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Summary:

It’s beyond me why the majority of car stereo systems (even newer ones) don’t have an auxiliary input. And if they do have one, they’re somehow “strategically” placed on the back of the unit inside your dash. It just seems to me that with the massive […]

It’s beyond me why the majority of car stereo systems (even newer ones) don’t have an auxiliary input. And if they do have one, they’re somehow “strategically” placed on the back of the unit inside your dash. It just seems to me that with the massive increase in the use of portable music devices, more companies would start including such a thing. At any rate, enough rambling.

Griffin iTrip

Due to my lack of an auxiliary input on my car stereo, I’ve been forced to try “other” methods. The most successful (and least destructive) is the Griffin iTrip. My first choice of the original Belkin TuneCast proved to be almost useless considering it’s microscopic choice in channel options — though do make not that the TuneCast II allows for a much broader selection.

A few tech specs worthy of noting:
• 2.4″ x .84″ (fits in perfectly with the iPod’s size and design)
• Frequencies: 88.1 – 107.9 MHz
• Operation range: 10 – 30 feet (though I found that moving more than 3 or 4 feet away caused some problems)

Upon receiving my iTrip I was quite anxious to give it a try. Setup was a breeze. Simply run a quick installer that adds an iTrip playlist to iTunes, plug in your iPod, add the playlist to your iPod and BOOM! you’re set to go. I then took my iPod into my vehicle and proceeded to follow the instructions. Simply plug the iTrip into your iPod, start playing some tunes, then tune my radio to 87.9 (this is what the iTrip is preset to). And what do you know? It worked.

The iTrip claims you can pick any station and it will override that station with the iTrip signal. As true as this statement may be…do know that your much better off finding a station with nothing broadcasting on it. Griffin suggests the best stations for broadcasting on are between 98 and 103 MHz though you’ll need some pretty decent luck to find an completely open station in that range.

My main gripe with the iTrip was it’s consistency. I found that I would have to attempt to broadcast to a particular station 2-3 times before the station would actually pick up the signal.

Overall I give this product a B+. I’m a stickler for sound quality and completely understand that FM radio is only capable of producing a certain level of sound quality…that being said, the iTrip gave the best sound quality and the strong signal of the few transmitters I tried out. I give it a B+ instead of an A due to the consistency issues with broadcasting.

There are versions of the iTrip available for the iPod Photo, mini, U2 special edition, 3rd and 4th gens. All go for $39.99 and are a great buy if FM transmitting is your only option.

  1. Do you get that “compressed” FM sound with an iPod transmitter like this? Is the sound noticeably different than straight from a CD?

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  2. The absolute best it can sound is that of your strongest FM signal…the quality won’t be any better because it’s going through FM signals. So yes, it’s noticeably different than from a CD.

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  3. I have given up on the iTrip. The FM transmitter is just too and it is too dependent on where your auto antenna is. If you set the volume too high on the iPod the iTrip goes into severe distortion. Changing frequencies is too difficult to do while driving when the iTrip is overpowered by a station in a new city when driving. I have found the simpler and cheaper Newer Technology unit works a lot better, but still not nearly as well as a cassette adaptor. There is still no real solution that does not involve a wire.

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  4. If you set the volume too high on the iPod the iTrip goes into severe distortion.

    Griffin states this right up front that you should set your volume between 50-70%. You should be using your stereo to control the volume anyways…not the iPod.

    Changing frequencies is too difficult to do while driving when the iTrip is overpowered by a station in a new city when driving.

    I do agree with this…it’s a bit of a pain (and probably a bit dangerous) to do while driving.

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  5. How can i prevent the iTrip installation from trying to use MusicMatch instead of my installed iTunes? The Install quits because I don’t have MusicMatch installed. I don’t want to use MusicMatch.

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  6. [...] couple ways, the new kit would be differant. While the existing system, iTrip, lets you broadcast your iPod to your car stereo (or plug into your stereo’s line-in if it has [...]

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  7. apple accessory skeptic Saturday, August 12, 2006

    I’m also giving on my iTrip, like I had previously given up on my iMic (Belkin). It seems to have short-term amnesia and keeps returning to 88.5 anytime I try changing it to another (clear) channel. Even just pausing a song is enough for it to revert to 88.5. After deceiving me into thinking I’ve “figured it out” again, it will switch back to 88.5 and subsequently not even let me change it again. 2 irritating strikes against mac accessories for me.

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  8. The new Griffin iTrip Auto model seem much better. Just recently got the new iTrip from myBoomBox in the UK.

    With the Auto there’s no need for an extra car charger, it’s really well put together and it works a treat.

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  9. Any suggestions on how to transfer music to the ipod so that when you play in the car thru itunes you don’t have to have the car volume set to max and it still doesn’t get as loud as I’d like.
    -JEn

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  10. I lost my CD that hold the I-trip installer. so i can’t get any other frequencys than 87.9. Can someone tell me where i could get the CD or software for free.

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