They haven't got back to me yet either. Chalk up poor service as another con.

Posted by paunchy1975 on February 8, 2005 at 4:18 PM (PDT) Comment 21

I got an email from one of the VP's from XtremeMac. He sounded genuinely concerned about the situation. They are going to send out another Airplay for me to try. Lets hope this one works better.

Posted by JohnnyRoaster on February 9, 2005 at 12:10 PM (PDT) Comment 22

What is the best volume adjustment on both the iPod and the car radio when using the AirPlay? Of note, I just received the AirPlay and have been more satisfied with it's performance than the iTrip. The sound quality with the AirPlay is cleaner.

Posted by rmichiel on February 10, 2005 at 6:27 PM (PDT) Comment 23

I keep the volume on my ipod at a little over 50% and just adjust the volume through my car deck. Sound is just fine. Better overall than my itrip.

Posted by ThaIRS on February 10, 2005 at 10:53 PM (PDT) Comment 24


We have shipped quite a large quantity of AirPlay units to date. We have had a very small number of returns or complaints. In fact, we have received a great deal of praise from reviewers and customers complimenting its outstanding performance and ease of use. There was however an initial issue revealed after the very first batch was shipped. Without revealing Apple confidential details about how communication between accessories and the iPod is carried out, when we first connect to the iPod, we must communicate to identify AirPlay as certain type of device. Following the required protocol, we attempt to establish this communication one time upon power up in the first batch of units produced. If the AirPlay is plugged in too slowly, an error in communication occurs which results in the AirPlay not getting adequate power from the iPod. AirPlay, therefore, cannot transmit at full power. This causes the symptoms reported by users where they describe the unit as totally unusable. The fix for them is to unplug and re-plug the unit in a bit more quickly. The fix for us was to update the firmware so that we initiate the communication attempt more than once, which has eliminated the problem. We will gladly replace any unit that is found to be defective, at our expense of course.

Some customers have reported hearing a high-pitched whine when listening to the AirPlay. First, let me say that unfortunately there are going to always be situations where ANY FM transmitter will exhibit this phenomena. If one reads reviews and user comments on any of our competitions products, or any low power FM transmitter you will find this bears out. Customers should understand that each unique combination of FM Transmitter, FM Reciever, Antenna, Radio Signal environment, and selected frequency will produce various levels of signal quality. In some situations, extraneous noises may be perceptible. This phenomena is going to be most obvious when the iPod volume is low and the stereo volume is high. We recommend that users keep the iPod around 60-80% of full volume for best signal to noise ratio, in other words, best performance. That being said, we will look very closely into this issue and attempt to reduce this noise further on the next update to the product.

We certainly appreciate all of our customers feedback and their satisfaction is, without question, our primary concern.

Gary Bart

Posted by Gary Bart on February 11, 2005 at 6:08 AM (PDT) Comment 25


I hear you, but the hum that comes out of your unit is unbearble. I tried the unit in three cars and the results in each was the same, unbearable.

I purchased two units and sent them back to you.

You may feel free to send me one that you feel is up to par for testing to try and change my mind, but I like the others many of the others here am not convinced the you have here a quality product.

Dennis Crago

Posted by dacbeth on February 11, 2005 at 9:12 AM (PDT) Comment 26

I've had the Airplay for about a week and have had an itrip for a year. I've used the itrip in a variey of cars and situations and have been generally pleased with its performance.

I found the Airplay's sound quality comparable to the itrip. Neither is ideal, but they are great for travelling with rental cars or if you are frequently in a variety of vehicles. In my car, I use a cassette adapter which is far superior in sound quality than both itrip and airplay.

The itrip is better looking, but the interface on the airplay is a great feature.

Don't expect hi-fidelity from either.

Posted by Jason H on February 11, 2005 at 1:43 PM (PDT) Comment 27

I had the itrip for a week and returned it for the quaility was pretty bad in my car but ok on my home stereo. I also did not like the interface. It was combersome to change stations. I saw my local Apple store had the Airplay and picked it up. Wow. I was skeptical about it at first but was very impressed compared to the itrip. Better sound quality and better ease of use. I do notice a small amount of a high-pitch whine but mostly between songs or very low volume. I found the sound quality better than most radio stations. Nothing beats an aux in but I'm happy with the Airplay for now.

Posted by cravin on February 11, 2005 at 6:03 PM (PDT) Comment 28

I had an itrip. It was great inside, but awful in my car. Changing the stations was too annoying. At first I was a bit disappointed in the airplay, but after a bit of trial and error, I found the Aitplay works best with stations in the middle of the band. It doesn't work well on a bass heavy track, too much noise, but otherwise pretty good. Xtrememac, if you can make the Airplay sound as good as the one I retired with the USB connecter, we would have the ultimate winner in sound quality and form factor

Posted by bnhfan on February 12, 2005 at 8:33 AM (PDT) Comment 29

I couldn't believe how poor the sound quality was. I compared it to my old FM transmitter and it was dramatically worse.

I subsequently got an iTrip, and the iTrip was far better.

This is not a viable option.

Posted by andy st.louis on February 13, 2005 at 2:37 PM (PDT) Comment 30

I'm surprised by how many people like the iTrip better then the Airplay. I had an iTrip and found it unusable. The method of changing stations is insane! I mainly listen to my iPod on shuffle. It is quite a surprise when a station comes up.
I gave up on all FM transmitters as an option. After the review I tried the Airplay and found it works really well.
Sure all FM transmitters suck when compared to a line in or cassette adapter, but this isn't too bad.


Posted by BobR on February 14, 2005 at 7:25 AM (PDT) Comment 31

Mr. Bart,

Thank you for the explanation. I knew there was something wrong with the AirPlay that I received. It makes sense that it was not broadcasting at full signal strength. I am looking forward to testing the replacement AirPlay.

Posted by JohnnyRoaster on February 14, 2005 at 11:00 AM (PDT) Comment 32

I just purchased an Airplay today and found it to be not nearly as good as the iTrip. I use my FM transmitter in my truck and, using the same station with each transmitter, the Airplay didn't have nearly as clean a sound as the iTrip. Plus, the Airplay had this high-pitched whine which was quite noticeable and was louder or softer depending on the volume of what I was listening to. Does anyone know how to get rid of that high-pitch noise?

Posted by Brock on February 15, 2005 at 7:41 PM (PDT) Comment 33

Hey Brock, Gary Bart in his note above states that it isn't a major deal because all fm transmitters will exhibit this phenomena and all of the competition have the same problem. He may look at the problem during the next upgrade.

I sent two back for essentially the same reason, and agree with you that the airplay was not of the quality of transmission of the Itrip.

The lcd tunning is great, and if Airplay could come up with a quality sound, get rid of the high pitched whine, and expand it frequency capabilities, it could become a player in the fm solution.

I would be willing to try one again, if assured these problems a solved.


Posted by dacbeth on February 16, 2005 at 6:46 AM (PDT) Comment 34

Yeah, my Airplay had these same problems, and I'm currently waiting for a replacement from XtremeMac. I hope it's better. The first model was totally unusable.

Posted by Joshdude on February 17, 2005 at 3:42 PM (PDT) Comment 35

I currently use Airplay and have compared the quailty of tranmission with a few friends who are using iTrip. I must say, the quality of tranmission is much better on the iTrip.

I also found that my iPod batteries were running out very quickly compared to friends who were using the the iTrip. Thanks for the explanation as to why lappdog.

Posted by RFP on February 17, 2005 at 6:37 PM (PDT) Comment 36

In another spot on ipodlounge there is an announcement that some early AirPlay units were defective and that the problem(s) is/are now fixed. What isn't clear to me is the high pitched whine is gone?

I bought the AirPlay from Small Dog yesterday--their retail store is only a couple of miles from me. The first unit I got was clearly defective (one free station would NOT tune but others would).

The second one tuned all free airwaves just fine but it had a noxious high-pitched whine in the background that was so bad after a mile, I turned back and returned it to Small Dog--who were very good about accepting it back and refunding my money. The whine is particularly noticeable when listening to audiobooks, which is my primary use for my iPod.

I really liked the convenience of tuning of the AirPlay and would consider buying it again if I am certain they've fixed the high-pitched whine.

Note: this whine is NOT present with the iTrip, so it is NOT an inherent problem with FM transmitters as the poster from XtremeMac suggested in his post in the comments section following the ipodlounge review of the AirTunes. Likewise, it is not station-specific because it happened with all empty frequencies I tried.

Posted by mpet on February 18, 2005 at 7:45 AM (PDT) Comment 37

The only thing xtreme about this product is that it is extremely disappointing. The Airplay whines more than my wife. On top of that, I should have been less gimmicky and just forgotten about the LCD screen. Not only does it make the unit much higher than the iTrip and therefore more prone to damage, but it also drains my battery incredibly quickly. I guess the quality is about what you would expect from an FM Transmitter, although the iTrip seems to be a little better in this area. I thought I was all alone with my frustration with this product but from reading this forum, it seems there are many others like me who are fed up with theirs also. Anyway, I'm going to get an iTrip like my friends. I've had a look around and it seems to be the only FM Transmitter for the iPod that actually works well. After all, anything starting with an i tends to work well.

Posted by memememememe on February 18, 2005 at 3:21 PM (PDT) Comment 38

I too ended up returning the Airplay. As mentioned by others, there is noticiable hiss and high pitched whine or noise. The hiss I could have lived with, I wasn't expecting a perfect solution with FM transmission, but the high pitched noise was too much. I found that keeping the EQ settings on my stereo to flat resulted in the best setting to reduce the hiss and noise, but it was not enough for me. Another disappointed consumer.

Posted by kodec on February 19, 2005 at 4:22 PM (PDT) Comment 39

I received an Airplay on Friday and echo the comments of earlier posters regarding the sound quality - it's extremely poor. The output is muddy and there is that constant high-pitched whine. I have owned three iTrips (its one weakness is that the minature plug easily breaks off the body) and there is no comparison in sound quality-the iTrip produces a good, clean sound with a decent level of bass. I'm sending the Airplay back and buying another iTrip.


Posted by cjn1962 on February 19, 2005 at 6:58 PM (PDT) Comment 40

Sadly I also bought an airplay and was dissapointed. My friend has an Itrip and it is completely worthless. It might just e our area (kalamazoo MI) but there are no stations that work with the ITRIP and ive tried in different cars. Tuning sucked, and you cant use shuffle. I ordered the airplay based on the review here and tried out my airplay. The battery issue i can live with, its way easy to find stations, in fact it will over power some stations that are broadcasting, but the whine is really annoying. I sent Xtreme MAC a support request.

I really hope they get this issue solved. I think minus the wine the airplay is a decent unit.

Posted by Jwebley on February 21, 2005 at 4:08 AM (PDT) Comment 41

There are two possibilities. The first is that he got a pre-production model that worked well. This could be a qc problem with whoever builds them in China. We can all guess what the other explanation is.

I sent my AirPlay back three weeks ago for a replacement. I called yesterday to find out what was going on. They had recieved my airplay two and a half weeks ago and not sent out a new one. The customer service person I finall spoke with after a 15 minute wait said they "have been having a lot of problems." I was under the impression that my replacement was going to be cross shipped. I don't think they ever would have sent another airplay out if I hadn't called. I will post back when and if I get a replacement.

Posted by JohnnyRoaster on February 23, 2005 at 8:05 AM (PDT) Comment 42


Forums are an essential part of modern commerce. We enjoy reading user comments and it is a good method of getting feedback on products. It is also a great resource for potential customers to uncover information about products in advance of purchasing a product. It is for this reason that I cannot let a ridiculous recent post go unanswered.

Before I get into a rather detailed response, let me state two things unequivocally:
1. FM transmitters – all of them – have varying levels of performance in different environments due to the limitations of low power FM broadcasting.
2. As stated in a previous post, there was an issue with our first production run in which, under certain circumstances, a whine was perceptible. We have identified the source of that whine, units currently in production have been corrected and the whine has been eliminated. Any customer with a unit exhibiting the problem will be able to exchange it via our web site or by calling our customer service line once the new units arrive.

I think everyone who reads these posts should question the motivation behind them. A recent post by a user identified as Tech World is clearly a attempt to subvert AirPlay as an iTrip competitor. I will address Tech World’s post point by point and you can decide for yourself:

1. AirPlay’s LCD drains battery power. Airplay uses EXACTLY the same amount of power as iTrip when broadcasting, less when idle, and during the few seconds of tuning, when the LCD is on, we use a bit more (10mA for the techies in the group). Since the LCD is only on during tuning it has virtually NO effect on battery life.
2. Tech World claims to have broken 11 during testing! We have shipped thousands of units and have never had a report of a single one breaking. Further, we were unable to break one during our own internal testing. The unit sits a mere fraction of an inch higher than any other accessory that plugs into the top of an iPod.
3. The whine issue aside, Tech World indicates that sound quality is very poor. Our tests, the feedback of many customers, dozens of reviewers from reputable sources, have all indicated the sound quality is on par or better than any competitors’ product.
4. Many X-over and fallout errors comparing iPod and iPod mini? I am sorry, I don’t know what that means and frankly, extensive testing and again a lot of customer feedback have not indicated any difference between iPod models.

Posted by Gary Bart on February 23, 2005 at 8:49 AM (PDT) Comment 43

5. AirPlay fails with windscreen antennas? Simply not true.
6. AirPlay fails with aerial antennas? Again, not true.
7. Price is more expensive? I assume he means compared to iTrip. iTrip is $35 for the iPod version and $39.99 for the mini version. AirPlay is $39.95 and works on both models with the added convenience of not having to use software and the obvious added cost of an LCD. I personally think it is a great value.
8. Retail package appearance – a matter of opinion I won’t bother to debate.
9. California market is a problem for frequencies – read more posts on ANY FM transmitter – the same holds true for everyone, parts of California are more crowded in the FM band than most of the country. Nevertheless, I have found many stations that work in the most crowded areas – San Jose to San Fran and the LA area.
10. Buttons popped on a couple of units – This is where the bull crap meets the road iPodLoungers, the buttons are a single piece connected inside the unit – IT IS IMPOSSIBLE for them to pop out.
11. Buttons get stuck – again, not one complaint about such a problem.

Tech World just registered the day of that post, has never posted anything before, claims to have 138 units which were bought for testing by a major retailer. I know every large retailer who has bought any kind of quantity from us and we have had no reports of problems from any of them. You would think, after buying 138 units for testing, conducting an 18 point test, doing “regression testing? which by the way is the process of testing software for old bugs after new bugs have been fixed, and has decided not to carry the product they would want a refund.

I really hate getting dragged into these things, but sometimes the ridiculousness is simply too much to bear. I am very confident in our product, its quality, its performance, and I will continue to stand behind it. Given the false statements and obvious slant toward a direct competitor, I hope that each of you decide how illegitimate that post was and see through these thinly veiled attempts at guerilla counter-marketing.

The following link will illustrate exactly how the industry at large feels about AirPlay:

Gary Bart

Posted by Gary Bart on February 23, 2005 at 8:50 AM (PDT) Comment 44

I received a Belkin tunecast II last night which was bought on ebay for 14.95. It worked great, no whine, no ipod battery drain, good clean music with the car stationary and on the road, Digital lcd tunner and will work off of batteries. It made the airplay sound as sick as it is. I trip performed similarily except for the tunning which we all know is tricky to say the least.

I am not a competitior attempting to further someone elses product. I have also looked at the nine links on the page Gary referenced. Look at them yourself and as Gary chides, question who they are and why they are in fact almost verbatim repeating Horwitz's report on this site.

I offered to try another of Gary's Airplays but have not yet found one in my mailbox.

Posted by dacbeth on February 24, 2005 at 9:30 AM (PDT) Comment 45
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