Top critical review
45 of 45 people found this helpful
Good if your receiver is up to the task.
on July 6, 2005
Works out of the box. It draws power from the USB port and definitely gives a stronger signal when connected to a powered USB hub than an unpowered one.
The included software is very easy to use on a Mac and lets you set the broadcast frequency in increments of 0.1 MHz, which is useful if you live in an area with lots of radio stations, as I do. However, the signal strength is pretty low, so you're relying on your receiver to achieve adequate discrimination between bands.
In my area, I had to go to an in-between frequency (.4MHz) from the regular stations to cut down on interference. My two big receivers (Sony & Panasonic) can handle this. My boombox picks it up, but gets lots of interference from the neighbouring stations. My portable radio doesn't get anything. I did appreciate the fact that the frequency is selectable anywhere in the standard FM range. Something like the Line X USB FM Transmitter with four selectable frequencies would not stand a chance in my crowded area.
Placement of the unit is very critical. Reception will vary widely when moving the transmitter around (and presumably the same for the receiver). If you have the patience to tweak it, it gives good to very good reception.
It is also very important to set the computer output volume to avoid distorting the sound.
It's good enough to pipe iTunes to my receiver in the living room, but I probably won't take it traveling. Not bad for $30.
I might try to take it apart and either attach a bigger antenna or try to boost the signal. Alternatively, the C Crane FM transmitter would be an option that already has instructions for boosting the signal (but doesn't use USB).