Belkin FM Transmitter vs. Griffin iTrip!!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Littleodie914, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Littleodie914 macrumors 68000

    Littleodie914

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #1
    Hey, I just bought the Belkin FM Transmitter from Target, and am thoroughly disappointed. Not only is it bulky and hard to hard to use in the car, the reception is horrible! Perhaps I'm just used to the usual MP3 quality, but even playing the iPod through the transmitter when it was sitting RIGHT in front of the radio produced an unbearable amount of static, over all 4 different stations. I also tried the transmitter on our home stereo, but it still didn't improve the sound quality. Is this to be expected with all FM transmitters, or will the iTrip produce clearer sound? Thanks a lot! (On my way to take the Belkin back... If you guys claim the iTrip works better, I'll head over to the CompUSA and grab one!) :D
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    I just bought my wife an iPod for her birthday, and I'm interested in the answer to this as well.

    Also, is there any reason - aside from aesthetics - not to use a cassette adapter if you've got a cassette player in your car (as opposed to an FM transmitter for the 'pod)?
     
  3. LeeTom macrumors 68000

    LeeTom

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #3
    Although I rarely ever get static (an never a problem) with my iTrip, the sound quality is noticeably worse than using a tape adapter. Just the limitations of FM radio. But it sure is handy!

    Lee Tom
     
  4. comictimes macrumors 6502a

    comictimes

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    Location:
    Berkeley, California
    #4
    I just got a nice new itrip yesterday, and it's really nice. You can set it to any station between 87.9 and 107.9, and the reception is ok. One thing to remember though, for any of the FM transmitters- keep the volume on the ipod low. Whenever the volume on the ipod is high, the sound quality/static becomes unbearable. Just keep the ipod volume low and crank up the sterio volume.
     
  5. MikeLaRiviere macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    #5
    Cassette

    I cannot stress enough that the cassette adaptor is the way to go. I have an iTrip, and I no longer use it because the reception and sound quality is so horrible. The sound is incredibly compressed; think of how radio stations sound as you go through the mountains: you may keep the signal, but the compression is noticeable as only the midrange comes through.

    I now use a cassette adaptor, and I again have crystal clear digital music to listen to. I used to consider myself something of an audiophile, but now I'm happy with 128 kbps AAC or 160 kbps MP3. You just won't enjoy your songs as much with an FM transmitter.

    Mike LaRiviere
     
  6. Alfie macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Location:
    South Dakota
    #6
    I agree with comictimes...the key when using the iTrip is to keep the iPod's volume at half or less. Any more and the static gets bad. I usually set the ipod's volume on half and then control the volume with the stereo controls.

    I would say that the quality of sound while using the iTrip is only OK. The cassette adapter gives a much higher quality. However, I do enjoy being able to pass the iPod back and forth with my wife while we drive in the car without having to worry about the wire being in the way. The convience is great and aesthetically, it's very nice...you just need to be willing to give up a little quality to achieve it.

    Alfie
     
  7. jonnyblobby macrumors member

    jonnyblobby

    Joined:
    May 25, 2003
    Location:
    Aus, Sydney
    #7
    Ilove my iTrip

    True, the quality is not as good as a tape adapter, but the iTrip can be used for many more reasons than just in the car.
    I keep my iTrip attached to my iPod wherever I go, and thats away because it fits the size of the ipod as just a part on the top, not a bulky adapter that is another device to carry with the ipod, the itrip also used the power from the ipod, so no battery replacment.

    I have had countless occasions where a moment has come up that being able to just pull out the ipod and play it through a radio has just been the coolest.
     
  8. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #8
    Coolest use I've seen:

    We all got Nokia 6800 phones at work a while back. Not the greatest phone, but not horrible. Nice feature (but odd): built-in FM radio. One day last month, a guy from California was in with some other co-workers (I work for a multi-national) for some meetings. Pretty cool guy, and the meetings were horribly boring. He had an iPod with one of the FM transmitters. He let us listen to his playlist discretely by running headphones to our ears and tuning in with our phones while in the meeting. Now that was profoundly cool.
     
  9. mojohanna macrumors 6502a

    mojohanna

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Cleveland
    #9
    One small danger other than reception with the iTrip. When you load the stations on to the iPod, it loads them into your library as well as an iTrip playlist. If you are fond of the shuffle and letting the iPod take over, you need to create a separate playlist of all of your songs, less the itrip stations. If you do not, you will constantly be trying to play catch up each time the ipod ramdomly chooses one of the itrip stations.
    In all I love mine. I too take it with me wherever I go.
     
  10. slughead macrumors 68030

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #10
    I don't know how many times I'm going to repost this, but here goes.

    I bought a belkin transmitter. All four channels were worthless.

    I bought a Griffin iTrip. It had pretty good quality near most radios, however, I found out that there is a major design flaw with most of these radios: The antennas are too short.

    For optimal performance, the antenna must be lengthened to 65-85mm. In addition, you may create a booster for it for less than $20.

    In either case, here is how to open the iTrip (schematics for the booster are also on that page):
    http://www.blargatron-systems.com/?s=blog&a=142185698
     
  11. johnbro23 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #11
    I got an iTrip and like most of you say, it's just OK. It works very well in my newer car than it does in my older one. I think the antenna on the newer one is better. I wonder if I can take my older car to the dealership and get a better antenna? Its probably way too expensive though.
     
  12. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2003
    Location:
    New HAMpshire
    #12
    I too am interested in iTrip, etc answers.

    Here is a question about the cassette adapter. I have a couple of cass. adapters from my old portable sony cd player...do these work with the iPod and or the iPod mini to play the music in my car cassette?
     
  13. rwagoner macrumors newbie

    rwagoner

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    RPV, CA
    #13
    Typical specs for automotive cassette players (even the "good" ones is 50-12,000 Hz. Typical FM is 35-15,000 Hz (15,000 Hz is the high-end cutoff required so as to not interfere with the stereo pilot tone). In other words, if a cassette adapter sounds better than FM, you must have a REALLY crappy radio. Additionally, the dynamics of FM vs. MP3 is no comparison: FM wins hands down. So again, if the iTrip is working right, if you get lousy sound you have a REALLY crappy radio.
     
  14. atari1356 macrumors 68000

    atari1356

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    #14
    Those cassette adapter's should work just fine... they're all pretty much the same.

    I don't have a tape player in my truck, and have found the iTrip to be mostly useless due to pretty much every frequency on the radio already being used by radio stations. :(
     
  15. slughead macrumors 68030

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #15
    The short answer is yes. You may notice that normal miniplugs have 3 rings, and the ipod uses 4.

    The 4th (top) ring on the iPod headphones/remote is seemingly useless. It could be separate ground for left channel (??), it could be nothing.

    In fact, upon opening my iTrip, I noticed that it doesn't even use the top ring!

    However, regular miniplugs (such as those for car adapters) will work.
     
  16. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502

    jtgotsjets

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    #16
    Best solution:
    Get a car stereo with an aux input.

    You won't be disappointed. The sound quality is limited only by your speakers and the quality of the MP3
     
  17. Littleodie914 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Littleodie914

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #17
    Hmm

    Yea, I've heard a few people talking about those... What exactly do they look like? Just a headphone-looking jack in the front of your stereo? Neither of our vehicles seem to have one of those... Can they be installed? Or do they come with the stereo?
     
  18. Littleodie914 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Littleodie914

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #18
    Hmm

    Yea, I've heard a few people talking about those... What exactly do they look like? Just a headphone-looking jack in the front of your stereo? Neither of our vehicles seem to have one of those... Can they be installed? Or do they come with the stereo? (P.S., I purchased the iTrip from the Apple Store last night, and paid the 7 bucks for the 2-day shipping... When it gets here, I'll post as to how the quality differed from the Belkin to the iTrip. Thanks for all the advice so far!) :D
     
  19. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #19
    While I suppose you could hack a stereo without it, you really need to buy a stereo with it built in. It usually is an input jack that looks just like a headphone jack. Sometimes, it's RCA plugs. For example, our new minivan has RCA input jacks and an "AUX" button to use to listen to them.
     
  20. Littleodie914 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Littleodie914

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #20
    Thanks and Oops!

    Alright, I thought that was what they were... I bought a Sony MD Walkman thingy (Blah! Crappy purchase! Stay away!) and it had a port for that, and even came with a 5-6" cable. And I noticed I accidentally posted twice... How would I go about deleting that first post? :eek:
     
  21. evil macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    chicago ex-toronto
    #21
    i had both the belkin fm transmitters...the one with 4 channels and the digital one. they both were a complete waste and were returned.
    i plan on buying a new car stereo that has an audio input.

    stay away from the belkin transmitters
     
  22. Palad1 macrumors 6502a

    Palad1

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #22
    Another option: settle for a defined station, then delete the playlist from your iPod.

    You can find the playlist in the installation CD if you want to change stations.

    Cheers,
    Palad1, happy whose iPod + iTrip made his gf want to switch from 3 pc to 2 macs... Ohhh shiny! ;p
     
  23. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2003
    Location:
    New HAMpshire
    #23
    I don't believe you can delete entirely, but you can go to one of those posts and if you are logged in you can click the edit button directly under the post, then delete all the text in the first post and resubmit with basically nothing but your name and an empty post.

    In the future, you can always edit a post the same way.

    No worries though- I would only try to fix this thread's double post so you know how to edit in the future. Newbies are usually given plenty of slack. I still make newbie mistakes and I have been a member for a while. :D
     
  24. mcs37 macrumors regular

    mcs37

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #24
    Is there a better FM transmitter?

    I was in the Apple store yesterday and interested in buying iTrip, but it only works on the iPod! I am roadtripping with a friend and we will have two laptops as well as my iPod, so I would like input from laptops occasionally too through audio out. Since iTrip doesn't support this, can anyone recommend a good FM transmitter for around the same price? This Griffin one from Target sounds pretty crappy.
     
  25. brogers macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2002
    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    #25
    I agree with rwagoner. I bought the iTrip and it sounds great with no static. A friend of mine bought the Belkin and he hates it....won't use it anymore. If you have a good radio this should not be a problem.
     

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