iTripping (Part II)

My traveling experiences with Griffin Technology’s iTrip was fairly successful. The product basically works as advertised. It allows you to transmit your iPod songs via your car’s FM radio.

I will caution those of you that live in areas with heavy radio traffic (lots of stations) that your results may be very mixed. The instructions recommend that you find a station with just static, but the kicker is that the instruction manual also suggests that the bands to the left and right are also all static. I have to admit that is a very tall order! I never thought it would be so difficult to find static on the radio, but believe me it is a challenge.

Traveling from Columbus, GA to Orlando, FL I never found three consecutive bands of static, but I did find enough static that I could enjoy my iPod. In one case I managed to go 2+ hours without having to switch stations, but this was really the exception. I often found myself switching bands every 20-35 minutes, which was a pain in the neck. You have to switch because once the radio station starts picking up something (music, talk radio, bleed through from another band, etc) the music starts to sound scratchy with static.

To get the iTrip to function properly you have to tune your radio, then switch to the iPod’s iTrip playlist and select the correct radio station. Once the selected station starts playing you pause the “song” (iPod treats this as a regular music file) and wait for the iTrip’s led to blink three times before going solid. After that you start playing music as normal.

For the $35.00 price, the iTrip works as advertised. I cannot give it a full recommendation because it may not work well in heavily congested areas (lots of stations with little to no static), and because it is a cumbersome process to switch stations (music files) while driving. Still, the iTrip did what I wanted it to do – allowing me to listen to my music library on my iPod while traveling to Disney. Your mileage may vary.

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4 thoughts on “iTripping (Part II)”

  1. I’m hoping for more and more integrated solutions. Now that the iPod is more popular and digital audio players are expected to become this huge business, you would think more OEM stereo makers and after-market manufacturers will look to capitalize.

    But only of course if they can make good profits, which means high-priced solutions like the Alpine or the ICE Link.

    A couple of years ago, car stereos which supported MP3 files on CD-ROMs were rare. Now there are a lot of models. So the next step would be easier integration with DAPs.

    Clarion said they would put out a model with a touch screen to control the iPod’s functions. However, apparently they don’t have an official working relationship with Apple (which needs to work with other car markers than BMW).

    I’ve bought more CDs since I bought my Mini in July than I had in the previous 5 years. I hadn’t played a CD in my car stereo in years. Sure would be nice to plug it in and be able to control it from the steering wheel or at least at the dash.

  2. "I’ve bought more CDs since I bought my Mini in July than I had in the previous 5 years."

    That’s pretty interesting. I do not think I am buying more CDs than normal, but I love being able to easily pick up a song here and there on iTunes. Plus the gift cards are such an easy purchase that I got 3-4 for my b-day and Christmas.

  3. I had the same problem…the iTrip just doesn’t work well, especially in Los Angeles. Having an aftermarket deck with an auxillery input allowed me to hard wire my iPod to my stereo…ahhh, clarity. I definitely suggest doing that if you’ve got a stereo with an Aux input…it is worth the trouble of pulling out the stereo and wiring it, believe me.

  4. dbdynsty25 – my problem is that my stero is busted; I need a new one, but do not want to pony up any duckets. My wife’s van does not have any aux inputs or a tape deck, so the iTrip was the way to go.

    It worked well enough that I am glad I have it for trips, but I doubt the thing will ever work well in big cities.

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