Written by Davidb@smalldog.com, posted by Ed

I recently traveled up to Burlington to visit my fellow Small Doggers before resuming my regular schedule later on in the summer. I also recently purchased a car so that I could make this trip. Sadly, the $100 I dropped on this vehicle did not include a working radio. To someone who has iTunes open all the time, this needed to be remedied. First, I troubleshooted the broken radio. I can’t say for sure exactly what did it, but I took it apart, put it back together, and voilà! However, the radio wasn’t exactly fixed yet. Besides some great national public and independent broadcast stations, the airwaves these days are saturated with endless commercials littered with scraps of pop music. Once in a while, an occasional classic, but when traveling through four states, four hours each way, without any local knowledge of local stations, armed with just a seek button, I just can’t get no satisfaction.

Almost any car on the road today has a radio. Many newer cars come with a radio and CD player. Some, even an AUX or Line-In port. For a while, cassette tape players were also prevalent. In the era of digital music, what’s the best way of getting your music from your iPod to your car? Each method has its pros and cons. For ease of use and best sound quality, a simple mini jack cable” can go directly from your iPod’s headphone port to an equipped car stereo. This supplies great quality sound if you have a car so equipped, probably sold within the last couple years, but many still do not have this extra capability. If you have a cassette tape deck, you can utilize a tape adapter, whose sound quality is normally better than any FM transmitter on the market. I have used cassette adapters in the past, and besides the hum of the cassette tape, it delivers quite impressive sound quality. For most, an FM transmitter is the only option. I found myself researching and reading reviews on various websites looking for a reliable and economical way to get my music collection on the road. At Small Dog, we have quite a selection of transmitters, some with charging capabilities, some with mounts and cradles and docks, some specifically for the nano, some for full sized iPods, and also:”http://www.smalldog.com/product/39260.” I decided it was important for me that the iPod be charging and sound as good as possible. I liked the price of the Small Dog CAR Tune, being more than $10 less expensive than alternatives, and being able to output on just as many frequencies. I decided to give it a shot.

Riding along in my automobile, from state to state, I found that the Car Tune was able to overpower almost all stations I was trying to transmit my own music at. I plugged it into my cigarette lighter, plugged the dock connector into my iPod, hit the power button, and tuned my radio station to 88.1, the frequency displayed when I first opened it up. I tuned my car stereo accordingly and hit play on my iPod. Music to my ears! I found the reception to be free of crackles and pops and the usual noise associated with devices that aren’t powerful enough to overcome the broadcast signals, especially in cities. I traveled through Springfield, MA and Hartford, CT without a hitch. If I noticed any competition between the Car Tune and the station I was tuned to, I could very easily change the station on the Car Tune and continue playing on any number of stations. Although I tested out all of the stations for best sound, I really could have made the trip on only one or two stations. And then, when I returned home, my iPod was fully charged!

If you’re looking for a great FM transmitter for your iPod at a reasonable price, I can highly recommend the very easy to use Car Tune from Small Dog. Enjoy your rockin’ summer travels, but always remember–don’t guzzle and drive–end oil addiction!


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