels". then it might be more feasible for devices like this and others. But the limited airwaves are too "valuable" to give up to the public that "owns" them...

Heb1228
Aug 6, 2005, 10:32 PM
If you're serious about how your music sounds, you have to get a stereo with a line-in. I got a Sony unit that has rca plugs in the back of it and use a 1/8" (headphone-size plug) straight into the car stereo. If you have a car charger with a line-out, it will probably sound even better, but I haven't tried it yet.

I can tell very little difference from playing on my iPod through the line in and burning the same song to a cd and playing it in the cd player.

Frank (Atlanta)
Aug 6, 2005, 11:06 PM
I've just had Axxess' Wire-Tunes installed in my car. Based upon my research and experience, there are 2 different type of line-in options:

1. Simple aux/line input - control handled via the iPod

2. Integrated line input - control handled by head-unit

From what I can tell, it seems like you get one or the other - you can't have head unit/steering wheel controls + iPod control. I may be completely wrong here, but I haven't seen an integration that allows both. Some strengths/weaknesses of each:

Simple Line Input: takes advantage of the great iPod interface. Can get to any song easily; very easy to navigate and you can see all your different playlists, what songs are in the playlists, what songs are next, choose from On-the-Go playlists, etc. Disadvantage - might be a bit distracting to try to choose/search for a song from the iPod while driving...

Integrated Input: the biggest plus is that you can retain stock functionality (steering wheel controls, XM or OnStar if handled properly, etc.) The weakness is - even on a head unit that can display titles, artists, etc. - it's not as easy to navigate as the iPod. For instance, I can see the current track, but I can't see the next 4 or 5 songs or scan through a playlist as easily as I can on the iPod.

At the end of the day, one of the biggest advantages of the iPod is its interface and usability. Unfortunately, it appears that functionality is hard to integrate that into a head unit display (afterall, most existing units weren't created with the intent of managing hundreds or thousands of song titles; although I've heard some newer ones appear to have this capability).

I would recommend with going with some type of aux/line-in arrangement vs. an FM transmitter or even a cassette converter. Good luck.

Thx,
Frank

Chip NoVaMac
Aug 6, 2005, 11:36 PM
I've just had Axxess' Wire-Tunes installed in my car. Based upon my research and experience, there are 2 different type of line-in options:

1. Simple aux/line input - control handled via the iPod

2. Integrated line input - control handled by head-unit

Sounds great, but my search on Google for this did not seem to truly help some like me with a Subaru Baja. I have asked many a source for a line in for my head unit of some sort, and came up empty.

hayduke
Aug 7, 2005, 04:11 AM
We use an iTrip when we travel because we can't always guarantee that the car we'll have will have a tape deck. This worked great across The States, Australlia, and Spain. Around town we use a tape adapter because the airwaves are packed in the City. I think most of use gave up on fidelity for ease of use and small files when we opted for 128kbps. So any debate about the fidelity of tape vs. FM (perhaps vs. line-in) is kind of moot. If you want the solution that will work with the least hassle then get the tape adapter. The only real disadvantage is that there is a cable tying your iPod to your car. For me, my batterly life is low enough that I'm always running of the cigarrette adapter so one more cable doesn't really matter. I guess if my battery lasted long enough and the airwaves were clear enough I might only use an FM transmitter, but alas that isn't the case.

Frank (Atlanta)
Aug 7, 2005, 07:33 AM
Chip,

The Axxess item might not work, but if your Baja's head unit displays text, then you might be able to find another 3rd party item that'll work with your radio. Also, there's always the option of buying a new head unit - I know some of them have aux inputs on the faceplate. I didn't go this route because it would have been too much trouble (and more expensive), but it's an option.

Sorry a line-in option doesn't work. Can your head unit operate a CD changer? There are ways to "fool" the head unit into thinking the iPod is simply a change so even without a "aux" button, you can sometimes still find workarounds.

Good luck,
Frank

macaddictann
Aug 9, 2005, 01:54 PM
Glad I found this. I bought a cassette adapter and was actually quite willing to go that route, but of course, I left it in the tape player while I was at work all day, and now it's screwed up. I'd love to just plug something into the iPod and have it play without messing around.

Actually, even before the adapter went south, it was too weird...the first time I used it, I got insane bass coming out. I had to set my bass to -6 or something for music to sound normal.

I'm not about to go messing around in my car's stereo, heh...my boyfriend and his friend tried installing a stereo for me once, and it was a mess. I've got the Honda factory stereo and had opted for a cassette as well as a CD player since I still have some old cassettes lying around.

And my car needs servicing and is out of date on its inspection, etc. But I'd like to explore other options one of these days...nice to know I don't need to get an in-dash thing put in, although that'd be pretty sexy, too.

zelmo
Aug 9, 2005, 02:28 PM
Yesterday, I noticed for the first time that, using the cassette adapter with the stock FM/CD/tape player in my Tundra, I can use the CD track forward and reverse buttons to switch tracks on my iPod.
Is this something anyone else has seen?

Chip NoVaMac
Aug 9, 2005, 10:41 PM
Chip,

The Axxess item might not work, but if your Baja's head unit displays text, then you might be able to find another 3rd party item that'll work with your radio. Also, there's always the option of buying a new head unit - I know some of them have aux inputs on the faceplate. I didn't go this route because it would have been too much trouble (and more expensive), but it's an option.

Sorry a line-in option doesn't work. Can your head unit operate a CD changer? There are ways to "fool" the head unit into thinking the iPod is simply a change so even without a "aux" button, you can sometimes still find workarounds.

Good luck,
Frank

Thanks, but my headunit does not seem to be "fooled". The only thing that my headunit will accept is an FM modulator. Really want a direct connect.

The the choices seem to be a aux connect, and the added cost of an iPod connect to a headunit. I am still out on the best choice, and cost.

starstreak
Aug 10, 2005, 01:43 AM
I bought the Monster tape adapter. Not bad. Worked ok. Two things bothers me ALOT.
1) You can hear my tape rollers moving (against a plastic shell makes alot of noise)
2) TAPE HISS. Yes, it has tape hiss! And its very loud. It's not beucase of the ipod. But the adapter. As it still hisses loudly even with the ipod detached.

PaRaGoNViCtiM
Aug 11, 2005, 02:57 PM
I have an Alpine CDA-9851 head unit and an Alpine iPod Interface. The sound from this is freakin' AMAZING! I orginally had a Panasonic head unit, without a Aux Input, so I sold that on ebay and bought an Alpine that was compatiable with the iPod interface. I'm telling you if you want awesome sound, get this. Pioneer also makes one!!
I'm telling you look into this!! I bought my head unit and interface at Best Buy the interface was $99.99, and you can get a cheap Alpine head unit that's compatiable.
Link for the KCA-420i (iPod Alpine Interface) (http://www.bestbuy.com/site//olspage.jsp?id=1099388651051&skuId=6983419&type=product)
Link for Compatiable Alpine Head Unit (CDA-9847) (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=6983295&type=product&productCategoryId=pcmcat62700050003&id=1099388650551)

spellflower
Aug 11, 2005, 05:38 PM
I've used the irock fm transmitter with my minidisc player and I certainly wouldn't waist $30 on it again. I thought it was just because it was so cheap that it sounded like am even in the middle of Texas.

This thread is the first place I've heard of line ins. My car stereo is a few years old, but plays MP3 CDs and is "Sirius ready". I don't have the manual because the car's previous owner put it in. I don't see anywhere to line something in on the front. What's this about RCAs on the back? How do I find out if I can do that with out replacing my head unit?

MattG
Aug 11, 2005, 05:43 PM
I've used the irock fm transmitter with my minidisc player and I certainly wouldn't waist $30 on it again. I thought it was just because it was so cheap that it sounded like am even in the middle of Texas.

This thread is the first place I've heard of line ins. My car stereo is a few years old, but plays MP3 CDs and is "Sirius ready". I don't have the manual because the car's previous owner put it in. I don't see anywhere to line something in on the front. What's this about RCAs on the back? How do I find out if I can do that with out replacing my head unit?

Most non-factory (didn't come with the car) head units have some sort of input ability on them. RCA jacks in the back, an input for a CD changer, something. If you have RCA line-in jacks on the back, you can plug an RCA to 3.5mm jack cable into it and plug the other end into your iPod. If you don't have RCA inputs in the back, most head-unit manufacturers make adapters that will allow you to convert the CD-changer-IN port into a line in for a device with RCA ports.

You might want to do a Google search for your model of head unit and see if you can find an instruction manual--that should tell you what's available on yours!

mikentosh
Aug 12, 2005, 07:54 PM
I would recommend a hard-wired FM modulator with an in-line isolation transformer or line conditioner. I've seen them for less than $40. This gives you line in with l/r rca jacks. Also, try using a dock. I use a dock connected to an AI-NET to RCA adapter with my Alpine instead of the ipod interface due to mine being more than two years old. You can plug a cig lighter adapter to the back of the dock and charge it at the same time. The audio quality isn't any better than going out of the headphone jack, but it is preset for the optimal level. (which means you can't adjust the volume with the ipod) My dock fits in a cubby just under the head unit's after-market bracket, so it doesn't wiggle around on turns. I tried the itrip before and was not pleased at all with its range. The sound quality was rather poor.

eric_n_dfw
Sep 15, 2005, 07:10 AM
I just installed the Axxess Wire-Tunes in my 2005 Toyota Tacoma (in dash, non-JBL, CD-Changer option) last night.

It sounds 10000x better than the RoadTrip FM transmitter I had been using.

My only complaint is that even though my head unit can display CD-Text, apparently it cannot do so via the Wire-Tunes.

I only payed about $10 for it on eBay ($1.29 plus shipping!) so, overall, I'm extreemly happy with it!

PS: My prior car (Acrua RSX-S w/ Bose in dash CD Changer) had a cassette player as well. The cassette adapter sounded better than the RoadTrip, but both had terrible hiss and dynamic range.

NicP
Sep 15, 2005, 07:28 PM
I have an Alpine CDA-9851 head unit and an Alpine iPod Interface. The sound from this is freakin' AMAZING! I orginally had a Panasonic head unit, without a Aux Input, so I sold that on ebay and bought an Alpine that was compatiable with the iPod interface. I'm telling you if you want awesome sound, get this. Pioneer also makes one!!
I'm telling you look into this!! I bought my head unit and interface at Best Buy the interface was $99.99, and you can get a cheap Alpine head unit that's compatiable.
Link for the KCA-420i (iPod Alpine Interface) (http://www.bestbuy.com/site//olspage.jsp?id=1099388651051&skuId=6983419&type=product)
Link for Compatiable Alpine Head Unit (CDA-9847) (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=6983295&type=product&productCategoryId=pcmcat62700050003&id=1099388650551)

how is usability? i heard it sucks like the pioneer and kenwood solutions?

MattG
Sep 15, 2005, 08:00 PM
how is usability? i heard it sucks like the pioneer and kenwood solutions?

According to several reviews on Crutchfield's web site, looks like it has the same problems as the other ones:

Now for the bad...
1) Browsing albums/artists takes forever. Turning the wheel (volume knob) will scroll through 1 artist/album per second. This is extremely distracting while trying to drive! Your only hope is to create playlists and keep the number of playlists very small so you don't have to scroll through those too.
2) I dont' like to think of myself as stupid, but navigating the interface made me feel that way. In the 4 months I've had it, I STILL can't get it to randomly play all the songs on my iPod. Also, "Quick Search" is a joke... a very mean joke.
3) After selecting an artist with multiple albums, there is no easy way to switch to another of their albums without browsing again. You'd think one of the quick search buttons would allow you to switch between albums with a single button press.
4) Once the iPod is plugged in, there is no way to control it from it's own interface. You must use the Alpine stereo. This wouldn't be a problem if it were easier to navigate using the stereo.
5) There's a nice little bug in the firmware where once you do a search, if you search backwards without first searching forwards, the screen will blank and you will have no idea what you are on until you select something.

thejakill
Sep 16, 2005, 03:57 AM
i tried the irock with my first gen ipod... uneven quality, lots of static interference. finally, the damn thing just broke.

back in 2003 i got a JVC with a line in on the front... never looked back.