How do I listen to my iPod through my car stereo?
Have an iPod and want to listen to it in your car?
Read on to learn a couple ways to hook up your iPod to your car stereo - without breaking the bank!
These devices attach to your iPod and require you to tune your radio to a designated FM frequency. The transmitter "takes over" that radio frequency within a range of a few feet, and broadcasts your iPod music on the same frequency.
These rate high on "cool factor", but they have some drawbacks - you'll hear the same occasional fuzzy radio interference that you get with a regular radio station, and the sound quality will be lower than if you were listening directly to your iPod using headphones or a home stereo system.
Here's why: FM radio transmissions do not usually exceed 96 Kbps, which means that any high-quality audio files (128 Kbps MP3 or higher, AAC, FLAC, MP4, etc...) will be transmitted to your stereo at a lower quality. Will you notice it? Intermediate and advanced listeners may notice a drastic difference, especially on high-end stereos.
Average Cost for an iPod FM Transmitter: $50 (more for units that come with a built-in charger)
Here's a link to iPod FM Transmitters with free shipping from Buy.com.
Tape Cassette Adapter:
If you have a cassette player in your car stereo, you can buy a cassette adapter at your local Mac store or Radio Shack. They generally run about $20 dollars, and it's an easy way to have a good quality hookup to your car. This is the approach I took, and I've been very happy with it.
How does it work? Basically, a cord runs from your iPod to the cassette adapter, which you place into your car stereo. Also, since cassette tape is an analog medium, you'll still get the same high quality audio that you expect from your iPod (much better than going through an FM transmitter, and without the FM static).
One thing you may notice with a cassette adapter is the whirring sound of the cassette spines turning. You won't notice it during a song, but it might drive you nuts in between songs.
My solution was to literally drill out the cassette spines with a half-inch drill bit - after all, they don't serve any useful function. It's the metal leads on the outer side of the cassette adapter that connect with your car stereo and transmit the sound, so drilling out the inner guts of the adapter safely eliminates the whirring sound and makes for the perfect - and affordable - iPod car stereo integration solution!
Average Cost for an iPod Tape Cassette Adapter: $20
Here's a link to iPod Cassette Adapters from Buy.com.