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Discussion Starter #1
I have an MY06 Forester and would appreciate some feedback on combined auto charger and FM transmitters for iPods to be crammed inside the storage bin (plugged into the cigarette lighter socket) under the central armrest.

Does anyone have any experience and opinions with any of the following?
* Kensington Digital FM Transmitter/Auto Charger for iPod
http://us.kensington.com/html/6402.html

* Monster iCarPlay Wireless Plus for iPod
http://www.monstercable.com/mp3/productPageMP3.asp?pin=2660

* Griffin iTrip Auto
http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/itripauto/index.php

Specifically:
* does it sound good enough despite the MY06's antenna is all the way to the back of the car;

* how well will the unit work and fit with the largest iPod inside the storage bin with the lid closed; and

* will heat become an issue?

The armrest flips over to become another two cup holders and the storage bin underneath is not very big. For those who would like a closer look:
http://forester.subaru.com.au/
Select 01 Refined Styling, then click on the INTERIOR tab and finally click on the picture with two cup holders.
 
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Does anyone have any experience and opinions with any of the following?
* Kensington Digital FM Transmitter/Auto Charger for iPod
I just purchased this for use with my MY03 after reading a lot of good reviews on it. I also have an iTrip mini and was hoping the Kensington might be more powerful. While it is convenient to have the power connection and not need the station 'songs' on the ipod (as with the iTrip), it doesn't seem to fare any better in the forester than the iTrip did.

I should say that I live in a very crowded radio market though and I don't have any truly clear stations. My commute is 25 miles and I have one frequency that is clear when I leave the house but gets worse as I get close to work. When I get away from the city, it works fine when I leave it on the front passenger seat, but I sometimes throw it on the rear passenger seat to improve reception when I get close to the city. When the Kensington is plugged into the socket, I don't think it sticks up much more (if any) than 2". I could measure it for you if you would like. Also, are you talking about putting the ipod in the console? I guess that would work if you are a patient listener, but I often skip songs if I am not in the mood for them.

The sound on the Kensington is good. Since the signal comes out of the dock connector, bumping the volume on the ipod has no effect on the sound level on the radio. That is sort of good, but I did like being able to nudge the volume with the ipod via the iTrip (although the sound quality would suffer if I went too far with it). The only issue with the Kensington sound is that in some songs there is very noticeable sibilance (basically an emphasis of bad S sounds, generally in vocal tracks that are somewhat sub-par anyway).

FWIW, the antenna in the back window is a PITA with these FM transmitters. Even though it isn't well regarded, the iTrip worked pretty well for me in every car I've tried it in except for the Forester. I've been sitting on the fence about trading in my MY03 for an 06 but I am now leaning towards driving it into the ground. If Subaru had gotten a stock radio with an aux input, that might have been enough to push me over the edge. As it is, I may end up taking some of the money I'll be saving and getting a basic alpine unit so I can end my ipod frustration.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #3
DelcoGreg said:
When the Kensington is plugged into the socket, I don't think it sticks up much more (if any) than 2". I could measure it for you if you would like.
I'm more concerned about the width as there is less space in the storage bin. If you get a chance to look at an MY06, would be great for you to test it by plugging it inside. I'll try to source one locally to test as well.

DelcoGreg said:
I've been sitting on the fence about trading in my MY03 for an 06 but I am now leaning towards driving it into the ground. If Subaru had gotten a stock radio with an aux input, that might have been enough to push me over the edge. As it is, I may end up taking some of the money I'll be saving and getting a basic alpine unit so I can end my ipod frustration.

Greg
At least you can with the Forester! Pity those with Legacy/Liberty and Outbacks!

Much appreciated for your feedback.
 

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I live in Houston, tx. It's got about as crowded a market as you can get. Tried a couple different solutions, ended up with a PodFreq: http://www.podfreq.com/
I switch from car to car frequently (wife only lets me drive the Scooby on the weekends) and I like to use the Ipod when at home or at friends without having to "wire it up".

The podfreq is a little bulky but also acts as a case. With the antenna up I can get 2-3 times the distance I could with other totally mobile solutions.

Down sides:
My first podfreq had a whistle that annoyed me at the very upper end of the spectrum. Only my wife and I could hear it, no one else noticed it even when it was the only noise and cranked way up. I RMA'd it and the replacement has worked great without any problems (the RMA process was easy and quick).
It acts as a case but it doesn't protect the front. I solved this by getting some of that vinyl (static clean) sticker material and putting in on the front.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The PodFreq is indeed a little bulky, and the solution doesn't seem to be as universal as the other models I mentioned. Still, it's worth keeping in mind if you do need something with a more powerful antenna to get the FM transmission acceptible.
 

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You should get an FM modulator that is hard-wired into the antenna instead of a transmitter, it is very simple to install and the quality will be much better as it cuts of the antenna when it is in use and therefore has no interference from the radio stations.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My old 91/92 Liberty/Legacy had one of those FM Modulators controlling a 6-stack CD changer. It was so powerful it overwhelmed all the other stations as it intercepted the antenna connection. Of course, worked very when the CD was playing.

Got a chance to finally test the Kensington today. Silbilance is only evident and annoying when you can't get a clear station frequency.

Where there is a clear frequency, it works extremely well, and I can leave that on and surf to other FM stations without interference. The sound level does seem to feel slightly quieter than other stations, but not by too much.

I was able to hide the Kensington and iPod under the MY06 Forester's multi-function centre/center armrest with room to spare. The rear window antenna also seemed to be causing no problems.

I guess these units will not do too well when you can't easily get a clear frequency. When you can, it's an excellent option short of changing the factory unit.

Based on the review on ilounge.com, the Griffin iTrip Auto may not have the best sound quality, but the frequency changer is not located at the cigarette lighter adaptor, which may or may not suit you.

The Monster iCarPlay looks good, but a lot of reviewers say the iPod dock connector is too big for cases, so that might also be a drawback.
 

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what2 said:
You should get an FM modulator that is hard-wired into the antenna instead of a transmitter, it is very simple to install and the quality will be much better as it cuts of the antenna when it is in use and therefore has no interference from the radio stations.
what2, I have an FM modulator I want to hard-wire in for use with my XM Roady2 satellite receiver. Do you have any info. on the installation? I have a 2006 Forester Prem Pkg. w/6 CD radio. Any info. would be appreciated!
 

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2xiraqvet said:
what2, I have an FM modulator I want to hard-wire in for use with my XM Roady2 satellite receiver. Do you have any info. on the installation? I have a 2006 Forester Prem Pkg. w/6 CD radio. Any info. would be appreciated!
Very simple. You need to open the dash, here are intructions: http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5805

When you get to the radio, unscrew it and pull it out a bit, you dont need to take it out or disconnect all the harnesses. Just reach behind, the antenna is on the bottom left side, and pull out the antenna. Then plug the antenna into the modulator and plug the modulator into the jack. For power i tapped into the lighter. I secured the modulator right under the radio, zip-tied to something there. Just be careful when you're removing stuff and putting them down, I ended up with a couple of scratches on the trim.

I ran the input ires to the console, and made a hole in the console so the wire comes out right next to the outlet there. You can run the wires to whereever you plan on putting your ipod.
 
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"Got a chance to finally test the Kensington today. Silbilance is only evident and annoying when you can't get a clear station frequency."

I think you may be on to something here. I have taken to throwing my ipod on the back seat to improve reception and the sound quality has been pretty good. Of course, I may just be getting used to it.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, someone posted one of the expected upgrades to the MY07 model is iPod integration, so maybe it's your opportunity!

If you can live with shuffle play or you don't need to keep choosing songs, then you could also consider sticking it in the boot. The main hassle is that you have to turn the iPod back on after the power is cut.
 

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I bought an iRiver AFT 100 Mobile FM Transmitter so I could use my Rio Carbon and it works very well. I have it on 91.9 with very little static but doesnt have the full dynamic sound of the radio or CD player. If you arent ready for a new Head Unit this is a good workaround and fits under the arm rest pretty well considering the storage compartment is really lacking in space. One problem with the unit is you have to crank the radio volume way up to hear it loud.
 
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Hardwiring your ipod makes all the difference!

I have an 06 Forester with 6 disk changer. I followed the directions that were posted on Scoobymods.com (http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3357) and hardwired my ipod into the stock radio. There is a little trick with playing a blank CD while listening to the ipod, but the sound is far superior and the cost is minimal. The only costs are a 13 pin mini din connector, mini plug stereo connector with about 6 feet of cord, and an ipod car charger. I used the Belkin charger F8V7058-APL in the center consol and ran a cord from the center consol to the radio unit. Now, I keep my ipod just under the armrest. It is clean, and easy to use. Most importantly, the sound is the cleanest possible.
 
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Has anyone done a successful aux input mod on a Forester XS? All the 13-pin mods I keep seeing are specifically for the XT, and our ears are dying in the (2005) Forester from having to fiddle with the awful wireless FM modulator we've got :(

I never thought I would miss a cassette deck so much!
 
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FM Transmitter for my MP3 player is OK

I've been using a cool FM transmitter that is plugged into the center console socket. The fidelity isn't perfect, but if I zone out and stop nit-picking, it works fine. This particular device is unique because it acts like its own player when you plug a USB flash drive into it (good for books on tape). I primarily use it to play my Sandisk 1gig MP3 player. The wire comes out of the console through a nice little notch in the lid and the player can be operated by people in the front or the back.

One drawback, each time the key is turned on the FM transmitter resets to its lowest frequency.

Oh yeah, the volume is fine. If I crank it up on the MP3 player, the dashboard volume is similar between the cd player and the selected FM(MP3 player) station.


http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=3579125
 
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