Friday, May 07, 2010

Ah, Audio

So I wanted to be able to play my Clippy in my car, which has a stock stereo with a CD player and no inputs for external audio. After much checking, I found that the only way short of getting a new stereo was to buy an FM Transmitter for the car. So when I got a few bucks of credit (thank you to anyone who buys stuff at after following my links!) I went and found the Soundfly SD WMA/MP3 Player Car Fm Transmitter for SD Card, USB Stick, and Mp3 Players and ordered it.

It arrived after a suitably long wait, and I got my first chance to really use it when I drove down to pick up my plum stick.

Initial thoughts: It works very well with my system, and I was able to get a very good signal in for most of my trip. However, as I approached another town, an exterior signal caused a bit of static and I was driving so I couldn't switch to another frequency. Add in that this transmitter only stores seven frequencies, and we may have a tiny problem when we go on our long road trip this summer. However, while on the road we will have a passenger who can do the frequency shifting.

The location of my lighter on my dashboard is massively inconvenient for plugging things in, but this transmitter is small enough that it doesn't interfere with my driving at all. The 2.5mm to 3.5mm stereo cord is way too short, and there is a small possibility of the Clippy getting into the driver's lap if I don't get a longer cord before a longer trip. As it is now, the passenger would not be able to safely change the settings on the Clippy while it is plugged into the transmitter. If my car had a lighter socket under the stereo like most cars instead of next to the steering wheel this would not be an issue at all.

I used the Sirius Channel Finder to get a good frequency for my town, but it didn't work as well after I'd gone twenty miles down the road. I fear that Eric and I are going to have to plot what Zip Codes we are going to travel through to try to find the best selection of frequencies for the trip! If anyone has any suggestions for that, I'd love to hear them.

I haven't tried the USB or SD slots yet, but having them opens up a variety of neat possibilities. We don't have to plug a Clippy in to listen to something, as long as we've got it on a thumb drive or an SD card. I need to look a little more closely at the formatting requirements, but I imagine that we can fill up a thumb drive with some Doctor Who audios and be good to go. The remote works with either of those two methods, and means that the passenger can control the audio.

We'll see if this works. But I love technology!