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Audio

Best FM Transmitter

FM transmitters are best for consumers who want to bring the convenience and sound quality of iPods, MP3 players and other mobile music streaming devices along with them in older model automobiles that can't accommodate such technology. These transmitters work through your car stereo by pinpointing the clearest available FM signal and broadcasting music from your device. There are other features available with some transmitters such as hands-free phone use and USB ports to charge your device and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Some of them even have remote controls for easier use of all available functions.

GOgroove BlueGate Wireless Bluetooth Receiver

The BlueGate is brand new and acts a bit differently than some of the other receivers on our list. Instead of plugging it into your mobile device, you plug it into the auxiliary jack of any receiver. Patch it into the port of your dashboard stereo in the car, or plug it into your home system, and in seconds you'll be streaming music wirelessly from your mobile device.

Using a Bluetooth connection, the transmitter picks up the signal from your enabled device and plays music through your speakers. Unlike other transmitters which send a signal to your radio, this one receives the signal instead.

BlueGate also has an integrated audio amplifier that protects the signal with a direct line-in connection, so there's no loss of sound quality or unwanted background noise when you're streaming your content. You get a combination of hookup options, including 3.5mm connector, RCA cables, and a micro USB cable.

Satechi Soundfly AUX MP3 Player Car FM Transmitter

The Soundfly AUX transmitter from Satechi works well for iPods and other mobile devices with a line out plug as it has a 3.5mm auxiliary jack. Simply connect the unit to your device and you're ready to transmit. The Soundfly AUX can transmit to any FM frequency on the dial and has up to four storage presets to memorize the most effective stations for use.

This unit is also great for playing music from USB flash drives and SD cards. Stick either one into the Soundfly AUX and the unit lets you control either one with a wide array of functions such as bookmarking, folder access, even volume and bass/treble adjust.

A 1.5-inch LCD display gives you a complete readout of the song playing, the artist's name and more. This transmitter also comes with an easy to use remote control, that way you spend less time fiddling with your console so you can keep your eyes on the road.

TeckNet MT-096 Apple FM Transmitter

The tiny little MT-096 transmitter from TeckNet plugs directly into the bottom of your Apple device. Almost instantly, it transmits a wireless signal to the radio and comes with two buttons that let you scroll through the dial to find a clear station through which to broadcast.

The blue backlit LCD display features large, easy to read digital numbers that tell you which station you're working with to stream your music. You even get an auxiliary power adapter so the transmitter will recharge your battery while in use.

It's compatible with a whole array of Apple products including iPhone(4S/4/3G/3/2G), iPod Touch(4/3/2/1), Classic (all generations), 5th Generation iPod Video, 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th-6th Generation iPod Nano, iPod Photo, iPod Mini, 3rd and 4th Generation iPod. This device simply couldn't be easier to use.

GOgroove FlexSMART X3 Bluetooth FM Transmitter

The second Gogroove transmitter on the list has all kinds of great features packed into this 9-inch long unit. It's incredibly easy to use, featuring an auto-scan function that automatically finds a suitable FM station through which to transmit. Once it's settled on a frequency, you can plug in your iPod or a list of other smartphones, mp3 players or tablets through the convenient auxiliary line-in port.

Enhanced audio clarity profiles deliver crisp, consistent sound with minimal incidental hiss while you're playing your music. The unit is also Bluetooth enabled so you can pair up your phone for hands-free calling.

Simple, one-touch sync up will have you connected in seconds while a bright LED display lets you know when you're hooked up and when you have a call coming in. The integrated microphone lets you make or accept calls safely while driving and best of all, the Flexsmart X3 is backed by a 3-year manufacturer's warranty.

Satechi Soundfly-i Ultimate iPad / iPhone 4s, 4, iPod Auto-Scan FM Transmitter

Satechi's Soundfly-i Ultimate is well suited for iPod and other Apple devices. Play music from iPod, iPad, iTouch and others while charging those devices through your vehicle's power adapter. The unit is plug and play all the way; simply power it up, hit the auto-scan button to find a clear station on the FM dial through which to transmit, and connect your iPod.

The Soundfly-i Ultimate can store up to four frequencies and is able to send a signal to any FM station. When in use, the Soundfly-i Ultimate's bright display gives you vital information like frequency and the unit will send ID3 tag information such as song title and artist to your car radio display (if compatible). The unit also comes with a remote that gives you full control over your tunes for safe driving.

GOgroove FlexSMART X2 Wireless In-Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter

This wireless transmitter utilizes a Bluetooth connection to play music from your smartphone device with crystal clear sound. Highs come through sharp and lows deep and resonant, where other transmitters can sometimes fry the sound before it even hits your speakers. The FlexSMART X2 is also smart enough to fade out the song when your phone rings, so there's no sudden drop in the music.

Tuning the unit for transmission is fully digital with a bright red LED display and includes auto-seek capability to automatically locate a suitable station on the go. Once you're synced-up, control of your smartphone device is also done through the unit, easily accessible and positioned on a fully articulating gooseneck stem. Track selection, play/pause, answer and end call buttons are all there at your fingertips.

There's also a USB port to charge your chosen device while it's in use, a helpful feature to have for some of those smartphones with notoriously short battery life. Best of all, it even works with non-Bluetooth enabled devices; the FlexSMART X2 has a 3.5mm input for connecting directly into the transmitter unit.

MPOW Streambot Y Wireless Bluetooth FM Transmitter Radio Adapter Car Kit

The Streambot Y is a transmitter and microphone in one. Just plug it into your dash and the unit offers multiple functionality for just about smartphone whether it’s Apple or not.  Stream music with it, via the FM transmitter that sends a wireless signal to your car stereo. Just set it once and the Streambot will remember your mobile device, automatically, the next time you connect.

You can also make hands-free phone calls, use voice activated GPS navigation, and even charge your device at the same time through its USB port. The easy to use, on-board interface lets you adjust the settings, the volume, and phone controls with just the touch of a button. It's straightforward, convenient, and your music and calls sound great.

Soundfly SD WMA/MP3 Player Car Fm Transmitter

Satechi's Soundfly SD unit transmits on any FM frequency across your dial. Just find one that plays your music without any static and you're done. When you find FM stations that work best, you can program up to seven of them into the unit.

The Soundfly accepts USB flash-drives or SD cards directly, with an easy to use interface allowing you to assign specific folders for instant access to your songs. Plug into mp3 players or smartphones with the included wire that connects your device to the unit if you'd rather use that as your source instead. Sound quality varies depending upon which source you're using and the quality of the recorded music file, but overall, it's comparable to the GOgroove in terms of clarity and richness.

Where the Soundfly excels is with the added remote control which offers easier to read buttons than the unit itself. This makes it the better choice for changing the song while you're on the road. Every navigation feature is here including shuffle, rewind, fast forward, folder shift, and more; all at the touch of a button.

Scosche FMTD7 Digital FM Transmitter for iPod

Although you can hook it up to any smartphone, the freqOUT is can easily connect to a veritable laundry list of Apple products, including the iPod touch (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation), iPod classic, iPod nano (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th generation), iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and iPhone.

Just plug the FMTD7 directly into the 30-pin dock of your device. If yours doesn't have the correct dock, simply connect the transmitter via the headphone jack with an auxiliary cable that comes included. Using scanFREQ technology, the transmitter quickly locates a strong frequency through which to deliver the signal for clear, crisp sound quality.

Flex-neck construction lets you position the transmitter anyway you like, so the display is easy to read and all controls are at your fingertips. The FMTD7 can even supply song, artist, and radio station info both on the transmitter and through your RDS enabled stereo.

GOgroove BlueGate Wireless Bluetooth Receiver

The BlueGate is brand new and acts a bit differently than some of the other receivers on our list. Instead of plugging it into your mobile device, you plug it into the auxiliary jack of any receiver. Patch it into the port of your dashboard stereo in the car, or plug it into your home system, and in seconds you'll be streaming music wirelessly from your mobile device.

Using a Bluetooth connection, the transmitter picks up the signal from your enabled device and plays music through your speakers. Unlike other transmitters which send a signal to your radio, this one receives the signal instead.

BlueGate also has an integrated audio amplifier that protects the signal with a direct line-in connection, so there's no loss of sound quality or unwanted background noise when you're streaming your content. You get a combination of hookup options, including 3.5mm connector, RCA cables, and a micro USB cable.

Marc Gottlieb
I'm a rabid sports-aholic who's been to Super Bowl XXI, the Indy 500 and witnessed Doug Flutie's hail mary pass to Gerard Phelan live in Miami. Sundays are sacred in my household and I'm a two-time back to back champion of my fantasy football league. I played a lot of sports in high school; football, soccer, tennis, lacrosse and I was on the school ski team. I even tried my hand at racquetball in college. I've jumped out of two perfectly good airplanes and bungee jumped off a construction crane. Since then I've worked for one of the top product placement companies in Hollywood, coordinating with most of the major sports apparel labels to get their products featured in films and TV. But it's a life-long obsession with music and film that has given me years of experience with the latest technologies and innovations in electronics. If they've built it, I've tried it and likely bought it. Laserdisc, DVD, Bluray players; I own multiple units that cater to all of these formats and more. A misspent youth immersing myself in pop culture meant I craved the hottest devices through which to enjoy it all, and at the highest possible quality. What I learned over time though, is that the most expensive items aren't always the best.
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