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How to connect an iPod to your Car Stereo

Are you tired of losing your CDs in your car or finding them scratched after you’ve listened to them so many times? If so then an iPod may be just what you need. There are various models of iPod available, but all of them are designed to let you listen to your favorite tunes no matter where you are. Most new car stereos these days come with an iPod connection point. The question is how can you get your iPod to work via your car stereo?


The different connection options

There are three main options you have when it comes to hooking up your iPod. They include:

  • · Using a FM radio frequency
  • · Through the cassette adapter
  • · Plug directly into stereo

If you have an older car then the cassette adapter may be your best option. Older stereos don’t tend to come with a connection point for MP3 players. It’s also worth keeping in mind that this is the cheaper, easiest option. The only downside is the quality of the sound. Cassette adapters don’t provide anywhere near the same quality sound as a FM radio frequency or direct car stereo connection will. Basically the cassette manages to convert the audio signals from the iPod so that they can easily be understood and picked up by the car.

FM radio frequency tends to offer higher quality sound than cassette adapters and they come either wired or wireless. The adapter will connect your iPod to an FM radio station and use that to play your favorite songs. With the most modern FM adapters you can actually choose which station you want the sound to come out of. It would be a good idea to choose a station that has a weak signal as this will avoid any interference from any local, live stations.

The direct connections do tend to be the best. As mentioned earlier, all newer car stereos will typically have an MP3 connection port. If your stereo doesn’t have this then there are some adapter kits you can invest in. There are Jacks available for auxiliary devices on the front plate of the stereo. The only thing to consider with this option is that they can be quite expensive.

How to fit them

If you’ve invested in a cassette adapter then all you need to do is plug the jack cord into the cassette and then into your iPod. Then place the cassette in the player and voila, you have a working connection.

With an FM transmitter it will depend whether you have invested in a wired or wireless version. If you want to install a wired transmitter then you’ll need to install a ground wire from your vehicle to the module. The module can be found between the stereo and the cars antenna. You will then need a mini-Jack-to-RCA input connector. This will help to connect the iPod to the FM transmitter. The wireless models are much simpler and trick your stereo into thinking that your iPod is a radio station. You simply need to set the modulator so that it connects to a specific station.

Finally for a direct connection you will typically need to remove the head unit of the dash of the car. You’ll then need to install an adapter and cable to the CD changer port. Then a separate cable will run from the adapter, straight into your iPod. You can purchase special kits that can help you with this type of connection.

Overall you need to think about the age of your car stereo, your budget and your skill level before you install any type of iPod connection.

About the author


Vikram is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant who helps small business owners grow their
business. He is passionate about blogging, digital marketing, and emerging technologies.

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