iPod Whats the best way to play ipod music in a car?

starstreak

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 5, 2004
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(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

macrumors 68000
Aug 19, 2003
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Denver, CO
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!!
 
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devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
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starstreak said:
(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 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!).
 
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starstreak

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 5, 2004
426
3
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?
 
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MacDawg

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Mar 20, 2004
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starstreak said:
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
 
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devilot

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May 1, 2005
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MacDawg said:
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
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.
 
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zelmo

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2004
5,490
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Mac since 7.5
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.
 
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EGT

macrumors 68000
Sep 4, 2003
1,605
1
joepunk said:
You could look at this $15 NewerTech RoadTrip FM 87.9MHz Transmitter that plugs into your iPod and then plug it into the cigarette lighter.

Here is a quick user review from Lowendmac.com
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.
 
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PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,238
4
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
 
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zim

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Jan 5, 2002
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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!
 
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PlaceofDis

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Jan 6, 2004
19,238
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zim said:
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
 
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Chip NoVaMac

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Dec 25, 2003
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Northern Virginia
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.
 
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PlaceofDis

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Jan 6, 2004
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Chip NoVaMac said:
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.....
 
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zim

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Jan 5, 2002
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PlaceofDis said:
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!

Chip NoVaMac said:
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.
 
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tveric

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Jun 23, 2003
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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.
 
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C

CompUser

Guest
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.
 
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starstreak

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 5, 2004
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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?
 
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WinterMute

Moderator emeritus
Jan 19, 2003
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London, England
starstreak said:
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.
 
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MacDawg

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Mar 20, 2004
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WinterMute said:
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
 
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iWillard

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Apr 27, 2005
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Staring at a Mac Screen
EGT said:
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...
 
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maxterpiece

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2003
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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.
 
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gallagb

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Apr 28, 2004
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IN
uh- yo dudes?

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?
 
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WinterMute

Moderator emeritus
Jan 19, 2003
4,775
4
London, England
gallagb said:
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.
 
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