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Should we buy an FM transmitter, or just a new car stereo?

We have ipods but our car stereo has no auxillary input. I'm debating if we should buy an FM transmitter, or a new stereo altogether. The transmitters seem to cost a minimum of $50 for one that gets good reviews, but even then they say the sound quality isn't as good as if the player was plugged directly into a stereo. It will cost us about $100 to replace the stereo with one that has a usb input and is ipod capable. We've got to have one or the other before we leave for our cross-country vacation this summer.

What do you think? Do the FM transmitters do well enough, or should we spend the extra money on a new stereo?

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Asked by FluffyMamaBunny at 2:14 PM on May. 13, 2011 in Technology

Level 19 (6,861 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • I actually just found myself in this situation not too long ago. Except I had one of the tape adapters that you plug into the ipod, then pop into the tape deck. Then my tape deck stopped working. (why they'd put one in a 2006 model car anyway is beyond me) In my experience, the FM transmitters are okay, but don't work as well in bigger cities. Which might be an issue occasionally on a cross country trip like yours. We ended up splurging and buying a new stereo with an auxiliary plug and a Usb input. I LOVE it. One warning though: using the actual USB input makes it so you can't control your Ipod from the actual Ipod itself. You have to control it through your stereo. Not a huge deal, but I've found myself wanting to make all new playlists just for driving so I'm not shuffling through everything on the stereo itself. (which can be distracting sometimes.)

    Answer by Eviesmommy at 2:27 PM on May. 13, 2011

  • I wondered about that. I think some people like it that way, but I personally would prefer to control it from the ipod itself I think. However, I don't drive, which gives me plenty of time to sift through without being distracted....and I think my hubby can use the stereo controls on the side of the steering wheel too. I definitely have to reorganize all the music on my Ipod before we go, whichever we wind up choosing. My hubby doesn't care though....all his stuff is all jumbled together. lol.

    Comment by FluffyMamaBunny (original poster) at 2:35 PM on May. 13, 2011

  • The actual auxiliary plug inputs give you the freedom to control the Ipod. They do offer stereos with just the plugs for a bit cheaper than the ones with the USB plug. That may be an option too.

    Answer by Eviesmommy at 6:39 PM on May. 13, 2011

  • We found a Kenwood with the USB port, and the standard mode does require control from the stereo/remote, but I can actually change that setting so I can control it through the IPOD. It's Awesome. :)

    Comment by FluffyMamaBunny (original poster) at 11:46 PM on May. 18, 2011

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