I finally broke free of FM-transmitter/cassette-tape-adapter hell, and my life feels forever changed. I love music and great audio. If you have ever been in a city cycling through the available frequencies on an iPod FM transmitter, you know that only pain and depressingly splotchy Sigur Ros awaits. The best case scenario is utterly devoid of dynamics and nuance.
There are lots of very expensive ways to solve this problem (buy a new car, new stereo, etc.) but I have no intention of upgrading my 1998 Chevy Cavalier in the near future nor do I want a new stereo. This sent me on a journey for an inexpensive solution and my research revealed an amazing option.
The FM Modulator ($25):
This simple device creates a hard-wired “aux in” for basically any factory radio. I bought mine on Amazon for $25, and depending on your personal DIY quotient you can install it yourself. This involves taking apart the dash and connecting up a few things to the back of the radio and power supply. If you aren’t up for that, Best Buy will install it for $50. The input/power control is very discrete. You can see above what it looks like before and after installation.
This setup has been a revelation for me. The audio is 100x better (my estimation) than the cassette adapter, and probably 1000x better than the FM transmitter. I am able to listen to great music with dynamics and know that it will always work. If you are still messing with archaic adapters, you owe it to yourself to spend the 25 dollars to make this happen in your car.
Works with: iPods, iPhones, Kindles that read to you, portable dvd players, laptops, anything with a 1/4” jack that you might be inclined to use on your commute or road trip.