iPod FM Transmitter?

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by AlphaTech, Mar 10, 2002.

  1. AlphaTech macrumors 601


    Oct 4, 2001
    Natick, MA
    It's almost time for me to replace my current vehicle, and I can't seem to get one with a cassett deck built in. I will need to get an FM transmitter in order to use my iPod (almost 600 songs on it and growing). I'm not getting the 6cd changer, since that is $$ that can be put to other options that I would like more. I love the iPod and how well it works, especially once you use better headphones with it, or push the signal to kick-a$$ speakers.

    The question that I am putting forward is to see who else is using a FM transmitter in their vehicle, which one it is, and how do you like it? I would like to hear real world feedback since all the companies that offer claim theirs is the best (imagine that :rolleyes: ). The price is not really an issue, since I would prefer to get one, and not need to replace it. I don't need it to work in the apartment, since I can just jack directly into my speakers, and the distance to that is not too great. I love the cassett adapter now, mainly because it pushes so much signal to the stereo right now.

    I would appreciate objective feedback, backed up by actual use of the FM transmitters. If possible, also include a link to where you picked up your transmitter.

    Peace, and rock on :D
  2. Wry Cooter macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2002
    Check out FM Transmitter discussion at some of the iPod websites (although some sites are run by people strongly set against FM transmitters, the type that tears up their vehicle to install a custom stereo system worth more than the vehicle.)

    There is an FM Transmitter that Dr.Bott sells (Drbott.com).
    CCrane and Company may have theirs available by now, perhaps a bit stronger or flexible.
    and iRock makes one, available at many CompUSAs (irock makes a little mp3 gizmo too).

    Most common complaint against these transmitters that might have any merit (dismissing the "sounds like $#!+" types who are never satisfied unless their subwoofers destroy a city block during a drive by...) is their signal strength, as many are a pretty weak transmitter, probably by law.

    In my area, the spectrum used by the iRock for example (88,1, 88.3, 88.7, 88.9) , is pretty busy with non commercial stations. The best distance I can get from my boom box (not sure how fresh the battery is in the transmitter) is about 7 feet, so my hopes of walking around at a party Disc Jockeying from my pocket are completely dashed. But if you are within a yard of your radio, keeping the iPod on the car seat, or even the dashboard, you will probably not have any problem.

    Beyond this route, you could get a third party stereo for your vehicle, with cassette, or a line in even. Check out Crutchfield.com. But a transmitter is usually only 30, up to 90 bucks.

    Mp3s are going to kill the cassette format.
  3. AlphaTech thread starter macrumors 601


    Oct 4, 2001
    Natick, MA
    The stock system that comes in the truck is a cd/mp3 unit... which is all well and good, but I would rather use the iPod now that I have one. I will have to check and see if the unit has auxilary inputs inside the dash. If it does, maybe I could reach them and plug in a cable, or get someone to install it for me.
  4. Gelfin macrumors 68020


    Sep 18, 2001
    Denver, CO
    Er, I'm hardly an audiophile, but I've never heard an FM transmitter that didn't sound like $#!+. Buzzy, crackly, fuzzy... it just sucks. I know that a lot of the problem is that I live in a large urban area where practically all of the FM spectrum is in use somewhere nearby, especially when you have a commute that's more than a few miles, but even under the best conditions I've been less than satisfied.

    My suggestion would be to get the cheapest audio option available on whatever car you get. The difference in price on the car will MORE than cover replacing the head unit in the car. Go to Crutchfield to compare and shop, but not to buy. You can probably find the same unit cheaper at a Best Buy or a Circuit City, and they'll install it free. What you want, though, is something that offers an auxilliary input jack. Lots of stereos out there do, and not just the outrageously priced ones. When you have it installed, make SURE you tell the guys doing the installation that you're going to need to use the aux input jack. Most people don't care about it, and so the installation guys will often just leave the jack coiled up in your dashboard, if not just cut it off at the back of the unit.

    Once you get that done, though, you just need a standard male-to-male stereo cable to plug in your iPod.

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