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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.

Bottom line:

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).
22 comments45 of 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 5, 2007
This device is extremely easy to set up and use. My problem with it is that no matter where I place the unit, which receiver I use, or which station it's tuned to, I cannot get a completely clean signal -- there is always a hiss of static underneath the music. This is especially annoying if you're listening to the music loud -- in between tracks and during quieter moments in the music, the static is quite noticeable and irritating.

I wouldn't exactly call the signal weak -- I was actually able to pick it up on the opposite end of my house, through at least one closed door, on an ancient Walkman. It's disappointing, though, that I can pick it up in that scenario, but not get a perfect signal when it's in the same room as my stereo.

Another problem might be that here in New York it's really hard to find an empty station. Everything seems to have a station or a remnant of a station on it.

Having said all that, this is a really convenient device that's easy to use. If you can stand the somewhat imperfect sound and the hiss of static under the music, you'll definitely want this.

UPDATE: I just wanted to update my review now that I've used this for a longer period of time and have gotten better performance out of it. I was ready to give up on it because the static and lousy signal were driving me nuts (if you moved the unit or walked between it and whatever it was playing on it would cause a burst of static). What I ended up doing was putting the device and an FM antenna literally on top of each other. This makes the unit work without interference, static or the annoying hiss I mentioned before. Doing this simple thing makes the product work exactly as I had hoped it would. I also took the unit out a few times and, as others have noted, it works amazingly well in cars. Another note: it almost seems like the unit's signal is stronger now, and I've been able to pick it up cleanly and with plenty of audio strength both outside while working and in the apartment below my own. And this is on the old Walkman I mentioned in the original review. I never would have thought this possible when I first started using this, but for whatever reason its signal has been great and I'm continually amazed by the distances I can travel from the unit and still pick it up. If I could do it over again, I would definitely bump up the star rating to five.
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on October 27, 2005
Very easy to install. As other reviewers noted, it's important to make sure that you appropriately set Windows' volume levels. The received sound quality is fairly good, in the low to medium fidelity range. You can signicantly improve the range and quality of the transmiited signal by carefully prying open the case and bending the antenna so that it comes out of the top of the case in a vertical position. (I'm sure that this will void the warranty).
0Comment16 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 27, 2005
I had such high expectations for this product. I was looking for a product that would allow me to listen to the music on my pc throughout my house. What I got was a huge disappointment. The first strike against this product is that you cannot use your PC speakers when you are using the transmitter. I read a lot of product descriptions on different websites, and not one of them mentioned this "feature". So, as soon as you switch to the transmitter, you need to replace your speakers with a FM radio right next to your computer.

Another huge disappointment with this product was the range. I was able to pick up the signal on a radio that was a couple of feet away from the transmitter, but that's it. The radio in the next room could not find the signal. A FM Clock Radio that we have couldn't pick up the signal even when it was placed right next to the transmitter. My stereo system one room away was able to pick up the signal for a few minutes, and then lost it. I tried several different frequencies, including available frequencies at the low, middle, and high end of the range. They all performed equally poorly.

Setup and installation were very easy. The interface for changing the broadcast frequency is very simple and easy to use, but unfortunately, this product is a turd.
11 comment14 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 14, 2006
The signal recieved by my stereo reciever (25' away) and portable radios (5-15' away) has too much interference to make it a worthwhile product. To top it off the software that came with the product did not work and I had to download new software from the Griffin site. Further when I contacted J and R Electronics (the third party seller) and they would not offer a refund and said I had to go through Griffin despite that this product does not perform as advertized. Check twice before buying something through J and R Electronics.
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on August 20, 2005
The RocketFM installation took about 2 min, no problems at all. All my tuners in the house are able to receive a very clear signal, definitely beyond the 30ft range. The signal is also very good on a radio that is such a poor tuner that I have never used it except for playing CDs. BTW, I live in Chicago, so the area is definitely a crowded one.

In a word, the Griffin RocketFM is excellent.
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on April 24, 2006
I'm writing this review after using the Griffin RocketFM for only three days. That said, it does exactly what I bought it for: transmitting high fidelity music from an online streaming service to two home stereo systems. One system is about 12 ft. from the RocketFM transmitter and the other is about 20 ft. away and through a wall.

Low fidelity issues were solved by the following:

1. Setting the device volume output to about 65% (control panel, sounds and audio devices)

2. Slightly lowering the volume output of the player (Rhapsody player)

3. Activating and maximizing the EQ of the player (Rhapsody player) - this made a huge difference

Fidelity issues after the above adjustments were due more to the receiver (tone controls, antenna) than my PC or the RocketFM.

To it's credit, the RocketFM was truly plug-and-play (worked immediately after plugging it in) and my PC's speakers had returned simply by unplugging the RockteFM from the USB port.
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on May 24, 2006
You need a good receiver: I get my news from DemocracyNow.org daily, and listen as well to all classical radio on the internet and was at first disgusted with the 10 foot range of the signal transmitted my Rocket FM USB powered FM transmitter (Rocket FM plugs into a computer's USB port and converts my humble iBook into a mini FM radio station so we can listen to internet audio on any FM radio). In addition, there would be signal interference when we just walked around the room. To the rescue: a Henry Kloss AM/FM table radio by Tivoli Audio. It makes my housemates' Phillips boombox sound like a cheap violin. Not only that, but I put the Model One in the bedroom a full 36+ feet (passing through three double wood-joist drywalls) and the sound is still great (no, I am no audiophile, but...). Add 18 ft. and another double wall and slight static appears.
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on November 1, 2005
Last year during one of our snowboarding trips we brought along a laptop so that we could watch a movie during the drive. Only problem was that no one could hear the movie because the laptop speakers didn't have the volume. I thought it would be great to just plug the laptop into the car audio. My first thought was one of those tape deck adaptors, except I don't have a tape deck. Anyways, long story short I started looking at USB FM transmitters.

I received this one a few weeks ago and it works awesome. Granted, there is some distortion in the signal, but it is minimal, similar to what I get with my iPod's FM transmitter. It is a nice clean little device, and I really like the fact that with the included software I can pick any channel in the FM range to transmit on. Some of the other ones I looked at were fixed, or required setting of dipswitches.
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on September 5, 2007
I used the iRock FM transmitter for several years before it finally succumbed to its own design flaws (the "on" button became stuck underneath the case). Looking for a new FM transmitter, I had several requirements:
- Must not be dependent on batteries (the signal deteriorates almost immediately)
- Must have at least a 15-ft signal strength

Eventually I settled on the RocketFM transmitter, because it was USB-powered which meant less cable mess for me. I just hooked it up to my laptop and off it went. No extra AC/DC charger or cables.

The signal strength is EXCELLENT. I have no static problems, and my RocketFM is located about 15 ft from the radio antenna. The sound quality is wonderful. Much better than my old iRock. When people come over, they think that I have the best CD collection ever... when really it is just RadioIO World internet radio.... sshhhh :)

Easy to set-up (you have to use the CD which comes with it, so don't throw it out like I almost did), and easy to use. I love my RocketFM and recommend it to anyone looking for a good FM transmitter for the home.
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