iPod car adapter
Since I don't have a BMW and can't install iDrive, what's the best way to use my iPod in the car? The tape-deck adapters or the FM radio adapters?
If you have a tape deck, go that way. I've tried a couple of different FM transmitters and none of them work very well. I constantly get stations and static bleeding in, but your mileage may vary depending on how clogged the spectum is in your area. But a tape deck adaptor will never have interference.
I don't have a tape deck, so I eventually picked up a little set of portable, battery-powered speakers that I can plug into my iPod. They actually work pretty well.
A friend of mine got a new head unit that allows direct connection to the IPod for his VW R32 (not sure of the make of the head unit). His situation is a nightmare though. No one would install the thing except Best Buy (because he bought it from some random retailer online) and the stereo monkey that attempted to install it cut his wiring harness which screwed his car to hell. Half the speakers don't work, the airbags don't work, etc. Now he is waiting on a new part from Germany that is going to take like 4-6 weeks to get here and so he is stuck in a loaner.
Anyway the upshot of this story is, unless you know someone reliable to buy from and install a head unit go with the FM hack. It sounds pretty good and is far easier to setup.
The FM thing was terrible for me. I had been using a tape adaptor, which worked fine, but the new car I got didn't have a tape deck. So I tried one of the nicer FM transmitters. The sound was low-volume unless I cranked the iPod to hell and back, as well as cranking up the stereo, it was static-y, and because the radio didn't let me enter specific freqs, or even tune manually, I had to select a freq on the transmitter, start the iPod, and let the radio auto-tune to the freq, which was hit or miss.
The best solutions seem to be either get a stereo shop to install an aux cable to your factory head unit's aux port (usually there for XM radio or a changer hook up) and then plug in your iPod via the headphone jack, or even better, buy a new head unit that has factory support for iPods--Alpine, Pioneer, and Kenwood at least have such units.
I don't have any of those solutions installed. I just don't use the iPod in the car any more :(
I ended up specifically getting a car radio with a line in jack specifically for my ipod. I'm hoping cars are more MP3 player friendly in the near future.
Aux input is the way to go, unless you don't care about sound quality. A lot of the cheaper decks have aux input now and some are even "iPod ready".
Personally, I want one of these:
My wife uses a podFreq (http://www.podfreq.com/ipod/grayscale/index.html), and it works well (probably much better than "normal" FM xmitters). You can set it to any FM frequency (including the even decimals, which aren't used in the US, so there's even better chance of finding a slot). It also doubles as a case (although maybe not the best kind).
When I had my MyFi car unit installed, the installer asked if I wanted an FM Modulator installed (basically, wiring the line out directly into the head unit). I don't know if that was specific to the MyFi, or someone my head unit was able to handle (is has an AUX jack, but this would have been wired into the back) specially. I stuck with the tape deck because I'm cheap and also not cool enough to be able to tell the difference.
When I was in L.A., I took the antenna off my rental car so the FM transmitter didn't have any competition. If you're always listening to the iPod, that's another option.
I think mine is a Belkin. The cable connects to the bottom of the iPod so you don't have to screw with the volume, and the FM Modulator can be set to any channel. I've had numerous ones that connect to the headphone jack, and they suck rocks. This one is spot on though. There are virtually no open radio signals in Cleveland, so I have to power out a weak station, and it works like a champ. But fidelity wise, a direct connection is always better. Both tape and FM will deliver poor sound compared to a direct connection. I had a tape deck adaptor too, but it made a ton of racket when I inserted it and always screwed up the sound channels.
My other car has an EMPEG head unit. The now defunct 40 gig, Linux based MP3 car stereo.
Any experience with DLO stuff?
DLO TransPod Direct and DLO TransPod FM, which have all the stuff I need.
Plus I can get them in Black, Silver, or White.
Now it's just the FM vs Cassette debate...
Re: iPod car adapter
I feel like I'm missing something here, but I would think the obvious answer is the iTrip. It plays your music through the car radio via an FM transmitter. Cathcart has one and it works like a charm.
Originally Posted by XPav
Is there a reason nobody has recommended this so far?
I've heard of issues with the various FM transmitters and poor quality. I also need something to charge the iPod, because I'll be going on a road trip. I also don't want the iPod sitting on the floor or my non-existent console, so that's why I'm looking at these "stick a thing in the cigarette lighter that has a framework holds and charges the iPod".
Plus, I saw someone using the iTrip and the "play a sound to set the station", and I'd prefer to have a dial like the one there is on the DLO gadget, if I decide to go FM.
You know, ideally car stereos would simply have a 1/8" jack on them.
Yeah, I wish more did have the audio jack. When my wife and I replaced our car radio to get one with a CD player, I made sure it had an input jack. I ended up going with a $100 Aiwa. Some of the more expensive models didn't have the jack.
So I went with the DLO Transpod FM -- I can direct connect if I want and if I'm in a car like my brothers, with no tapedeck, I'd be screwed if I didn't have the FM.
Plus, from Amazon, the FM is the same price as the Direct (which they don't sell), so it's a non-question.