I agree with the review, and was not impressed with the product. I also found the power connection to the TuneCast to be very poor. It would not stay connected if the iPod was moved, or if a big bump is hit while driving. Disconnection causes TuneCast to power down and you have to re-power the device.

Posted by Monty Lee on April 5, 2004 at 4:26 AM (PDT) Comment 1

Owning this unit and the iTrip I have to say that the iTrip is superior in every way and that's not saying much as the iTrip has definite limitations in a big city. This Belkin unit is worthless...don't waste your money. If you want one, I'll sell mine cheap!

Posted by hra on April 5, 2004 at 6:23 AM (PDT) Comment 2

I purchased this Belkin unit over the iTrip. My University bookstore did not reccomend the iTrip because it draws power from the iPod battery. Though the iTrip looks nice with the iPod but puts out a very weak signal. The Belkin units allows me to charge my iPod through the cigaret adapter in my car while running the FM transmitter through the same adapter. The audio clarity is really good, it puts out a stereo signal. I am not sure what monaural audio output is but on my home system and in my car, the signal is STEREO. It does a good job of overpowering other stations, though the big ones will still somewhat come through. The best solution is to make sure that your CD deck has RCA inputs on the back of it. Thay way you directly hook into your CD deck. I say don't waste your money on an iTrip. If you want better quality then get this Belkin unit, if you want something that looks nice then get the worthless iTrip!

Posted by skdfsfd on April 5, 2004 at 9:38 AM (PDT) Comment 3

this is also cheaper than the itrip if you get it from like i did (only $30! + $5ish shipping), which is why i chose it over the itrip.

Posted by andy on April 5, 2004 at 10:16 AM (PDT) Comment 4

Nice upgrades, but still too much to carry around and hang off the iPod. iTrip = less mess. Belkin car adaptor works fine with it so there's no problem with iTrip draining the iPod battery.

Posted by Joe King on April 7, 2004 at 12:12 PM (PDT) Comment 5

I bought the Tunecast II for $40 at an Apple Store. It was well worth the money.

Audio output is stereo! I don't know what's up with your stereo or your iPod or TuneCast, but it's clearly stereo. The TuneCast I was stereo too, except if you turned up the volume too loud on the iPod it would become distored and the channels would cross.

The audio quality is very good. And you can turn the volume to 100% on the iPod and there isn't any distortion, unlike the first version.

The tuning is very easy to use. I didn't even look at the iTrip because while driving I don't have the patience or attention to f*ck around on the iPod selecting a playlist, scrolling through it, and finding the frequency I want in order to change the tuning. With the TuneCast, I just press the tune button up a couple of times until I get an empty freq, and then press the up button on the TuneCast to match the freq - both of which I can do without being distracted or taking my eyes off the road.

The memory feature is cool. On my drives back and forth from Los Angeles and San Diego, I need to change freq three or four times, so I have them programmed so I don't need to really search for empty freqs anymore.

The backlight is nice and bright.

My only complaint is that the cord is a bit short. I wish it were a bit longer or a coiled cord like one of the old Belkin FM digital transmitters.

I don't understand how in this review you say the C Crane transmitter has great output, yet in the review for it you say it has AM radio quality sound.

Posted by PT on April 7, 2004 at 2:41 PM (PDT) Comment 6

This is nice and all, but we don't need more FM Transmitters. We need a decent FM RECEIVER that we can record directly to the iPod with.

Posted by Ron G. on April 8, 2004 at 12:09 PM (PDT) Comment 7

I don't know what Jeremy was smoking regarding his statements that the Tunecast II is mono. It is indeed stereo, I just checked a Beatles song through my home stereo and yes, the classic Beatles stereo, with the vocals all on one side, and the music on the other was heard.

This Tunecast II is about as good as these things can get, given the limitations of FM STEREO broadcast.

Please Jeremy, correct the monaural comments in your review, it is a major blunder.

Posted by Joe D on April 8, 2004 at 6:32 PM (PDT) Comment 8

I get LOTS of interference with mine. Big city though - almost every other frequency is in use.

Posted by Chris on April 9, 2004 at 4:58 PM (PDT) Comment 9

I'd also like him to correct his remarks about it not being stereo. I have the original Belkin and it's definitely stereo, you can tell both by the stereo light and/or the many songs that use stereo to jump between speakers etc.
I find in the car I need to have this transmitter right next to me on the chair, or there is too much interference. A lot of places especially industrial areas I drive with a lot of trucks I get crackling. But the house or next to me on the chair in the car it works fine.

Posted by Achim RK2 on April 9, 2004 at 5:21 PM (PDT) Comment 10

I get LOTS of interference with the Belkin, but much less with the iTrip. I live right smack in the city, but the iTrip works very well outside the city.

Posted by Benjamin Ng on April 11, 2004 at 9:54 PM (PDT) Comment 11

The Belkin TuneCast II is horrible. First it was not giving off a good signal(always poor), and second it was too cumbersome to have connected to the iPod. There was no device to attach the TuneCast to the iPod to prevent it from just dangling. My wife has the mini and its almost the same size. You would think Belkin would have made a connecting device. I did get the iTrip II and it is great! Its not as clear as I would like it but It work great. I am very satisfied plus its cheaper. When I returned the TuneCast to the Apple store, I noticed 2 big boxes of TuneCast returns.

Posted by Randy on April 12, 2004 at 6:06 AM (PDT) Comment 12

Thanks to those of you who pointed out our error regarding the stereo output of the TuneCast II. I'm posting this as a brief followup given some additional information and opinions regarding the TuneCast II.

First, regarding the device's price level, we learned after going to print that Belkin has an interesting (I daresay, unusual) policy regarding the price of the TuneCast II. Belkin's web price for the TCII ($49.99) is higher than almost any other retailer's price on this one, which accounts of some of your comments that you purchased or saw the TuneCast II at roughly the same price as Griffin's iTrip.

Second, regarding the TuneCast II's stereo output, we did go back and re-test the device based on reader comments. Our first and repeat tests of the TCII in a vehicle were inconclusive, because even when we found a clear channel, we had to strain to hear stereo separation over the audible hiss of static.

We changed a couple of factors for our third test, finding a very strikingly stereo-separated music track and bringing the TuneCast II inside to couple with an indoor stereo system, where the stereo was clearly discernible. The static hiss was still noticeable, but it was definitely a stereo signal.

One final note for those wondering about comments and comparisons here between various FM transmitters, including the C Crane. Because of FCC restrictions, power considerations and engineering/price tradeoffs, none of the FM transmitters is capable of putting out an overwhelming, clear signal that perfectly substitutes for a digital FM broadcast.

The C Crane reviewer's comment regarding AM-quality transmission should be read to mean "not digital FM quality," and also understood in the context of our subsequent FM transmitter reviews which have mentioned cassette adapters as generally superior options to FM transmission.

Thanks for all of your comments!

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on April 12, 2004 at 12:48 PM (PDT) Comment 13

I can safely say that the TuneCast II is much better than the iTrip. The built in LCD screen makes it much easier to change the frequency since you don't have to open a playlist and pick a frequency, which can be a big pain in the a**. This broadcasts a stronger signal than the iTrip and has a much greeater range. Also it plays on a very noticable stereo signal. I would highly recommend buying this.

If you go to the Apple Store or Apple's website, you can purchase it for only $40 instead of $50.

Posted by Max on April 12, 2004 at 1:33 PM (PDT) Comment 14

The Belkin is one of the worst FM transmitters I've ever used. The only good thing about it is that it has a digital readout. The transmission is NOT stereo but mono. Its bulky and awkward to use. The transmission quality is horrible when compared to the iTrip, which is much better. The iTrip is stereo and programable through the iPod. In big cities neither works well, but the iTrip certainly works better than Belkin.

Posted by HRA on April 14, 2004 at 2:52 PM (PDT) Comment 15

It's definately strereo HRA...

Posted by HRA...what? on April 14, 2004 at 5:10 PM (PDT) Comment 16


i am a prospective buyer, therefore this is a valuable discussion for me, but everyones view is sooo varied that its almost impossible to discern anything that will help me.

factors: (LCD and size mean nothing) im going to be listening to music (hopefully) 99% of the time

City ppl get screwed because of high frequency traffic, but itrip still works better than tunecast II.

Tunecast only offers 10hrs max before a new AAA, which is about 1 a week for me. and Itrip is draining our precious ipod battery (we all know about that problem)

so where do i stand? i guess i'll end up going with the itrip for US$30-35 + international shipping, rather than Tunecast II for US$20 + shipping. but what about Audia-X Digiana? i'm told this is better than anything else. would anyone care to comment on that?

Posted by Greg 'the concerned' on April 15, 2004 at 4:04 AM (PDT) Comment 17

I'm trying to make sense of these reviews as well. Monster's ICarPlay is attractive on paper because it provides power as well. It is more expensive (although you get the power with it), but I don't know how the quality of its sound compares with the Tunecast II or the Itrip. Having a cordless solution (iTrip) isn't as important for me in the car. I tried a cassette adapter in my VW Passat Monsoon stereo and it kept spitting it out so I'm thinking that isn't an option for me either (I'm not willing to replace the stereo). Oh well...

Posted by SomeCallMeTim on April 15, 2004 at 5:33 AM (PDT) Comment 18

I had a Tunecast 1 which worked 'ok' in my car, then I got a new car and it didn't work at all because the antenna is on the roof and at the back of the car. There was just way too much interference. My old car had the antenna on the pillar in front of the driver's seat.
Anyway, I returned the Tunecast 1 and am now wondering if I should get the Tunecast 2 or an iTrip.
But whatever you do, don't get a Tunecast 1!

Posted by Paul on April 17, 2004 at 7:17 PM (PDT) Comment 19

Just received my Tunecast II-- and it works worlds better than my old itrip! With the itrip I always had a (quiet but annoying) high-pitched buzzing in the background. The itrip was also very picky about what angle it was at or what direction it was facing if it was to broadcast an acceptable signal. The itrip also had its quirks-- if you held onto it, your body acted like an antenna and the thing broadcast about 2x better! Obviously, I'm not going to be groping the thing while I drive everywhere....

The Tunecast II so far has had no quirks whatsoever for me! Coupled with the mobile adapter, I get an absolutely clear signal no matter where I toss the thing. There is no high-pitched buzz, and on the lower frequencies, absolutely no strange audio artifacts. My range tests have proved the 30ft thing to be about true-- it produces a clear signal up to about 30 feet, and then things get staticy.

I recommend it 40x over the itrip, anyday.

Posted by SCJ on April 19, 2004 at 5:46 AM (PDT) Comment 20

The Tunecast II is head and shoulders above the itrip, and its cheaper too! I bought mine for 29.99 with free shipping.... instead of 35 for my itrip.

Posted by Jesse on April 21, 2004 at 7:49 AM (PDT) Comment 21

I own an Audia-X Digiana and love it. One triple a battery last for ten hours. Like the Tune cast II, it has a digital display. You can program any station fromm 88.1 to 107.something. You can either tune it in .1mhz or 1.0mhz increments making it very easy to tune to an open station. Like most FM transmitters, you might pick up some static but I have found mine to be static free most of the time and I live in a good size city (Tucson, AZ). For the size (very small) and the transmittal signal, I am very pleased. I was able to find it on ebay for 24.oo plus 3.50 s&h. Noticed that belkin was selling it under their name recently. Don't know what is up with that.

Posted by preacherman on April 26, 2004 at 11:56 AM (PDT) Comment 22

I just got my Tunecast II. On our first trip with it (Orlando, FL) it was outstanding. I don't know what kind of radio receiver you have in your cars, but in my car the quality was just as good as all but the biggest radio stations. Do get the power adapter that comes with it. We were able to plug everything in and stick it in the glove compartment with just the tunecast and the iPod remote sticking out. All of the cables were out of the way, and we could still skip songs and change stations easily. It actually worked out better than I thought it would, both in sound quality and logistically.

Posted by Philnotfil on May 2, 2004 at 10:05 AM (PDT) Comment 23

I've got an itrip for a brand new 3G ipod.
Man that thing drains my battery power... I barely get 3 hours of play time with a full charge!!

All I've been reading is that the itrip uses an "imperceptible" amount of power from the ipod, but I really REALLY beg to differ.

Tell me one of you out there has the same issue.

Posted by Derst on May 3, 2004 at 5:50 PM (PDT) Comment 24

Derst- I certainly agree with you. On my old 2G ipod, I got about 3-4 hours less battery. "Imperceptible" my ###.

Posted by SCJ on May 5, 2004 at 5:34 AM (PDT) Comment 25
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