Whether on the way to work, to drop the kids off at school, or going to the grocery store, everyone has a favorite radio station that they listen to while in the car. If its like most stations, they’ve got a mix of music that is hard to not sing along with and they probably claim to play 90 minutes of pure music with no commercial interruption. Yet somehow it seems like every time the car starts up those 90 minutes have just came to an end. Perhaps it is time to leave the commercials — and the 20th century — behind and connect an MP3 player to the car stereo.
To solve the problem of playing MP3s in a car, there are a few different solutions. For those cars with stereos old enough to have a cassette player, the best option is simply an adapter. Most every electronics retail store sells cassette adapters. These adapters plug into the headphone jack of the MP3 player (or virtually any other similar device) and a cassette-shaped converter is inserted into the car’s tape player. This way the signal travels directly through the headphone jack, through the adapter cassette, and then through the car stereo, giving the great sound and music selection received from a digital audio player.
Another option is to get an FM transmitter that turns an MP3 player into a miniature FM station. This is a less than perfect solution, and requires a few very important things to be considered. Most FM transmitters offer only a few specific frequencies to transmit the signal. The cheapest ones broadcast on 88.0 through 89.0 FM exclusively. If there is a major local station nearby within that band it is likely this station’s broadcast will interfere with the operation of such a FM transmitter. Higher-quality transmitters will give the freedom to choose from a wider selection of frequencies, making it easier to find one that is far enough from a powerful signal to come in clearly on the car’s radio tuner.
The final option is to have a factory radio adapter installed in the car, which allows the audio to be used to its fullest extent. These adapters are far more expensive than simple external adapters and generally require some installation that may have to be done professionally. While this style of solution can be found at most major electronics retail outlets, it may be more desirable to order them online where they are more readily available.