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iPod accessory advice
So I'm thinking of buying some accessories for my iPod from Belkin since I have a discount coupon from CES.

For my car I'm debating the Mobile Cassette Adapter or the TuneCast II Mobile FM Transmitter. I'm kind of leaning towards the latter, since I think I can use it with my portable stereo in the office too. It doesn't look like it has audio in jacks to cable the iPod in directly, just a Mic jack. And I'm not sure how that'd sound. It does have cassette, but the doors close fairly tightly. Any reason I *shouldn't* go for the TuneCast II?

For power there is the Auto Kit for iPod w/ Dock Connector or Mobile Power Cord for iPod w/ Dock Connector. They look very similar, except one has a built in amp I guess. I don't know what the point is if I use the FM transmitter. I'll probably get the Speaker and Headphone Splitter, just because.

As for add-on battery packs - I don't know that I see the need, that I'd be away from some power source and needing playback for long enough. The TunePower Rechargeable Battery Pack looks keen and all, but even with a 50% discount, I don't know. What do current owners think?

I am: hungry hungry
Current Media: quiet office

ardaniel From: ardaniel Date: January 13th, 2005 12:23 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Griffin is coming out with a sexier cassette adapter that has the iPod wiring, so your car stereo controls will control the iPod directly.
janscottfrazier From: janscottfrazier Date: January 13th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Definitely go with a cassette adapter instead of the transmitter. I got a transmitter to use when I moved in the truck and it was a constant game of adjustment of both the transmitter and the radio whether driving in town or in the middle of nowhere.
kviri From: kviri Date: January 13th, 2005 12:40 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
If you -do- go with an FM transmitter, consider this one, just released by XtremeMac. Tiny is good. (Then again, so is a coupon. :)

As for car kits... I got this one instead of the Belkin. Monster's (deserved) reputation for selling stuff for more than it's worth aside, it's a very nice adapter. The selling point for me is that the line out port is on the dock connector end, rather than on the cigarette lighter end -- that made cabling a lot more sensible in my car, it may not for yours. I've also read, in reviews, that the Belkin's line out sound quality is worse (something about its built-in amp being crappy), but I can't vouch for that. The only big problem with the Monster one is that the dock connector is extra bonus chunky, and some iPod cases' openings aren't big enough. (I had to do minor X-acto knife surgery on mine, and I also filed down the plastic on the Monster connector a bit.) The Belkin may have this problem to a much lesser degree, as well.

When in doubt, the Reviews section of ipodlounge.com is a good place to look for info on these sorts of things.
pdelahanty From: pdelahanty Date: January 13th, 2005 12:57 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I tried an FM transmitter with my iPod (not the one you mentioned) and it sucked. Fortunately, I borrowed it so it's not like I wasted money...but I'm definitely not running out to get one for myself.

I'd happily get a cassette adapter...if my car had a cassette desk. CD only. :(
ash_3 From: ash_3 Date: January 13th, 2005 01:18 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I got a cassette adapter for my iPod, and it sounds like ass. Of course, I blame most of this on the crappy stereo I have in my car. I really ought to replace those blown speakers. :)
From: ninjarat Date: January 13th, 2005 03:08 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Avoid the FM transmitter if you can. Any kind of direct wiring, even with a cassette adapter, will work better especially around Boston (or any major city) where the FM radio spectrum is saturated. I have a Tune Cast II. It is okay, but I often enough have to do the scan for a relatively clear frequency and retune the transmitter. Pain in the ass. If your head unit has a CD changer input with no changer on it then see about getting an AUX input converter. That is really the best way to go. You won't have direct iPod control from the head unit but that will give you the best audio input availbale barring a dedicated link like Alpine's AInet system (which I plan to get for myself in a few months :).

If you want to play in the office then get one of the iPod speaker kits like the inMotion from Altec Lansing or JBL's On Stage. You will get much better sound out of those than you will with something kludged together.

Hold off on the battery pack until you know you need it. A better way to spend your money is on a spare wall wart and cable. Keep them in your computer bag so you always have them.
buran From: buran Date: January 13th, 2005 04:09 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
My tunecast2 is for sale.
buran From: buran Date: January 13th, 2005 04:46 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
And I just found that the power/audio cable I want has no "buy" button. Thanks, Belkin. Ever hear of "back order and charge when in stock"?
gizmoek From: gizmoek Date: January 13th, 2005 12:24 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I have the Auto Kit w/ Dock connector and I've found, in my case, that plugging the jack that goes into my stereo into that instead of the iPod itself sounds much better and I don't have to crank up my stereo all the way to hear it. I don't have either the transmitter or the tape thing becaues I've got a jack right on the front of my stereo that I can plug the iPod into. I also have a cup holder from Belkin that my iPod mounts to, seems to work pretty well but it's a little tight if you get something like an iSkin to cover your iPod (which I also recommend).