Cygnett GrooveRide FM Transmitter for MP3 players.
So the search went on for the ultimate ipod incar experience, you may have read my review of the Griffin iTrip FM transmitter earlier on this site and how I was non too impressed with it's performance. Well my search took me to Maplins electronics store in my home town where I spoke to a staff member about my mission to find an FM transmitter for the ipod that retained clarity and reduced background hum.
This nice young man produced an orange box of tricks called the GrooveRide which is made by Cygnett ( www.cygnett.com ). This gadget plugs into any MP3 player via the earphone socket and though a little larger than the iTrip looks very funky in orange and white. It measures about 3 inches across by 2 high and 1 deep. The GrooveRide has an LCD display and built in buttons for changing the frequency. It also has an on/off switch and can be powered by a cigarette lighter socket lead. But the best thing about the GrooveRide is it's built in rechargeable lithium battery which is good for 6 hours of play. It can be charged by the supplied cigarette lead, or by the supplied USB lead via a PC or laptop, superb. So in essence what you have is a small beautifully contained unit that plugs into the ipod and is not intrusive in the car at all. I stuck it to the dash with some velcro just to the side of the ipod and it looks great.
So now to the important bit, what did it sound like. In short....superb. I used the same frequency (107.3FM) and the result was brilliant. The natural sound of the ipod came through with not a hint of background hum at all. Even on quiet tracks the sound reproduction was clear, bright and undistorted. However you must be careful how you set up your ipod or MP3 player. If the volume of the MP3 player is set too high then the frequency modulator in the GrooveRide cannot handle it and will distort the signal giving very poor playback. I found this to my cost before realising that for the best sound reproduction set your MP3 volume to just under a half of its maximum and control the volume solely through your car radio controls. Sorted.
The difference between the GrooveRide and the iTrip has to be the fact that the GrooveRide is independently powered and drawing nothing from the ipod. It's a much more powerful beast. A work colleague of mine has a hardwired ipod in his car (expensive and time consuming but worthwhile for the sound quality) and I have to say that the difference between my GrooveRide set up and his is negligible. It's that good.
The price at Maplins was £39.99, and worth every penny. The nice young man even let me try it in the car before I bought. Now that's what I call service.
Latest, best price seems to be Amazon at only £21.15 :
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