In my experience, FM tuners are a really lame (if often necessary) solution to this problem. More and more, cars are starting to either have iPod-specific interfaces, or at least an "Aux" connection. My last car, an Acura 2004 TL, had a cassette player (!) so I connected the iPod that way.
From my experience, there just isn't a good FM tuner out there. It sounds like a transistor radio to my ears. Sorry to hear this may be your only way to link up.
I have tried 2 FM Tuners for Ipod. One from Griffin and the other from Monster. Neither of them were effective. Lots of static and poor reception.
I am currently using a cassette adaptor style of connection which gives much better sound quality however it is less tidy.
I do have a cassette player, although I don't think I even used it once.
Do you think that the cassette adapter is a better solution?
I've been doing some reading on the web and it seems the Sony cassette adapter is the way to go. $20 and the word is that it beats the most expensive FM unit.
I'll have to pick it at Best Buy up and give it a shot.
Depends on where you live. I had pretty good performance from the monster unit with the dock connector. The FM adapters that use the mini plug are worse. The monster unit is nice because it also charges the ipod. I would try and borrow one and see if there are free stations in your area. If you are in a big city, forget it. TThey show up used on the bay or CL all the time.
Nikturner920, I'm in Brooklyn, NY. So probably the Monster unit would not be good, ha?
I recently tried the Griffin with my ipod. I got it to work, but the sound is not worth the trouble, very disappointing.
Thanks for the cassette adapter tip I'll give it a try.
I have owned both the Belkin and the Monster cassette adapters. The Monster yielded considerably better results on every count, so maybe worth factoring in when considering which brand to buy.
The Belkin one stinks. It has no range and there's always static. I'm getting my money back.
I returned the belkin after not being able to find a clear space on the dial in Houston for my Dad's Lexus. I used the Griffin in my friends car and it sounded ok...
The Cassette adapter will probably work but they tend to destroy tape heads in the long run...not that anyone really cares.
Depending on the car stereo you can replace the changer with an ipod interface (controlled by your car stereo) or get a Phatbox (I have one in my Audi and it rocks....20gig cart controlled by my cd changer and line inputs). Using the changer input is by far the best option..there are tons of these out for most cars..
The other option is to look at one of the bluetooth installed modules for your cellphone and an ipod interface and these interrupt between the head unit and the amp....
I own the Belkin to get music into my car CDP. While it does the job, it is at the expense of fidelity. Very rolled off highs, alot of swishy background noise added to the music. Spend $100 more and get a car CDP that has a harness/interface for the ipod if you really want ipod in. My other car has a cassette player, and I get much better sound through the cheap cassette adaptor.
Thanks all. So general opinion about the FM modules is that they basically suck, especially in the city, so they are pretty much out of the picture.
I can not really replace the cd changer unit in my car(Lexus LS430 with the Nav so everything is controlled through the LCD screen). I'll probably have to get by with the tape adapter.....don't really care if it destroys the tape head in a long run.
Nice car.. my Dad has one... The Air conditioned seats are the BOMB in Houston, Texas!
Check this out.. you don't have to replace the changer..
I'm sure there are some more options, call your lexus dealer and ask for what they have.. my Audi dealer had an Ipod hookup for $249
Cytocycle, thanks man, this looks intersting!
I bought a Sony cassette adapter and have been using it for several days now. It sounds completely like crap. Distortion all over. I guess there is no simple solution.
Another option is to install an amp under the passenger seat or in the trunk. Get an A/B RCA splitter and keep it in the glove compartment or any convenient place. Run the stock head unit to the splitter. Run the Ipod with rca cables to the splitter. Then run rca outs to the amp. The amp will drive your speakers more efficiently and both the head unit and the ipod will sound better. I do this on my Accord and I'm very happy. I even upgraded the speakers to really bring out the sound. You can do this yourself or have an auto stereo professional install it. If you want to use your iPod a lot in the car it's a great investment. And thieves only see the stock head unit so it's not a theft magnet.
there is a factory amplifier in the trunk in my car. The car has a very good sounding Mark Levinson Lexus system. Really don't want to screw around with it.
I won't belabor the point any longer. I just know that running the ipod with rca's to an auxillary-in in the head unit, directly to the amp through an auxillary-in, or with a splitter between head unit and amp, will sound much better than an fm transmitter or even a cassette adaptor.
You might check and see if there is an aux in available for your head unit from the dealer. I bought one for my BMW 3 Series, and installed it myself--I think it was a whopping $15 or so. Its tucked up under the dash neatly. I also bought a cigarette lighter USB adapter, and a USB charger, and wired that into the fusebox, added a promount to slide the iPod into, and have an iPod install that looks virtually factory.