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Sonnet announces PodFreq FM Transmitter for iPod

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Monday, April 26, 2004
News Categories: iPod Accessories

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“Sonnet Technologies, the worldwide leader in processor upgrade cards for Apple Macintosh computers, announces the new PodFreq, a portable FM transmitter designed for serious music freaks with iPods (with dock connectors). PodFreq easily tunes with any available FM frequency, and transmits music from the iPod with a very high-quality signal. The PodFreq is ideal for anyone wanting to listen to the music on their iPod through a FM car stereo, home sound system receiver, or any portable FM radio device.

The PodFreq will begin shipping in May 2004, with an MSRP of $99.95. A Japanese version will also be available in May 2004.”

Press Release

SONNET ANNOUNCES PODFREQ™ FM TRANSMITTER FOR THE iPOD®

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA — April 26, 2004— Sonnet Technologies, the worldwide leader in processor upgrade cards for Apple Macintosh® computers, announces the new PodFreq, a portable FM transmitter designed for serious music freaks with iPods (with dock connectors). PodFreq easily tunes with any available FM frequency, and transmits music from the iPod with a very high-quality signal. The PodFreq is ideal for anyone wanting to listen to the music on their iPod through a FM car stereo, home sound system receiver, or any portable FM radio device.

The attractive and integrated design of the PodFreq encases the iPod in a durable, translucent shell, providing added protection to the iPod, while maintaining convenient access to the iPod controls and the headphone jack. PodFreq’s digital tuning enables the user to choose any frequency from 88.3 to 107.7MHz in 0.1MHz steps. 

“Sonnet is excited to offer the PodFreq,” states Sonnet CEO, Robert Farnsworth. “iPod owners have been eager to expand their iPod’s versatility with a high-fidelity FM transmitter. The PodFreq is specially designed to transmit music with exceptionally low harmonic distortion and a strong and stable stereo broadcast signal. Furthermore the PodFreq embodies a striking industrial design consistent with the popular iPod.”

The PodFreq utilizes the iPod’s line out signal (instead of the headphone jack) accomplishing superior input level sensitivity from a stable signal volume that ensures a higher signal-to-noise ratio resulting in better fidelity. The user is also able to independently control volume through their FM receiver and headset volume via the iPod. The integrated FireWire and mini USB ports allow the user to synch with iTunes and/or charge the iPod using industry-standard cables without removing it from the PodFreq.

For more information about the PodFreq, please visit the PodFreq website at: http://www.podfreq.com

COMPATIBILITY
The PodFreq is compatible with any iPod, Mac or PC version (with dock connector, excluding the iPod mini).

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
The PodFreq will begin shipping in May 2004, with an MSRP of $99.95.
A Japanese version will also be available in May 2004.

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Comments

1

hmm…i can’t decide if i love the design or hate it. I’m all about have “high quality FM broadcast” but i can’t hook up a car charger to it at the same time and that’s a big sticking point…i hope someone important can get an early version and review it for us!! Yikes, i hope the high price point is an indication of quality and preformance.

Edit by Jeremy Horwitz, March 2005: iPodlounge has deleted a collection of negative and derogatory comments from “audiogeek” on our site, which we discovered have been posted by a writer for competing publications. As he has trolled and posted obnoxious comments in a number of threads, picking fights with our readers and editors, he has been banned from the site, and we strongly oppose his repeated mischaracterizations of various products and our editorial opinions. This comments thread was affected by his posts, and has therefore been modestly edited. If any of the other comments below do not make sense in the context of these deletions, we apologize.

Posted by iwannanipod on April 26, 2004 at 7:06 AM (PDT)

2

I agree. I hope this thing works better than my iTrip. If so, I’ll switch for sure.

Posted by steve on April 26, 2004 at 7:43 AM (PDT)

3

Why would they choose to put a chrome metal telescoping antenna on the thing?  Why not put on a short, white flexible antenna on the thing?

Posted by Obadiah on April 26, 2004 at 7:49 AM (PDT)

4

I like this - I like this a lot!

I like the idea of using the dock instead of the headphone connection as it’ll make the sound much better.  It’ll help the battery life too as you can turn the volume down.

Nice idea to enable you to dock it inside the case (although you do need to purchase different cables - are there no adapters available?)

One question - when can I buy this in the UK?

Posted by Keith on April 26, 2004 at 8:27 AM (PDT)

5

Sorry Griffin but there is a new game in town and I’m buying.

SONNET ANNOUNCES PODFREQ™ FM TRANSMITTER FOR THE iPOD®

You have a great product. But there are two issues (see below) that are a BIG deal for me.

Here’s why. (Note: I’ve sent e-mails to your company and have been told no changes in your product are planned. I also realize that I *** possibly *** represent a small group of customers. But then maybe non motorcycle riders want the following changes too.

I ride a year 2000 (1500cc) Honda GoldWing SE motorcycle. It comes with lots of options including an AM/FM radio. Starting in 2001 GoldWings came with an AUX jack but mine is a year too old. I was pretty darn excited when I heard about your product because I could run it off my iPod’s batteries and never have to worry about AA or AAA batteries again, like with other FM transmitters. (Note that I power my iPod through my motorcycle’s electrical system so I can listen for way more than 8 hours.) I also like how I can program it to play on any FM station from 87.1 through 107.something. That’s important here in Seattle where everything above 87.9 has a radio station or radio station bleed over.

But there are issues though.

1) I can’t use my iPod remote. This is a big one because I’ll never ride without gloves. And with gloves I can’t access the iPod’s controls. Not to mention that it is incredibly difficult to use the iPod’s controls without looking at them. With the remote, even halfway thick ones I can do this pretty easily. I can’t over emphasize this issue.

2) The line-out has better sound quality than the headphone jack. Plus it is not affected by the volume control on the iPod. This is actually a very good thing. As what is good for when you are listening with headphones or ear buds is rarely the same volume I want to listen to on my motorcycle or home stereo, etc. And especially without the current ability to use an iTrip and remote at the same time this is an even bigger issue.

Other than the above my iTrip has been great. But the aggravation of the above two issues are big enough that I’m going to buy the new product by Sonnet.

Posted by Sabon on April 26, 2004 at 8:54 AM (PDT)

6

“but i can’t hook up a car charger to it at the same time and that’s a big sticking point.”

It looks to me like you can charge it in your car or any vehicle with a cigarette adapter and something like Griffin’s PowerPod which I already have.

Posted by Sabon on April 26, 2004 at 9:00 AM (PDT)

7

$100 for FM quality sound?

For that same amount of money you could buy…

- 5 ($20 each) Monster RCA Y-adapter cables to plug into your stereo or car head unit
- 2 ($50 each) Head unit adapters to convert your disc changer socket into RCA inputs
- 1 ($99) new CD player car stereo with an aux-input located in the front
- 1($99) home stereo receiver that ALLOWS you to connect your iPod to it instead of using FM frequencies

I wonder why people would pay so much when there are so many options for better sound quality.

Posted by Ryan on April 26, 2004 at 9:09 AM (PDT)

8

itrip > iPodFreq

Posted by ron on April 26, 2004 at 9:18 AM (PDT)

9

Hey Ryan,

- I don’t have a head unit that I can user the monster cables to plug into my Jeep or Honda GoldWing motorcyce (see my earlier post above).
- same as option 1
- no AUX port in my Jeep or in my motorcycle
- It’s hard to take a home stereo with me in my Jeep or on my motorcycle.

So none of your options works for me and this looks like it will.

Posted by Sabon on April 26, 2004 at 9:20 AM (PDT)

10

Ooooh! Now my iPod can look like a space robot from the 1950’s! Cool.

Posted by Chimpee on April 26, 2004 at 9:34 AM (PDT)

11

Sounds pricey, and I think I like iTrip better—smaller! But a high-end FM option, if that’s what this truly turns out to be, is no bad thing!

Posted by Nagromme on April 26, 2004 at 9:47 AM (PDT)

12

Can I use the iPod’s remote control with the PodFreq?
Absolutely, the PodFreq allows complete access to the iPod’s controls, and a number of popular peripherals can be used as well.

Posted by Jon on April 26, 2004 at 10:14 AM (PDT)

13

Ugh, no, no, no. That thing is hideous!

Look at the back, then antenna goes straight from the middle!

I think I’ll keep my $100 thank you very much.

Posted by steven on April 26, 2004 at 11:07 AM (PDT)

14

i guess one can guess that well, the huge antenna means. . . better reception.  I know that with my itrip, you have to get it at a certain angle at a certain level. . .to sound good, without static.  but thats with any FM transmitter, at least that i’ve tried.  Maybe with this beast of an antenna, you wont have to do that, and that’d be nice. . .

though it looks like you could poke someone’s eye out.  Other then the antenna, it looks like a nice product, a case and a transmitter all in one. . .

Still, if i was going on a trip, thats kind of a big thing to pack away. . the itrip is small and well yea. 

Can’t wait for a review on this

Posted by j on April 26, 2004 at 12:42 PM (PDT)

15

Not bad, I wonder how it will look in my new xB :p. BTW how is the quality on the iTrip, is it car friendly?

Posted by Laxdragon15 on April 26, 2004 at 12:48 PM (PDT)

16

It’s only FM quality sound!! If you think this hideous oversized antenna will make your iPod sound good on your car stereo, then your wrong. Investing $100 in this thing is ludicris. Investing a $100 in any FM trasmitter is ludicris. Invest in a cheaper FM transmitter. Or spend the $100 on an alternative option [minijack/aux input, etc.]  Also, the iPod is a beautiful slim design. Don’t ruin it by buying this thing.

Posted by dylrod on April 26, 2004 at 2:03 PM (PDT)

17

PRICE PRICE PRICE!!!  I own an iTrip (which works very well, thank you) and I was afraid to fork over the $35 for that.  Now imagine paying $100 for something that’s larger, doesn’t integrate with the iPod (on the screen) and costs $200!  I would buy a whole slew of accessories instead.  My choices:  Griffin iTalk, RadTech PodSleevz, RadTech IceCreme, Griffin iTrip.  That’s $100.  You can get a voice recorder, an FM Transmitter (like the iPodFreq!!!), a case/sleeve, and a cleaner!  Now, why would I spend all of that on one transmitter when I can get that and everything else I could ever need for my iPod for the same price.  I see no point in this product. 

Posted by zach on April 26, 2004 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

18

This product is limited by the fact that it is an FM transmitter.  FM will only sound so good, and I doubt that any one FM transmitter will sound much better than the next.  $100 is way too much.  Bought seperately: iTrip $35, silicone case you can charge/sync thru without removing ~$20.  Where is the deal here?

Posted by A on April 26, 2004 at 3:01 PM (PDT)

19

So so sad.

It looks like a huge piece of plastic junk, and for that money? No thanks.

Posted by Adam on April 26, 2004 at 3:27 PM (PDT)

20

Amazingly there IS a HUGE difference between the sound quality coming out of the headphone jack and line-out.

There is also the potential for using much less battery from the iPod this way as you can turn the volume way down and it will use less power.

That, plus the fact that with the iTrip (which I currently own with my 30GB iPod) won’t let you use the remote but the Sonnot will can easily be enough to get me to pay the difference in price. See my post above about riding on a motorcycle.

No I don’t work for either Sonnot or Griffin.

Posted by Sabon on April 26, 2004 at 4:15 PM (PDT)

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