The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Friday, June 02, 2006
Striving for Perfection

So after a year plus of using a shitty cassette adapter to play my iPod through my car stereo, I finally took the plunge and bought an auxiliary input converter. It connects to the back of my unused CD changer port in my Toyota and converts the proprietary input into one that accepts your typical RCA red/white audio plugs. I tried installing the device myself last weekend, but after failing to get past step one (removing the A/C vents, credit cards are apparently not the best prying tool), I drove to Circuit City and had them do the work instead. It was actually somewhat of an expensive job, costing $80, which came as a shock not only to me but to the technician as well. Fortunately, I had one of those $24 gift cards I received a few months ago after CC failed to have one of my pick-up orders ready in 24 minutes or less. I probably would've went elsewhere if I didn't have the gift card as $80 is wayyyy too overpriced for something that simply requires removing the stereo and putting it back in.

The technician did a great job and ran the wire cleanly right to my cup holder, which is where I "mount" my iPod, and by mount I mean, well, put it in my cup holder. Although the volume from the iPod was a little lower than the other sources connected to the radio (CD, Tape, etc), the sound was crystal-clear without any signs of distortion. Here's the problem: anytime the iPod is hooked up to the stereo while also being charged via my Monster car charger, sound is only produced from one channel and distorted with hiss and alternator noise. As soon as you unplug the charger, sound is restored to CD-quality levels. Unfortunately, this is unacceptable. I would have to buy a ground loop isolator from Radio Shack which would resolve the distortion issues, but this fix would have to be installed on top of the adapter, which of course requires another trip to Circuit City. The Upstate Life simply wants a solution where he can enjoy line-out quality audio while being able to simultaneously charge his iPod without using multiple devices (adapter, charger, ground loop isolator, etc).

Enter this wonderful invention: an iPod interface that connects to your factory stereo but is also able to charge. I just ordered it today and will hopefully arrive sometime next week. The dude at Circuit City said he would be able to swap the interface for free since I explained to him the problems I was having with my current unit. If these attempts at perfect iPod car audio integration sound anal, don't be alarmed. This is coming from someone who has his entire iPod collection painstakingly tagged, with album art mind you! Only one such album is missing its graphical linkage (Hollertronix: Doing It Real Big). And if you're curious, it's killing me.

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