I was driving away from work with my MP3 player attached to the radio through a cassette tape adapter. It wasn’t anything too high tech, but it got the job done. Suddenly, my radio crackled and faded away. My recording had stopped working. So, I took a trip to my local Wal-Mart. Next to each other were a generic cassette tape adapter, and a Belkin Tunecast II FM Transmitter. The FM Transmitter was only a few dollars more, so I decided to get it.
The first thing I found about the FM transmitter was that it was not as simple as the “plug-and-play” accessibility of the cassette adapter. I had to find a radio station with a weak signal and tune the Transmitter into it.
Then, I discovered that if I put the wire in the seat next to me, the signal faded and the sound of static filled my car. So, I had to drive with it in my lap. Though granted, a cassette adapter doesn’t have HD quality, it far surpasses the sporadic static (and don’t steal that for your band name) that you get with the FM transmitter.
After driving for a fair amount of time, the signal started to fade again. More and more, it faded until I finally had to change the radio station and find another weak indicated position. On long road trips, I have to modify the position several times, searching for a location where my music comes through.
Aside from all that, it also requires either a battery or for you to plug it into your cigarette lighter, which means that it even uses more power than the cassette adapter. While the lighter adapter will keep it running, it takes up something that you may need to use to power something else.
On the plus side, however, you can use it in any car with radio reception. Many cars these days do not have cassette players, so if you’re riding in a friend’s car, you may have to suffer through 5,000 radio commercials for each song.
Also, it is considerably more durable than the cassette adapter. My cassette adapter lasted for almost a year, and it was the second one that I had purchased. However, the transmitter has one thick wire, that connects directly to your music player, and it is a solidly-built piece of technology.
Still, I can’t help regretting not just buying another cassette adapter. Even though most of my friends don’t have cassette players, they all have their own mp3 players, so I am safe there. When listening to music, the most important factor to me is sound. Simply put, the Belkin Tunecast II FM Transmitter just doesn’t look that good. My personal suggestion is that you stick with a cassette adapter.