Customer Reviews: Scosche FM-MOD02 Universal Audio Input FM Modulator for iPod, Satellite Radio or Portable Music Player
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on February 24, 2010
Works pretty much as advertised: far better than wireless FM, not as good as an auxiliary port.

Basically, if your car's head unit (radio/CD player) doesn't come with a built-in external auxiliary port, you have four options to connect your MP3 player: (1) FM wireless, (2) FM wired, (3) aux port (if available), or, (4) a new radio.

Option (1) is useless; as to option (2), the Scosche FM modulator is probably the cheapest one you can find. There are some better FM modulators (eg, with 8 programmable freqs), but they are quite a bit more expensive. Options (3) or (4), which are also more expensive, offer much better quality. If sound quality is important to you and you're willing to spend the extra cash, look into hooking up through the aux port (if your car has it) or replacing the HU (these days, fairly decent radio/CD/MP3 players are not very expensive).

If you go for this FM modulator, there are a few things you should be aware of.

First, the device consists of the modulator itself and a (very) cheap plastic switch housing, containing the switch which turns the device on and a 3.5 mm female jack for audio input. The housing connects to the modulator via a Molex connector (for the switch) and two RCA jacks (for the audio input). The wires connecting the switch housing to the modulator are insulated, but unsightly and you definitely do not want them exposed. (You connect the MP3 player via the provided 3.5 mm male-to-male cable.) If you listen to the radio, you will likely need access to the switch, because reception of AM and some FM stations can be severely degraded with the modulator on.

Second, mine came with absolutely no instructions or diagrams, and Scosche provides no support on their web site. If you want to do the installation yourself, you're on your own. It's not too difficult -- if you know what you're doing. Basically, you take out the head unit, splice the red wire into an available +12V line (eg, cig lighter), and the black wire into a good ground. Connect the modulator's antenna jacks in-between the antenna and the car radio (here, depending on your car, you might require an antenna jack adaptor). Find a good location for the switch housing, attach the modulator securely, connect the switch and the RCA jacks, choose one of the two FM freqs available, put everything back, and you're good to go.

Third, the switch housing is poorly designed and made out of very cheap plastic. Its back is open (picture it as a cube with one side missing), and the housing itself is too short relative to the depth of the switch and connectors. That severely limits the choice of location for mounting the switch housing, if you don't want to have exposed cables. The housing is mounted by means of a piece of double-sided adhesive tape (provided).

Overall, installation is not too difficult, and, if you can do it yourself, it's worth it. If you have to pay for the installation, consider first an aux port or a new radio/CD player, which provide better sound quality.

Some reviewers complain of humming and/or background noise. I'd be inclined to blame that on a bad installation -- if installed with a good solid ground, this shouldn't be a problem.

Another complaint is that sound volume is too low. In a sense, that's not really the modulator's fault -- it's a basic mismatch between the electrical characteristics of the modulator's audio input and an MP3 player's output; and that's because the latter is designed to drive headphones, not to provide a line-level audio signal, while the former expects a line-level signal. (Test the modulator with any device, such as CD or DVD player, which provides line-level output, and you'll find that the volume level is within normal limits.) You'll have the same problem (volume too low) with any device not designed specifically to handle a headphone signal as audio input.
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on April 26, 2009
This, I believe, is absolutely the best way to play your Ipod or MP3 player through your factory radio. I have tried using a wireless FM transmitter and a cassette adapter and neither one of those worked well. With the wireless FM transmitter, it was difficult to find an open station to operate it static free while the cassette adapter deteriorated the sound quality so much it seems that everything is muffled. This wired FM Modulator works great. No loss of sound quality while maintaining static free operation. The downside of this kit is the relatively difficult installation process. If you have had experience of replacing a radio in your car, then this should be a piece of cake otherwise it may be best to have it installed by a pro. Over the years I have installed about a dozen or so car radios and this one still took me about 2 hours to install as I literally have to remove the factory radio to access the antenna connector. Finding a switched battery positive lead and ground is probably the next difficult part. Once those are accessed, the rest is fairly easy. The good thing is, after you get it working, its all worth it as this thing works flawlessly. One more thing, this unit uses the old style antenna connectors. Since most new cars now use a locking proprietary connector you will most likely need a set of antenna adapters to complete the installation.

UPDATE: After using this product for a few months, I noticed a slight and constant hum when the volume is turned down. This is only noticeable when the vehicle is idling or moving at a very low speed. Once you get going, most of the other noises in the car drowns out this hum. Just wanted to point this out to make sure I did not mislead any one. I would not change my rating because of this issue as it still performs to its intended purpose.
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on November 29, 2009
All what you see in picture came in the box.

This is a low-cost solution for cars with no AUX input. I use it with my garmin 660 GPS with MP3 player. No more CD burning.

Few things:

1. Sound Quality:
is better than cassette adapters and MUCH better than wireless FM Transmitteres,
but expect a lower sound quality comparing to Cds and clear local FM radio stations.

2. installation:
Depending on how easy to find a power source and to uninstall your car radio to get an access to the antena input.

3. power button is great , it turns off the whole unit not only the outlet , to give a chance in case you want to switch to a local station with the same preset frequency. remember to stick the AUX input at a lower level of your dash to avoid the strong beam that comes from green power button( seen in picture) at night.

4. it by pass other FM stations with or without turning the device off ( great advantage, I remember I had to turn my sirious radio off that worked on the same idea to cut the interruption) in other words you still can switch between your assigned station for this unit and your local FM radio stations without having to turn off the device.

5. reasonable price comparing to my local audio store.

6. the humming sound is not a big deal as I drive a compact car with some road noise.

In my case I have a 2005 Suzuki Aerio SX with no AUX input. It took me an hour to:
a. remove the two plastic covers on both sides of the radio. warm the car inerior first to make it easy to pull them out from the dash.
b. un screw FOUR screws of the radio.
c. three screws for the storage to get an access to the cigarette lighter outlet.
d. unplug the radio harness, radio antena, hazard , and AC control unit.
e. unplug the cigarette lighter plug and fit the red wire where the black and white wire , and of course fit the black with the black for negative, plug back the cigarette lighter wires. NOW you have the power. No wire cutting or slicing needed.
f. pass the AUX oulet below the storage before you screw it back and stick it to the buttom of the drawer.
g. plug the Antena adapter.
h. test the unit before you put every thing back.
i. return the the radio back in its place, and don't forget to plug back any thing you unpluged.

now you can enjoy having an AUX input without sacrafising your factory system.

I Hope you found my review usefull, Please vote and make a print out too if you have the same car, as there are NO MANUAL comes with this device.
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on October 16, 2009
I purchased the schosche FM-Mod02 FM Modulator to play audiobooks through my car radio with my Sansa Fuze. I had two problems with the modulator. First, The volume level was decreased by the modulator so that even with full volume on my Fuze my quieter Audio Books were hard to hear and I had to turn the volume on my radio way up. Second, I could not charge my fuze while listening because of a serious ground loop problem, as soon as I plugged power in all you would hear is a buzz. I ended up buying the Peripheral PLD10 10X RCA Signal Booster and installing it as well to get the volume level back up and get ground loop isolation. With the volume set correctly on the signal booster my mp3 player at 75% volume has higher volume than my normal radio stations. The ground loop problem completely went away and I can charge my player and listen to it at the same time with absolutely no sound loss. I absolutely love the modulator with the configuration I now have but it would have been nice if it had its own ground loop isolation and had a better volume output.
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on August 29, 2016
Absolutely unable to get this to work in a Dodge Caravan with the factory radio. I checked with a multimeter, every connection has what I believe to be proper voltages, I get AM/FM radio, but turning on the unit does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, I tried both frequencies, one in my area has a nearby station, but the other is clear with no audible radio stations coming through. I have used many of this type of unit before on various cars with no problems, this just has no reaction with the radio/mp3 player.

I verified that the MP3 player ( cell phone ) and a generic MP3 player were putting out music through the headphone jack by connecting them to my home stereo with the same cords that I was using in the van to interface with the Schoche unit and they both played perfectly. The light on the unit comes on, the fuse is good, the grounds are good but turning on/off the unit produces no audible sound on the radio ... I even verified that the female plug on the unit was good, I was getting voltage to the RCA jacks that connect to the "control box"

I have no idea, this, as they say, is not rocket science, but I got rid of the box that the unit came in so I guess I am stuck with a pretty looking, non-working unit.
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on March 13, 2015
Works great! Installation was about a 2/10 (10 being most difficult ie. engine teardown). I removed the input socket and switch from the switch plate, drilled into the cubby in my center console, and mounted them in there. Doing this made it a cinch to hide everything. I didn't use an interference filter, and I notice the interference if I listen for it. I have found that static can be reduced by keeping volume of MP3 player low, while turning up the volume of the stereo (just don't turn the modulator off with volume up. It will switch to very loud static, and you'll likely wet yourself).
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on September 5, 2013
I installed this in a GMC envoy with no Aux input with bose system. I wanted to listen to Pandora. It works ok. Loudness is not the same as if listening to a cd or radio. Clarity is good. Install is easy.
I would purchase again.
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on June 14, 2012
First, let me say I had this identical item several years ago, and it worked fantastically; sound wasn't quite CD quality, but close. That version didn't come with the remote switch and aux input, however.

Now onto this particular item. The installation is easy enough, especially if you've ever installed your own car stereo system. The length of the wire bundle for the switch / aux input is VERY short when you consider the route you'll have to take to get around the interior body panels. I imagine this would be considerably too short for any SUV or truck. The adhesive backing for the switch housing had already released less than 6 hours after installation. The quality of the switch and the housing feels very cheap, and the housing isn't "deep" enough to cover the wire connectors; they're easily visible from the side.

None of the wires are shielded in any way, and I assume this is part of the noise problem which I'll explain in detail. Finding a proper ground is paramount to killing the squeals and static you'll find with a bad one. Before putting your dash back together, test it thoroughly at different volumes (both on your stereo and the audio devices you'll be using). Try different metal parts to find the best ground, or the one with the lowest static / noise.

That said, this unit is unacceptably noisy, especially compared to the older model I once had. The manual suggests using 75% volume on your device, then adjust the volume on your stereo. With an iPod classic, iPod Touch, and two different Android phones, 75% wasn't nearly enough, and they all had to be at 100%, with the stereo above the 60% range. This creates too much static to be pleasing; the sound is considerably worse than standard FM radio (and yes, this happened with both available modulated frequencies).

I am extremely disappointed with this latest model. I didn't have delusions of this putting out CD quality sound; I even warned my girlfriend (whose car I put this in) beforehand that it would be radio quality. It, however, failed to deliver even that. If you want decent sound, I'm sorry to say your best bet will be getting a new stereo with aux inputs; FM modulators just do not do the job.

Also please note that I give 1 star reviews exceptionally infrequently. I believe there's always something positive to be said of an item, but the only positive thing I can come up with here is that it may work better in a rural area. But really, this item is cheap in construction, and not worth the time, money, or effort at all.
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on February 12, 2016
Shipped exactly as described. I didn't think too much of the electrical tape used to bundle some of the wires together. It works as described, but has exactly the same issue I've seem with every other product like this: you have to turn the volume up almost all the way to hear anything. Not this particular manufacturer's fault, they all seem to be this way. There's a simple way to correct this limitation (if you're an electronics guy), but otherwise, I've never found one that gives the same volume as the radio stations'. Probably some FCC regulation limiting them. And, yes, if I needed another one, I'd buy another one of these.
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on January 4, 2014
I bought this to listen to POD casts of some talk radio shows. I installed it in an 02 Lexus ES300 without any difficulty in less than an hour. I listen on 87.9 which is, I believe, not a widely used station frequency. 97% of the time the broadcast is clear with no distortion. Occasionally I will get a little static which is some bleed over from other FM stations close to this frequency. It seems to happen in only a couple of areas around taller buildings. The FM Modulator I used to have in my car for XM Radio never had any static or interference. I'll just lay this off to a better design from Delphi. It works well for my purposes but if you are a purist and have spent a lot of money on your sound system in your car you will probably be disappointed.
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