Have FM transmitters for ipods/phones improved in the past 10 years?
April 18, 2016 9:46 AM   Subscribe

I've tried a few in that time, nothing seems to have improved. But I'm old, hardly tech savvy. Want something to use around an apartment/house. Willing to spend $100.
posted by larry_darrell to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's mostly bluetooth now, but are you trying to actually stream to a radio?
posted by Lyn Never at 9:49 AM on April 18, 2016

your crappy ipod fm transmitter is pretty much par for the course... between power requirements and fcc requirements, a little dongle isn't gonna get you far.

i have used this transmitter in the past and it'll definitely cover an entire house... there's at least one review that says it's pumping out more wattage than is listed and may be violating fcc regulations. so caveat emptor.
posted by noloveforned at 10:17 AM on April 18, 2016

Most radios these days in addition to bluetooth have a line in that you can just plug your iPod into the speaker. This little speaker can connect to an iPhone over bluetooth, or you can connect it directly with a cable to your iPod.

Do note that most of these little speakers will not tune FM radio.
posted by gregr at 10:19 AM on April 18, 2016

I can't think of many situations where I'd recommend FM transmitter now. What device are you playing your music from?

If you play music in mp3/mp4 etc. then I would suggest buying a Chromecast Audio. You could buy 3 for $100, and with that you could stream to three sets of speakers in your house simultaneously.

Sign up for Google Play Music - free - and download the program to the computer where your mp3s are stored. Let Google upload all of them (50,000 for free now I think).

Now you can stream them to the Chromecast from any smartphone/tablet. It uses WiFi, which is better quality than Bluetooth and goes much further. And as I say, you can stream to all three locations or pick and choose each one depending on what you want. Chromecast also works with Spotify and a host of other services. Podcasts. Or online radio. Whatever you like. Highly recommended.
posted by 0bvious at 10:37 AM on April 18, 2016

You can get Blutooth transmitters (noloveforned linked one) as well as Bluetooth receivers that will connect to any home speakers via an aux input jack. This is far and away your best bet and doable < $50 assuming you already have speakers.
posted by ista at 11:30 AM on April 18, 2016

For what it's worth, literally the only Monster branded thing I have ever seen that worked better than the alternatives was their FM transmitter. It was given to my SO as a gift and turned out to work a lot better than any of the others I've used.

I feel a bit skeezy recommending a Monster product, but it really is better than the other 4 or 5 I've used over the years.

That said, if you have an aux input and are playing music from a device that supports Bluetooth, you want this thing. (I'm assuming this is for use in the car)
posted by wierdo at 12:46 PM on April 18, 2016

Add me to the chorus of folks saying you should probably re-examine your assumptions before you commit to FM. There are better ways, chiefly either Bluetooth or an AUX cable -- and both will provide drastically superior audio quality. FM transmitters were, at least in my memory, almost exclusively used for car audio when the head unit had no free inputs -- first, in the 1980s, for portable CD players, and later for iPods and iPhones. (Honestly, I thought they'd vanished entirely, but I think the brief window of cars with factory stereos that lacked either AUX or cassette decks gave the "Goldberg-esque car audio gizmo" market a shot in the arm.)

Anyway, some questions:

1) What's the source device here? That matters a lot. Most any phone will have Bluetooth as an option, though.

2) What devices do you mean to play music through? Do any of them have an AUX input or Bluetooth capability?
posted by uberchet at 1:05 PM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

This FM transmitter is easily modified if it isn't covering enough area out of the box.
posted by hades at 3:50 PM on April 18, 2016

Seconding Chromecast Audio, it will be cheaper, more versatile, and higher quality. Don't be intimidated by the technology: it takes roughly the same amount of know how to set it up as it does to log in to an internet forum to ask a question.
posted by mikek at 6:36 PM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

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