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.
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.