XtremeMac AirPlay FM Transmitter | iLounge



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 in K-zoo MI on February 21, 2005 at 4:08 AM (PDT)


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 in Boston, MA on February 23, 2005 at 8:05 AM (PDT)



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 in Weston, FL on February 23, 2005 at 8:49 AM (PDT)


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 in Weston, FL on February 23, 2005 at 8:50 AM (PDT)


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 in Bethlehem PA on February 24, 2005 at 9:30 AM (PDT)


AirPlay being my first FM transmitter, I can't believe that there are people out there who accept it and even proclaim it has high quality sound. I agree with other posts re: the high pitched whine, I wish I had a dog to see his reaction...but even more irritating is the hiss and static with the music...POOR sound quality, unless you like paying $400 for an iPod and $40 for AirPlay to hear sounds like AM radio...I am hoping to return my to xtrememac...I am going to hardwire.

Posted by iRodMI in Northern Michigan on February 24, 2005 at 2:16 PM (PDT)


Oh, I almost forgot...the AirPlay IS a power hog and quickly reduces my G4 40G iPod to half charge. The sound quality is intolerable...I think Horwitz needs his ears checked. It IS a great idea, but too bad it doesn't produce.

Posted by iRodMI in Northern Michigan on February 24, 2005 at 2:21 PM (PDT)


In brief response to comments that have been posted here:

* Multiple posts in this thread directed at attacking AirPlay have come from a single individual posting under multiple names. As such, we have deleted these posts and are highly suspicious of others. iPodlounge generally recommends that readers check for single-, double-, and one-theme message posters, and recommends that readers be suspicious as well, regardless of whether the poster promises an 18-point testing system or just offers an opinion. Regrettably, we do have people in these threads with conflicting commercial agendas, and they'd like nothing better than to see a good product smeared.

* It should by now be obvious that there are multiple batches of AirPlays in the marketplace and that some of them - not all of them - have problems that have been/are being remedied.

* The AirPlay transmitter we received and tested does not have a "high pitched whine", and exhibited the exact characteristics that we and numerous other reviewers noted.

* The sound quality was highly similar from the numerous iTrips we have tested to the AirPlay. Compare iTrip station to the same AirPlay station, and we'd be surprised if you found the AirPlay worse - unless you're using a defective AirPlay, which as yet we have not heard for ourselves.

* The battery drain was insignificantly different from the AirPlay to the iTrip.

* We respect and appreciate those who are posting legitimately in this thread, and thank both XtremeMac and our readers for sharing their opinions.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 27, 2005 at 12:05 AM (PDT)


My Airplay has sat idle in my garage since purchasing it earlier this month. I wish I had waited to read user posts, rather than jumping on it after the review. As a satellite radio subscriber, I am no stranger to FM modulation and have had EXCELLENT results with all three radios I have owned and used in multiple cars. It was evident within seconds that this modulator had nothing going for it. The whining, tinny sound and lack of frequency response were all too much to bear. I sent an email to Mr. Bart and have yet to receive a response. I suggested that a thorough dissection of a Delphi radio might be in order. I also told him that I after this experience (Monster being my first), that I am prepared to eat the cost of this piece of junk as a reminder not to make the same mistake a third time.

Posted by TJV on February 28, 2005 at 9:08 AM (PDT)


If XtremeMac is going to bill the AirPlay as "an itrip killer", it should be a superior product. It is not. Tuning to a station is much easier, but to me it is the sound quality that matters. I have tried two airplays and I am convinced it is not up to par. The first unit I received was defective. The second one I got after three weeks wait was better than the first. It still has a much louder whine in all four of my vehicles than the itrip. The music volume also is much softer which may make the whine seem louder. The frequency response is off and most noticeable in the lack of bass. The bass just sort of bottoms out. I really love the design of the AirPlay but I plan on returning mine for a refund.

Posted by JohnnyRoaster in Boston, MA on March 2, 2005 at 8:08 AM (PDT)


I just received an RMA# for return of my AirPlay. On their behalf, Xtrememac cust service inquiries were addressed promptly and clearly. Sadly, I am not satisfied with the sound quality the product offers, and my particular AirPlay whines badly!

Posted by iRodMI in Northern Michigan on March 2, 2005 at 6:21 PM (PDT)


I received my Airplay last Friday. I ordered it based on the review published by ipodlounge. My daughter has an itrip so I not only had a reference point of comparison, but I could also do a side by side test. Needless to say, I am disappointed in the sound quality of the Airplay verses the itrip. It has a very definite whine that makes it unbearable to listen to. I wish now that I would have reviewed these posts before purchasing the Airplay. Even as confirmed by the CEO of XtremeMac, the Airplay has definite issues with sound quality. My personal experience with the Airplay confirms this. I am returning the unit today.

Posted by Calico Jack on March 7, 2005 at 11:16 AM (PDT)


I bought the AirPlay for ease of changing to open FM stations. Works for me. The only whine seems to be on these postings. Sure, high tension power lines and such affect the operation but for short periods only. I understand and can live with it.

Bottom line is - if you want perfect quality, play your CDs in your CD player. AirPlay works as it is intended to. Quityerbitchin.

Posted by Retta Dad in Canada on March 7, 2005 at 5:46 PM (PDT)


Retta Dad: I didn't view my posting as ########, just a statement of my experience. Isn't the purpose of these types of forums to do just that? My side by side comparison of the airplay and itrip proved to me that the itrip has better sound quality than the airplay. I was just sharing that opinion.

Posted by Calico Jack on March 8, 2005 at 4:58 AM (PDT)


Just wanted to put in my two cents. I'm in the NYC area and the airwaves are loaded so it's hard to find a decent frequency, but when I've traveled upstate, it's worked great. I find sound quality very good, considering it's not a hard connection.

The whining issue is curious. In my own car (Subaru Outback) there's no whine. Lately I've been renting a car every two weeks for a work related project, and in 2 out of 3 cars, I've experienced the whine. Last weekend I went with some friends to an event in their Land Rover, and there was no whine. It appears to me that the whine may related to the cars equipment and not the AirPlay itself?

Posted by DomArch on March 8, 2005 at 5:05 AM (PDT)


Calico Jack having joined this web site on March 7, 2005, is obiviously the the odd man out.

He certainly should be thanked for showing us the character and intelligence of a small soap dish.

Posted by dacbeth in Bethlehem PA on March 8, 2005 at 8:43 AM (PDT)


Sorry the above post was directed at retta dad the poor pensioner in Canada.

Sorry Calico Jack, I agree with you.

Posted by dacbeth in Bethlehem PA on March 8, 2005 at 8:46 AM (PDT)


I wasn't aiming my "whine" comments at anyone in particular since there's been many posted. It just seems that the whine is likely being caused by RF interference from vehicle ignitions and perhaps the make of vehicle should accompany the postings from those who aren't satisfied. Both my vehicles offer decent operation - Chrysler and GM.

Posted by Retta Dad in Canada on March 8, 2005 at 9:33 PM (PDT)


Good Point. My AirPlay had a very significant whine in my Suburban, Jeep Wrangler, BMW and VW.

Has anybody else noticed that you have to crank up the volume on the radio to hear the AirPlay? I have my iPod volume set to about 75%.

Posted by JohnnyRoaster in Boston, MA on March 9, 2005 at 7:35 AM (PDT)


XtremeMac sent me a second AirPlay in response to my questions/complaints. To their credit, the response was quick, and they did not request the return of my original unit. Although the frequency response and overall sound reproduction of the replacement is much improved, the whine is more pronounced as well. My iPod now sounds like a 21st century 8 track player. And yes, I do have to crank the volume up to hear it, which may be a contributing factor with the whine. Looks like this one will join my first AirPlay in my garage junk basket.

Posted by TJV on March 9, 2005 at 5:06 PM (PDT)

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