- Review Price: £26.72
Just over three years ago, Griffin Technologies released the iTrip. This was an FM transmitter designed for iPod that enabled you to get the music on your iPod playing on your car stereo, or indeed any FM radio. I gave it a good review at the time, because it was unique and the only device of its kind. If you wanted to listen to all the music trapped on your iPod in your car it was the only way you could do it.
Looking back, I was perhaps a bit overly impressed with the concept, as in practice it was rather awkward to use. Selecting a frequency involved choosing from a list of files that had to be first transferred onto your iPod. You then had to hold down the buttons in a certain way, wait for a flashing light, stick your leg out of the window, and chant, in a bid to get the iTrip to change frequency. (ok, the leg and chant bit isn’t true).
The faffy nature of this though was a problem as in built-up areas you tended to get a lot of interference from the crowded FM airwaves, so a frequency that worked well in one area might well not in another. The other issue with the iTrip was that at the time it was illegal, at least in the UK. The Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949, states that broadcasting anything at all on an FM frequency was illegal, despite the fact that the iTrip had a range of barely a metre. You were lucky if it worked from the back seat of your car, let alone interfere with the radio of another car in traffic. Finally though, Ofcom has got with the programme and has made allowances for all these new fangled modern gadgets. According to new Wireless Telegraphy Exemption Regulations, iTrip style FM transmitters are now legal and the CK3000-HD is one of these new breed.
I’m not sure why it doesn’t have a proper catchy Apple style name or why HD is in the title at all, – presumably because HD is something of a buzz word right now, even though the quality you’ll get is far from ‘High Definition’. Also the less said about the name, ‘Moosik’, the better.
The unit itself is simply a cradle for the iPod that sits on top of the FM tuner, which in turn is attached to a holder that plugs straight into a car lighter jack. Plug in to turn it on, remove to turn it off – simple. Four ‘fitters’ are supplied that slot into the cradle to ensure a snug fit for any iPod from the fourth generation onwards. No fitter is required for the ipod photo as this fatty fits right in. My chunky 60GB 5th gen iPod actually fit without one too, at least once I’d removed it from its case.
There are only four buttons and an LCD display on the device, and operation could hardly be simpler. Pressing M and then the up and down arrows lets you move between frequencies in increments of 0.1MHz. Once you find one that seems free of any station, you simply press M again and it is stored in one of five memory presets. You repeat the process again to fill up each preset. If you then use match the presets on your car radio to the same frequencies, switching between them becomes a quick two button job. The hardest part is actually finding suitable area of the FM frequency that isn’t too crowded, particularly if you in an area with lots of local or pirate ratio stations. You turn if off by pressing the power switch or just pulling it out.
In testing, the device pretty much did what it said on the tin. I tuned, I preset, I listened. However, there’s no getting away from the fact that you’re broadcasting over FM. Pause your music and you can hear all the hiss and static in the background. My own car radio is an Alpine 9850Ri, which has a direct connection to the iPod, and lets you control it form the head-unit. Sound quality on this is excellent and I played the same music on both for comparison. As expected, the output from the Moosik device sounded comparatively narrow and muffled even aside from the background hiss, which isn’t ideal on what is likely to be already compressed music from the iPod.
Of course, it’s actually not a fair comparison. The Moosik is a quick, simple, plug and play solution that doesn’t involve replacing your stereo, or any cables. It is quick and fuss free. As far as FM transmitters go, it’s as good as you could hope one to be. If you’re in the market for one this is the one to get. It doesn’t get an award though as someone who cares about sound quality I simply can’t recommend that anyone use an FM transmitter at all. If you have to though, get this one.
FM transmitters are now legal in the UK and if you want a quick, fuss free way of hearing you iPod music in the car the Moosik CK3000-HD does a great job, though inevitably sound quality will never match that of an actual wired connection.
Score in detail
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