The Griffin iTrip is an FM transmitter which is now a legal way of playing music through your radio. What it does is emit your music at an FM frequency of your choosing which, when you tune your radio into said frequency, hey presto, you can listen to your music. This means it can be ideal for listening to your music collection in your car or simply on your old radio without buying a docking station.
The iTrip is the neatest of the FM transmitters that I have seen. It is the width of the iPod classic and is only about 2cm high and under 2cm deep. This makes it slightly deeper than the classic but it plugs very neatly into the base of the iPod. This sets it apart from other transmitters that plug into the headphone jack with a relatively long lead. It is white and fairly chic.
There is a button on the side which can only be described as a nobble (I'm trying to be non-technical here). When plugged in to the ipod and music is playing the iTrip will automatically start working but it is the nobble on the side which controls the frequency. The frequency is then shown on the front display.
For example, it will automatically start transmitting at 87.9FM (its lowest frequency) and if you tuned your radio to this you would hear whatever track you are playing. However by nobbling the side nobble the frequency can be adjusted anywhere up to 107.9FM.You may want to do this, for example, if you are driving through Birmingham and accidentally pick up Ramadan FM on 87.9 as happened to me. Since then that radio channel displays it as Ramadan FM in my car.
Does it work? Yes.
Does it work well? No.
Two main reasons why; firstly, wires always work better. So you get the hiss that comes with an FM radi,o which is fine when listening to speech but a big problem for music. This is made worse by its neat design. Where other transmitters use the annoying wire for, erm, transmitting with this device the wire is semi hidden in the rear of the device. This all means it is small. We have since bought a more 'traditional' transmitter and although less neat it does a better job of transmitting. In general, though, a docking station produces a much, much better quality of sound.
Secondly, it does suck the battery out of the iPod. Where other transmitters plug into the cigarette lighter of your car and save the battery of your iPod, this takes its power directly from your device.
And naturally of course you occasionally pass other drivers using 87.9FM and battle with what they are playing.
Is it worth buying?
Yes, I would say so. But only as long as you are aware of its limitation; the sound is not great, there are better performing but less neat alternatives and it uses up battery life. If you can use a dock or a wire then the sound quality would be better.
The itrip is a sleek and nifty little device for around £30 that allows you to play your ipod through any FM radio. This has been a real boon in my life. It is a smooth, white gizmo, approximately 6x2cm (so doesn't make your ipod extra bulky) that simply clips in where the cable goes. You then tune your radio to an unused frequency and match the frequency on the itrip - which is easy and quick, with the dial on the side, and the frequency displayed on the screen - and it transmits through the radio. Genious. I find the signal is perfect, unless you walk in front of it, so usually I leave the ipod next to the raidio, unless I want it to hand to flip between songs. I have mine tuned to 88 as I find there isn't any interference on that frequency on any of the radios I use.
It's much better than one of those portable speakers for sound quality, although of course you are limited to where there is a radio, but it's still great if you want to take it to someone else's house, work or to the common room at school. For me it means I can be listening to something in my bedroom and then take it down to the kitchen to carry on listening while I cook, or have friends over. And you can take the radio out to the garden for bbqs or sitting around outside. My favourite use for it is out in the car, which means I don't need an additional car - adapter.
The iTrip. For those of you that don't know what the iTrip is, basically this acts as a connector between your iPod and your stereo, usually your car stereo, but it can be any around the house too.
Basically, all that is needed for the iTrip to work is an iPod (it doesn't matter which model) and an FM receiving radio.
I have my iTrip permanently in my car and love to listen to the podcasts I have downloaded on it. There is absolutely no problems connecting to stations. The only thing you need to be wary of is interference from other broadcasters on that frequency and other drivers who may be close by that are using the same frequency too. The best frequency I have found is 101.4FM. The signal is not CD quality, but you do have the entire contents of your iPod at your disposal to balance out that negative.
Occasionally, the reception will drop in quality as with any radio station as effectively you are broadcasting your iPod as a station. This can lead to a complete drop in signal, but a quick press of the button and the iTrip will find a suitable signal frequency for the area you are currently in. Then just match that frequency with your radio.
The main downside is that the iTrip drains the battery life on your iPod really quickly and you will only get around 4 hours of playtime until a charge is needed. This could be improved.
I have an Ipod classic 80g which I use with this itrip. I have previously owned two other similar devices which allowed me to listen to my ipod in my car. The first one I was given for Christmas last year and it never worked that well as it was just very difficult to find a frequency that it worked on. The second was one that lasted for about 7 months before it just started turning itself off for no reason and it was OK but when I drove far from home the frequency it was on stopped working.
This griffin itrip however is far superior to the others I have had. Firstly, there is no need for wires as it just plugs straight into the doc where you connect your ipod to your PC or a mains charger. It just turns on and off with the ipod.
It automatically came up with a frequency and I just clicked search and it found it straight away on my car radio (with others I had to manually search) The signal is great and have not heard any static other than when I have driven in an underground car park which I would expect.
It uses the ipod's battery so there is no need for batteries. It has not seemed to have an effect on how often my ipod needs charging and I have used it most days for over a month.
It is also small enough to go into my handbag or keep it underneath the radio in my car.
The volume is controlled by the car stereo so it doesn't make a difference if you have just been listening to your ipod through a speaker at full blast or quietly through your earphones.
In conclusion its easy to use, no wires or batteries to fuss over, compact, gives a good clear sound and is a must for anyone with an ipod who wants to listen to it in their car.
This is a handy little item if you are in the car or having a party. It transmits the the music from your ipod to a radio.
It has a pretty good range - I have been upstairs listening with my ipod being downstairs and is simple to use, you just plug it in the ipod, choose a frequency (one that doesn't have a major radio station on) then press play.
It is handy to have in the car as it isn't always sociable to have your headphones in with a car full of people.
This also comes in black so it doesn't look odd if you have a black ipod. It also is available for mini's etc. It is also available for older generation models - the older ones connect in the top through the speaker port and the newer generations through the USB port in the bottom.
The iTrip can broadcast on any FM frequency between 87.7 and 107.9MHz. On the more recent models there is an LCD display showing the radio frequency which is changable via a small wheel on the side. Once you have found a frequency that is free to be used press the wheel to save it.
Up until the 8th December 2006 these were illegal under the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949, but due to the amount of these being sold illegally through ebay this law was changed, meaning you can now buy them on the high street.
They are low power transmitters that get their power from the actual ipod so if you are planning to use this a lot it may be worth investing in a car charger
Very handy accessory to have, it can tend to fall out though uf you have a thick cover on your ipod
Ive always felt a bit uncomfortable about willfully breaking the law even when that particular law is a bit of an ass. The not-entirely legal status of my Griffin iTrip has always meant that Ive been a bit cagey about taking it out in public and I dont use it as much as Id like to.
Nearly four weeks ago I had to go down to London for the day and whilst strap-hanging on the tube and reading over the shoulder of a fellow passenger I learned that my life as an outlaw was about to end. So put away the hand cuffs officer Im nearly legal now, so I can tell dooyoo about my favourite gizmo.
According to an article in the Metro on October 6th, iTrip and other low-power FM transmitters that work with MP3 players were given the thumbs up by Ofcom and should be legal within 4 weeks of that ruling i.e. TOMORROW! Hoorah.
iTrip - what the heck's that? What does it do?
The Griffin iTrip is the best $30 dollars worth of iPod widget that money can buy. It's a clever little gizmo that plugs into the top of your pod - where the headphones normally go - and turns it into a transmitter. If you then tune your radio, car radio, super-whizzy hi-fi system etc to the transmitting frequency, hey presto they will play the tunes from your pod. It's simple but very clever.
I took it to my sister's house a few months back and we had it transmitting simultaneously through both her kitchen radio and the hi-fi in her living room. At last! I had domination over my sister's listening - Boy, was she impressed. It almost compensated for the decades of abuse she's given me for my musical preferences.
So, you are thinking, why doesn't everyone have one? Why aren't there loads of reviews and why haven't my friends and loved ones given me one already? Well now they are nearly legal, pop one on your list and send it off to Santa.
On the run from the law?
Here's the rub. You couldnt buy them in the UK and the story goes that they are illegal - they infringe the Wireless Telegraphy Regulations in the UK. Whilst it has been legal to SELL iTrip-type transmitters in Europe, it has been illegal to USE them in the UK because they fall under legislation designed to prevent unlicensed radio stations. As my sister put it, I'd turned into Radio Caroline at the push of a button.
Ofcom estimated that there are 87,500 iTrips being operated illegally in this country. Fortunately the police have more important things to do than chase me.
Where could I get one?
These are widely available in the USA. You can probably find them on eBay or persuade a friend, relation or even someone you don't like much (I did the latter) to pick one up for you in the USA. If they are really clever (like the chap who got it for me) they'll even buy it in Oregon where there's no sales tax. Every pod owner I used to work with had one. If the police come for me, I'll be shopping them too.
But now its going to be easier
If all the press reports are to be believed, these should be in the shops here in the UK in plenty of time for Christmas at prices from £20-40.
Is this the only transmitter you can get?
No, there are other similar products by both Griffin and other companies. Early models had batteries inside and lasted for as little as 45 minutes. Mine has no battery and runs off the iPod battery instead. One less thing to have to think about. Other models may use different frequencies.
Plug the transmitter in to the iPod
Play some music - you should set the volume to 50-70%
Tune your FM radio to 87.9 - this should be a frequency with nothing but white noise and crackle. If your radio doesn't go that low - and many don't in this country - you can follow some simple instructions, install a programme off the enclosed CD and run it at a different frequency.
* In theory, if you lived in a very small flat with thin walls and neighbours near by, I guess they might pick up your transmission but only if they tune to the same frequency. Or if they also have an iTrip transmitting on the same frequency as yours, you may need to agree to change your settings
* The sound quality will only be as good as your radio/hi-fi - may well not be as good as through your head phones.
Why buy it?
* Because it's so very clever and will impress your friends and sister
* Because wearing headphones in doors is a bit naff
* Because you want to share your music with friends and family
* Because you already have a fantastic HiFi and don't want to buy a Bose Sound Dock
* Because it's about 15-20 times cheaper than a Sound Dock