Kensington Digital FM Transmitter/Auto Charger for iPod | iLounge

Reviews

41

Quick update: my rip of John Mayer's "Room for Squares" has consistent sibilance played back on the Kensington. My theory is that the Kensington's gain is cranked up to feed the FM transmitter a good hot signal. When the CD is mastered very hot, however, as many contemporary CDs unfortunately are, there's a chance the HF levels on sibilants will overwhelm the Kensington. The fix would probalby be to rip the CD to a .wav file and lower the overall level. I haven't tried this yet, as the sibiliance has only been a problem on this album and on Green Day's "International Superhits." Everything else sounds very good to fantastic.

I bought my Kensington at Compusa, but it's available much cheaper online. The transmitter will NOT pull power from the iPod if the car adapter isn't plugged in.

Posted by Gardner on January 4, 2006 at 7:06 AM (PDT)

42

i picked one up at fryes, and by far the best fm transmitter i have come across

Posted by ADugan724 on January 7, 2006 at 1:23 AM (PDT)

43

I have picked up TWO of the digitals in the past month - one for my 3G ipod in my Forester, and one for my wife's 5G Video in her Accord. Both cars have antennas at the rear of the car, and neither factory stereo has an easy aux input option for line-in.

I have been using an iTrip for the past year-and-a-half, and while I was initially impressed with the technology, I was growing tired of fumbling with the iPod perched in the backseat to get good enough reception.

The Kensington, while sometimes showing sibilance and other times suffering from FM competition, is far superior to the iTrip. The output is louder, richer and stronger. I have been testing different iPod EQ setting, and I am currently using the "None" EQ setting.

In Canada, try your local London Drugs (CAN$100). Quite close to the cost of the iTrip + car charger, much less than the Alpine solution I was considering!

Posted by iPeck on January 7, 2006 at 9:28 PM (PDT)

44

I purchased the Kensington unit after reading several online comparisons with other products. My Volvo has no tape deck or line-in on the stereo, so FM transmitter was my only choice. I have used the unit in the Volvo and a Jetta (both factory radios). The lowest noise in the Baltimore area seems to be on 87.7 which can only be set using the "Easter Egg" above (a nuisance, for sure). But the upshot is excellent quality stereo reproduction of my music library.

As for the sibilance phenomenon noted in the review, I hadn't noticed anything significant. (That horrible electronic "essssss" enhancement on all of the early MP3s was one thing that had kept me using CDs until recently.) My library is ripped in Apple default 128kbs AAC, and albums like Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Californication" and Peter Gabriel's "Us" sound as expected. I leave the iPod EQ off.

Best of all, I saved $25 off the price at the Apple store by shopping at eCost.com (and got a JBL On Stage speaker/dock for $50 less than the Apple list at the same time). Now if I can only find the perfect cup-holder mount and soft case with screen protector. Back to the online reviews.

Posted by cjg12 on January 15, 2006 at 6:25 PM (PDT)

45

If you get a power converter to use this at home with a normal DC plug, will this work outside of a car?

Posted by mflat5 in USA on February 10, 2006 at 9:22 AM (PDT)

46

My ipod is hooked up to a neo-ion in my Highlander and I love it. However, we are traveling and renting a car this summer and need an fm transmitter. We listen mostly to books on the ipod. How does the kensington sound for books.?

Posted by fredly47 in South Forida on March 7, 2006 at 8:33 AM (PDT)

47

Has anyone compared the Griffin iTrip AUTO to the Kensington Digital? While the Kinsington got a slightly higher rating, the lack of a BLACK model and the hoops you ahve to jump through to get 87.9 have me leaning towards the Griffin.

Posted by Wolvereen on March 20, 2006 at 3:48 PM (PDT)

48

Mine worked really well for two months, but got steadily worse until it went kaput all of a sudden. no signal at all. At first I thought it might be the connector on my Nano, but all three of my iPods get the same poor reception on every channel. Fortunately, it's still within the 90 day return to kensington policy, but a real disappointment because I was really enjoying this product. My gut feeling is that they are poorly made, however. There is no excuse for a product being rendered defective after 60 days of mild-moderate use (1 hour a day, 5 days a week).

Posted by gearfab on April 24, 2006 at 11:14 AM (PDT)

49

I want to point out that I darn near went crazy trying to figure out which FM transmitter to buy. I had already paid out about $30 for the Xtreme Mac Airplay and it worked ok. But I realized that I wanted a car charger as well and thought a single unit would be best.

I could not have been happier with the Kensington. It is crystal clear and easy to use with the three programmible presets. I do not get any interferrence with "s" sounds and rarely not find a channel that's as clear as any radio station, which for car use is perfect! I've used it in the country on road trips as well as city use.

Posted by diagonalman on May 4, 2006 at 8:52 AM (PDT)

50

I first tried the Griffin iTrip with Car Charger, and it worked OK. There was a little static, but I thought that it was inherent in every FM transmitter. Then I tried this one, and there is virtually zero static. It works great in my 1998 Honda Accord.

MAKE SURE you set the EQ on your iPod to "Small Speakers", it makes a big difference!

Posted by monkeywrench on May 22, 2006 at 10:32 AM (PDT)

51

I just bought this product after reading these rave reviews, but when I dont get any sound? 1. plugin the kensington 2. connect with ipod. 3. tune to 87.9 or whatever 4. turn on ipod .... and voila there should be sound right? So far I have gotten no sound with my nano?

Posted by sw4ng on June 10, 2006 at 2:41 PM (PDT)

52

I just received my transmitter from Amazon and it appears that Kensington must have been listening to the Blue LED issue as mine is Yellow (not sure why this was such a big issue though). As for the sibilance, I also found it a little annoying. I fooled around with my equalizer on my Ipod and found the "Pop" setting worked best and setting the equalizer to off was also OK for me. I did not like the treble reducer setting. Oh well, I guess it's all in "ears of the beholder". My first impression was very positive and I look forward to a 4th of July trip. Finally I can also confirm the "Easter Egg" for 87.9 setting (. Hold the two right preset buttons down and with your other hand (yes this takes two hands) press the tuner past 107.9. It will now go to 87.5 and 6,7,8,9 and then on to 88.1. does indeed work. I will update my comments if my trip results do not prove to be positive.

Posted by SHARP0305 on June 24, 2006 at 3:18 PM (PDT)

53

I read a lot of reviews before purchasing this, and I'm glad I did. This transmitter works great, and I haven't had any problems. Do shop around! I bought mine on sale, got free shipping, and on top of that got a $10 rebate! With that it was cheaper than some of the less expensive transmitters that have bad reviews. Worth the money though, even if you can't find a sale!

Posted by ucbear97 on June 28, 2006 at 8:20 PM (PDT)

54

Hi from the UK,
I just got my Kensington. Seems to work great.Most of our free channels are on the even numbers 88.8 etc, but the unit doesn't tune to even numbers or am I doing something wrong?I also bought the DLO Transpod to compare cos that had good reviews too.It is good but my ipod mini rattles a little in the holder which drives me nuts
These reviews have been a great help.Thanks to you all.

Posted by stephen.s on September 13, 2006 at 8:18 AM (PDT)

55

Seems to work great for me so far. My only problem is with the " hiss " on songs when the singer is using a word with an " s " in it (if this makes sense to anyone). When this occurred when I used the iTrip , I would just lower the volume on the ipod and turn up the stereo volume to cure this, but this is not possible now since ther is no volume control of the ipod using this transmitter. Any help ?
Thanks

Posted by jpoe on February 10, 2007 at 10:32 AM (PDT)

56

Disregard my previous entry above. It's for a different transmitter. Sorry

Posted by jpoe on February 10, 2007 at 10:34 AM (PDT)

57

Can anyone tell me where I can get a replacement tip for the charger socket? I have used this transmitter on several trips and it works great, but the part that goes into the cigarette lighter is now missing its tip. Please help.

Posted by LindaRxn on February 19, 2007 at 9:29 AM (PDT)

58

Call 1-800-535-4242
That's their tech support number for the US. They'll probably send it out to you at no charge.

Posted by King Ding a Ling in Earth on March 8, 2007 at 12:00 PM (PDT)

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