The Fall 2005 FM Transmitter Shootout | iLounge

Reviews

1

How does the iCarPlay Wireless from Monster Cable compare?

Posted by richtpt on August 26, 2005 at 12:09 PM (PDT)

2

What about the Sonnet PodFreq? I have one myself, and it's pretty reliable, both in the car, and out, but I've noticed a decent battery drain. Any thoughts?

Posted by onlysoma on August 26, 2005 at 1:04 PM (PDT)

3

Sadly, they left the best FM transmitter off the list. The Crane FM Transmitter, which runs over 250 hours on batteries (I've confirmed this), also comes with an AC adapter, can be tuned anywhere on the FM spectrum at .5 increments, broadcasts in stereo and has a very simple internal modification that allows it to supercede FCC regulations. Increase the antenna size and voltage, as well, and you're off to the races. I took a trip from Key West to Toronto last year and never had to change the frequency once, as it successfully blocked out all stations. And that was without doing the mod, which dramatically improved it.

Can't beat it.

By the way, the Crane FM Transmitter can be found here:
http://www.ccrane.com/radios/fm-transmitters/fm-transmitter.…

A basic FAQ can be found here:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000E6I1N/002…

The Modification can be found here:
http://www.xmfan.com/viewtopic.php?t=3257&postdays=0&postord;…

The four main ways to increase the strength, even though it's already very strong:
1) perform the mod, noted above.
2) increase antenna size.
3) Comes with a 5v adapter but it will accept a 6v, which will increase the power. Remember: even the 5v will generate more power than batteries and I've only ever run on batteries.
4) increase cable attachment lengths.

I dare the reviewer to put any of the transmitters reviewed in this article up against the Crane.

Posted by Quash on August 26, 2005 at 1:21 PM (PDT)

4

I should add two downsides:
1)Some people might find it too big (perfect for the car but not walking - think of a Klondike bar) and the price might be prohibitive for some at $59 (free shipping, though).

I'm reposting the links, as I accidentally cut the ends off in my above post.

Crane FM Transmitter: here:http://www.ccrane.com/radios/fm-transmitters/fm-transmitter.aspx

A basic FAQ can be found here:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000E6I1N/ref=pm_dp_ln_e_13/002-4391496-0552857?v=glance&s=electronics&vi=faq&me=ATVPDKIKX0DER

The Modification can be found here:
http://www.xmfan.com/viewtopic.php?t=3257&postdays=0&postord;…

Posted by Quash on August 26, 2005 at 1:32 PM (PDT)

5

I have used the TransPod and the iTrip. And in my experience the Transpod seems to provide better reception, at least in my area (Rochester, NY). The iTrip needs to be tunned to different stations depending on the area of the city I'm driving, and it's not simple to change every time. The only thing is the the iTrip is small and fits nicely to the iPod, while the TransPod is big and cumbersome.

Posted by jgruiz on August 27, 2005 at 6:50 AM (PDT)

6

Notably absent in the review are FM transmmitters that work with the iPod shuffle. How about an FM xmitter shuffle roundup?

Actually, I guess the Crane would work, via the headphone jack.

Posted by curmudgeon in NY on August 27, 2005 at 11:20 AM (PDT)

7

I like the iTrip's shape--fits nicely on top of my RadTech sleeve case, and its low, rounded shape means there's little force threatening to break it off in my pocket--which there would be with AirPlay's taller, squared off edges.

I'm in suspense about iTripLCD!

Posted by Nagromme on August 27, 2005 at 6:06 PM (PDT)

8

Awesome review!

I'd like to place a request for a similar comparison-type review of the many in-line car integration options available, including car-stereo units like Alpine's new iPod-ready models, as well as those that use stock car systems.

That would be wicked!

Posted by degüello. on August 28, 2005 at 1:18 AM (PDT)

9

The problem with most of these is how the adapter fits into the power outlet, not to mention how archaic having a cigarette lighter adapter is an automobile these days is to begin with given there are more efficient smaller designs that are far superior to this hangover from days of yore and bore. The part that fits into the outlet is too large, due to the girth associated with the other part of the housing, to fit into the two outlets provided in my vehicle.

I also do not like that some of these use the power outlet as a means of structural support. This is illogical as vehicle power outlets are not designed to have devices cantilevered off them. You will not see a vehicle company selling car with the likes of these cantilever systems for liability reasons and increased costs to reinforce whatever part of the vehicle is to have such devices spouting from them. The more costly, but better integrated systems are the way to go.

Posted by FahrenheiPod 451 on August 30, 2005 at 10:27 AM (PDT)

10

I drive a Scion xB and have found the DLO Transpod to be the best transmitting solution. I even took out my stereo and installed a bracket so it is fixed beside the stereo. I tried the iTrip, and the NewerTech transmitters and neither worked... I mean i wish i had a tape deck to play into but i think that the DLO is the easiest and best way to sync with your car if you have no tape player Aux in capability

Posted by JeremytheIndian on September 1, 2005 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

11

To answer the first posting, the Monster iCarPlay is perhaps the most overrated POS transmitter ever. I purchased the digital version a few months back, but was forced to return it for several reasons. #1: the clip on the connector was very hard and stiff, and it would detach from the iPod frequently.
#2: the volume was very low and I had to push my car stereo's volume pretty high to get an audible sound. #3: I constantly had to switch channels, because it just wouldn't settle down on a particular one.

If you are looking for an all-in-one transmitter/charger, definitely get the Kensington. It's loud, decent sounding, and keeps a station dialed in for the most part.

Posted by omegatheclown on September 5, 2005 at 2:07 AM (PDT)

12

I've actually used the following transmitters: itrip, crane, Sony - has never been reviewed here but it has a very long antenna that you can run to a location close to your car's antenna. I thought this would really work well - it didn't -, Monster - the one with the 8 presets, not the newer one. Giving them all a decent workout, there is no doubt the two best are the Crane - very powerful, particularly wit h the mod referenced elsewhere. I found the Crane to be a little bit finicky for some reason, had to switch stations a fair bit but it did work well. The Sony and iTrip were complete busts. The Monster wins by a large margin. The sound is simply superior, Even when running the Crane and the Monster with a clear signal, no static whatsoever, the sound quality of the monster was clearly superior. I appreciate that the monster uses the dock connector but with the crane and the Sony I was using a Sik mini dock with the sound out jack, not the headphone jack and the monster still won by a mile - maybe it's the gold contacts or the higher quality cable. I use the Crane in the house as it runs on batteries and it's fine there. I don't understand the previous post re having to turn up the stereo to get an "audible" sound, perhaps the unit was faulty but I get excellent volume. Pricey but well worth it.

Posted by hockey_magnet on September 30, 2005 at 7:01 AM (PDT)

13

There's another option. I had Car Toys, a car stereo/cellphone/GPS/lighting chain in th e NorthWest, install a hardwired modulator. This only gives me one channel, but the signal goes direct from the iPod (or other device) to the modulator to the antenna jack to the radio. To switch between radio antenna and modulator, flip the toggle. No static, reasonably good sound, no hum, no static. And I have it all hidden in the glove box since no lighter connection is needed. Cost about $200 including installation.

Posted by TechnoCat on January 15, 2006 at 5:20 PM (PDT)

14

ROADTRIP : I recently bought the roadtrip. sound was great, no drifting or lost signal. The first time that i unpluged it, the lighter end came apart and some parts were lost and some parts remained stuck in the lighter.
We got only on day's used out of it.

Posted by oldephart on August 19, 2006 at 12:32 PM (PDT)

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