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iTrip Needs More Than Fine-Tuning

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By fnarfy

Contributing Editor
Published: Sunday, October 26, 2003
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Michael Prager of the Boston Globe has written a review of Griffin’s new iTrip, and despite all we’ve been hearing, it’s not a favorable one…

“In my experience, music from the iPod sent through iTrip too often sounds like it’s being played on an iSock, muffled just enough to be maddening. At its best, fidelity is merely acceptable, but in a moving vehicle, conditions are rarely ideal.”

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Comments

1

I agree with the man!  Didn’t like the itrip at all, gave it to my brother.

Posted by touch sensitive on October 26, 2003 at 2:32 PM (PDT)

2

I’m glad to hear that other people are having the same experiences with the iTrip.

I ordered mine the first day I could, and eagerly awaited its arrival.  Man, was I disappointed.  I think it’s garbage.

Posted by kevinmoore73 on October 26, 2003 at 2:36 PM (PDT)

3

Tell me about it!! I pre ordered the iTrip in July and could not wait to get it, well now its here and I am really let down. It has bad sound quality and most of all its very hard to change stations. Half the time it takes me 5 minutes of fighting just to get it to wake up from sleep. Maybe I got a bad one well better luck to the next guy!

Posted by C Edens on October 26, 2003 at 3:27 PM (PDT)

4

Man I’m torn. There’s plenty of threads in the forums extolling the greatness of the iTrip, and the first one (for the older iPods) generally got decent reviews…but now there’s this review, and the above comments. I’m not sure if I should get one or not.

Posted by mrogers on October 26, 2003 at 3:36 PM (PDT)

5

mine with 2nd gen ipod is fine

Posted by dsafasf on October 26, 2003 at 4:21 PM (PDT)

6

Hehe, I sold my FM transmitter after hearing it for 5 mins. $50 bucks baby, I would rather not hear music than hear bad quality music.

Posted by Adam on October 26, 2003 at 5:19 PM (PDT)

7

Mine itrip has been a big pain as well. My car does not have a tape player so its either the iTrip or some other type of FM Transmiter which I have tried that too and it was worse. Its a great idea but just dont pick up good.

Posted by speedmaster on October 26, 2003 at 5:25 PM (PDT)

8

My itrip has been a big pain as well. My car does not have a tape player so its either the iTrip or some other type of FM Transmiter which I have tried that too and it was worse. Its a great idea but just dont pick up good.

Posted by speedmaster on October 26, 2003 at 5:25 PM (PDT)

9

i used iRock with my first generation iPod, and it worked alright.  The only hassle was having to change batteries.

I have used a tape adapter by Sony—the sound quality was wonderful, but the tape and cord isn’t ideal.

And I use a cord that goes into an aux jack in another vehicle—again, great sound quality, but the cord gets in the way.

When I got my 3rd generation 20gb iPod, I wanted to get iTrip because:
- it fits on top of the iPod
- you are not restricted to predefined stations
- the iPod provides power to it, so no batteries to change

Indeed, finding a station with little interference was difficult here in the Washington, DC, but I did find one.  I haven’t had to retune the iTrip, but I can understand how retuning it continuously would become an issue.  And really, one should not have to retune it unless one is on a road trip taking them through many areas.

The sound quality, however, is disappointing.  If I keep my iPod on top of the dash, my stereo picks up the signal pretty well.  But I don’t want to keep it on top of the dash, as it slides if one turns quickly.  I purchased a mount for my iPod made by Belkin that fits very nicely into a cup holder.  The cup holder is probably 1 foot from the stereo, but the quality of the signal is severely degraded—more in some areas (where I presume there is greater interference).

To contrast, I could keep my previous iPod using iRock on the seat next to me and I don’t recall such issues.

The iTrip is beautifully designed.  Perhaps it needs a stronger transmitter?

Posted by maverick on October 26, 2003 at 6:57 PM (PDT)

10

Hmmm…Seems that there are a lot of complaints in this thread. I have constantly run the iTrip over the course of 1200 miles across many states, and though many miles of open country and crowded cities.(I travel as part of my business)
My results…
1.) Changed station 3 times from 88.3 to higher stations. Otherwise left it there.
2.) Very minimal distortion on average. As a matter of fact I often forgot I was listening to the iPod.
3.) Sound was clear, as the radio. Not as a CD..but very close most of the time.
4.) Never had a problem with ‘jumping’ stations or poping noises.
——-
Now, just to clarify the details, I have used this in two vechicles, both equal mileage.
One a 1994 Jeep Cherokee, with stock radio stock speakers.
The other a 1995 Jeep Cherokee with a Kenwood deck, and 2 amps- one handling the treble and mid-range, the other amp rounding out the bass. Aftermarket speakers.
—-
Results: Easy to hook up a run.
BOTH vechicles responded well with the signal to noise ratio emmited by the iTrip.
I was impressed with it playing MP3s(ripped @192)running through both set-ups! Rip your music no lower that 192 for good quality.

Posted by skeebo on October 26, 2003 at 7:02 PM (PDT)

11

One note..I set the ipod by the ‘arm rest console’ section of the Jeep, for those not familiar, it is actually by the emergency brake- a nice fit for the iPod. And had minimal distortion. The distance is about 2.5 to 3 feet avg. from the radio.

Most certainly a good accessory for the 35 bucks.
my ‘pod?—2 gen 10 giger.
Maybe I am one of the luck ones?! Don’t know, but I really have enjoyed the iTrip. smile

Posted by skeebo on October 26, 2003 at 7:09 PM (PDT)

12

I’ve got the 2nd gen ipod&itrip;.  I use it regularly, and most of the time it’s OK.  But just that—OK.  Sound quality is horrible and muffled (I love the iSock line in the article).

With iTunes, I’d much rather just burn a CD of my “Move” playlist and take that in the car for short trips.

If you don’t have a cassette player in your car (like me), iTrip is probably worth it for those times when you just have to hear a song that you don’t have on CD in the car.  But other than that, it’s just not necessary and not worth $35.  I paid $25 for mine, and if I had to do over again, I wouldn’t pay more than $10 for this thing.

Oh, and blame the FCC for both the bad choice of radio stations (most of what you hear is owned by two giant companies, thanks to lax FCC rules) and for your low-powered iTrip.

Posted by themantis on October 26, 2003 at 8:58 PM (PDT)

13

I love my itrip…....no problems with it.

Posted by jmc in noitacol on October 26, 2003 at 9:15 PM (PDT)

14

i know alot of you people arent electronically inclined but you can pay for someone to put an AUX out from your stereo. they tap into your stereos exisiting connections and leave a female headphone jack for you to plug your iPod into using a male to male wire. preferrably a gold plated one. it will cost around the same as an itrip and will be much more solid. i do own an itrip but i only bought it for car rental and other peoples cars purposes. since most people use stereo cd players nowadays. or if your in the market for a new stereo anyways you could always purchase a new one with a built in AUX out prebuilt into the face. that way there are no extra wires hanging out the side. check out this site.
http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S-V74cWrc6gtz/ProdView.asp?s=0&c=3&g=300&I=055CDCX437&o=p&a=0&cc=01&avf=N

Posted by Jaguares in Bay Area, Ca on October 26, 2003 at 9:25 PM (PDT)

15

You probably won’t know if you’re going to like like it until you try it beacause there are too many external factors that affect iTrips performance. I love mine and consider it one of the best musical accessories/investments possible.

I have used it extensively in the RI/CT/MA area and found great results everywhere (sometimes switiching frequencies) and I have also found great results in the washington DC area. I have travelled up and down the east coast, and even in the heart of NYC I have found a useable station.

Will it work for you? You might be able to find reception, might not. Also depends on where you live, and especially on the car you own and the stereo that’s in it.

If it does work, will you like it? Sound quality is never better than radio quality—never exact CD quality, but we shouldn’t expect that when it’s being transmitted to a radio station. If you’re an audiophile, you migth not be satisfied with it anywhere, even in your home where reception is usually best (home stereo receiver). But I say, if you’re really interested, go ahead and buy it, and if you don’t like it, sell it on ebay or on ipodlounge.com/ I have tons of friends who would love one, after seeing and using mine. I love it, you might too.

Posted by Andrew Borstein on October 26, 2003 at 9:26 PM (PDT)

16

iTrip does sound better if I use AIFF encoding arther than just allowing it to add it’s own limitations to mp3 or aac encoding. The main problem is finding free FM bandwidth but that isn’t iTrip’s fault. If I want a Hi-fi experience though I stay home and use my stereo.

Posted by Professor Tournesol on October 26, 2003 at 9:43 PM (PDT)

17

FINALLY received my iTrip last Friday. Works great for me. Like Griffin was saying, “worth the wait.” Now I didn’t go into it thinking it would sound like some “Super Home System,” but it sounds a good as the best radio station reception and almost CD quality. For $35.00 bucks… what can you expect? Sure beats carring around 250 CDs in my car.

I even set it to a station that has some single on it… iTrip over rode the signal with not problem.

Posted by Randy on October 27, 2003 at 4:01 AM (PDT)

18

This is a decent solution. But, for about 50 - 90 USD you can find CD deck with an aux in jack on the front. If you use your iPod like I do (40GB, loaded with my entire collection of CDs , vinyl to come) I haven’t brought a CD in my car since I bought it. I picked up the belkin charger and I line out through a GLI (ground loop isolator, to control electric noise) into my 1/8th stereo jack on the front of my stereo. The sound is amazing and makes the iPod’s price well worth it. Why pay 300+ USD and then skimp on the 15USD transmitter and completely compromise quality?

Posted by Regalbegal on October 27, 2003 at 7:06 AM (PDT)

19

Has anyone tried it in Seattle?  What frequency did you use?

Posted by lumi on October 27, 2003 at 10:47 AM (PDT)

20

Here’s the question… is it the new iTrip for Gen3 iPods that is at issue, or a general problem of crowded airwaves?  what is the difference between the quality of old and new iTrips?  I am awaiting (4 months now) for my iTrip and iFM to arrive here in the UK.  Our airwaves are less crowded. Do I cancel in view of the poor comments on the new edition iTrip?  ...and buy a Belkin which works on anything with a line out jack?

Posted by spinal man on October 27, 2003 at 11:25 AM (PDT)

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